Illini Players Begin Summer League Action

David Kerian is one of 23 Illini sent to summer ball leagues across the country.
David Kerian is one of 23 Illini sent to summer ball leagues across the country.

June 13, 2013

Illini Summer Ball Central

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - The University of Illinois baseball team sent 23 players to summer leagues across the country, from Fayetteville, N.C., to Green Bay, Wis., highlighted by seven Illini playing in the Northwoods League (NWL) and six more in the Chicago Suburban League (CSL).

Kelly Norris-Jones and John Kravetz started strong for their respective teams in the Northwoods League. In his first at-bat for the Green Bay Bullfrogs, Norris-Jones drove in the game-winning run in the 10th inning, securing a 6-5 win over the Wisconsin Woodchucks. Kravetz tossed seven solid innings and gave up just one run in his debut for the Wisconsin Rapids Rafters, who downed the Battle Creek Bombers, 4-1.

A pair of rising sophomores are playing for the Madison Mallards of the Northwoods League in battery-mates Kevin Duchene and Jason Goldstein. Reid Roper returned to the Rochester Honkers for a third season, while Drasen Johnson and David Kerian are beginning their first seasons with the Waterloo Bucks, rounding out the seven Illini in the NWL. Kerian got off to a quick start with a .355 average while collecting multiple hits in his past four games.

Six Illini have begun action in the Chicago Suburban League. Josh Ferry, Tyler Jay, Andrew Mamlic and Rob McDonnell are members of the Lombard Orioles, while Steve Nelson (Crystal Lake Cardinals) and P.J. Brennan (Homestead Ranchers) are the other two Illini in the CSL.

Three rising sophomores, Nick Blackburn, Ryan Nagle and Adam Walton, joined the Fayetteville SwampDogs of the Coastal Plan League following their freshman year. Blackburn won his first start with six innings and two runs in a 4-2 win over the Wilson Tobs, while Nagle and Walton have each started in the infield.

Two Illini, Charlie Naso and Richie Gorski, are part of the Derby Twins in the Jayhawk League, while five other UI players are in five separate leagues: Luke Joyce (Sag Harbor Whalers of the Hamptons Collegiate League), J.D. Nielsen (Lake Erie Monarchs of the Great Lakes League), Anthony Milazzo (Dodgers of the St. Louis Metro Collegiate League), Chase Hainline (McLean County Stars of the Eastern Illinois League) and Zack Kolakowski (Hutchinson Monarchs of the Walter Johnson League).

Follow @IlliniBaseball on Twitter for updates on Illini players throughout the summer.