News and Announcements
Keanu Van Kuren is a 5’9 170 pound OF from NCAA Division 1 Texas Southern University. He will reunite with his ex-teammate CJ Neumann, a 5’10 185 pound IF from NCAA Division 2 Wayne State College. They were teammates the past 2 years at McCook Community College in Nebraska. They hit 1-2 in the batting order and started CF and SS respectfully. CJ missed the season last year and redshirted due to a wrist injury.
Last year Keanu had a big year hitting .353 with 10 Home Runs and 22 stolen bases. He scored 55 runs and led the team in numerous offensive categories. The year before CJ hit .280, but led the team in OBP with .410 and was second on the team in runs with 48. He hit 4 Home Runs. He had a .910 Fielding Percentage and turned 21 double plays. Keanu hit .327 with 5 Home Runs and 14 stolen bases. and led the team with 71 hits. Keanu had a .971 fielding percentage.
“Keanu and CJ are both very excited about playing together again, and I am excited to have them. They are both big time all-around players. They will be field generals and leaders for us in the IF and OF. CJ is a Division 1 talent that had an unfortunate injury. I think he will show everyone that this spring and summer. He’s got a smooth lefty swing and is great at hitting gap to gap. He has a strong arm and I think he will be nice for us at one of the MIF positions. Keanu is underrated, and that’s saying something being at a Division 1 program already. I really do believe this guy will be playing professional baseball someday. He’s a 5 tool player. He may not look like one in street clothes being 5’8 170 pounds, but he is on the field. I expect both of these guys to hit in the top of the order for us and be two of the best players in the entire league if they play to their capabilities. I would like to thank Patrick Morey for his help during the recruiting process of these two young men.” – Coach Keeran
Joey is an IF from Mission Viejo, California. Joey Ponder started out his career at NCAA Division 2 powerhouse Chico State. He attended Bristol University where he hit over .300 and was a mainstay in the starting line-up. Joey then decided to take his talents to Forest City, Iowa and join the Warriors. Joey was a starting infielder and hit .260. However he was top 5 on the team in OBP with .406, and he led the team in sacrifice hits. He was 3rd on the team in walks and 2nd in HBP with 27 and 11 respectfully. Joey also stole 7 bases.
“Joey is a guy I can depend on. I’ve played with him and know what he’s going to bring the table. He’s got great mechanics and fundamentals. He will be a great defensive 2B for us, but he can play anywhere. He can play every IF position and can even pitch if I need him to. I’m sure Joey could play OF if I needed as well. He’s a great team and dugout guy too. He brings positive energy and intensity like I don’t see in a lot of other people out there. He’s a great situational hitter, bunting, hit and running, you name it. Even though he is only 5’8 170 pounds, don’t sleep on his power either. I saw him play this fall and he hit a grand slam. I’m very excited to coach him in the summer. He will be a great leader for the younger guys, he’s a veteran who understands the game incredibly well.” – Coach Keeran
Today’s signing announcement is for Ben Madison of Central Baptist College located in Conway, Arkansas. Ben Madison is a 6’3 200 pound RHP from Benton, Arkansas. Last season Ben led the entire NAIA in strikeouts with 129 in 80 innings pitched. He also led the NAIA in strikeouts per game with over 14 per game. He was 6-4 with a 3.70 ERA. The year before at Crowder College he was 5-1 with 6 saves and had 75 K’s in 57 innings with a 3.57 ERA. He was an All-Conference selection last year for the Mustangs.
“First off I would like to thank Coach Lee at Central Baptist for working with me during the recruitment and signing of Ben. Ben is an extremely high level talented pitcher with unreal stuff on the mound. He has a great fastball with a set of wipe-out off-speed pitches including a devastating slider. I am extremely excited to meet and coach Ben. Whether we have Ben for a couple weeks due to the MLB draft, or we have him all summer… we will enjoy his talents while we have them. He’s an exceptional athlete who has an incredibly bright future.” – Coach Keeran
Welcome to the #LakeShow Ben!
Albert Lea, you will be “California Loving” this next player introduction. Hunter Cooper is 5’11 200 pound dual player from Hope International University is the next player to sign to play for the Lakers. Hunter is an IF and RHP from one of the best NAIA programs in the country. Last year Hope International made the NAIA World Series and was one of the final 8 teams in the tournament. Hope International University is located in Fullerton, California.“Hunter is going to be a big asset for us because of not only his talent, but his versatility. He will be able to play a number of IF positions for us and be able to throw off of the mound. He’s got good velocity on his fastball, but can mix-up very well with his change-up and breaking ball which is something that will make him successful in this league. He’s got a great left-handed swing and I think he’s going to develop quite a bit during the rest of the school year. Being at such a great program is really going to help him this year. I’m excited to see his work-ethic on display day in and day out.” – Coach Keeran
Newest member of the #LakeShow is Minnesota home grown product Thomas Krause! Thomas is a 6’1 185 pound corner outfielder from North Dakota State University of the NCAA Division 1 level. Thomas is in his freshman season for the Bison after a great career at Rochester Mayo High School. Krause was all-conference this past season for Mayo. He hit a whopping .404, with 30 RBIs, seven triples, five home runs and six stolen bases. He also posted a .758 slugging percentage and a .508 on-base percentage. He holds the summer baseball record for triples with seven in 2014 and 2016.
“Thomas has a great lefty swing which will be a big boost in our line-up. He can hit for average and power, while having good foot speed down the baseline. The scary thing is… he’s still developing. He’s a young guy so he has a lot of potential that hopefully we can untap this summer. He can spray the ball very well as a Freshman, which is a great sign that he has a very bright future the next four years.” – Coach Keeran