RICHMOND, Ky. – Every summer college baseball players venture out from their schools to play in summer collegiate baseball leagues to further develop their skills. This year 20 members of the Eastern Kentucky University baseball team will spend their summer playing in leagues spread out all across North America.
The Great Lakes League has the most Colonel representation with five players joining four different squads. Aaron Ochsenbein and Daniel McFarland are playing for the Southern Ohio Copperheads. Ochsenbein made 14 appearances on the mound in 2017, averaging 8.34 strikeouts per nine innings, while McFarland finished the season with a .363 batting average and career highs in home runs (5), hits (69), and RBIs (25). Nick Howie is set to join the St. Clair Green Giants. Howie was named to the OVC All-Rookie team after a freshman campaign where he hit .290 with eight home runs, 61 hits, 41 RBIs and 46 runs. Alex Holderbach will suit up for the Cincinnati Steam. Holderbach was named to the All-OVC second team as a utility player after making 47 starts at seven different positions in 2017. He hit .355 with career highs in home runs (11), hits (66), RBIs (49) and runs (39). Finally, newcomer Ryan Bramlett will play for the Lima Locos.
Three Colonels are joining the Coastal Plains League, and all of them are playing for the same team. Cornell Nixon, Jack Piekos and Bryan Quillens will play for the Florence Red Wolves. Nixon led Eastern in stolen bases in 2017 with 17. Piekos was named the OVC Co-Pitcher of the Week in March and led the team in strikeouts with 62. Quillens earned three wins in his 18 appearances.
The Cal Ripken League will also host three Colonels, and all of them will also spend the summer on the same team as Will Johnson, Miles Jones and Nick Laster will play for the DC Grays. Johnson sat out 2017 after transferring in from Georgia State. Jones made appearances in 31 games last season and had two home runs, five RBIs and eight runs. Laster made 17 relief appearances for EKU as a freshman in 2017, he earned one win while striking out 18 batters over 24 and two thirds innings pitched.
Casey Collins and Logan Stephens are heading to the Sun Belt League, where Collins will play for the Atlanta Crackers and Stephens will suit up for the Norcross Astros. Collins had a team high 10.36 strikeouts per nine innings and picked up two wins in his first year as a Colonel. He finished second on the team in strikeouts with 56. Stephens batted .265 and scored two runs this season.
Two Colonels ship up to the northeast to play in the New England Collegiate Baseball League this summer as Ryland Kerr will play for the Sanford Mainers, while Max Ford will suit up for the Ocean State Waves. Kerr nearly started every game for Eastern in 2017, appearing in 54 games. The sophomore transfer had 60 hits, 28 RBIs and 26 runs on the year. Ford struck out 23 batters over his 27 innings on the mound.
Jacob Abbott and Darren Williams will both play for the Riverhead Tomcats in the Hamptons League. Abbott played in 34 games as a freshman, and Williams redshirted for the 2017 season. Jaxson Blair is heading to the Dubois County Bombers in the Ohio Valley league. Blair made 11 appearances, most of which were pinch running situations, and scored three runs as a freshman.
Finally, a duo of newcomers will head out the two different leagues as Chris Botsoe will suit up for the Kenosha Kingfish in the Northwoods League, and Corey Conklin will join the Fort McMurray Giants of the Western Major League.