Former Huskie baseball player Bobby Stevens (2006-08) was recently promoted
in the Baltimore Orioles organization. The second baseman was moved from the Orioles' Advanced A team (Frederick Keys) to their AA team (Bowie Baysox). Baltimore's 16th round pick in 2008 was hitting .241 with six homers and 21 RBI in 64 games for the Keys this season before getting moved up. Congrats to Mr. Stevens as he continues to progress toward his goal of reaching the Majors!
The Southtown Star's
Pat Disabato recently chatted with 2011 MAC Baseball Freshman of the Year Jeff Zimmerman, breaking down "Zimm's" ascent from Victor J. Andrew High School (Tinley Park, Ill.) standout to the cream of the crop of Mid-American Conference rookies. Click here to read the article
NIU Hall of Famer Dave Mason will be inducted into his high school's Hall of Fame on December 9th. The Philo Athletic Hall of Fame Class of 2011 will feature Mason along with two others. At Philo High School in Duncan Falls, Ohio, Mason won 11 varsity letters, four football, four baseball and three basketball. He was named an all-conference performer for baseball four times, football three times and basketball once. He was a starter in every year in each sport.
In 1970, Mason took the reigns of the NIU baseball program, where he left an indelible mark. He put together a .531 winning percentage (94-83-1) in five seasons as head coach for the Huskies and took the 1972 team to NCAA Tournament, giving the program its first trip to the NCAA Tournament. In 2008, the 1972 team was inducted into the NIU Athletics Hall of Fame, and two members of the team (Tom Wittum and Jay Graziano) were later inducted in the Hall as individuals.
Congrats, Coach Mason!
A few months back, NIU baseball head coach Ed Mathey spoke on camera to Rawlings about the importance of coaches at the Division I level. Click here to view the video
that is featured on Rawlings' Facebook page. His part is near the end from about 1:43-2:06.
"It's not everyday that you can walk into the dugout and be congratulated by Ryan Klesko."
That's what NIU baseball's Trey Lang said Tuesday night after Ryan Klesko visited the clubhouse of the Hannibal Cavemen, a collegiate summer team in the Prospect League. Klesko, a former MLB standout, and Woody Williams, another former MLB standout, recently became part of the ownership group for the Hannibal, Mo., team. The two pros took the time to meet and greet the team Tuesday night. To read about the details and advice that Lang, his Huskie teammates Jake Hermsen and Jeff Zimmerman, and the rest of the Cavemen received, click here
Former NIU Huskie baseball players Andy Deain (2006-10), Chuck Lukanen (2009-10) and Brian Smith (2005-10) all made the Opening Day roster for the Joliet Slammers of the Frontier League. The Slammers begin their season tomorrow night at 7:05 p.m. CT at home against the Washington Wild Things. To follow their progress, check out the team's website by clicking here
Fifth-year NIU pitching coach Ray Napientek and his wife Randi welcomed the newest member of the Huskie family this morning at 9:24 a.m. Weighing in at eight pounds and 20.5 inches long, Katherine Anne Napientek and the family are doing well and resting. The Napientek's second addition to the family makes three-year-old Kara a very excited big sister. Congrats to the Napienteks!
Missed some of the last weekend's action as NIU baseball grabbed first place in the Mid-American Conference West Division with a 2-1 series win over Toledo? Don't worry, Jude Wilbers, from WREX Channel 13 in Rockford, was there to get highlights of Game One. For video of the exciting 4-3 walk-off Huskie win, click here
Assistant coach Ray Napientek has been handling Ed Mathey's pitching staff for five years. During his experience, he has developed a knack for how to handle each pitcher and pitching staff differently. Yesterday, the Northern Star's Andrew Singer chatted with the Huskie pitching coach to find out what his secrets to success are. Click here to read
If you have been out to Ralph McKinzie Field this season, you may have noticed some changes. If you haven't been out to "The Ralph" yet, there have been some changes, and the field is looking as sharp as ever. Since being built in 1965, the field has gone through several modifications. The latest upgrade improved the warning track, infield, bullpen, mound and home plate ring, among other smaller changes. For more info and pictures of the improvements, check out this page
done by the Midwest Athletic Fields, the company that worked on the field during the fall and winter months.
Prior to the 2011 baseball season, the NCAA mandated new regulations for the metal bats used during games, focusing on slowing down the ball's exit speed off the barrel. With the bats expected to perform more like wood than metal, the NCAA baseball community figured to see a change from a high-powered offensive game to an execution-and-defense-oriented game. A little over halfway through the season, the Northern Star's Andrew Singer caught up with some of the Huskies to get an update on how the new bats have changed the game. Click here
to read Singer's article.
Jeremy Gonzales made history yesterday, becoming just the second NIU pitcher ever to be named National Pitcher of the Week. Today, "Gonzo" is featured on the front page of the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association website, as seen above. For a first-hand glimpse of the site, click here
To earn the honor, Gonzales hurled a three-hit complete game shutout on Sunday against Miami (Ohio). For more details on the senior's impressive accomplishment, click here.
Two former Huskie baseball players, Andy Deain and Brian Smith, inked deals with the Joliet Slammers of the Frontier League yesterday. Deain was previously with the Baltimore Orioles organization for the 2010 season, while Smith will get his first experience in pro ball. For more information on the signings, check out this article
on the TribLocal Joliet website.
Click on the image above to view the 2011 Northern Illinois Baseball Interactive Guide. The "iGuide" presents the Huskie baseball program in a dynamic and engaging format that
includes program information, highlights, video, history and more. Get your fix of the Huskies before they open the season Friday at Southern Utah.
Pitchers and catchers reported for Major League Baseball's 2011 season on Sunday and Monday. But entire college baseball teams, the Huskies included, reported a long time ago to prepare for the 2011 campaign. NIU throws the first pitch of the year Friday against Southern Utah in Cedar City, Utah. Stay tuned to NIUHuskies.com this week for the release of the 2011 iGuide, season outlook and preview of the Southern Utah three-game weekend series. The 2011 baseball season is underway this week!
The clock is ticking as only one day remains to purchase tickets to NIU baseball's annual Leadoff Banquet (January 20 is the deadline), which will be held on Januray 30 at the White Eagle Golf Club in Naperville, Ill. The festive night includes dinner, keynote speaker Rick Cerrone of the New York Yankees, the opportunity to meet and greet the roster, a silent auction of NIU and MLB memorabilia, and more. For more information, click here
. Don't miss out on this great night!