2017 Year in Review
With 2017 quickly coming to a close, what a year it was for the GRB Academy and the GRB Rays program and alumni. We certainly aren’t ones to look in our past – continuing to look forward continues helping players strive to reach their baseball and softball goals. However, 2017 was pretty great, and with 2018 staring us in the face, we wanted to take a quick moment to remember the great things that happened.
The New GRB Academy
We kicked off the new year with some new digs – opening the best baseball and softball training facility in the Midwest on January 13th in Windsor, WI. At 52,000 feet of full baseball and softball, we have seen tremendous strides in players, and have had a ton of fun with the new infield. In 2018 it will mark our 7th full year in Madison. The first four years were spent building GRB to what it is today. Year 5 was a ton of planning and building to get ready for the January open. Year 6 (2017) was a crazy year with the opening of the new place. We are excited for Year 7, and a full year without planning, building, or moving.
Ready For Launch
The 2017 summer was the kickoff summer for two new programs – the GRB Rays-Fox Valley, and the GRB Rays Softball program out of the Windsor location.
The Fox Valley program is being led by Kyle Knudson, who owns the Wisconsin Mash facility in Greenville. Fox Valley opened up with 6 teams, and will have the same in 2018.
Chelsey Rodenkirch heads up the program for the Softball. Softball capped their first summer with their first round of college commitments, a 2nd place showing in the North American All Sanctioned World Series in Columbus, OH at 18U. The Lady Rays placed ahead of 98 others, taking 2nd of 100 teams. The program opened with 4 teams, and in 2018 will feature 8 teams after a large number at their tryouts in early August.
In 2018, the GRB Rays-Lake Country will mark their territory in their first summer. Teams at 11U, 12U, and 14U will open up, after training all winter at The Zone. The 2018 August tryouts will have the program expanding as GRB will be growing their program in Southeastern WI.
It was a busy year for GRB Alumni, who are ascending into the top ranks of college baseball.
The June Amateur draft had three Rays get their name called. In addition, several Rays are working to get into the Minor League system by playing Independent League Baseball.
Jeren Kendall (2014 – Vanderbilt) heard his name called 23rd overall in the 1st Round by the Los Angeles Dodgers. Kendall, a CF, is expected to move quickly because of his developed skill set, and blazing speed. Kendall was ranked the 6th overall player available heading into the draft. He signed his Minor League contract, and began his season in Ogden (Pioneer League) before being promoted to the Great Lakes Loons in Midland, MI of the Midwest League. Kendall’s minor league contract came with a signing bonus of $2.897 Million Dollars.
Nate Scantlin (2017 – Rose Hill HS, Kansas) was drafted in the 15th round by the Cincinnati Reds at pick number 437 overall. Scantlin decided to skip his college commitment to Iowa Western CC and signed his minor league contract that came with a signing bonus of $125,000. Scantlin played the summer in the Arizona Rookie league.
Scott Schreiber (2014 – Nebraska) was initially projected to go in the first few rounds of the draft. After sliding down the board, teams let Schreiber go until the 26th round due to signability. Tampa Bay drafted him with the 769th overall pick, but was unable to get a deal done. Schreiber will return to the Huskers for his senior year. This was a popular topic of conversation among many Big Ten coaches this summer, knowing they will have to pitch to the slugger from Kimberly, WI for another year.
Danny Jansen (2013 – Toronto Blue Jays) signed with Toronto after the 2013 draft out of Appleton West HS. Jansen put together his best summer of record, staying healthy and moving up from High A, to Double A, to Triple A. Jansen smashed a ridiculous .323 with 10 bombs between the three levels. He was rewarded with being added to the Blue Jays 40 man roster this fall – a move that will send Jansen to Big League Spring Training again this February. Jansen will look to make the big league club out of camp, and at worst get a call up in 2018. Watch for him to be sending balls into orbit at the Rogers Centre shortly.
Jordan Jess (2011-Minnesota) and Clark Eagan (2013-Arkansas) both played their first full seasons for the Pittsburgh Pirates farm system after being drafted in the 2016 June Draft. Jess ended his 2017 campaign with a 4.21 ERA between two levels after being bumped from Low A to High A mid season.
Eagan spent the full year at Low A West Virginia where he hit .261 with 8 home runs, 5 triples, and 21 doubles. Eagan will look to break camp a level higher and consider his rise.
Former Rays alumni Nate Hoffman (2012- Madison College/Middle Tennessee State), Craig Nennig (2012 – Ohio State), Weston Wuethrich (2013 – Madison College/Washington/Whitewater), and Seth Douglas (2013 – Bemidji State/SUNY Canton) all continued their careers into professional baseball by playing in the Independent Leagues.
Tony Butler (2013 – Virginia/Madison College/Indiana) turned down an offer to sign after grinding his way through his senior season at Indiana with several injuries. Butler was a 2016 national Gold Glove award winner committing zero errors in 203 chances. He followed that up in 2017 by leading the Hoosiers in hitting at a .314 clip, and committed just three errors in 251 changes.
The Rays program had 60 players on college rosters. Of those 60, 27 were at Division I schools. A few highlights from the bunch:
Rudy Rott (2015 – Ohio) led Ohio to the MAC Conference Tournament Championship and hit this mammoth shot in the Kentucky Regional on national tv. Rott hit .303 with 11 Home Runs and 50 RBI’s. Rott Home Run
Dalton Roach (2014 – Minnesota State) was named the top pitcher in all of D2 baseball, gathering the Tomko Award, as well as being named 1st Team All American. Roach went 10-1 with a 1.56 ERA. Roach also set the school-record for strikeouts.
Jack Bredeson (2015 – Michigan) made 13 appearances and landed All Academic Big Ten honors.
Scott Schreiber (2014 – Nebraska) led the Huskers hitting .330 with 51 RBI’s and 7 HRs. He totalled 77 Hits for the year. Schreiber Home Run
Alec Trela (2016-Memphis) hit .263 with 8 home runs in his freshman season that saw him start 59 games at shortstop. Trela hit some walk off winners this year, but the videos have disappeared. Trela BP
Jeren Kendall (2014 – Vanderbilt) hit .307 with 15 bombs in the ridiculously tough SEC, which led to him being a 1st round pick. Kendall was a Gold Glove award winner and named a 3rd Team All-American. GAME WINNER
Zach Gilles (2016 – Central Michigan) stole 17 bases in his 50 starts for the Chippewas in his freshman season.
Pete Schuler (2015 – Kent State) started 40 games and hit 6 home runs for the Golden Flashes.
Simon Rosenblum-Larson (2015 – Harvard) made 9 starts, striking out 54 in 53 innings while going 3-4 during his sophomore campaign.
Connor Wollersheim (2015 – Kent State) earned All Academic honor for the MAC conference, while going 2-1 on the season in 16 appearances. He posted a 3.91 ERA for the year.
Ryan Schmitt (2016 – Illinois) went 5-2 as a freshman and was named the 20th ranked overall freshman by Perfect Game in the Big Ten Conference. Schmitt closed out the defending national champs Coastal Carolina in March SCHMITT CLOSES OUT CC
Joe Baier (2016 – Chicago State) pitched 46 innings and had 95 at bats for the Cougars, doubling as a two way player.
Jack Eagan (2016 – Madison College) struck out 93 in 66 innings, and committed to Mississippi State this fall.
Committing to the College Scene
The calendar year of 2017 was good to GRB players from both baseball and softball. In total, 33 GRB athletes made their commitments.
The softball program had 6 girls commit in the inaugural year, 1 D1, 1 D2, 3 D3, 1 Junior College.
D1 Commitments (1):
Katie Tews (2018) – Yale
D2 Commitments (1):
Lauren Kirchberg (2018) – St Cloud State
D3 Commitments (3):
Marisa Kleckler (2017) – St Mary’s
Haley Radewan (2017) – UW – LaCrosse
Hanna Fisher (2017) – Edgewood
Juco Commitments (1):
Ellie Kellesvig (2018) – Madison College
The baseball program had 27 commitments in the calendar year of 2017. 15 players made D1 commitments, 3 D2 commitments, 5 D3 commitments, and 4 Junior College commitments.
D1 Commitments (15):
Mitchell Woelfle (2019) – Air Force
Dylan Krumrei (2019) – Bradley
Jack Washburn (2019) – Oregon State
Jack Eagan (2016) – Mississippi State via Madison College
Reagan Klawiter (2019) – Illinois State
Hunter Rosenbaum (2019) – West Virginia
Drake Baldwin (2019) – Missouri State
Jack Krumbach (2019) – Xavier
Nick Herbst (2019) – Illinois State
Ryan Stefiuk (2020) – Vanderbilt
Zach Gustafson (2018) – East Carolina
Tanner Kohlhepp (2018) – Tennessee
Bennett Frazer (2019) – Bradley
Cedric Girard (2018) – Illinois State
Alan Roden (2018) – Creighton
D2 Commitments (3):
Jack Brown (2018) – Minnesota State
Ryan Venne (2018) – Lindenwood
Calvin Nowak (2018) – Lindenwood
D3 Commitments (5):
Trajan Prochnow (2018) – UW-Oshkosh
Logan King (2018) – UW-Oshkosh
Kade Bohlman (2018) – UW-Oshkosh
Jack Riley (2018) – UW-Oshkosh
Peyton Henry (2017) – UW-LaCrosse
Juco Commitments (4):
Jake Schellpfeffer (2018) – Ellsworth
Kolton Koch (2018) – Rock Valley
Nolan Kelliher (2018) – DMAAC
Trevor Tietz (2018) – Jefferson CC