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Sox Add Second Big Bat From Alabama, Young Hurler From Pitt

March 3, 2015 ♦ by Patrick Reddick

While the local western Pennsylvania teams are still plowing snow off of their infields and practicing indoors, the University of West Alabama already has 17 games in. Their leading hitter has been Mitch Holgate, who will be bringing his bat to Butler this summer.

His team leading numbers, including three home runs and a .485 OBP through his first 52 at-bats come as no surprise after last spring. An everyday player for the Tigers in 2014, Holgate hit at a .324/.416/.570 clip. His team-leading 179 at-bats resulted in 12 doubles, four triples, and eight home runs.

"Mitch has had a great deal of individual and team success while at West Alabama and we believe that is going to play a key role for us in 2015," said Anthony Rebyanski, the BlueSox Director of Player Personnel.

"He is off to a hot start once again in 2015. With him being a versatile player playing both in the outfield and infield, we look for him to be a threat in the lineup potentially every day. We are very excited to have him join us this summer."

His power led not just his team, but saw him named the Gulf South Conference Player of the Year and to the first team All-GSC as a designated hitter, though he also spent some time in the outfield and corner infield positions.

He will be joined by his teammate Jack Cockrum, a catcher who we looked at last week. Cockrum is currently leading the Tigers with 21 hits.

"Both Holgate and Cockrum on paper could be huge middle of the lineup threats this summer for us. We are very excited that the coaching staff at West Alabama, which is the first we've had a player from that school, has allowed us to take two of their players," said Rebyanski.

Isaac Mattson, RHP, Pitt

Some teams may be wary to sign inexperienced players, but the BlueSox have had plenty of success with younger players in the past. Even as a freshman, Pitt pitcher Isaac Mattson will look to meet the high standards for Butler this summer.

"Isaac, although having only 2.2 innings pitched thus far in the young spring season, has done extremely well for the Panthers," said Rebyanski.

"As in the past, we are not hesitant on signing young players and we have had a very good track record of having young guys come in and be impact guys for us on the mound. Some of that, in my opinion, stems from them wanting the chance to be out there every day in a long season. We believe Isaac will be one of those guys that will help us make another big run at the post-season in 2015."

Mattson comes with a good reputation as a two-time second team all-state and five time all-region player with his time at Harbor Creek High School (which is a 20 minute drive from Erie, PA.)

"We did not have a player represent Pitt on our 2014 roster, which was the first time we had that happen in the four years I was manager of the BlueSox. It's great to have another representative of Pitt on our roster this summer," said Rebyanski.

He followed up his 17-4 season as a junior with an 18-4 record as a senior. At one point setting a school record with 19 strikeouts in seven innings. If that was not enough, his .531 batting average was the second highest average in Harbor Creek High history.


Hartz to Return, Marcus Will Bring Lefty Power

February 24, 2015 ♦ by Patrick Reddick

Six of Ben Hartz's nine starts for the BlueSox last summer came on the road, but the changing scenery did not seem to affect him much. Coming off a light spring, he threw over 50 innings for the BlueSox in nine regular season starts. He will look to be a bright spot once again for the Sox in 2015.

"Ben just wants the ball and that type of attitude is, in my opinion, why he has been so successful with us," said Anthony Rebyanski, the BlueSox Direct of Player Personnel. "Having him return to the BlueSox in 2015 is great for our pitching staff. It's always good to have a few guys that are familiar with the league, with the way the coaching staff works, and that can be a leader on and off the field."

At one point in late June, Hartz combined in three consecutive starts to hold his opponents scoreless for 11.2 consecutive innings. In the second game, he turned in one of his best starts of the yearsix shutout innings, allowing only four hits and one walk against the Chillicothe Paints. The win was his third in four starts and pulled Butler closer to the Paints in first place.

The outing against Chillicothe was also one of five quality starts on the summer. His 2.27 ERA was second on Butler's staff among qualified pitchers. Hartz got the call against the Paints in Butler's first post-season game ever.

"He was one of the guys that helped get us to the post-season for the first time in franchise history in 2014," said Rebyanski. "We beleive he will do whatever he has to do to help get the 'Sox back there in 2015."

A native of Pittsburgh, Hartz played high school ball at Shady Side Academy, where he was the 2011 WPIAL Pitcher of the Year and the 2012 WPIAL Player of the Year.

David Marcus, INF, Cal U

Butler has had some great players from California University of PA in recent seasons, including Kyle Petty who was drafted by the Seattle Mariners in 2013. David Marcus will look to continue that trend.

"I am excited to have Dave come to Butler this summer, especially after seeing what he is capable of doing offensively this fall and winter," said Rebyanski. "He displays tremendous power from the left side and is a guy who attacks the baseball. I believe he will be a threat no matter where he is hitting in the lineup. It will be fun to see what he can do against quality arms in the Prospect League this summer."

Last spring he was named to the All-PSAC West Team along with teammates and former BlueSox Matt Peters and Mick Fennell. Marcus hit .324/.391/.465 in 46 starts as a sophomore last spring for the Vulcans, splitting time as a first baseman and DH.

Marcus tied Peters for the team leading 35 RBIs, including 11 that came with two outs. He also turned in an error-less performance in the field. Originally from Ontario, Marcus will be one of only a few Sox that have come from Canada.










Next Game

May 27, 2015