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Illinois Baseball summer report

By now, it’s the end of June and though the Illinois Baseball season is long over, there’s still plenty of news: signings, awards, summer league assignments, and a visit with a former Illini.  

Illini Draftees signed

Remember the four Illini who were drafted early this month? Each one of them was signed by their respective club.

Justin Parr (right), who was drafted in the eighth round, was signed by the Philadelphia Phillies and will report to the Williamsport (PA) Crosscutters. Twin brother Jordan Parr inked a contract with the Arizona Diamondbacks and heads west to the Hillsboro (OR) Hops. Thomas Lindauer will start off his pro career in the NY-Penn League with the Tri-City ValleyCats. Finally, Kevin Johnson will continue his rehab with the Oakland Athletics in Scottsdale, Arizona.

While we Illini fans would have loved to see another year of Thomas Lindauer and Jordan Parr in Orange and Blue, I think I speak for all of us when I say how happy we are for all of them!


Summer League action

But what about the rest of the team? Well, they’re off to their summer league assignments. Twenty-three Illini players are playing on fifteen teams in nine summer leagues throughout the country. Some are close by, such as the Chicago Suburban Baseball Collegiate League and Eastern Illinois League, while others will be as far away as the Coastal Plain League on the East coast. Not surprisingly, a good portion will be headed to the Northwoods League up north. Seven Illini will be playing on five NWL teams this summer.

Make sure to check out Fighting Illini’s Summer Ball Central. It’s an easy way to find out where the Illini players are this summer with links to their team’s websites.


Illini sign Fletcher

It had been rumored for a while that Casey Fletcher, son of former Illini and MLB catcher Darrin Fletcher, was coming to the University of Illinois. Last week, Coach Hartleb made this official, announcing that Fletcher will transfer to Illinois after two seasons at Kankakee Community College. This is big news for the Illinois Baseball for several reasons. One, long-time Illinois fans know that Darrin Fletcher is considered a legend in the program, still holding some major club records to this day. As they say, baseball does run in the family. Second, Casey Fletcher seems to be the real thing. He’s a versatile player, listed as a OF/2B/RHP. He was second in the nation in RBIs among Division II Junior College players. If that wasn’t enough, he can pitch, too. He collected eight saves with a minuscule 0.71 ERA. I’m looking forward to seeing Fletcher on the diamond!


Catching up with former Illini Hudson

This summer, I went on vacation back east and caught a Double-A Bowie Baysox baseball game. This afforded me the chance to see former Illini center fielder Kyle Hudson in play. Some of you may remember him as the center fielder who hit a career .362 for the Illini. Others might know him from his play as the wide receiver for the Illini football team. I even got to have a pre-game chat with Hudson who is currently hitting .243 with 15 RBIs for the Baysox. He’s getting in some good playing time despite a recent short stint on the DL. Hudson managed to get in a cup of coffee with the Baltimore Orioles big league two years ago and hopes to get back there soon.


Awards still comin’

Finally, the 2013 season may be over, but the college baseball world is still handing out awards and a few Illinois players are getting their share. I did a quick summary on the Illinois Baseball Report:

Starter Kevin Duchene earned another Freshman All-American award. After receiving the Louisville Slugger Freshman All-American honor from Collegiate Baseball Newspaper, Duchene garnered the Freshman All-American award from National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association on June 10.

Justin Parr collected a host of accolades in the recent past. He was named a Louisville Slugger first team All-American by the Collegiate Baseball Newspaper. The NCBWA also named Parr a first team All-American outfielder. In addition, PING! and Baseball America placed him on their second team.

On the home front, Parr joins Ashley Spencer winning the 2013 Dike Eddleman Award for the top male and female Illini athletes.

Thomas Lindauer got into action, too. He joins Duchene and Parr on the All-Mideast Region team sponsored by the American Baseball Coaches Association. Lindauer and Parr won first team honors while Duchene was placed on the second team.

Congrats to all four!!

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