Rivets add Texas Tech trio
LOVES PARK, Ill. – A College World Series veteran is among three Texas Tech Red Raiders that will be joining the Rockford Rivets this summer.
The Rivets announced Wednesday that three teammates, Braden Williams, Ryan Long and Hunter Hargrove, from the Big 12 Conference school will take part in the new team’s first season. Each has experience at multiple positions.
Long, an infielder from Crandall High School in Crandall, Texas is a university studies major and President’s list member in his junior season. After 20 games of the 2016 season, he is hitting .250 with 16 RBI and an on-base percentage of .361. Long has started at almost every infield position in his past two seasons. In his time as a Red Raider, he has earned several accolades such as NCAA Coral Gables Regional All-Tournament Team, Academic All-Big 12 Rookie Team and Houston College Classic All-Tournament Team.
“Ryan entered Texas Tech as a slick-fielding middle infielder,” Rivets manager Brian Snith said. “He will get a lot of time at third base at school and with us,” Smith said. “His left-handed bat and ability to play all over the infield will allow us to create matchup problems for opposing teams. Ryan has already played in a College World Series. We are expecting Ryan to be a great influence on our younger infielders.”
Long went to Omaha as a freshman in 2014 and went 2-for-6 in the CWS.
Williams, a catcher from Nimitz High School in Irving, Texas, is a sports management major in his freshman season. In 2015, he helped the Nimitz program advance to the regional quarterfinals for the first time in school history, while hitting .416 at the plate. Williams not only performs on the field, but earned a spot on the President’s list with a 4.0 grade-point average. He hasn’t batted yet in the young 2016 college season.
“It will be exciting to see Braden in action this summer,” Smith said. “The Texas Tech coaching staff told me that he has the IQ to lead a pitching staff. To have a quality team, you have to quality catchers. If all stay healthy, I believe we will have one of the top catching cores in the NWL.”
Hargrove, a utility player from Mansfield High School in Mansfield, Texas is an honor-roll student and sports marketing major in his junior season. In 2015, he saw action in 34 games while hitting .253 with a slugging percentage of .396. Through six games of action this spring, Hargove is 1-for-5.
Hargrove made stars in the outfield and at catcher for the Red Raiders last season, versatility Smith said he plans to use in Rockford.
“Hunter will be a major asset to our 2016 roster,” Smith said. “During the process of finding players, I was looking for a guy like Hunter who could be counted on everyday to fill a role. Hunter was the opening-day starter in centerfield, for a pre-season Top 5 Texas Tech team, in 2014 and is a polished infielder as well. The way the NWL stadiums are set up, having a few players who like to drive the ball is never a bad thing. Hunter will bring the rare combo of speed and power to an already exciting lineup.”
Rockford is a member of the finest developmental league for elite college baseball players, the Northwoods League, which will play its 23rd season of summer collegiate baseball in 2016. The Northwoods League is the largest organized baseball league in the world with 18 teams, drawing significantly more fans, in a friendly ballpark experience, than any league of its kind. A valuable training ground for coaches, umpires and front office staff, more than 140 Northwoods League players have advanced to Major League Baseball, including Cy Young Award winner Max Scherzer (Washington Nationals) and MLB All-Stars Chris Sale (Chicago White Sox), Jordan Zimmermann (Detroit Tigers), Curtis Granderson (New York Mets), Lucas Duda (Mets) and Ben Zobrist (Chicago Cubs). All league games are viewable live via the Northwoods League Website, NorthwoodsLeague.com.