The 2012 Horizon League regular season and tournament champions are not resting on their laurels this summer as several Crusader baseball players are sharpening their skills for the upcoming 2013 season by playing in collegiate summer leagues throughout the country. The Crusaders are be represented on 14 different teams in nine leagues from the east coast to the west coast.
Junior Chris Manning (Lake Forest, Calif./El Toro H.S.) is playing for the Yarmouth-Dennis Red Sox in the Cape Cod Baseball League. Manning is hitting .333 with two stolen bases in three games played.
Seniors Tanner Vavra (Menomonie, Wis./ Menomonie H.S.) and Kyle Wormington (Norman, Okla./North H.S.), as well as incoming junior college transfer Cole Webb (Tulsa, Okla./ Union H.S.) are all playing in the Northwoods League. Vavra has returned to the Alexandria Beetles for his second season and is currently third on his team with a .344 batting average. Wormington and Webb are both pitching for the Wisconsin Rapids Rafters. Webb has started four games thus far for the Rafters, pitching 24 innings with a 1.50 ERA, good for sixth best in the league.
Spencer Mahoney (LaGrange Park, Ill./Lyons Township H.S.) and Will Robinson (Placentia, Calif./Valencia H.S.) are teamed together with the Terre Haute Rex in the Prospect League, while Zack Walsh (Batesville, Ind./Batesville H.S.) is pitching this summer with the Slippery Rock Sliders in the same wooden bat league.
A trio of Crusaders, Karch Kowalczyk (Peru, Ill./La Salle-Peru H.S.), Grant Yoder (Fort Wayne, Ind./Snider H.S.), and incoming junior college transfer Andrew Bynum (Huntington Beach, Calif./Ocean View H.S.) are all playing in the Kansas Jayhawk League with the Dodge City A’s. Both Kowalczyk and Bynum currently possess ERAs of 0.00 and 1.42 respectively. Yoder owns a .400 batting average with 11 RBIs and six extra base hits.
Michael Morman (Rockford, Ill./Boylan Catholic H.S.), Mark Johnson (Evanston, Ill./Evanston Township H.S.), and Connor Buxton (Crystal Lake, Ill./Central H.S.) are competing with the Crystal Lake Cardinals of the Chicago Suburban Baseball League and will square off against red-shirt junior Andy Burns (Edwardsville, Ill./Edwardsville H.S.) with the Lexington Snipes and Andrew Bain (Indianapolis, Ind./Park Tudor H.S.), who is playing for the Lombard Orioles. Morman is off to an exceptional start after recovering from a knee injury this past season. He is hitting .484 with five doubles, two home runs, 12 runs batted in, and eight walks in only 31 at bats. Burns is playing with the Snipes for his second season and is currently hitting .326 in 14 games played.
Two Crusaders are playing locally in the Midwest Collegiate League. John Loeffler (Burnsville, Minn./Burnsville Sr. H.S.) is competing with the Northwest Indiana Oilmen while Ben Mahar (Mundelein, Ill./Mundelein H.S.) is pitching for the Illinois Lincolns. Loeffler has had a good start hitting .333, helping guide the Oilmen to a league-leading 12 wins.
Sean and Ryan Kennedy (Gurnee, Ill./Warren Township H.S.) are both pitching for the Kenosha Kings of the Wisconsin State Baseball League while Elliott Martin (Irvine, Calif./University H.S.) and incoming junior college transfer Bryce Hara (Irvine, Calif./Northwood H.S.) are playing for the OC Waves in the Orange County Collegiate League located in California. Hara is swinging a hot bat as he is hitting .462 with a .533 on-base percentage.
Kyle Schneider (Mishawaka, Ind./Penn H.S.) is competing for the Hammerheads in the Myrtle Beach Collegiate Summer Baseball League.
All of the Crusaders will look to continue their success on the diamond throughout the rest of the summer before heading into the 2013 season at Valpo.