The Gateway Grizzlies have re-signed pitchers Tyler Thompson and Kerry Kelley and outfielder Madison Beaird onto the 2015 roster.
Both pitchers started more than 10 games for the Grizzlies after they were signed during June of last season.
Thompson, 22, pitched to a 3.82 ERA in 12 starts and four appearances out of the bullpen in 2014.
“It feels really good to sign for my second season,” said Thompson, who grew up in Cuba, Mo. “I’m excited to get back out there with all the guys and work towards a trip to the playoffs.”
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After finishing his collegiate career at Pittsburg State University, Thompson recorded 77 strikeouts and walked only 24 batters with Gateway. He took a sub-2.00 ERA into the season’s final month. Prior to attending Pittsburg State, the right-handed pitcher spent time playing at Missouri State University and nearby Jefferson College.
Kelley only allowed 10 earned runs in his first 40 innings of work for Gateway in 2014. The Palmsdale, Ca. native made 13 starts after graduating from Cal State San Bernardino University.
“I’m looking forward to playing a full season,” said Kelley, who will turn 23 during this upcoming season. “This offseason, I’ve worked on making sure I have the strength and endurance to throw an entire game and have the ability to last deeper into games,” he said.
Grizzlies’ ninth-year manager Phil Warren believes that both pitchers could excel on the mound during their sophomore seasons in the Frontier League.
“They are a really good mix and the biggest thing is that they’ve both had a full winter of rest,” Warren said. “Our tryouts really paid off last year and they are two guys who we can potentially count on in our starting rotation,” he said.
Beaird, 24, moves into his second season with the Grizzlies after getting traded to Gateway prior to last season. The Russellville, Ark. native hit four home runs and picked up 48 RBI while stealing 21 bases in 2014. He played in all 96 games of the regular season.
“I have been focusing on improving my speed and agility this offseason,” said Beaird, who started his professional baseball career with the American Association’s Wichita Wingnuts. “My goals are to impact the game somehow every night and to help the team win,” he said.
Beaird led the team in batting average while hitting .289. Warren looks forward to having the versatile outfielder back for 2015.
“He’s got speed, grit, work ethic, and he’s just smart,” Warren said. “I love watching him play because he’s that spark plug on the club and will give you everything he’s got.”
Warren leads a squad of Grizzlies that begins the 2015 season against the Rockford Aviators on May 15 in the friendly confines of GCS Ballpark.
In addition to opening the season, baseball’s all-time hit king Pete Rose will be at the game. Rose will coach first base and third base during the game for Gateway.
Season and group tickets are on sale now. Call 618-337-3000 for more information about tickets or about how to get Rose’s autograph.
Oh, say can you sing?
If you can, you may be able to sing the National Anthem before a Grizzlies game.
The Grizzlies are calling on all singers, musicians, bands, and choirs. Are you looking for an opportunity to showcase your musical talent? If so, the Grizzlies want you, your band or your choir to perform the National Anthem or God Bless America before a game. The Grizzlies have 54 home games during the 2015 season, and we need singers or performers to fill all our open spots!
People of all ages are welcome to audition. It is an open tryout with no reservations allowed. Therefore, there may be a line to perform. Performers will be video-taped during their auditions. Performers can sing, use an instrument or incorporate both for their auditions.
Auditions for the 2015 season will be held infront of GCS Ballpark on Saturday, April 18 starting at 3:30 p.m. Registration starts at 3 p.m. Once auditions are complete, performers will be contacted to be told if they were chosen or not. Performers are also asked to look at the Grizzlies' 2015 home schedule before coming and have available dates ready to go in case they are asked to perform at a Grizzlies’ game. Dates to perform the National Anthem and God Bless America are based on availability.
The Grizzlies will also be accepting video and audio submissions via email and must be submitted before April 18. Prospective National Anthem performs can send those clips to firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you have any questions about the auditions please contact the Grizzlies' front office at 618-337-3000, extension 21.