- The 2010 State College Spikes will come together for the first time this week at Medlar Field at Lubrano Park, as several high picks from the 2009 Major League Baseball Draft and an array of players from across the globe are part of the roster for a three-day mini-camp that starts on Tuesday.
The initial list of 25 players who will form this year's Spikes includes three of the Pittsburgh Pirates' top ten selections in the 2009 Draft. Second-round choice Brooks Pounders, fourth-rounder Zack Dodson, and sixth-rounder Zack Von Rosenberg, all 19 years old, lead a Spikes pitching staff that also returns right-hander Teddy Fallon from the 2009 squad. Youngsters Ryan Beckman, Zac Fuesser and Sandobal Septimo join 2010 draft choices Kevin Decker (39th round, College of Charleston) and Justin Ennis (33rd round, Lousiana State-Shreveport) on the roster as well.
The Spikes will also feature a plethora of players from outside the United States on the mini-camp roster. Right-handed pitchers Mitch Fienemann and Jarryd Sullivan, both 20 years old, will be the first two Australian players in Spikes history.
Panamanian lefty Eliecer Navarro and Septimo, a Dominican southpaw, will also serve as a international presence in the pitching corps.
South African Gift Ngoepe follows in the footsteps of 2009 Spike and countryman Brett Willemburg by reaching State College. Other international position players include Dominicans Andury Acevedo, Miguel Mendez, Gerlis Rodriguez, and Andy Vasquez, as well as Venezuelan Jairo Marquez and Puerto Rican Melbin De La Cruz.
Four players return from last year's edition of the Spikes to the 2010 version: Fallon, Mendez, Vasquez and outfielder Kyle Saukko.
Other members of the Spikes mini-camp roster include recent college draft choices Justin Bencsko (20th round, Villanova), Kelson Brown (34th round, Linfield), Chase Lyles (32nd round, Northwestern State) and Matt Skirving (30th round, Eastern Michigan), in addition to 2009 Gulf Coast League Pirates infielder Walker Gourley.
The official Opening Day roster will not be set until later in the week, but is expected to include many of the players who will work out at the mini-camp.
The Spikes will work out at Medlar Field at Lubrano Park on Tuesday afternoon from 12-5 p.m., and Wednesday afternoon from 2:30-5 p.m. Players and coaches will be available to the media after both sessions. Thursday, the Spikes will finish the mini-camp with a workout from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m., after which players and coaches will be available as part of Media Day at the ballpark from 1-2 p.m.
Fans can then get an up-close look at the 2010 Spikes at the Meet the Team Pep Rally on Wednesday, June 16 from 5:30-7 p.m. at Medlar Field at Lubrano Park. The free event will feature player and coach introductions, followed by a team autograph session on the field. In addition, the event will include a live season preview edition of the "Spikes GameDay Show," with guests including Spikes manager Gary Robinson.
The Spikes' fifth season of providing Central Pennsylvania's Best Family Value will return Saturday, June 19 at 7:05 p.m. against the rival Williamsport Crosscutters. Single-game tickets, season tickets, mini-plans, flex books and a variety of different group packages and experiences can now be reserved for the 2010 season by calling toll-free at (877) 99-SPIKES. Additional team and ticket information can also be viewed by visiting StateCollegeSpikes.com.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.