FOND DU LAC, Wis. (SabreAthletics.com) – A tremendous opportunity has been granted to a pair of Marian University junior left-handers as Sam Forkert and Brandon Winfield have both signed full season contracts with the Northwoods League. The prestigious summer wood bat collegiate baseball league is comprised of mostly top-NCAA Division I talent. Marian currently rates as the lone NCAA Division III program with two full-contract pitchers in the league.
"It is great to have Sam and Brandon represent Marian in the Northwoods League," Marian Head Baseball Coach Jason Bartelt said. "Sam had a great summer with the Mallards last year and I'm happy for him that he was rewarded with another summer with them. Brandon had a tremendous year on the mound for us and hopefully he can keep that rolling with the Rafters."
Forkert re-signed with the team he competed with a season ago, the Madison Mallards. The Sister Bay native joined the team mid-season on a 10-day contract that was renewed several times before the organization signed him for the remainder of the summer.
The 6-6, 220-pound left-hander made 21 appearances for the Mallards in 2012 and compiled a 2-3 record with a 4.64 ERA and 37 strikeouts in 42.2 innings pitched. He went 4-3 with a 3.07 ERA and 61 strikeouts over 58.2 innings pitched for the Sabres this past season, earning All-Northern Athletics Conference Second Team honors in the process.
Winfield, a 6-1, 210-pound lefty, will spend his first season in the Northwoods League, competing for the Wisconsin Rapids Rafters. The Ripon native went 2-3 with a 1.89 ERA, which ranked second in the NAC. He added 42 strikeouts over 52.1 innings pitched over 12 appearances, including one complete-game shutout. Winfield was an All-NAC Honorable Mention selection.
The 16-team Northwoods League lifts the lid on the 2013 campaign Wednesday, May 29. Forkert's Mallards open at home inside the confines of Warner Park for a 7:05 p.m. start against Eau Claire, while Winfield's Rafters also open at home, taking on Lakeshore at Witter Park at 7:05 p.m.
The Mallards and Rafter will meet eight times this season. The first time they will meet will be June 4, in Madison followed by a June 5 meeting in Wisconsin Rapids.