ROCHESTER, MN (PRESS RELEASE) - The Northwoods League is pleased to announce the recipients of the 2009 Rawlings Big Stick Award. This award is given to the player at each position who had the best batting average during the 2009 regular season.
As expected the 2009 Northwoods League Batting Champion, La Crosse's Rob Brantly (California-Riverside), earned the award at catcher. Brantly finished the season with a .346 average, after vaulting up the leader board by hitting .511 in the final two weeks of the season. Battle Creek's Chris Lewis (Western Michigan) finished a close second in the batting race and takes home a Rawlings Big Stick as the top hitting outfielder in the NWL with a .344 average. Waterloo's Mike Giller (Illinois), the NWL's third best hitter, picks up the Big Stick at shortstop by hitting .335 for the Bucks. He finished just ahead of three other shortstops that all ended the season in the NWL's top-10 batting leaders. Madison's Harold Riggins (NC State) led the league in RBI (48) and also carried the top batting average for all first baseman. Two of the outfielders earning a Big Stick, Madison's Kurtis Muller and Mankato's Ryan Durant, hail from the University of Iowa. A couple of west-coast players, Green Bay's Riley Henricks (Portland) and La Crosse's Chris Engell (San Diego), earn the Big Stick at second and third base, respectively.
To honor their achievement the eight award winners will receive an engraved bat from Rawlings. The complete list of 2009 Rawlings Big Stick Award Winners is below.
Catcher Rob Brantly, La Crosse Loggers, University of California-Riverside, .346
First Base Harold Riggins, Madison Mallards, North Carolina State University, .308
Second Base Riley Henricks, Green Bay Bullfrogs, University of Portland, .270
Third Base Chris Engell, La Crosse Loggers, University of San Diego, .296
Shortstop Mike Giller, Waterloo Bucks, University of Illinois, .335
Outfield Chris Lewis, Battle Creek Bombers, Western Michigan University, .344
Outfield Kurtis Muller, Madison Mallards, University of Iowa, .335
Outfield Ryan Durant, Mankato MoonDogs, University of Iowa, .324
To be eligible a player would've needed to have enough plate appearances to qualify for a batting title. In 2009 it took at least 184 plate appearances to be listed among the league leaders. Those players that saw time at more than one position qualify at the position they played most often.
The Northwoods League plays more games than, draws more fans than, and plays in venues superior to any Summer Collegiate Baseball League in North America. The Northwoods League recently completed its 16th season of play.
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