Wisconsin Rapids, WI- Tuesday, October 29th, 2013. The Rafters have announced that they have partnered with the University of Arkansas to bring three Razorbacks to Wisconsin Rapids next summer. Catcher Blake Baxendale, right-handed pitcher Zach Jackson, and first baseman/outfielder Clark Eagan have all signed contracts for 2014.
C-Blake Baxendale, 6’3”, 220 lbs (R/R) Redshirt Freshman
Blake Baxendale will see his first action for the Razorbacks in 2014 after undergoing Tommy John surgery and taking a medical redshirt for the 2013 season. The University of Arkansas will be glad to have him back next spring to pick up where he left off his, outstanding, high school career.
Baxendale was ranked as the 233rd best prospect in the nation and fourth-best prospect in the state of Arkansas in the class of 2012 by Perfect Game USA scouting service. He was also named 2012 Baseball Player of the Year and was selected to the All-Arkansas team by the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette after a decorated prep career at Rogers Heritage High School. In addition, Baxendale was a three-time All-State selection and earned All-Conference honors all four years of his high school career. As a senior, Baxendale posted a .481 batting average with six home runs and 39 RBIs. As a junior, he set a school record with a .500 batting average while hitting seven home runs and 46 RBIs. His contributions helped his team to three conference championships and a state runner-up finish in Arkansas’ largest classification his senior year.
Baxendale is the younger brother of DJ Baxendale, who was a 10th Round selection in the 2012 MLB Draft and pitched for the Minnesota Twins Double-A affiliate last summer. He is a native of Rogers, Arkansas.
RHP-Zach Jackson, 6’3”, 195 lbs (R/R) Freshman
Zach Jackson will begin his first season at Arkansas next spring after ranking among the top 500 recruits in the nation and the ninth-best recruit in the state of Oklahoma in the class of 2013 by Perfect Game USA. He earned first-team all-metro honors from the Tulsa World as a junior and was also named Tulsa 7 Conference Player of the Year as a junior after finishing his season with an 11-0 record and a 0.68 ERA. He posted a 14-1 record his senior season and struck out more than 130 batters in just over 72 innings. Using a fastball that sits in the low 90’s, he holds a prep career win-loss record of 39-4 over four seasons, amassing more than 400 strikeouts during that time. Jackson is a native of Berryhill, Oklahoma.
1B/OF-Clark Eagan, 6’1”, 175 lbs (L/R) Freshman
Clark Eagan will begin his freshman season at Arkansas after ranking in the top 1000 recruits in the nation and one of the top in the state of Wisconsin out of Appleton North High School. The left-handed hitter was named second-team All-State and District 4 Player of the Year as a junior and was a First Team WBCA All-State and First Team All-Fox Valley Area selection as a senior. He also earned WBCA All-Star Game MVP Honors following his senior season.
As a senior, Eagan posted a .556 batting average with five triples, 13 doubles, two home runs and 29 RBIs. He also swiped 19 bases, carried a .959 slugging percentage, and did not commit an error on the season. As a junior he hit .586 with three home runs and 16 RBIs. As a sophomore, he batted .544 and drove in 20 runs. He is a native of Appleton, Wisconsin.
The Wisconsin Rapids Rafters are a member of the finest developmental league for elite college baseball players, the Northwoods League. Playing its 21st 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 115 Northwoods League players have advanced to Major League Baseball, including MLB All-Stars Max Scherzer (DET), Chris Sale (CWS), Jordan Zimmermann (WAS), Curtis Granderson (NYY), Allen Craig (STL) and Ben Zobrist (TB). All league games are viewable live and free of charge via the Northwoods League YouTube channel. For more information, visit www.raftersbaseball.com.