Valpo Baseball Has Success During Summer
Thursday, August 21, 2008
Valpo Baseball Has Success During Summer
Bryce Shafer was the Central Illinois Collegiate League Pitcher of the Year.

Valparaiso University’s baseball team has had a great deal of success throughout the summer playing in various leagues around the country.

A quartet of Crusaders helped the Springfield Sliders of the Central Illinois Collegiate League win the regular season as well as the playoff championship.  Senior Matt Lenski (Milwaukee, Wis./Marquette University H.S.) and transfer (Gurnee, Ill./Warren Township H.S.) joined sophomores Brian Behnke and Andrew Quinnette (Kokomo, Ind./Kokomo H.S.) and Bryce Shafer (Wabash, Ind./Northfield H.S.) on the championship team. Shafer was selected as the league’s Pitcher of the Year as well as an all-star. He led the team with a 6-1 record with 74 strikeouts in 59 innings to go along with a 2.57 ERA. Quinnette was named the tournament finals Most Valuable Player as he hit a two-run homer in game one as the Sliders won 2-1.

Incoming recruit Kyle Muhlsteff (Yorba Linda, Calif./Esperanza H.S.) led the Tennessee Tornados of the Southern Collegiate League to a regular season and playoff championship. Muhlsteff was named to the all-star team as he hit an impressive .339 for the summer.

Returning junior Brett Bivens (Battle Creek, Mich./Lakeview H.S.) helped his team, the Laramie Colts, win the regular season and playoff championship in the Mountain Collegiate League. Bivens was named an all-star and was selected the Golden Glove Award winner for the Colts.  He hit .331 in 160 at bats.

Sophomore Justin Frane (Fort Wayne, Ind./Carroll H.S.) played for the Monroe Channelcats in the Tarheel Baseball League. Frane was selected to play in the all-star game as he hit .310 for the summer while also pitching 10 innings with 1.80 ERA.

Sophomores Damon McCormick (Louisville, Ky./Saint Xavier H.S.) and Steve Godawa (Buffalo Grove, Ill./Buffalo Grove H.S.) led the Augusta Nationals of the Great South League to a second place finish in the playoffs. McCormick hit .293 while Godawa finished with a 4.15 ERA.

Returning pitchers Jon Gulbransen (Appleton, Wis./Fox Valley Lutheran H.S.), with the Green Bay Bullfrogs, and Austen Siwiec (Aurora, Ill./Marmion Academy), with the Alexandria Beetles, played in the Northwoods Summer League.  Gulbransen finished with 22 strikeouts in 30 innings and a 3.56 ERA while Siwiec struck out 28 in 30.1 innings while compiling a 3-0 record with a 4.15 ERA. The league hit just .181 off of him.

Finally, fifth-year senior Dan DeBruin (Combined Locks, Wis./Kimberly H.S.) was granted another year of eligibility by the NCAA.  DeBruin was injured during his sophomore season.  In 2008, he hit .338 with 23 runs batted in as a leadoff hitter for the Crusaders.