Wisconsin Rapids, WI – November 15th, 2010. The Rafters welcomed back another member from their inaugural season squad today by announcing that Justin Jirschele (UW-Stevens Point) will return for a second season. Jirschele joins LHP Brad Douthit as the other returning member of the 2010 roster that has been announced.
Jirschele, a junior infielder, appeared in 28 games for the Rafters last summer while batting .203 with 5 RBI before a shoulder injury forced him to be shut down for the remainder of the summer. He was a part of some early Fourth of July fireworks last year by scoring the game-winning run in a thrilling 4-3 walk-off win over the La Crosse Loggers on Sunday, July 4th. Tied at three in the bottom of the ninth, Jirschele singled and Michael Smith doubled to put runners at second and third. With one down Ryan Palermo lofted a fly ball just deep enough for Jirschele to carry home the winning run.
"We're excited to have Justin back for the 2011 season," said Rafters general manager Liz Kern. "He has a phenomenal work ethic and we see Justin being a leader for us next year."
Last year, as a sophomore, Jirschele transferred from UW-Oshkosh to UW-Stevens Point and appeared in all 52 games for the Pointers, starting in 51 of them. He batted .319 with 16 doubles, four home runs, and 54 RBI, while carrying a .384 on-base percentage. His 66 hits ranked him third on the team in that category and his .957 fielding percentage demonstrated his solid fundamental skills in the field. As a freshman, Jirschele started in all 40 spring contests for UW-Oshkosh while batting .280 with 9 doubles, 27 RBI and a .359 on-base percentage.
"I am excited to play for the people of Wisconsin Rapids again," commented Jirschele. "I am looking forward to being a part of another special team."
A native of Clintonville, WI, Justin's family ties to the Northwoods League and the game of baseball are very strong. His brother Jeremy played for the Wisconsin Woodchucks in 2004, while earning MVP honors, and was selected as Baseball America's Silver Glove Award winner as a second-baseman that year. He was drafted in 2005 by the Kansas City Royals and played in their farm system until 2008.
Justin's father Mike is about to enter his 12th season as the manager of the Kansas City Royals Triple A affiliate, the Omaha Royals. Last season, Mike served as manager Ned Yost's first base coach for the Major League club for the final month of the season, after Yost took over for the fired Trey Hillman.
Courtesy: Wisconsin Rapids Rafters