Wisconsin Rapids, WI – February 8, 2011 (PRESS RELEASE). The Wisconsin Rapids Rafters added a pair of Big Ten Conference teammates today, when they officially announced the signings of sophomore infielders Brandon Hohl and Bill Charvat.
Hohl began his collegiate baseball career at the University of Illinois last spring and managed to start in all 50 games he appeared in at third base for the Illini. As a true freshman, Hohl hit .278 and tied for second on the team with four home runs while tallying 33 RBI. He managed to lead Illinois with 11 multi-RBI games and also showed a knack for getting the clutch hit, as he totaled a team-high 19 RBIs with two outs. In the field he showed tremendous poise as a true freshman, committing only 6 errors in 143 chances at the hot corner. His .958 fielding percentage was a welcomed sight for the Illini after Illinois' third baseman the previous three seasons had averaged 21.3 errors per year.
A 2009 graduate of Lincoln-Way East High School in Mokena, Illinois, Hohl was named the No. 31 prospect in the state by Prep Baseball Report. The same source also ranked him as the No. 7 hitter in the state in the Class of 2009. In his senior season, Hohl hit .391 with seven doubles, five home runs and 27 RBI, while also posting a .509 on-base percentage and a .630 slugging percentage. His success on the field led him to being named to the Herald News All-Area team as well as a special mention All-State selection by the Chicago Tribune in 2009.
After redshirting his freshman year, Charvat saw his first action in 2010 when he appeared in 18 games for the University of Illinois. In limited appearances, Charvat hit .217 while seeing time at first base, second base and third base late in games. He showed the ability to collect a big hit as he batted .375 with runners in scoring position and .250 as a pinch hitter.
Charvat is no stranger to summer collegiate baseball as he played for the Lake Erie Monarchs of the Great Lakes League in 2010. He also spent his 2009 summer playing for the Crystal Lake Cardinals of the Chicago Suburban Baseball League, helping the Cardinals to a franchise-best 51-15 record and a Metro Collegiate League title. The Cardinals also won the 2009 National Amateur Baseball Federation College World Series in Toledo, Ohio that year.
"The Rafters are very excited to start a relationship with the University of Illinois," commented Rafters general manager Liz Kern. "Players from Illinois have had a tremendous amount of success in previous Northwoods League seasons and we look forward to big contributions from both players this season."
A native of Elk Grove Village, Illinois, Charvat was a 2008 All-Area and All-Mid-Suburban Conference selection while attending Conant High School. He was named Conant's Top Athlete in the class of 2008 by the Arlington Heights Daily Herold and also earned the William N. Perry Award as the top student-athlete at Conant High School the same year. Charvat is majoring in mechanical engineering at the University of Illinois.
The Wisconsin Rapids Rafters are members of the 16-team summer collegiate Northwoods League. The Rafters will play a 70 game schedule with 35 home games in 2011. Opening Day at Historic Witter Field is scheduled for Wednesday, June 1 at 7:05pm vs. the Madison Mallards. The 2011 Marshfield Clinic Northwoods League All-Star Game will be held in Wisconsin Rapids. The All-Star festivities will begin on Sunday, July 17th with the Marshfield Clinic Home Run Health Fest beginning at 2pm. On Monday, July 18th the Northwoods League North Division All-Stars will take on the All-Stars from the South Division in the League's 17th Annual All-Star contest beginning at 7:05pm.
Courtesy: WI Rapids Rafters