Bucks Announce Coaching Staff & Opening Day Roster
Waterloo, Iowa – The Waterloo Bucks have announced their 2018 coaching staff along with their Opening Day roster for the upcoming season. After finishing with a 39-33 record in 2017, Scott Douglas returns at the helm of the Waterloo Bucks. Last year, Waterloo finished with the fourth best overall record in the Northwoods League’s North Division. Douglas welcomes new members of his coaching staff to the Cedar Valley, as two of his assistants from the 2017 squad were hired as field managers in the Expedition League.
Scott Douglas- 3rd Season
As announced on May 3rd, Scott Douglas returns to the Bucks in 2018 and looks to build on last year’s 39-33 record that saw Waterloo with the fourth best overall record in the Northwoods League North Division and the sixth best overall record in the 20-team NWL.
In 2017 under Douglas, the Bucks saw a three-game win improvement from the 2016 season. Although Waterloo missed the postseason, they were in the playoff hunt until the final game of the regular season. Milestone victories such as overall (playoffs included) franchise victory number 800 and 800 regular season wins were captured in the 2017 campaign. Under the guidance of Douglas, the Bucks sent three players to the NWL All-Star Game and one to the NWL Major League Dreams Showcase.
Douglas, a resident of Lakewood, Colorado, spent 2006, 2007, 2014, and 2015 as skipper of the Regina Red Sox of the summer-collegiate Western Major Baseball League where his squads made the playoffs all four years, clinching the Division pennant twice, and advancing to the Final in 2015. Douglas was voted the WMBL’s Coach of the Year in 2006. In 2012 and ‘13, Douglas was the Head Coach at Colorado Christian University. Prior to that, Douglas was the Head Coach at Trinidad State Junior College from 2000-2012. In 1997 and ’98, Douglas was an Assistant Coach at the University of Northern Iowa.
Beginning his coaching career in 1990, Douglas was a Head Coach/Player in the semi-professional/collegiate Saskatchewan Major Baseball League for three seasons. From 1992-’96, Douglas was an Assistant Coach at Hardin-Simmons University. Douglas then moved on to the pro ranks, becoming the Third Base Coach for the Moose Jaw Diamond Dogs in the Prairie League and was promoted to Field Manager mid-season, a post he held until the end of the 1997 season, adding the title of Assistant General Manager along the way.
Douglas played his collegiate baseball at Waldorf Junior College and Hardin-Simmons before playing professional baseball for the Regina Cyclones of the North Central League and for Moose Jaw from 1994-’95. In 1994, Douglas graduated from Hardin-Simmons with a Bachelor of Behavioral Science Degree, then earned a Master of Education Degree in Sports and Recreation Management from HSU in 2000. Douglas is currently the Facility Manager at the Gold Crown Foundation in Lakewood, Colorado. He and his wife Keri have two children, Kade (15) and Seth (12).
Travis Walden, Pitching Coach/Bench Coach- Travis Walden joins the Bucks coaching staff for his first season as the Pitching Coach. Walden graduated from Monterey High School in Lubbock where he helped lead the Plainsmen to the 1981 State Championship and later went on to Lubbock Christian University. While at LCU, Walden helped then LCU head coach Larry Hays win the 1983 NAIA National Championship. Following his tenure at LCU he played three seasons (1986-88) in the Philadelphia Phillies organization.
He spent six years as an assistant baseball coach at Monterey High School in Lubbock before moving to Abilene where he was an assistant at Hardin Simmons for two seasons. After his two seasons at Hardin Simmons, he served as a Pitching Coach in the Texas Rangers organization and later as the Head Coach at Vernon Junior College for five years. Walden spent one season at Texas A&M where he served as the volunteer assistant. He then spent 2003 with the Southwest Texas Bobcats as their Pitching Coach. While at Southwest Texas, Walden led the Bearkat pitching staff to a 4.47 staff ERA last season on a squad that finished the year with a 30-28 overall record. On that staff, was Brandon Hankins who earned ABCA First-Team All-Region honors as he went 8-1 on the year with a 2.10 ERA.
Walden spent two seasons (2004-05) as the Pitching Coach at Texas Tech. He then served as the Head Coach for three years at Trinity Christian High School before taking over as Pitching Coach for Monterey High School, where he coached his son Blake. He has also coached in the Prospect League, where he was the last Manager of the DuPage Dragons.
J.D. Eaton, Third Base Coach- Johnnie “J.D.” Eaton joins the Bucks from Mobile, Alabama for his first season as the oganization’s Third Base Coach. Eaton played for Lurleen B. Wallace Community College in 2013, hitting .301 across 103 at-bats with 2 doubles, 1 home run and 5 stolen bases. He then transferred to Point University in 2014, slashing .329/.448/.367 with 1 double, 1 triple, and 10 steals in 37 games. Across 54 games in 2015 Eaton drove in 14, went 11-12 on steals, scored 27 runs, and reached base at a .352 clip.
Justin Mulvaney, Bullpen Coach- Mulvaney begins his first season as the Bucks’ Bullpen Coach. He comes to Waterloo after a 4-year career at the University of Northern Colorado preceded by a stellar prep career at Arvada West High School. He lettered in baseball for three years, hitting at least .300 in all three seasons. He helped his school win league championship in 2014, while being named first team All-Conference 2014. He was also an All-Conference honorable mention in 2012 and 2013 and a first team All-State Academic in 2013. As a freshman in 2015 with the Bears he made an impact in both in the batter’s box and on the mound. He appeared in 31 total games, with 20 of them coming on the hill. He led the team in wins with 4, starting 1. He threw to a 5.46 ERA in 31.1 innings of work, striking out 18. As a hitter he had a .083 average, stole 2 bases in 4 attempts, and drove in three runs. In 2016 he made 19 appearances on the mound throughout the season. Mulvaney recorded an ERA of 3.97 in 34.0 innings pitched, striking out 20 and holding opponents to a .288 clip. He had 1 save on the season. As a junior he appeared in 17 games and was the starter in 3. He carried a 4-2 record in 21.0 innings with 12 strikeouts and 10 walks. In 2018, Mulvaney threw to the tune of a 4.80 ERA over 45.0 innings of relief, striking out 37 and holding opponents to a .236 batting average while notching 1 save.
Justin Jacques, Coach- Justin Jacques joins the Waterloo Bucks for his second season in 2018 as the team’s Assistant Coach. From 2007-2014, Jacques was the First Base/Outfield Coach at Colorado Christian University. Jacques was also involved in recruiting and the team’s strength and conditioning program. Jacques has previously helped guide the Arvada Colts (Rocky Mountain Baseball League) to two National Baseball Congress World Series. In addition, Jacques has been a Licensed Professional Counselor and Masters Addictions Counselor, working in the mental health field for the last 12 years. Jacques has a B.A. in Health Promotion from the University of Northern Iowa and a M.A. in Counseling Psychology from the University of Colorado at Denver. Jacques also has a Certificate in Learning and Organizational Change from Northwestern University.
Brady Corson- Local high school baseball and Waterloo fans alike will certainly recognize the name Brady Corson, as the southpaw was a 2015 graduate of Cedar Falls High School. A three-time All-Missouri Valley Conference and All-Metro selection, Corson was named to the All-State team twice. He posted a 21-3 all-time record with a 2.40 ERA in high school. He began his collegiate career with a season on the Iowa Central Community College JV team, then transferred to Division II Cal State-San Marcos. In 2017 he led the Cougars with 21 appearances, recording an ERA of 11.57 in 32.2 innings. Last summer Corson threw 11.2 frames out of the Waterloo Bucks bullpen, posting a stellar 1.54 ERA to go with a 0.857 WHIP, a 29.8% strikeout rate, all while holding opponents to a .163 batting average. In 2018 for San Marcos he pitched in 29 games, throwing 32.1 innings with an ERA of 7.24. Las
Joshua Culliver- Ranked as Prep Baseball Report’s #3 prospect out of Nebraska in 2017, Culliver joins the Bucks after a stellar true freshman season at the University of Minnesota. A 2017 graduate of Creighton Preparatory School, Culliver was named a 2017 Rawlings-Perfect Game All-American Honorable Mention and All-Central Region Honorable Mention. He was named a 2016 Perfect Game Underclass High Honorable Mention and earned All-State First Team honors during his senior season to go with Second Team honors during his junior campaign. The righthander earned All-Metro First Team honors during 2016 and 2017. Culliver won two-straight Nebraska state high school championships, three-straight American Legion State Championships, and two-straight American Legion Regional Championships, including a National runner-up finish in 2017. He was named Central Plains Regional All-Tournament Pitcher in 2016 and was named to the American Legion World Series All-Tournament Team. He earned the Jayson Jewelle Award during his senior season. In 2018 for the Gophers, he has a 3.38 ERA in 9 appearances and 4 starts with 19 strikeouts over 26.2 innings at press time.
Anthony DeFrancesco- The Astros’ 37th round pick in 2016, Anthony DeFrancesco was selected by the same organization in which his father Tony (now manager of the Las Vegas 51s) managed the AAA club. Anthony began his collegiate career at GateWay Community College as an infielder in 2017, hitting .213 in 24 games with 3 steals, 1 double and 1 triple. This past season he transferred to Scottsdale Community College and converted himself into a pitcher, striking out 13 over 11.2 innings. As a pinch runner, he scored 3 runs and stole a base.
Javin Drake- An Iowan product from Wilton, Drake was selected to the 2016 Class 2A All-State team by the Des Moines Register. Following his junior year in high school, he earned All-State Super Team honors. Drake was named First Team All-District, First Team All-Conference, First Team All-Area, and was the Muscatine Journal ‘Player of the Year’ over the course of his prep career and was ranked as the 11th overall prospect in the state of Iowa and the top-ranked right-handed pitcher by Prep Baseball Report. He was named a Louisville Slugger Preseason Second Team All-American going into his Senior season. Beginning his college career at Western Illinois in 2017, Drake went 3-5 with a 6.47 ERA in 10 starts and 55.2 innings as a freshman. In 2018 he recorded a 3.96 ERA over 12 starts with 1 complete game. He struck out batters at a 23.2% rate with a .240 opponent batting average in 50.0 innings.
Christian Griffin- The Bucks bring in a standout DII reliever with the addition of Christian Griffin from Stone Mountain, Georgia. He played at Stephens High School, and during his prep career he was named the MVP of a Perfect Game Invitational, won the 17u Perfect Game Invitational and the HS BCS Perfect Game National Championship, while being named 2015 Georgia 5A 1st Team All Region. The righthander began his collegiate career at Indian River State Community College in 2016, where he struck out 6 and walked 5 in 5.1 innings. He moved on to Coastal Alabama-East Community College in 2017. Griffin posted an ERA of 8.93 in 14 appearances and 7 starts, striking out 51 and limiting opponents to a .271 batting average. He now plays for the University of West Alabama, throwing 18.0 innings of relief for a Tigers program set to transition to DI in 2019. He threw to the tune of a 3.50 ERA with 3 saves, 30 strikeouts, a .212 opponent batting average, and a whopping K rate of 31.6%.
Karl Hirsch- All the way from Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, Karl Hirsch joins the Bucks following his Junior season with DII powerhouse Quincy University. As a freshman in 2016, Hirsch pitched in 20 games out of the pen’ with a 4.88 ERA. In 27.2 innings, the righthander struck out 18 and limited opponents to a .274 average. In 2017 Hirsch threw 12.2 frames in 11 relief appearances with a .245 batting average against. This past season he established himself as one of the top “firemen” in the Nation, going 2-1 with a 1.87 ERA in 22 appearances and a lone start. Over 43.1 frames he had a stellar 23.7% K rate and limited opponents to a meager .627 OPS.
Danny Kapala- Waterloo brings back Danny Kapala after providing serviceable relief innings for the team in 2017. A graduate of Eastview High School, Kapala played four seasons and started three as a pitcher, first baseman, and outfielder. Following his senior season in 2017, he was ranked the #17 overall prospect and #3 left-handed pitcher in Minnesota by Prep Baseball Report and slotted in at #25 overall in Minnesota and #185 nationally by Perfect Game. He was named a 2017 Rawlings-Perfect Game All-Central Region Honorable Mention and earned All-South Suburban Conference selections during his final two seasons with the Lightning program. Kapala received an All-State selection as a senior and back-to-back All-Section honors as a junior and a senior. The southpaw was named to the Star Tribune‘s All-Metro Team in 2017. He served as team captain during his senior campaign, being named the team’s Most Valuable Player and Pitcher. Kapala also played two seasons of hockey as a defenseman. Last summer he threw 12.2 innings out of the Bucks bullpen, posting a 5.68 ERA, a 1.342 WHIP, a 21.1% K rate, a 5.3% BB rate, and a .264 batting average against in 12 appearances. This spring as a true freshman for the University of Minnesota Gophers, he struck out 3 over 1.1 frames.
Ryan Lane- A 6’3 righthander from New London, Ohio, Lane was a two-time All-Ohio First Team selection and a three-time Firelands Conference Player of the Year and Ashland Area Player of the Year. He holds New London program records for wins in season (9) and career along with strikeouts (126) in a season and career. He began his collegiate career in 2018 at Kent State University, where he went 3-0 with a 2.08 ERA and a .214 batting average against in 5 starts at press time.
Brady Moxham- Coming to the Bucks from Manitoba, Moxham was honored as 2015 Manitoba Player of the Year while playing at Vauxhall High School. He went on to pitch for Team Canada at the 2015 World 18U World Championships, hurling 10.2 innings in tournament appearances against Japan and South Korea and allowing only 3 runs and 2 walks with 7 strikeouts. He started his college career in 2016 at Midland College, going 8-2 in 14 games and 13 starts. He struck out 52 across 69.1 innings to help lead the Chaparrals to a Conference Title. Moxham then transferred to South Dakota State University, redshirting in 2017. In his first season with the Jackrabbits in 2018, he started 15 games and threw at a 5.15 ERA with a 1-5 record. In 71.2 frames he whiffed 68 and held opponents to a .263 batting average against.
Eric Reardon- A teammate of Bucks infielder Kevin Welsh at Rutgers, Reardon played four years of varsity baseball at North Brunswick under former Rutgers third baseman Ryan Lillis. The lefty holds the North Brunswick record for home runs (10) and pitching wins (14) and participated in the 2015 and 2016 NJ State All-Star Games. Reardon was named the 2015 Greater Middlesex County Player of the Year and Home News Tribune Player of the Year and was an all-state selection with a .406 batting average, seven home runs, 26 hits, 25 RBIs, five pitching wins and a 1.63 ERA as a junior. The two-time team captain and all-division selection was also a three-year varsity basketball starter, serving as a team captain as a senior. Reardon joined the Scarlet Knights in 2017 as a true freshman, going 2-1 with a 6.44 ERA in 21 appearances and 1 start. In 2018 the southpaw improved his numbers by posting a 4-2 record with a 5.45 ERA in 16 appearances and 6 starts. The swingman struck out 23 over 33.0 innings with a .242 opponent batting average.
Robert Reaser- The pride of Whitefish, Montana, Reaser plays for Lewis & Clark College. As a freshman in 2016, he went 1-5 with a 4.55 ERA in 9 appearances and 5 starts, holding opposing hitters to a .252 batting average. As a sophomore he started 12 games, throwing at an ERA of 4.40 in 75.2 frames. He cut his walk rate by more than 10%, establishing himself as a reliable, durable, workhorse in the Pioneers rotation. In 2018, Reaser posted a 2-7 record in 11 starts with a 5.58 ERA, punching out 48 in 59.2 innings.
Otis Roby- A righthander out of Knoxville, Roby was a member of the Twin Cedars High School team that won a state championship in 2014. He was a four-time all-state honoree who also competed in football, basketball and track and field. Roby began his collegiate career in Burlington at Southeastern Community College, serving as a key bullpen arm in 2016. In 25 appearances and 31.0 innings, he threw to the tune of a 4.35 ERA with 2 saves and a stellar 25.2% strikeout rate. As a sophomore in 2017 he moved to the rotation, going 9-3 in 12 starts with a 3.90 ERA. Across 67.0 frames he held opponents to a .246 batting average, posted a 1.313 WHIP, and excelled with a 25.5% K rate. He transferred to South Dakota State University in 2018, where he has 12 strikeouts over 12.1 innings and 3 starts as of this release.
Michael Sebby- The Lombard, Illinois product attended Glenbard East High School, where he earned all-state honors as a senior, while leading team to a conference championship. As a junior Sebby turned in a 1.98 ERA, while hitting .308 with 14 extra-base hits. During his senior year he posted an 11-0 record, 0.78 ERA and 95 strikeouts while hitting .431 with 8 home runs and 33 RBI. He earned all-conference and all-area honors his final two seasons, as well as being named the team’s MVP both years. The lefthander attends Illinois State University, where as a freshman in 2017 he made 14 appearances out of the Redbirds’ bullpen. He put up a 5.06 ERA with a strikeout rate just shy of 24% and a .282 batting average against. In 2018 Sebby posted a 3-1 record in 19 appearances out of the pen, recording a dominant 26.5% strikeout rate in 21.2 innings.
Sam Thoresen- A highly decorated righthander out of Minnesota, Thoresen was a 2017 graduate of Minnetonka High School. He was ranked the #6 overall prospect in Minnesota and #139 nationally by Prep Baseball Report. Thoresen was named a 2017 Rawlings-Perfect Game All-American Honorable Mention and All-Central Region Honorable Mention, while earning All-Lake Conference honors during his junior and senior seasons with the Skipper program. He earned All-Section and All-State selections as a senior and was named to the Star Tribune All-Metro Team. Thoresen also received the Minnetonka “Cy Young” award in 2016 and 2017 and helped lead Minnetonka to a Lake Conference Championship with a 1.64 ERA in 47 innings during his senior season. He began his collegiate career in 2018 with the University of Minnesota, where as of this release he is 1-2 with a 6.09 ERA in 13 appearances and 5 starts, with a .211 opponent batting average over 34.0 innings.
Mike Townsend- A standout prep star from California, Townsend was a four-year varsity baseball letter winner at Los Alamitos High School. He was ranked as one of Perfect Game’s Top 500 High School Prospects in 2017. He was a 2017 Perfect Game Preseason All-America High Honorable Mention and was a member of the 2017 Perfect Game Preseason All-Region second team. At the conclusion of his senior year he was named to the 2017 All-Press-Telegram second team and 2017 All-Sunset League first team selection. He was an All-Press-Telegram honorable mention as a sophomore. Townsend plays for the UCLA Bruins under legendary pitching guru John Savage. In 2018 the freshman has a 3.68 ERA and has held opponents to hit just .179 in 7.1 innings of relief at press time.
Blake Walden- The son of Bucks Pitching Coach Travis Walden, Blake Walden was named to the Collins Street Bakery TSWA Class 4A All-State Second Team his senior year at Monterey High School. He was also the UIL District 4-4A MVP senior year and was named to the UIL All-District 4-4A First Team as a junior. He picked up two All-District 2-5A Second Team nods as a sophomore at both utility and pitcher. Walden was named to the THSCA All-State Academic Honorable Mention team in football as a senior. He began his collegiate career in 2015 with New Mexico Junior College, where he quickly asserted himself as a dependable innings eater out of the bullpen. In 18 appearances (3 starts) Walden went 4-2 with a 6.84 ERA across 52.2 innings, striking out 48 and walking just 16. As a sophomore Walden was named the WJAC Pitcher of the Year after going an incredible 11-1 with a 4.76 ERA and 70 punchouts across 15 starts and 79.1 frames. He then played his junior season at Texas State University in 2017, appearing in 21 games as an integral bullpen piece. In 30.2 frames for the Bobcats, he went 5-1 with a 4.11 ERA, 1 save, and a .264 batting average against. Walden then transferred to the University of New Mexico, where he redshirted in 2018.
Matt Whalen- A 6’6 righthander from Highlands Ranch, Colorado, Whalen rejoins the Bucks after appearing in 9 games in 2017. He attended Valor Christian High School, lettering three years in baseball. During his sophomore season, he threw 41.0 innings with a 3.00 ERA and 48 strikeouts. He was selected to the Colorado Rockies High School Futures underclassmen team. Whalen earned preseason All-America honorable mention honors during his sophomore season, and then proceeded to help his team to a state semifinals appearance. He began his collegiate career with Wichita State University in 2015, where he redshirted in his initial season. He then transferred to Cisco College for his 2016 season, going 2-1 in 10 appearances and 23.0 innings with a 6.26 ERA. Whalen transferred back to the Shockers in 2017, striking out 4 and allowing 1 earned run in 2.0 innings. Last summer he threw 10.0 frames for the Bucks, racking up 10 strikeouts. In 2018 Whalen transferred to Colorado-Mesa University, where he struck out 2 in 3.2 frames.
Myles Emmerson- Now one of the top catchers at Cal Poly, Myles Emmerson was a 2016 graduate of El Capitan High School in San Diego County. As a junior he hit .422 with 14 doubles, 3 home runs, and knocked in 23 runs to help his team reach the semifinals of the CIF-San Diego Section Division II playoffs. He was named first-team All-East County, the Player of the Year in the Grossmont Valley League and was an All-CIF-San Diego Section second-team pick. Due to an injury, played in just 10 games as a senior. He also played basketball at El Capitan, averaging nine points and two assists as a sophomore. In his freshman year as a backup catcher at California Polytechnic State University, Emmerson played in 20 games and clubbed 2 doubles while driving in 5. On the defensive end, he posted a 25.0% caught stealing rate behind the dish. Last summer he played for the San Luis Obispo Blues, hitting .289 with 6 doubles and a home run. This year for Cal Poly he had a .314 batting average with 1 game remaining. According to Myles, he is a better fisherman than Bucks and Cal Poly teammate Tate Samuelson.
Alex Gonzales- A top JUCO catcher at Scottsdale Community College, Gonzales put together an excellent season as a freshman in 2017 for the Fighting Artichokes. He put up a stellar .416 on-base percentage on the strength of a 13.8% walk rate while belting 6 doubles and 2 home runs. Defensively he gunned down baserunners at a 29.6% caught stealing rate. In 2018 he helped lead Scottsdale to an NJCAA Division II World Series berth, and as of May 25th he was slashing an impressive .286/.386/.423 with 12 doubles, 1 triple and 3 home runs. He is committed to play next season at Cal State-Bakersfield, as Roadrunners header Jeremy Beard praised his ability to handle and lead a pitching staff.
Joe Aeilts- Much like teammate Colin Kreiter, Joe Aeilts has NFL bloodlines. His father played pro football for the Cleveland Browns, New Orleans Saints, Philadelphia Eagles and Green Bay Packers. Joe Kreiter is from Champaign Central High School in Illinois. He was a three-year starter for the baseball team, twice being named the Conference Offensive Player of the Year. He was a three-time unanimous First-Team All-Conference selection, twice earned Champaign News-Gazette All-Area honors, and was named News-Gazette Player of the Year as a sophomore. Aeilts set school records for single-season hits and triples and set the school’s career triples mark. Champaign Central won two conference titles and two regional championships during his prep career, and he was a three-time Conference Scholar-Athlete and IHSA Scholar-Athlete. Aeilts plays for Illinois State University, where as a freshman in 2017 he started 43 games, hitting .226 with 10 doubles, 4 steals, and 13 RBI. In 2018 he hit .268 with 9 doubles, 1 triple, 4 home runs, and 33 RBI.
Andy Bennett- The pride of Fishers, Indiana, Bennett earned four varsity letters in baseball at Fishers High School. He helped his team win a conference and section championship in 2017, posting a career 78-49 record. He played club ball for the Indiana Bulls. Bennett played his freshman season at Butler University in 2018, where he hit .228 with a 17-11 walk-to-strikeout ratio as of May 25th.
Dondrae Bremner- The 31st round draft pick of the Cincinnati Reds in 2017, Bremner was a member of the U-18 Canadian Baseball Junior National Team from 2015-2017. The team placed fourth in the world at the 2017 U-18 Baseball World Cup. He won silver with the Toronto Baseball Association at the Ontario Summer Games. Bremner played in the Bantam Nationals for the Vaughn Vikings in 2015, and was named All-Tournament Shortstop, MVP for the team and won the batting title. He has also played for the Toronto Mets. At the University of Cincinnati in 2018, he clubbed 4 doubles and scored 17 runs in 104 plate appearances.
Jeff Deimling- As a high school sophomore Deimling was named the NMPreps.com North Class 5A Sophomore of the Year while hitting .402. He hit .445 as a junior and was named the NMPreps.com North Class 5A Junior of the Year. As a senior, he helped lead La Cueva High School to the 2014 Class 5A state title while hitting .422 and was named Second Team All-State and selected to the North/South All-Star Game. He was a three-time All-Metro player and a two-time all-district player. Deimling began his collegiate career at New Mexico Junior College, putting up a stellar true freshman season in 2015 with a triple slash of .405/.443/.614. He clubbed 6 doubles, 4 triples, and 6 home runs while driving in 44 and swiping 8 bags. As a sophomore for the Thunderbirds, Deimling had a season for the ages. He slashed an incredible .405/.473/.702 with an OPS just shy of 1.200; he clobbered 17 doubles, 4 triples, and 12 homers, knocked in a ridiculous 72 RBI, and stole 14 bases. He then transferred to the University of New Mexico, where he went recorded a hit in his first (and only) plate appearance of 2017 before taking a redshirt. In 2018 Deimling posted a .321/.396/.431 slash line for a .827 OPS. The Lobos’ first baseman piled up 7 doubles, 1 triple, 2 home runs, and drove in 27.
Patrick Ferguson- A three-year letterman at Pittsburgh Central Catholic High School, Ferguson’s team won a conference championship in 2015. The lefty hitter was named First Team All-Section as a sophomore, and played for the Allegheny Pirates, Pittsburgh Spikes and Team All-American during his prep career. He also played in the South Atlantic Border Battle Showcase. Ferguson plays for Kent State University, providing the Golden Flashes with light-tower power. As a freshman in 2017, he only racked up 22 at bats, but clubbed 3 bombs and drove in 6, finishing with a .983 OPS. This past season as a sophomore, he has slugged .468 with 5 doubles and 3 home runs in just 62 at bats as of this release.
Ryan Gonzalez- A slick fielding infielder from the University of The Incarnate Word, Gonzalez earned four letters in baseball at Mary Carroll High School. He earned first team all-district and academic all-district honors as a junior and senior at shortstop. He took home Third Team All-State and Academic All-State honors as a senior, leading the team in batting average and steals. As a freshman at Incarnate Word in 2016, Gonzalez grabbed the leadoff spot in the lineup and the starting second base job, scoring 19 runs, hitting 2 doubles and swiping 5 bags while hitting .204 in 44 games. Last year, the sophomore’s numbers improved across the board, slashing .271/.363/.354 with 3 doubles, a triple and a home run. In 2018 as a junior, Gonzalez once again proved a reliable threat in the lineup, slashing .297/.385/.407 with a career-high 9 doubles, 2 triples, and 2 home runs. He also drove in 32 and stole 7 bags.
Jacob Means- A Gardner, Kansas native, Means was a four-year letter winner at Gardner Edgerton High School. He began his collegiate career in 2015 at Crowley Community College, going 1-3 in 3 games before taking a medical redshirt. Finally healthy in 2016, he busted out by slashing .310/.417/.435 with 15 doubles, 2 home runs, 35 RBI, and a fantastic 14.3% walk rate. Means found a way to get even better as a redshirt sophomore, hitting .373/.460/.520 for a whopping .980 OPS. He clubbed 16 doubles, 1 triple, and 5 home runs along with 55 RBI, 59 runs scored, and 4 steals. After his JUCO career came to an end, he transferred to Indiana State University. In 2018 for the Sycamores he led the team to 31 wins and picked up First Team All-MVC and All-Defensive team honors. At the plate he slashed .265/.358/.480 for an OPS mark of .838 to go with 8 doubles, 1 triple, 11 home runs, 33 RBI, and 39 runs scored.
Skyler Messinger- The 22nd round draft pick of the Chicago Cubs in 2017, Messinger was a four-year letter winner for head coach Craig McBride at Niwot High School. He hit .484 with eight doubles, four triples, four home runs and 21 RBIs in 19 games his senior year and was a two-time all-conference honoree his freshman and junior years while being named the Northern Conference Player of the Year after his senior campaign. He was an academic all-state his junior and senior years. Messinger began his collegiate career in 2018 at Kansas University, hitting .229 across 54 games with 7 doubles, 1 triple, and 1 home run.
Kaden Polcovich- The Bucks bring in an on-base machine from Northwest Florida State Junior College in Kaden Polcovich. In 2018 the true freshman slashed .280/.453/.398 for an .851 OPS. He belted 5 doubles and 3 home runs en route to 18 RBI. His walk rate stood at an eye-popping 22.6%, with 36 walks to just 15 strikeouts (9.4%). To top it all off, the infielder went 13-16 on the base paths.
Tate Samuelson- A collegiate teammate of Myles Emmerson, Tate Samuelson played his prep days at Serra High School. He hit over .300 in each of his first three varsity seasons with a total of 50 RBI and maintained a 3.89 grade-point average. As a freshman, he hit .385 with 29 RBI, 12 doubles, 2 triples, 1 home run and 2 steals, then hit .387 as a sophomore with 13 doubles, 1 home run and 3 steals. Samuelson then hit .330 as a junior with 6 doubles, 3 triples, 1 home run, 10 RBI and 4 stolen bases en route to his third first-team All-Central League accolade and a spot on the 2016 San Diego Union-Tribune All-Academic Team. A .286 hitter as a senior, he clubbed 7 doubles, 1 triple, 2 home runs and 16 RBI with 9 steals in 10 tries. He helped the Conquistadors to 23-11 overall record, a second-place finish in Eastern League and a runner-up finish in CIF-San Diego Section Division III playoffs. He also led Serra to three tournament titles in 2017. He struck out just 44 times in 462 career plate appearances, was a three-time team MVP has earned multiple Perfect Game championships and honors. Samuelson also played football, water polo and basketball at Serra. He played summer ball for San Luis Obispo Blues, hitting .338 with 2 doubles, 7 RBI and 2 steals in 25 games. He began his collegiate career at Cal Poly University, hitting .285 with 10 doubles, 2 triples, and 5 bombs to go with a team-high 38 RBI as of this release.
Deion Thompson- One of last season’s Bucks mainstays is back in 2018. Thompson plays for Western Illinois University, where he cracked the starting lineup as a freshman in 2016 even while missing half the year with an injury. In 25 games that season, he had a team-high 5 home runs to go with 3 doubles and 15 runs scored. As a sophomore in 2017, Thompson played and started in all 50 games for the Leathernecks, hitting 6 doubles, 2 triples, and 2 home runs, while swiping 10 bags. Last season for Waterloo he held down an everyday lineup spot, slashing .244/.352/.373 with 7 doubles, 5 triples, and 3 home runs. Thompson also drove in 31 and went 16-18 on steals. He led the Bucks in both steals and triples. In 2018 for WIU, he slashed .271/.348/.424 with 9 doubles, 6 homers, 30 RBI, and 17 steals.
Kevin Welsh- Highly skilled in the fundamentals of baseball, Welsh was a four-year varsity starter at Northern Burlington County Regional High School. He was an all-conference selection as a junior and a sophomore, and was named NJ.com Group 3 All-State in 2016, in addition to all-area and all-county accolades. He hit .405 with 24 RBIs, 12 doubles, three triples and five home runs as a senior. He also earned team defensive player of the year award in 2015. His team won the New Jersey Group III Division in his last three years and sectional champions as a freshman and a junior. Welsh played travel baseball with the Tri State Arsenal for eight years. His Arsenal 16U team was Super 25 Northeast Regional Champs, Super 25 National Champs and WWBA National Champs, all by Perfect Game. Welsh plays his college ball at Rutgers University, where he put up a stellar 2017 freshman campaign. He posted a .359 on-base percentage, a .346 batting average with runners in scoring position, a 13.5% walk rate and an excellent 9.6% strikeout rate, and 10 sacrifice bunts while starting 48 games at shortstop and 5 at second base. In 2018 Welsh picked up switch hitting for the Scarlet Knights, finishing with a .243 average, 4 doubles, 2 triples, and 21 RBI.
Alex Alders- Out of Sagamore Hills, Ohio, Alders was a team captain and MVP in 2014 and 2015 at Nordonia High School. He was named First Team All-State as well as All-League and All-District after hitting .522 with 35 hits, 8 doubles, 1 triple, 5 homeruns, 22 RBI, 32 runs and slugging .896. Alders also starred in football where he was team MVP and All-State, along with being named the team MVP in basketball. Alders plays at Wright State University. After redshirting in 2016, Alders started in 36 games in 17’ for the Raiders. He had 3 doubles, 3 triples, and 2 home runs with 14 RBI and swiped 4 bases while hitting .176. In 2018, Alders saw an uptick in most of his numbers. As of this release, Alders is hitting .309 with 6 doubles, 2 triples, 1 home run, 20 RBI, and 8 steals.
Drue Galassi- The Bucks bring in another Western Illinois Leatherneck with the addition of Drue Galassi. A teammate of Deion Thompson, Galassi began his collegiate career in 2016. He played in 12 games that season before taking a medical redshirt, scoring 6 runs and hitting 2 triples before his injury. Healthy in 2017, Galassi had a stellar year for the Leathernecks. He slashed .281/.374/.519 with 6 doubles, 1 triple, 8 home runs, 31 RBI, a 12.1% walk rate, and 9 steals, all culminating in being named a Collegiate Baseball All-American. In a game against SIUE, Galassi belted two grand slams to go with 5 hits and 10 RBI. This past season, the redshirt sophomore slashed .255/.348/.373 with 7 doubles, 3 triples, 2 long balls, 23 RBI, and 10 stolen bases.
Brendan Hueth- A freshman out of Spring Lake, New Jersey, Brendan Hueth was named the 2017 Athlete of the Year at St. Rose High School. He earned a pair of All-Shore Conference accolades in his junior and senior seasons. He also was a standout soccer player, as he earned four letters and was a three-time All-Division honoree on the pitch, while earning three letters and garnered All-Division honors on the basketball court in 2016. Brendan followed his older brother Chris to Saint Joseph’s University, where in 2018 he hit .211 with 2 doubles, 2 triples, 1 home run, and 7 steals in 40 games played.
Colin Kreiter- A familiar face for Bucks fans returns for a third season in 2018. Colin Kreiter comes from deep athletic bloodlines, as his brother Justin was the NCAA DIII Wrestling national runner-up at Luther College and his first-cousin Casey is the Long Snapper for the Denver Broncos. An impressive all-around prep athlete at North Scott High School, Kreiter was named the Quad-City Times 2015 Male Athlete of the Year. As a senior he was All-Metro and Iowa Newspaper Association First Team All-State honoree after batting .466 with 13 doubles, 9 home runs, 40 RBIs and a class-best .839 slugging percentage. Over his prep career he was a three-time all-state and three-time first-team all-league honoree, graduated as North Scott’s all-time leader in hits, home runs, and doubles, while finishing second in RBI and hitting .409 in his career. He was also the school’s career tackles leader in football, earning all-state honors three times, and was the all-time wins leader in wrestling. Kreiter began his collegiate career at Kirkwood Community College in 2016, where he hit .299 with 5 doubles, 5 homers, 25 RBI, and an OPS of .843. That summer for Waterloo he played in 9 games, stealing 4 bases and hitting .367. He broke out in a big way in 2017 for Kirkwood, bumping his OPS up to .924 and going 24-27 on steals. He hit .322 with 11 doubles, 2 triples, and 6 long balls to go with 46 RBI. Last summer for Waterloo, Kreiter played in 5 games, going 10-21 with his first Bucks Homer. This season he transferred to UW-Milwaukee, serving as a crucial cog in the Panthers’ lineup. The lefty bat slashed .320/.404/.464 for an .868 OPS, with 12 doubles, 2 triples, 4 long balls, 31 RBI, and racked up 8 steals.
Trey Leonard- Perfect Game’s #3 player in the state of Iowa in 2017, Leonard was a four-year letter winner at Cedar Rapids Washington High School. He was a 2017 Rawlings-Perfect Game Honorable Mention All-American and was named to the All-District first team and All-Metro first team. Leonard finished his senior season with a .410 batting average, 2 home runs, 17 stolen bases, 22 RBIs and 30 runs scored. He set school record for stolen bases in a season with 36 as a sophomore in 2015 while also hitting .385, and he hit .414 with 34 stolen bases as a prep freshman. Leonard also was a three-year letter winner in track and field, earning Elite All-State honors twice. He plays at the University of Louisville, where he redshirted in 2018.
The Bucks open the 2018 season at home on May 29 versus the La Crosse Loggers at Cost Cutters Field at Riverfront Stadium where the team welcomed a new state of the art video board in 2016 thanks to a matching grant from the Black Hawk County Gaming Association. Team ownership has invested more than $170,000 in improvements since the end of the 2014 season including painted bleachers, public Wi-Fi, sound system, group outing areas, kids zone inflatables, and concessions equipment. Fans are encouraged to stay in touch with the Bucks by utilizing their website at www.waterloobucks.com or utilizing the Northwoods League Mobile App. Tickets are now on sale by calling the Bucks’ Ticket Line at 319-232-5633.
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The Waterloo Bucks are a member of the finest developmental league for elite college baseball players, the Northwoods League. Entering its 25th anniversary season, the Northwoods League is the largest organized baseball league in the world with 20 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 190 former Northwoods League players have advanced to Major League Baseball, including three-time Cy Young Award winner Max Scherzer (WAS), two-time World Series Champions Ben Zobrist (CHC) and Brandon Crawford (SFG) and MLB All-Stars Chris Sale (BOS), Jordan Zimmermann (DET) and Curtis Granderson (TOR). All league games are viewable live via the Northwoods League portal. For more information, visit www.waterloobucks.com or download the new Northwoods League Mobile App on the Apple App Store or on Google Play and set the Bucks as your favorite team.