St. Cloud, MN – The 2016 St. Cloud Rox season came to a close on August 16th, and what a season it was.
The Rox qualified for the playoffs for the second straight year, putting together a final record of 49-24, the second best record in franchise history after winning 51 games in 2015. The Rox had the best overall record in the North Division, winning the second half and claiming the number one playoff seed in the division.
The team had the best regular season home record in the Northwoods League at 27-8, and set new franchise records for highest total attendance with 60,179 fans and average game attendance with 1719 fans.
Seven Rox players were named selected to the Northwoods League North Division All-Star team, and the six players who played in the game impressed. Three pitchers, Austin Dubsky (Murray State), Logan Salow (Kentucky), and Collin Strall (LSU) worked a scoreless inning the game, and three position players, Ricky Ramirez (McNeese State), Drew Freedman (Nova Southeastern), and Luke Ringhofer (South Dakota State) all reached base with Ringhofer leading the team with four singles.
Manager Augie Rodriguez was honored at the end of the regular season, being named the Northwoods League Manager of the Year for the first time. Rodriguez has now had four winning seasons in his five seasons at the helm for the Rox. Ramirez, Strall, and Brian Glowicki (Minnesota) also picked up post-season honors, being named postseason All-Stars. It was the most postseason All-Stars the Rox have ever had, after receiving two selections the past three years.
Ramirez and Strall also received some special recognition from their teammates and coaches, being named team co-MVPs for the season for all of their accomplishments throughout the season.
A couple Rox players had their hard work rewarded by the big leagues during the season. Ben Deluzio and TJ Friedl both signed professional contracts during the summer and are now playing with minor league teams. Friedl was given the opportunity to try out for the US Collegiate National Team in late June and impressed, making the team and playing all over the world, including China, Japan, and Cuba.
Multiple franchise records fell throughout the course of the season. As a team the Rox set new single-season highs in runs, walks, and saves. Single season individual records were topped as well. Luke Ringhofer became the single season walks leader, drawing 56 free passes in 63 games. Logan Salow took possession of the single season strikeout mark, getting 79 punch outs in his 12 games. Brian Glowicki tied the single season saves mark with 11, Chris Martin (Kent State) tied the single season wins record at 7, and Collin Strall matched the single season appearances mark with 27.
The season got off to a slow start with the team dropping the first four games of the season, but the Rox quickly rebounded by rattling off five straight wins, and then quickly going on a season-high 10 game winning streak. They were one of the hottest teams in the league in the first half, but came up just a half game short in the first half North Division standings.
St. Cloud stayed hot in the second half of the season, posting a record of 24-12 and winning five of their last six regular season games to claim the second half title.
The team claimed some hardware in the regular season. They beat the rival Willmar Stingers in five of their eight regular season meetings to claim the Highway 23 trophy for the first time in franchise history. The two teams had split the season series in the past two seasons, but St. Cloud finally won the trophy outright.
The Rox would host a home playoff game in the first round against the Stingers. It was a dramatic, low scoring game that saw the home team come out on top 2-1 and move ahead in the postseason. The second round of the playoffs also featured a game at the Rock Pile, this time against the Eau Claire Express. The Rox pulled off a three run comeback in the bottom of the ninth to send the game to extra innings, but the Express would eventually come away with the victory in the 11th.
While the season may have ended sooner than the Rox would have liked it to, it was one for the history books. Thank you to our fans, corporate partners, host families, players, coaches, and staff for a great 2016 season. We’ll see you next season at the Rock Pile!
The St. Cloud Rox are a member of the finest developmental league for elite college baseball players, the Northwoods
League. Playing its 23rd season of summer collegiate baseball, 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 150 Northwoods League players have
advanced to Major League Baseball, including Cy Young Award winner Max Scherzer (WAS) and MLB All-Stars Chris Sale
(CWS), Jordan Zimmermann (DET), Curtis Granderson (NYM), Lucas Duda (NYM) and Ben Zobrist (CHC). All league games
are viewable live via the Northwoods League portal. For more information, visit www.stcloudrox.com or download the new Northwoods League Mobile App on the Apple App Store and on Google Play.