MIAC baseball champion St. Thomas has four players and one assistant coach participating this summer in the 16-team Northwoods League.
The majority of the Northwoods players come from Division I and II scholarship programs. Regular-season play started May 30 and runs through Aug. 12. The league uses wood bats and includes only college players with NCAA eligibility remaining.
The Tommies, who won the school’s 10th consecutive conference championship and placed third nationally in 2012, will be represented by three players on full contracts -– RHP-DH Dylan Thomas with the Duluth Huskies; catcher J.D. Dorgan with the Willmar Stingers; and relief pitcher Tommy Danczyk with the Wisconsin Rapids Rafters.
In addition, OF Ryan Gerber has signed a temporary contract with the Eau Claire Express.
Pat Casey is working an assistant coach with the Waterloo Bucks.
Thomas also played with the Duluth Huskies in summer 2011. For the Tommies, he made the 2012 ABCA and D3Baseball.com All-America teams and was chosen MIAC Pitcher of the Year and Midwest Region Player of the Year. A dynamic prep athlete at Lakeville North, Thomas had solid stats at Des Moines Area Community College, where he was 7-3 with no saves and had a 4.95 ERA in 71 innings in 2010 and 2011. The junior came on strong this spring to help jump start the Tommie offense. At the plate, Thomas batted .361 over his last 29 games in the lineup with 39 hits, 13 walks, 33 RBI, six HRs and 23 runs. On the mound he went 8-0 with an 0.98 ERA in his last 11 appearances, including a complete-game win over eventual NCAA champ Marietta at the College World Series, his third postseason victory.
Dorgan played on a temporary contract with Duluth for a spell in summer 2011. He has started nearly every game when healthy in his two seasons at UST. The Eagan native has 96 hits in 91 games while batting .319 with 64 RBI, 56 runs, 16 walks, nine HRs, two triples and 23 doubles. Dorgan is one of Division III’s best defensive catchers and was voted MIAC Rookie of the Year in 2011.
Danczyk is 1-0 in his lone appearance with the Rafters with two scoreless innings. With the Tommies this season as a sophomore, he was 2-1 with two saves and a 3.97 ERA in 11 appearances. Danczyk, who hails from Hayward, Wis., had 11 strikeouts in 11 innings. In 2011 as a freshman, he was 1-1 in six appearances with five strikeouts in 12 innings.
Gerber, whose hometown is Bruce, Wis., has played in 52 games in two years with the Tommies. He’s had 18 hits, 15 RBI, 14 walks, five doubles, two triples and one home run.