(TECUMSEH, ON) – The St Clair Green Giants will start their second campaign in the Great Lakes Summer Collegiate League today with a 3-game series at the expansion Saginaw Sugar Beets. On Saturday, the Green Giants will host their home opener against the Lake Erie Monarchs at Lacasse Park in Tecumseh with first pitch scheduled for 7:05pm.
The St Clair College Alumni Association will serve as the evening’s game day sponsor for Alumni Night. Prior to the home opener, Tecumseh mayor, Gary McNamara, along with St Clair College Board of Governor chair, Dan Allen, will participate in a first pitch ceremony to kick off the season.
St. Clair were 2nd place finishers the Northern Division in the 2017 inaugural season, with a 22-19 record, and advanced to the playoffs where they upset 1st place Lake Erie for the divisional crown.
The Green Giants then succumbed in the semi-finals, two games later, to the eventual League Champion, Lima Locos. But, St Clair managed to climb to a ranking of 29th out of 154 summer collegiate teams in 15 leagues across the United States last season, and will look to build on that success.
The 2018 Green Giants will only feature one returning player this summer in Brantford’s Taylor Pappin, who has spent 4 seasons as part of the St Clair Saints varsity program. Pappin was named an OCAA League All-Star in 2017 and helped lead his team to a provincial and national championship, where he won the Top Pitcher Award.
The Green Giants will also include Saints RHP Micah Harris, of Essex, and LHP Mitchell Prsa, from Tecumseh, on the staff.
LHP Miguel Cienfuegos, from Laval, QC, is another former Saint and is back in town after a year at Northwest Florida State College. He won an OCAA Championship Most Valuable Player Award after leading St Clair to the title in 2016.
Outfielder Gibson Krzeminski, from Tecumseh, will also be a familiar face in the lineup. He plays college ball at Iowa Western Community College.
The remaining Canadians on the roster are RHP Chris Lata, from Victoria, BC, who plays at Southeastern Illinois College, and LHP Garrett Nicholson, of Sydney Mines, NS, a player at Central Michigan University.
This season’s attack will be potent and deep with a significant upgrade in power and speed at every position. All six outfielders on the roster can run extremely well and take away bases with their arm strength.
Three catchers will share the duties this season, including Matt Phipps, of Plantation, FL, who attends Allen County Community College in Kansas, Alex Crump, from Grand Rapids, MI, and who attends Kellogg Community College in Battle Creek, MI, and Yordany Salva, of Vega Alta, PR, a Kansas City Royals draft pick and member of the Puerto Rico Junior National Team.
RHP Gage O’Brien, from Tucson, AZ, will be counted on for significant innings this season. He plays for Paradise Valley Community College in Phoenix.
Notable infielders include Tommy Cheng, who hails from Hong Kong, and is a Chinese Junior National team member. Brady Dorn, from Redondo Beach, CA, and a player at San Francisco State University, Rodrigo Duluc, of New York City and playing at NCAA Division I Rice University, and Penn State signee Gavin Homer, from Battle Creek, will be tough to beat up the middle this season.
Gilbert, Arizona’s Switch hitting Tommy Sacco, who plays at Yavapai College in Prescott, AZ, was invited to the Team USA Junior National team tryout and will be in and out of town for the season as he prepares for a chance to represent his country.
League restructuring over the off-season created two divisions instead of three and incorporated crossover play in the regular season.
The Green Giants will play a 42-game regular season with a minimum of four games against their Northern Division counterparts, which include the Irish Hills Leprechauns, Lake Erie Monarchs, Muskegon Clippers, Saginaw Sugar Beets, Grand Lake Mariners, and 2017 defending league champs Lima Locos. St Clair will face Muskegon and Saginaw six times in the unbalanced schedule.
The Green Giants will also play two games against each Southern Division franchise, including the Galion Graders, Licking County Settlers, Cincinnati Steam, Xenia Scouts, Richmond Jazz, Southern Ohio Copperheads, and Hamilton Joes. St Clair will host a total of 21 games at Lacasse Park with the final day scheduled for July 29, as part of a 7-game home stand to end to the season.
On Sunday, the Green Giants will complete the 2-game set against Lake Erie beginning at 3:05pm, with the game being sponsored by the Walker Homesites Athletic Club. General admission for adults to each St Clair game is $7.