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Your 2006 Helena Brewers - Latest: First-come Jersey Sale

Obviously not a hint of an "official" roster here, but we'll kick off this year's Helena feature articles thread with local reaction to Tuesday's draft choices.


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Brewers take youthful picks in draft

By TOM COTTON - IR Sports Editor


Contrary to what most major league baseball teams did in the first-round, the Milwaukee Brewers chose youth over experience in the early rounds of the First Year Player draft.


The Brewers selected right-handed pitcher Jeremy Jeffress in the first round with the 15th pick overall. They selected aptly named shortstop Brent Brewer in the second round.


Of the first 556 picks made on the draft?s first day, only 158 came from the high school ranks.


Jeffress played for Halifax County High School, Va. and Brewer suited up for Sandy Creek High School, Ga.


Both are exceptional athletes.


Jeffress runs a 6.7-second 60 yard dash and can throw nearly 100 mph. A scouting report on Brewer on MLB.com said he also has exceptional speed. He has signed to play football at Florida State.


Where they might land of course is still up in the air, but they may spend some time in Helena.


?If I had to guess they may go to Arizona first and maybe called up in the middle of the year, kind of like what Will Inman did last year,? said Steve Wendt, the Helena Brewers director of broadcasting and public relations.


Inman was a standout pitcher for Helena last season compiling a 6-0 record and a 2.00 ERA last year after pitching one game for Arizona.


Milwaukee has a history of sending its top picks to the Pioneer League, with David Krynzel going to Ogden in 2000. Last year Ryan Braun came to Helena for a two-week stint.


?Its not uncommon for them to get sent to the Pioneer League for 40 or 50 at bats to get used to wood bats and get used to the ballpark,? Wendt said.


While the first two picks were high school players, the Brewers selected college talent with picks in the third, fifth and sixth round.


The Brewers chose outfielders from Pac-10 schools with their selections in the third and fifth rounds. In the third, they selected Cole Gillespie from Oregon State and in the fifth they took Christopher Errecart from Cal-Berkley. Gillespie was the Pac-10 player of the year.


The sixth round yielded left-handed pitcher Micah Wright from Oklahoma State.


?The Pioneer League is geared toward those guys,? Wendt said about college players. ?More often than not you see guys start in the Pioneer League or in short season A leagues like the Northwest League.?


Whoever is sent to play for Helena this season, Wendt said he is confident the Brewers will continue the success they have had on the field over the last few years. Milwaukee?s organization has been highly regarded by Baseball America for the past several seasons.


?They (Milwaukee) has been great about sending us talented players,? he said. ?I think because in large part they have drafted talented players.?


Helena will start the season June 20 at home against Missoula.

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Just checking through the rosters, and I look forward to seeing the young AZ Brewers rotatioan in Roque Mercedes (19), Rolando Pascual (17), Wily Peralta (17), and Alex Periard (19).


For Helena, I'm looking forward to following Adam Mannon, Brandon Parillo, and Steve Chapman as of now. Seems like this Helena team might be younger than in past years, but that doesn't mean it won't be exciting.

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Healing houseguests

By JEFF WINDMUELLER - Helena Independent Republic Sports Writer




Photo courtesy Cathy Anderson - The Anderson family enjoys a family picnic at Kindrick Legion field with their Brewers ballplayers. Left to right are Jay, Jock, Gilberto Acosta, Cathy, Christina, who died earlier this year, Greg and Charlie Lozada.


It began awkwardly.


Cathy Anderson met the baseball player at the Helena airport, shook his hand and said ?welcome.?


He shook back.


They walked to the car, and without a word the young player knew to follow her.


The trip home didn?t include a lot of talking, and there wouldn?t be much for the next week either. That?s because Cathy didn?t speak much Spanish, and the ball player, 21-year-old Gilberto Acosta of Venezuela, didn?t speak a word of English.


?We were very nice to him but there was really no communication,? Cathy said with a laugh.


The Anderson family had agreed to host the player after seeing a local news broadcast on TV in the summer of 2004. A number of minor league ball players would be coming into town to play for the Brewers, and the Helena Minor League Baseball Booster Club needed places to house them.


The club had a special need for families that would take Spanish speaking players.


?I called and said, ?if you need homes, we?ll take a Latin American player.? My daughter was studying in Mexico at the time and was returning home in mid-July,? Cathy said. ?(They) called me within a week and said ?we?ve got a player coming in on the noon plane today.??


It was a little sudden, and more than two weeks before their daughter, Christina, arrived home, but Cathy agreed to it.


?(Gilberto) told me later he was really scared because it was all English,? she said.


Without the universal hand signs for ?strike,? ?out? and ?safe,? many players like Gilberto wouldn?t even know what the umpires were saying on the baseball field.


Luckily, Cathy?s daughter wasn?t the only one who knew some Spanish in her family.


Her older son, Greg, who was 19 at the time, had taken 4 years of the language in high school and one in college, and her younger son, Jay, 17, had three years of it.


But with Greg working nights delivering pizza, and Jay?s limited experience with the language there still wasn?t much to be said.


Acosta spent the first few weeks of his stay in his room, only coming out for food and to go to the ball park.


Cathy?s husband, Jock, didn?t even see Gilberto during the first week. Gilberto usually went to the ballpark at 1 p.m., after Jock left for work, and came home at 10:30 p.m. from practice, after Jock had gone to bed.


On one Saturday morning, Jock walked out of his bedroom to find a stranger standing in his kitchen.


?I had not expected to see him. I walked into the kitchen and there was a moment of surprise. And of course, it occurs to you immediately that the kid belongs there,? Jock said. ?He was trying to iron.?


Gilberto was standing with an iron in his hand and motioned to Jock if it was OK to use. Jock said it was and searched for the ironing board.


?I ended up ironing the shirt for him and he said thank you,? Jock said.


The day-to-day habits of the family were the same for weeks. Gilberto?s routine of waking up, eating and going to ball games was simple.


But all that changed when Christina came home from Mexico.


?That night when she came here, all her bags were unpacked in the living room ... she had Mexican music on the CD player, Gilbert walked in at 10:30 and, oh my gosh, his life changed.? Cathy said. ?(Christina) jumped up and gave him the traditional Latin greeting, with the arms and the kiss on the cheek and started in on Spanish.


?Then he really lived as part of the family.?


The Anderson family became inundated with Latin American culture. At least, as much as they could get in Montana.


Latin music often blared through speakers and the smell of Venezuelan food filled the air.


When Christina asked Gilberto what he missed most about his homeland, he responded, ?the rice.?


Cathy began cooking rice more often, and found out just how much Venezuelans eat. After cooking up a bowl to serve to the entire family, she made the mistake of placing it directly in front of Gilberto.


Before Cathy knew it, the young man had eaten the entire serving, not knowing it was to be shared.


Pretty soon all four Venezuelans on the Brewers that year began hanging out in the home. One even became so close that he moved in.


Expanding the family


Charlie Lozada had been living with a family far out into Helena?s valley, making it a long trip to the ball park everyday. He would spend much of his time at the Anderson?s house, and with the booster club?s permission he became the seventh member of the Anderson family.


Gilberto and Charlie became best friends, often borrowing the family car? with Cathy and Jock?s permission ? hanging out with girls and playing ?mini-ball,? a backyard version of baseball.


And yet, ?They were as different as night and day,? Jock said. ?Gilberto was real quiet and Charlie was just the most outgoing chatter box.?


They came from different areas of Venezuela and appeared to be from different social classes. Gilberto, who came from humble roots, supported the re-election of controversial and nationalist Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez. Charlie, who had a wealthier background, couldn?t stand him.


But even with their country progressing through a social revolution, the two boys always had something in common.




It was their reason for moving away from their homes, not knowing what the future would hold. But it also brought them a new family and made them into brothers when, in another world, they would have been on the opposite ends of a spectrum.


They tried hard to share baseball with the Anderson family as well.


Greg and Jay played mini-ball with their Venezuelan comrades almost daily. The game had many of the same rules as baseball, but the goal was to hit what was actually a sock wrapped in duct tape, a soft enough object that the rule ?hitting the runner with the ball got him out? came into effect.


Jock and Cathy went to Brewers games, and the entire family was crazy for baseball. All except Christina.


She had no desire to watch the sport, not when Gilberto and Charlie were playing, or when her brothers stepped on the diamond.


The two Venezuelans would ask Christina to come to a game every time they walked through the door. But she wouldn?t budge.


Finally, she was trapped into going.


All four Venezuelans were at the house for dinner and someone asked Brewer pitcher Alvaro Martinez when he was next in the lineup.


He replied, ?July 21st,? the same day as Christina?s birthday. When the boys heard that it would be on her birthday he begged her to show up to the game.


It was less than a week away and, rolling her eyes, Christina agreed to it.


Friends who had gone to Mexico joined her at the celebration, which flowed from the ballfield to her home later that night.


It was one of the few times she ever went to a baseball game.


A family tragedy


Since Gilberto and Charlie?s stay, the Anderson family has continued to immerse themselves in Latin American culture.


All of the children studied Spanish in college, and Cathy decided to take up the language as well.


?I started with my Spanish lessons the fall of 2004. I thought, I?ve got three kids who are all taking Spanish ... I thought, I?m going to do it.?


After studying with a tutor that year, Cathy visited Oaxaca, Mexico in January. It was the same city her son Greg had been to, and, as it turned out, she would stay with the same family he had stayed with.


But even with all the preparations, the Anderson?s weren?t able to house baseball players during the summer of 2005. They were too busy, and wouldn?t have been around the house long enough to care for the players.


When Marlene Hughes, chairwoman of the Helena Boosters, called them this year, the Anderson?s were ready. But then, tragedy struck.


On April 7, 12 hours after Christina Anderson had been admitted to a hospital, her heart failed and the young woman passed away at the age of 24.


Christina?s unexpected death dealt a blow to her family. She was upbeat, sensitive and always perceptive to other people?s feelings ? and other people?s cultures.


She visited Spain and Mexico, but didn?t limit it to Spanish-speaking areas. She spent five months on a diplomatic internship in Serajevo, Bosnia.


The Anderson?s were reminded of her whenever they encountered other cultures, and she was certainly in their minds when they made the decision to house ballplayers once again this summer.


?We talked about it and after about two or three weeks we just started saying, ?Gee, how are we ever going to live through this, how are we even going to survive this??? Cathy said. ?We thought, we want her around the house... I?d love to hear Spanish being spoken, because that?s what she loved. It?s just a way to kind of keep her in our thoughts and fill the house with some laughter and some Spanish voices.?




The benefits of the housing program is an obvious one for the players.


They are given a place to stay, a family to keep them company, and are taken care of when they?re not at the field.


They don?t have to pay much for rent ? although the ball club requires that they do ? and are not required to do housework.


In the end, the burden is really on the family. And yet, few families consider it a burden at all.


In fact, most would consider the exchange to be a symbiotic relationship.


John and Helen Bennett will be housing players for a third year, and since beginning the program have tried to keep at least two players in their home. They aren?t able to take in Spanish-speaking players, but have had guys from all over the United States.


The Bennett?s experience began out of loneliness.


Helen and the two children ? Joshua, now 14, and Jessica, 12 ? were out of town for the summer, leaving John home alone.


?I was going to a school for two months and the kids were visiting family in Alabama,? Helen said.


John: ?I had this house for the summer by myself, so I figured why not share it.?


It gave him a summer spent with young baseball players ? who play a game John loves ? and the subsequent years have been a benefit on their kids.


The friendly college-age players have become mentors, often sharing their experiences with the children.


The kids, in return, take them to do Montana activities like fishing.


The Bennetts never expected anything from their players and never asked them to do household chores ? ?they?re here to play ball and that?s their primary focus,? John said ? but the guests have a tendency to want to help out with yard work or house cleaning.


They helped out Marlene Hughes in a different way in the summer of 1999. That year she was going through chemotherapy for breast cancer and found that providing for the players kept her mind off the treatment.


?It kept me going,? Hughes said. ?They were there, I knew they were there and knew they had a need.


?I didn?t sit around feeling sorry for myself.?


Instead, she spent the time busy, caring for the players.


During one of the roughest patches of treatment Marlene decided to travel with the club to Missoula for the playoffs.


Midway to Missoula, she flipped off the wig that had covered her hairless head and plopped it onto a young friend?s. For those who knew of her illness, and especially for those who didn?t, it was a bit of a shock. Then, everyone started laughing.


?A lot of them knew I had cancer but they didn?t really realize it,? Marlene said. ?They said I looked too healthy.?


Marlene hopes the joy that the ballplayers brought her during a rough time can do the same for the Anderson?s.


?Most people get something out of it,? she said.


The Anderson?s know that nothing can replace Christina, and they won?t ask anything of the players. In fact, they haven?t told Gilberto and Charlie about her passing, and don?t think they will tell any new players when they arrive.


They are hoping the summer will instead be a way to remember her while moving on.


?I just think we have to have (the players) this year,? Cathy said. ?I?m thinking that they will help us more this year than we will help them.?

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New Brewers come to town

By TOM COTTON - IR Sports Editor


Helena?s boys of summer are filtering back into town.


The Helena Brewers have 20 players currently on their roster and have started mini-camp in preparation for the season opener Tuesday against Missoula.


?Right now the difference in what has happened from the last couple of years is right now there are fewer players out of the gate,? said Steve Wendt, director of broadcasting and public relations for the Brewers. ?Right now the term mini is appropriate.?


Wendt said the roster should grow to 30 players before the first game.


Only a few of the players on the current roster have played in Helena before ? right-handed pitcher Christopher Jean, left-handed pitcher Brandon Parillo and outfielder Stephen Chapman.


Jean started in three games last season, logging 32 innings of work. He struck out 16 in that span.


Parillo had a successful stint in Helena last year, posting a 2-1 record and a 2.14 ERA in 12 games.


Chapman cracked six home runs in 54 games last season and drove in 25 runs.


That trio will be complmented by a host of high-round draft picks.


One name to watch will be Zach Clem, an 11th-round draft pick from the University of Washington.


Wendt said he displayed good power during batting practice on Tuesday.


Chris Errecart, a fifth round draft pick from the University of California-Berkley will join the team today. The outfielder hit eight home runs and drove in 35 runs in 2005 for the Bears.


Another name to watch will be Michael McLendon, a 10th-round draft pick from Seminole Community College in Florida.


McClendon posted an 11-1 record in the 2005 season and he struck out 72.

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Some new items in the Helena "Brewery Store", including a hat with the state of Montana rather than the Wisconsin state hat of the parent club.




Also notice the "Listen Live" link on each page of the Helena site -- an encouraging sign that we may get to hear play-by-play man Steve Wendt throughout the season this year. Here's hoping...

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From Helena's site:



Brewers Announce Internet Broadcast


Brewers fans from Helena to Helsinki, Milwaukee to Melbourne can know hear their favorite Pioneer League affiliate?s ballgames through the worldwide web. For the first time, the Helena Brewers will offer a free webcast service in conjunction with Minor League Baseball, KCAP 1340 AM and Johnson and Associates.


It?s an easy process to listen live to the contests all summer long. Simply log on to www.helenabrewers.net and click on the microphone logo labeled ?Listen live?. The site will then link with the www.minorleaguebaseball.com multimedia page. A menu of that day?s audio option will appear and fans can click on the Helena Brewers option.


All Brewers? contests will be heard including playoffs if Helena qualifies. The Brewers are pleased to be able to link fans around the globe to its games in 2006.

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Brewers to bring power to Pioneer season

By TOM COTTON - IR Sports Editor


The Helena Brewers may have a different look this year.


The Pioneer League affiliate of the Milwaukee Brewers has been noted for creating runs using speed over the past several years. This year the Helena squad may have a little more power in its bats.


"As of now it won't be a team with a lot of speed, but it might be one with quite a bit of pop," said Ed Sedar, who in his third season managing the team. "I think we'll be a good contact team with lots of power. The only thing missing right now is team speed, but it may only be hiding a little bit."


Heading up the power parade will be a pair of outfielders who played for Pac-10 schools.


Chris Errecart a fifth-round draft pick in 2006 out of the University of California and Zach Clem, an 11th round draft pick from Washington will be staples in the Brewer outfield.


Errecart had 30 extra base hits in 355 at bats during his two-year career with the Bears.


Clem is coming off a season in which he hit 20 home runs. He has 41 round trippers for the Huskies.


The third outfielder for Helena will be a familiar face, Stephen Chapman. Chapman appeared in 54 games last year and hit .269 with six home runs in 167 at bats.


"I hope he will take on a leadership role with the team," Sedar said. "I hope he is able to get beyond bad days and show the maturity to be a leader with his teammates as well as statistically."


The infield will be headed up by Carlos De La Cruz who played for Helena last season. De La Cruz hit a robust .343 last season in 108 at bats. That was good enough to get him a promotion to Class A Brevard County last season.


The Brewers pitching staff is a tall, lanky crew with 11 of the 12 pitchers all taller than 6-foot-1 and they have the ability to strike out opposing batters.


Some names to watch will be Michael McClendon, a 10th round pick this season who was a top junior college pitcher in Florida last season. McClendon fanned 170 batters in 179 innings during his career at Seminole Community College.


Shawn Ferguson, a 9th round pick from Texas Christian should be a name to watch as should be Chris Toneguzzi, a 13th-round pick from Purdue. Toneguzzi could hold down the closer role for the Brewers.


"I believe we will have strong pitching, starting as well as relieving," Sedar said.


Helena will start the season today when they take on Missoula at 7:05 PM (8:05 Central) at Kindrick-Legion Field.

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Cool under fire

Brewer pitcher has unique way of dealing with pressure

By TOM COTTON - IR Sports Editor


Being a closer can be a stressful proposition. They are called upon to come in with runners on base and are asked to keep the opposition at bay late in the game when they have only a slim lead to work with.


Chris Toneguzzi has a perfect solution to get into what he calls his 'comfortable place'.


The 13th round draft pick from Purdue University will start his professional baseball career with the Helena Brewers. If you look under his cap, he has some key words written down on his brim to keep him cool and collected.


Some of the words (visualize and breathe) help him with his mechanics, but he also has letters that describe his state of mind such as F.I.P (focus, intent and purpose) or G.O. (game over).


The technique came at the suggestion of a sports psychologist who met with Toneguzzi during his freshman year with the Boilermakers.


"They are trigger words that help me clear my mind," he said.


The burly 6-foot-5, 250 pound product from Thunder Bay, Ontario may not have to turn to trigger words for help too much this season as he should be a mainstay on the Brewers pitching staff.


He is coming off a season where he posted a record 4-0 and five saves. He had a sparkling ERA of 2.10.


Toneguzzi's fastball will be tough for hitters to catch up with as it reaches the low 90s on the radar gun. However, for him to have a short stint in Helena he said he will have to develop a second pitch. That shouldn't be a problem, however, as he said he plans on listening intently to the advice of Helena pitching coach Mark Littell.


"For me to move on I will need to get a power second pitch with control," he said.


His fastball has served him well up to this point, ever since he was a young boy in hockey-crazy Thunder Bay.


As is the case with most Canadian youth, he played hockey and still loves the sport. He is good friends with Eric Staal, who is currently playing for the Stanley Cup with the Carolina Hurricanes.


However, as he matured, his physical tools were better suited for the diamond, not the rink.


"When I was 10 or 12, I was one of the better (hockey) players in the city," he said. "I never was that good at baseball, and then my speed and arm strength increased big time."


He was good enough in high school to earn a spot on Canada's National Junior Team and get drafted by the Pittsburgh Pirates in 2002. However, he and his family felt furthering his education was more important than going pro right after high school.


"I sat down with my family and decided mentally I wasn't ready to go pro," he said.


The Pirates' loss turned out to be Purdue's gain as a coach offered him a scholarship after seeing him pitch at a baseball camp.


It took some time for him to develop into the closer for Purdue. The Boilermaker's staff needed some arms and he was the No. 2 starter as a freshman and sophomore. However a summer stint in the wood-bat Northwoods League convinced him that his place was coming out of the bullpen.


He played for his hometown Thunder Bay Border Cats in the league, an independent league with teams in the northern midwest and southern Canada.


He notched a team record 16 saves that season for Thunder Bay and when he returned to college, he had a new role on Purdue's pitching staff. It was a role he would quickly learn to relish.


"My personality and character fit so well with being a closer, it was an opportunity I couldn't pass up," he said. "I like pressure and I like to have the game on my shoulders."


He had six saves in 2005 and a miniscule 0.53 ERA in Big 10 contests.


One of Toneguzzi's fondest memories came against Ohio State that season, when he preserved a one-run win by striking out two batters.


"It was almost a blur," he said. "I don't remember what happened, but the coaches said they have never seen someone so intense."


Toneguzzi admits he can be a bit of a grizzly on the mound, but really a teddy bear off it. If things get too intense, he said he can just look at the brim of his cap and get to his comfortable place. If he gets there, opposing batters won't ease into the batters box during the late innings this season at Kindrick Legion Field.


"My future in baseball is coming out of the bullpen in my opinion," he said. "I am not limiting myself though. Whatever they want from me I will take with open arms."

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We have a few bits of conflicting roster spot information from our various sources for the Helena squad, but we'll do our best here. This team lacks high-profile draft picks to start, although 2006 3rd round pick, Oregon State outfielder Cole Gillespie, should sign shortly after the College World Seies tournament concludes play.




Have spent time in West Virginia:

RHP Steve Palazzolo, undrafted free agent, (24)

LHP Brandon Parillo, 8th round '04 (20)


Back to Helena:

RHP Chris Jean, 38th round '05 (23)


Moving up from Arizona Rookie's 2005 squad --

RHP Jose Beltre, Dominican Republic '04 (21 years old)

RHP Roque Mercedes, Dominican Republic '04 (19)


Draft-and-follows from 2005:

LHP Zach Braddock, 18th round (18)

RHP Brock Kjeldgaard, 34th round (20)

LHP Mike Ramlow, 24th round (20)


2006 Draft Class:

RHP Shawn Ferguson, 9th round (23)

RHP J.T. King, 22nd round (21)

RHP Mike McClendon, 10th round (21)

RHP Stuart Sutherland, 34th round (22)

RHP Chris Toneguzzi, 13th round (23)

RHP Travis Wendte, 24th round (23)

LHP Brae Wright, 6th round (22)



Five for now...


Andy Bouchie, 7th round '06 (20)

J.R. Hopf, undrafted free agent '06 (23)

D.J. Neyens, undrafted free agent '06 (22)

Garry Savas, undrafted free agent '05 (23)

Jordan Swayden, 30th round '06 (22)



Is Carlos de la Cruz a player / coach?


Carlos de la Cruz, Dominican Republic '04 (24)

Fredy de la Cruz, Dominican Republic '03 (20)

Taylor Green, 25th round '05 draft-and-follow (19)

Brad Miller, 39th round '05 draft-and-follow (19)

Eric Newton, 33rd round '06 (22)

David Parker, minor league free agent, Padres '05 (23)



Only three on the team as of now...


Stephen Chapman, 6th round '04 (20)

Zach Clem, 11th round '06 (22)

Chris Errecart, 5th round '06 (21)

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According to an article on cbssportsline.com by Dennis Dodd, the Brewers have signed Bill Rowe from Oregon State after he went undrafted and are assigning him to Helena. Here's the quote from the article:


No worries. The Brewers recently called and offered a contract. Shortly after the CWS, Bill is headed to Helena, Mont., to the rookie league.


Article on Bill Rowe


Bill Rowe was the hero of last night's CWS game as the Beavers keep coming back.

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Rowe revels in Beavers' success


Jackson County (Oregon) Mail Tribune


Oregon State first baseman Bill Rowe scored the winning run in the decisive game of the College World Series.


He batted .357 during the Beavers' eight games in Omaha, Neb., and was named to the all-tournament team.


Rowe also set series records by making 87 putouts and by handling the ball 95 times without an error.


Rowe returned to the OSU campus with the rest of the Beavers Tuesday still trying to fully digest the most exciting 10 days of his life, capped by Monday's 3-2 win over North Carolina that gave the Beavers their first NCAA title since the school won a cross country crown in 1961.


"I'm probably not going to experience a game or a moment like we had (Monday) for the rest of my life," Rowe said. "The only thing that could top it would be to win a (Major League Baseball) World Series."


Rowe was flabbergasted by Tuesday's huge celebration at Portland's Pioneer Square that saw more than 7,000 OSU fans fete the national champs. The Beavers arrived via a police escort from the Portland Airport. The players rode in a pair of Hummer stretch limousines.


"It was crazy, man," Rowe said. "It was unreal. I've never experienced anything like that.


"I've had so many (cellphone) calls and text messages, my bill is just going to be ridiculous."


With the game tied at 2-all in the eighth inning, Rowe drew a two-out walk off North Carolina pitcher Daniel Bard. Following a single by Tyler Graham, former Crater High standout Ryan Gipson hit a grounder that Tar Heels second baseman Bryan Steed scooped up but threw wildly to first, allowing Rowe to score the go-ahead run.


The Beavers made it stand up for the win.


Rowe said he could read the lips of Bard after he got a visit from North Carolina's pitching coach before Rowe stepped into the batter's box.


"He (Bard) was pleading his case to stay in the game and he said, 'I own that guy,''' Rowe said. "He was pumping in 95 mph fastballs but he walked me on five pitches."


Rowe was passed up in last month's Major League Baseball Amateur Draft, but he's set to sign a contract with the Milwaukee Brewers today and be sent to Helena, Mont.


OSU outfielder Cole Gillespie, the Pac-10 player of the year, was drafted by the Brewers in the third round and is also expected to join Rowe in Helena.


"There's some good fly-fishing in Helena and so that's a bonus for me," said Rowe, who finished the season batting .349 with six homers and 56 RBIs in OSU's 66 games.


"They want us there ASAP but I've still got to pack up my stuff and take it to Ashland. Everything's pretty hectic right now. We just got done with finals."


Rowe plans to return to OSU in the fall and pick up a degree in philosophy.


Rowe said he didn't worry about not getting drafted after getting a call from Brewers scout Brandon Newell.


"He called me at the start of the (College) World Series and told me they were going to pick me up," Rowe said. "He also told me that I would probably crack their starting lineup."

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Braddock off to smooth start for Brewers in Montana


Courier-Post Staff


The transition from New Jersey to Montana has been a smooth one for Zach Braddock.


Braddock, a 2005 Gloucester Catholic High School (New Jersey) graduate, attended the Milwaukee Brewers' extended spring training in Maryvale, Ariz., prior to being assigned to the rookie-level Helena Brewers based in Montana.


"It's beautiful," Braddock, a left-handed pitcher, said of the state. "It's like South Jersey with mountain terrain."


Heading to spring training before reporting to Helena helped Braddock with the transition. Two of his coaches, including pitching coach Mark Littell, were in Arizona with him.


"My adjustment hasn't been as hard as with other guys," said Braddock, who played last year at Burlington County College. "The extended spring training made the transition easier."


In the short time that Braddock has been with the team, he's already learning a lot.


"The level of play is heightened," he said. "A lot of it is the mental side. Pitching to the hitter and letting them get themselves out.


"A major thing is that my pitching coach has put me in a mind-set that this is a lot easier than it looks and there's a confidence level that comes with that. It's a lot more mental and I've just done a few mechanical things."


Through Thursday, Braddock has pitched 8 2/3 innings, and is 1-0 with a 2.08 ERA.


Braddock said he's currently on an 80-40 pitch rotation. In this rotation, he'll start a game and go until he throws 80 pitches and then four or five days later, throw 40 pitches in relief.


Also preparing him for this opportunity, Braddock said were his various coaches over the years and his family.


"I want to thank my parents for providing a lot for me over the years and my coaches at Gloucester Catholic, even Little League, Dennis and Joe Barth, Sr. And I'm very lucky to have my girlfriend."


While Braddock is well on his way to his career in baseball, he might also have another career path.


The first day that Braddock got his uniform, he was asked to be in a commercial for the team promoting Military Tuesdays. In his camouflage home jersey he and other players held their bats like guns in a salute and even sang a jingle in cadence.


He also has participated in pre- and post-game interviews that were broadcast on the radio. Fans can listen to Braddock's games live at www.helenabrewers.net.

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Kjeldgaard opts for pro baseball

The Londoner passes on school and is learning in the Brewers' system



No need to wait when you know what you want to do.


That was Brock Kjeldgaard's philosophy when he abandoned a scholarship at a U.S. university and signed a contract with the Milwaukee Brewers. He is now immersed in the business of becoming a professional baseball player.


Kjeldgaard, 20, a graduate of Oakridge secondary school and the London Badgers organization, is pitching in Helena, Mont., for the Brewers' advanced rookie team in the Pioneer League.


He joins other local players in major league organizations, including Adam Stern with the Boston Red Sox, Chris Robinson with the Detroit Tigers, Jamie Romak with the Atlanta Braves and Mike Meyers, also with the Brewers.


Kjeldgaard had just graduated from Indian Hills College in Centerville, Iowa, and was scheduled to take a baseball scholarship at the University of Nevada in the fall when the Brewers selected him in the 34th round, 1,015th overall, in this summer's draft.


It's always a difficult choice for players drafted in that position. Do they go to school, play for three more years and improve their draft position? Or do they move right into professional baseball and learn the life?


Several years ago, Robinson was in the same situation when he was drafted very late by the New York Mets. He opted for school. He was drafted in a much higher round by the Tigers and is now playing A ball in Florida where he is second in his team in battling.


Romak was picked in the early rounds by Atlanta and made the same choice as Kjeldgaard. Romak is also in A ball and while he is struggling with his battling average, his power numbers are very good.


"Yeah, it was a tough decision," said Kjeldgaard. "But in the end, I thought this would be better for developing baseball skills. I think this gives me the chance to be a better baseball player."


Kjeldgaard signed early with the Brewers and spent two weeks in Arizona for extended spring training. Once the college season ended, he headed to Helena. Most of the players in extended rookie league ball are college and university players. It's a short season in which they play 76 games.


He played last summer with Medicine Hat in the Western Major Baseball League and helped Ontario to a gold medal at the Canada Summer Games in Regina in August.


Kjeldgaard has impressive physical attributes. He's six foot four, weighs 215 and has a lively arm. Since going to Helena, he's pitched 15 innings and is 1-0 with a 5.28 ERA.


"This league is more about development, trying to develop your secondary and third pitches," said Kjeldgaard. "They want you to work on reducing the walks. They don't worry so much about the stats like they do when you get to a higher level. They still worry about stats, but they just want to make sure you develop.


"There's a lot to learn. Right now what I'm really working on is developing my pitches. I throw a fastball, slider and changeup. I'd say right now I need to work on the changeup. As a starter, you really need a changeup to be successful."


There's more than pitching to worry about. If there's one thing every young player has to learn when they move to the professional ranks, it's how to survive the heavy workload.


"Your life is baseball," said Kjeldgaard. "You get done. You get home at 11 or 12. You get up and you're right back at the field. It's a lot of work, but it's worth it. It's a lot of fun."


As Kjeldgaard moves up the organizational ladder, there will be more games, more travel and more pressure -- just what he expected when he choose to attend the school of baseball.

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  • 3 weeks later...

2006 Team Card Set now available.




Set has 30 cards and includeds the following players:


1.Jose Beltre 2.Andy Bouchie 3.Zach Braddock 4.Chuckie Caufield 5.Stephen Chapman 6.Zach Clem 7.Carlos De La Cruz 8.Fredy De La Cruz 9.Chris Errecart 10.Shawn Ferguson 11.Cole Gillespie 12.Taylor Green 13.JR Hopf 14.Chris Jean 15.Brock Kjeldgaard 16.Michael McClendon 17.Roque Mercedes 18.Brad Miller 19.DJ Neyens 20.Steve Palazzolo 21.Brandon Parillo 22.David Parker 23.Bill Rowe 24.Garry Savas 25.Stuart Sutherland 26.Jordan Swaydan 27.Chris Toneguzzi 28.Travis Wendte 29.Brae Wright 30.Mgr. Eddie Sedar


Website also has a nice feature on Chris Errecart. helenabrewers.net


Edit: Activated Link

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Helena Brewers fan chronicles season

By JOHN HARRINGTON, Independent Record Staff Writer


Combing the box seats and bleachers at Kindrick Legion Field during a Helena Brewers game, you?d be hard pressed to find a more faithful fan ? or a more dedicated photographer ? than Mary Gunstone.


Gunstone, 63, has missed just one game since the Brewers returned to Helena in 2003, and has missed only a handful since she began attending the old Helena Gold Sox games in 1985. Employed at Buttrey supermarket at the time, she went to a game sponsored by the store and got hooked.


Not only does Gunstone go to the games, but she takes pictures. Lots and lots of pictures. How many? How about 540 rolls of film by her count last season ? or nearly 13,000 images.


?I carry 20 rolls of film with me all the time,? she said. ?Some nights I may use only 10, some nights I shoot all 20.?


Many of the pictures end up in the hands of the players. Several times over the course of a season, Gunstone will prepare packages of action shots for everyone on the club. At the end of the year, everyone, including the coaching staff and trainers, gets an album with photos of the entire team.


?I used to just give certain players one, but then I decided I?d better not do that, someone might be hurt. I?d better make them all one,? she said.


The team appreciates her dedication. At the end of last season, the players presented her with a bouquet of yellow roses and several gift cards (to be used to buy film, she said).


?For some of these guys, it?s going to be their only season in pro ball, and it?s definitely nice to have people like Mary around,? said general manager Paul Fetz. ?That?s the kind of thing that keeps a small-town team like ours going. Her effort and her daily support of the club are what keep us going strong.?


Gunstone said it?s tough to follow Helena?s players once they move up through the minor league system: ?It?s hard enough to keep track of the ones we have here,? she said. Occasionally, though, she?ll get a tap on the shoulder or a letter in the mail from someone who played here several years ago and never forgot her dedication.


?I had a player at the ballpark just the other night who played here in 1999, he came up to visit me,? she said. ?It?s nice when they write to you and keep in touch a little.?


Taking all those photos has made Gunstone something of a Helena baseball historian.


?If we need a picture of someone from the past, the first person we think of is Mary,? Fetz said. ?She has things back to the Gold Sox days. She recently found for us a picture of (current New York Yankee) Gary Sheffield signing autographs.?


Gunstone has no plans to change her routine. She bought a digital camera this year, but didn?t like the way it worked, so she went back to film. There?s a month left in the season, and suffice to say she?ll be clicking away the entire time.


?By the time October comes around, I?ve got to clean off my dining room table,? she said. ?Then it?s time to start thinking about next year.?



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Braddock's dream brewing

The South Jersey product's trail to the majors has taken him to Montana

By Bill Iezzi

Inquirer Suburban Staff


The rolling mountains of Montana are somewhat prettier than the Pinelands of South Jersey. And, for Zach Braddock, they also represent the first step in the minor-leaguer's baseball career.


To get to the majors from Montana's Helena Brewers in the high-rookie Pioneer League, the former Gloucester Catholic High pitcher will need a lot more work and some good fortune. He still faces single-, double- and triple-A baseball before the final stop.


But the 18-year-old is in no hurry.


"My goal is to progress smoothly through the minor-league system," Braddock said recently. "I can't put a time limit on my dreams. I'll ride it out as long as I can. This is an opportunity of a lifetime."


His big break came in June 2005, when Braddock signed with the Milwaukee Brewers after being selected in the 18th round of the amateur draft and became a "draft and follow," to be observed in junior college.


Major-league baseball teams own the rights of junior-college players until a week before the next year's draft.


Braddock, a 6-foot-4, 230-pound lefthander, pitched for Chipola Junior College in Marianna, Fla., for the fall 2005 semester. He transferred to Burlington County Community College in the winter before going to the Brewers' extended spring training in Phoenix the last week in May.


He played in the rookie league there for about a month before advancing to Helena.


"Both [junior college teams] helped," Braddock said. "They gave me time to mature emotionally and to prepare my arm."


If the southpaw sounds wise beyond his years, it comes from adversity. When Braddock was a junior and considered one of the area's best professional prospects, he tore the ulnar collateral ligament in his left elbow, once a career-ending blow to pitchers until Frank Jobe operated successfully on Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Tommy John in 1974.


Bill Braddock, the pitcher's father, took him to surgeon Craig Morgan in New Wilmington, Del., who has an impressive list of clients, including Curt Schilling.


Zach Braddock had followed Schilling's career when Schilling was with the Phillies, so Braddock welcomed being operated on by the same man who had saved a major-league ace's arm.


"Being put in his shoes with the same doctor almost gave you a sense of the work ethic you'd need to get back," the Southampton, Burlington County, resident said. "Schilling symbolizes the dedication and hard work it takes to become a successful major-league pitcher."


Burlington County baseball coach John Holt, a former Unionville High assistant, said he caught for Schilling at the high school during Schilling's rehabilitation in the late 1990s. He said Braddock reminded him of Schilling because he has "a very heavy fastball."


Holt said Braddock's fastball was clocked at 92 m.p.h. over 40 innings with the Barons. He struck out 44 batters and yielded 32 hits, 19 runs and 17 walks. He had a 3.33 ERA and a 4-3 record in the Garden State Athletic Conference.


The fastball is now 93 m.p.h., and Braddock has no complaints about his arm. He is working to improve his change-up and curve. Working as both a starter and out of the bullpen, Braddock's record with the Brewers, who compete in the Pioneer League North, was 1-2 with a 6.38 ERA before last night. He has given up 16 hits, 18 runs and 21 walks while striking out 16 over 24 innings.


Helena manager Ed Sedar said Braddock needs to work on consistency and control of his fastball and curve but has no doubts about his potential.


"He has the ability to be a big-league pitcher," Sedar said.


Braddock knows what he has to do to improve his physical skills. He also knows that he has to develop more than his arm to play in the majors.


"I love the mental aspect of the game," Braddock said, "capitalizing on the weakness of hitters. Knowledge is power. I control the game. The ball starts in my hands."

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From the Helena Site:


Brewers Camo Jerseys To Be Auctioned Off


The Helena Brewers are excited to announce that the US Marine, Ooh-Rah Tuesday camo jerseys will be put up for auction on EBay, starting Monday August 7th. Every player?s will be up for auction, and the starting bid will be $50. The auction will last for one month, and all proceeds will be donated to Toys-for-Tots. For more information please email info@HelenaBrewers.net.


Last year, the H-Brewers did this with their Hawaiian flowered jerseys, with several of our readers winning bids. This year it'll be via Ebay, as noted, which should be fine. Good luck to all!

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  • 3 weeks later...

I received an excel document from Travis Brower of the H-Crew. Sorry about the formatting, but I think you can read it enough to figure it out.


Player&nbsp &nbsp &nbsp &nbsp Jersey #&nbsp &nbsp &nbsp &nbsp Size


Andy Bouchie&nbsp &nbsp &nbsp &nbsp 76&nbsp &nbsp &nbsp &nbsp 48

Bill Rowe&nbsp &nbsp &nbsp &nbsp 79&nbsp &nbsp &nbsp &nbsp 48

Brad Miller&nbsp &nbsp &nbsp &nbsp 6&nbsp &nbsp &nbsp &nbsp 48

Brae Wright&nbsp &nbsp &nbsp &nbsp 82&nbsp &nbsp &nbsp &nbsp 48

Brandon Parillo&nbsp &nbsp &nbsp &nbsp 40&nbsp &nbsp &nbsp &nbsp 48

Brian Logan&nbsp &nbsp &nbsp &nbsp 72&nbsp &nbsp &nbsp &nbsp 48

Brock Kjeldgaard&nbsp &nbsp &nbsp &nbsp 53&nbsp &nbsp &nbsp &nbsp 48

Carlos De La Cruz&nbsp &nbsp &nbsp &nbsp 50&nbsp &nbsp &nbsp &nbsp 48

Chris Errecart&nbsp &nbsp &nbsp &nbsp 48&nbsp &nbsp &nbsp &nbsp 48

Chris Jean&nbsp &nbsp &nbsp &nbsp 30&nbsp &nbsp &nbsp &nbsp 48

Chris Toneguzzi&nbsp &nbsp &nbsp &nbsp 13&nbsp &nbsp &nbsp &nbsp 50

Chuckie Caufield&nbsp &nbsp &nbsp &nbsp 73&nbsp &nbsp &nbsp &nbsp 48

Cole Gillespie&nbsp &nbsp &nbsp &nbsp 78&nbsp &nbsp &nbsp &nbsp 48

David Parker&nbsp &nbsp &nbsp &nbsp 10&nbsp &nbsp &nbsp &nbsp 48

DJ Neyens&nbsp &nbsp &nbsp &nbsp 7&nbsp &nbsp &nbsp &nbsp 48

Eddie Sedar&nbsp &nbsp &nbsp &nbsp 49&nbsp &nbsp &nbsp &nbsp 50

Eric Newton/ Luis Rivas&nbsp &nbsp &nbsp &nbsp 77&nbsp &nbsp &nbsp &nbsp 48

Fredy De La Cruz&nbsp &nbsp &nbsp &nbsp 52&nbsp &nbsp &nbsp &nbsp 48

Garry Savas&nbsp &nbsp &nbsp &nbsp 16&nbsp &nbsp &nbsp &nbsp 48

Jhonny Narron&nbsp &nbsp &nbsp &nbsp 56&nbsp &nbsp &nbsp &nbsp 48

Jordan Swaydan&nbsp &nbsp &nbsp &nbsp 57&nbsp &nbsp &nbsp &nbsp 48

Jose Beltre&nbsp &nbsp &nbsp &nbsp 51&nbsp &nbsp &nbsp &nbsp 48

Jose Romero&nbsp &nbsp &nbsp &nbsp 95&nbsp &nbsp &nbsp &nbsp 48

JR Hopf&nbsp &nbsp &nbsp &nbsp 59&nbsp &nbsp &nbsp &nbsp 48

JT King&nbsp &nbsp &nbsp &nbsp 71&nbsp &nbsp &nbsp &nbsp 48

Luis Ramirez&nbsp &nbsp &nbsp &nbsp 75&nbsp &nbsp &nbsp &nbsp 50

Mark Littell&nbsp &nbsp &nbsp &nbsp 27&nbsp &nbsp &nbsp &nbsp 50

Mike McClendon&nbsp &nbsp &nbsp &nbsp 39&nbsp &nbsp &nbsp &nbsp 48

Mike Ramlow&nbsp &nbsp &nbsp &nbsp 15&nbsp &nbsp &nbsp &nbsp 48

Roque Mercedes&nbsp &nbsp &nbsp &nbsp 47&nbsp &nbsp &nbsp &nbsp 48

Shawn Ferguson&nbsp &nbsp &nbsp &nbsp 68&nbsp &nbsp &nbsp &nbsp 48

Stephen Chapman&nbsp &nbsp &nbsp &nbsp 24&nbsp &nbsp &nbsp &nbsp 48

Steve Palazzolo&nbsp &nbsp &nbsp &nbsp 31&nbsp &nbsp &nbsp &nbsp 50

Stuart Sutherland&nbsp &nbsp &nbsp &nbsp 63&nbsp &nbsp &nbsp &nbsp 48

Taylor Green&nbsp &nbsp &nbsp &nbsp 67&nbsp &nbsp &nbsp &nbsp 48

Travis Wendte&nbsp &nbsp &nbsp &nbsp 64&nbsp &nbsp &nbsp &nbsp 48

Zach Braddock&nbsp &nbsp &nbsp &nbsp 37&nbsp &nbsp &nbsp &nbsp 48

Zach Clem&nbsp &nbsp &nbsp &nbsp 9&nbsp &nbsp &nbsp &nbsp 46

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