News and Announcements
JB is a 6’3 225 pound RHP out of San Antonio, Texas. JB has been in the starting rotation for the Saints in both of his seasons at OLLU. JB had a big freshman season going 6-4 with a 2.35 ERA in 87 innings. He struck out 94 batters which was in the top 30 in the entire country. Last season he dealt with an injury but managed to strike out 58 hitters in 48 innings. JB was a top 100 player out of the state of Texas coming out of high school.
“JB was referred to me by one of my old teammates who I played with in Ozark. He was one of the first players I spoke with when I began this process. He’s a big righty with an impressive fastball and a big curveball to go with it. He’s got clean mechanics and is going to be in our rotation this summer. I think he’s got the tools and talents to pitch in professional baseball. He’s going to be a nightmare for hitters in our league I think. He’s about as good as they come in the NAIA ranks. Ben Madison and JB are both Right Handed Starters I wanted from the NAIA level, and we got both of them which is very exciting for us to have pocket aces like we do already.” – Coach Keeran
Lakers add Left Handed Pitcher from Hope International University Dylan Hoffman! Hoffman is about to begin his junior season for the Royals. Dylan is the son of 3B coach of the San Diego Padres Glenn Hoffman, who was the 1998 manager of the Los Angeles Dodgers. His uncle is the famous San Diego Padres longtime closer Trevor Hoffman who had over 600 saves which is 2nd all-time in MLB history. Dylan pitched in 10 games last season with an ERA of 5 but had a K/9 ratio over 1. Dylan started his career at Bristol University where he had a lot of success on the mound his freshman season. Dylan is expected to be reliable out of the pen again this season for HIU.
“Dylan is somebody I am really excited about. He’s a baseball guy 100%, it’s in his blood. The recruiting process with him was much different and I think personally easier and more enjoyable than some of the other ones. We just talked baseball the whole time, and our mindsets were very similar about the game and philosophies of baseball. It was a great fit for both sides. He will be a guy who can help be versatile for us starting or relieving. He has it in his DNA to pitch in the 9th inning, but I won’t be afraid to mix-up his role throughout the year. He’s got a lot of different pitches and looks. I hope he gets healthy and stays healthy so he can contribute to HIU and then come to Albert Lea and make a huge impact for us.” – Coach Keeran
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!