(Note: Nearly half of the Paints roster is in Springfield, Illinois for the 2012 Prospect League All Star Game. Clear Channel Chillicothe's Dan Ramey caught up with some of the players during their bus ride to Illinois.)
The Springfield Sliders will host the Prospect League All Star Game tonight in Illinois.
Eleven Chillicothe Paints players make up the East Division team, more players than any other club. Originally, there were 10 players named to the team. Monday, Paints closer Trace Dempsey was added to the roster as was shortstop Kevin Zak is replacing Chillicothe's Ryan Cypret who's dealing with an injury. Dempsey was added to the team replacing Butler’s Dylan Lynn, the League leader in strike outs with 55 K’s.
For many Paints players, this is a first time experience, including Grand Valley State’s Zak.
“I’ve never done something like this”, said Zak who leads the Paints with 48 hits.
Infielder Matt Fisher agreed, “This is definitely the biggest thing that’s ever happened in my baseball career”. With 11 Paints players representing the East Division, the Mansfield of Pennsylvania product adds “It’s a great experience to share this with a lot of my teammates.”
Dan Zuchowski has unique role with the Paints as a pitcher and position player. The Toledo Rocket is happy to be finding some time on the mound. “I was a pitcher in high school and haven’t thrown for over a year.” But Zuchowski has managed to record 4 saves this season with a 2.25 ERA and is batting .308. He’s been nursing a sore thumb but says “I’ll be good to go starting tomorrow (Wednesday)”.
The Paints All Star unit includes pitchers J.T.Miller (Wabash) and Chris Thomas (Hiedleberg), position players Giancarlo Burgnoni (Grand Valley State), Aaron Hopper (Marietta) and Nick Lombardi (Dartmouth). Reserve players include Mike Nadratowski (Grand Valley State) and Jared Kujawa (Western Michigan).
Los Angeles Dodger great Maury Wills will attend the game. Wills became the first major leaguer to steal more than 100 bases in a season when he recorded 104 in 1962.
The home run derby begins at 5:30pm Central Time.
It’s anticipated that Brugnoni will be gunning for the fence at Robin Roberts Stadium. The derby participants are to be determined later Wednesday. The Paints first baseman leads the League with 13 home runs.
Matt Fisher added a message to Paints fans, “We’re going to do our best for them, and hopefully we’ll make them proud.”
The game will begin at 7:00pm Central Time.