Local players suit up for the Rockford Rivets

Local Sports

LOVES PARK, Ill. (WTVO/WQRF) – The Rockford Rivets season is underway. Once again there are a few local guys on their roster.

Winnebago’s Jace Warkentien is one of the pitchers on the staff. He’ll be a fifth-year senior at Western Illinois this fall.  This spring he held opposing batters to a .245 batting average. He’s looking for this stint with the Rivets to make him better.

“I just want to work on getting quick outs. Less than 15-pitch innings. I think that’s where I can really make, make some ground on getting better at baseball.”

“He had a pretty good year at Western Illinois,” said Rivets manager JT Scara. “Every single start if you look at his stats he’s given his team a chance to win that game. He also pitched deep into games.”

Another pitcher on the staff is Rockford University’s Jered Herzog. As a freshman this spring he was the freshman of the year in the Northern Athletics Collegiate Conference. He averaged more than one strikeout per inning pitched. Herzog also held his own at the plate with a .301 batting average, but he knows he has room for improvement, and the Rivets can help with that.

“Definitely I want to work some more pitches into my arsenal a little bit,” said Herzog. “I feel like later on in the season a lot of those bigger hitters, better hitters caught on to some of my stuff, so I’ve just got to come back with some better stuff next season.”

“He has a lot of upside,” said Scara. His stats do indicate he’s a pitch-to-contact type of guy. He can pitch deep into games, keep the pitch count down.”

Rockford University outfielder Troy Tucci is also on the Rivets roster, and so is former Guilford catcher Jake Klekamp.

It benefits all these guys to be able to play in a familiar ballpark close to home.

“I’m really excited for it,” said  Warkentien. “It’s the first time I’ve been playing in front of my family and friends in a long time.”

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