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BlueSox succeed with local, national roster

| Saturday, June 15, 2013, 9:00 p.m.
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Butler BlueSox manager Anthony Reyanski coaches third base during a recent game.
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Butler BlueSox manager Anthony Rebyanski
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Anthony Rebyanski is in his third season with the Butler BlueSox of the Prospect League

Butler BlueSox manager Anthony Rebyanski is as happy with the support shown from his team's fans as he is with the dedication of his players.

Put together, the BlueSox have quite the good thing going.

Three weeks into the Prospect League season, the BlueSox are in the midst of an extremely tight and competitive pack in the league's East Division. That's given fans at Pullman Park —— and from all around Butler —— plenty to talk about.

“It's an old-time baseball community,” said Rebyanski, who is in his third season as the team's manager. “They love the BlueSox as if they're the New York Yankees. Seriously. It's really great to see. They always have something to say to you; you couldn't ask for anything more out of our fans they're so supportive.

“Sometimes they'll get on you for a decision you make at home, but they never back off. They're always in games, no matter what the score is. Our fans stay in the game. When we're at home, it makes for a great place to play.”

Perhaps many of the BlueSox's players feed off of that. The Prospect League features college prospects who are selected from all over the country and feature all levels of collegiate play. Wooden bats are used, and scouts are regularly evaluating players.

While some players are from close by (outfielder Cody Herald is from Butler), others come from as far as Texas or Colorado. Some play in colleges as varied as Duke, Central Michigan, South Carolina Upstate and the University of Cincinnati.

“What I've really liked out of this team is that these guys, they want to win,” Rebyanski said. “They're out to better themselves, but that's not all. They're competitive, which is good to see in a summer league. They're not just here to get reps; the group we have this year is outstanding, and they give 100 percent effort.”

The BlueSox aren't lacking when it comes to pitching depth. Through its 14th game of the season this past Wednesday, Butler led the Prospect League in opponents' batting average (.221) and in WHIP (walks and hits per inning pitched) at 1.18.

Rebyanski goes with a seven-man starting rotation —— and he sees little dropoff no matter whom is on the mound.

“We feel as if we have seven very solid starters,” he said.

Matt Warren is among the league leaders in ERA at 2.19 through two starts, and Anthony Caringi isn't far behind him at 2.25.

Lefthander G.J. Senchak (California Pa.) and righties Jon Anderson (Slippery Rock) and Brett Sullivan (Seton Hill) are pitchers from local colleges in the BlueSox rotation. Lefties Adam Aldred (Central Michigan) and Robert Hawkins (Northern Colorado) come from afar but each did not allow a run in his first start of the season for the BlueSox.

Offensively, Butler relies on speed and plays an aggressive game, beginning with the likes of Ryan Fitzgerald (Creighton University) and Alex Miklos (Kent State) at the top of the lineup. Cal's Matt Peters bats third in the order, and his batting average was approaching .400 through the middle of this past week.

“It's a good group of guys —— a great group,” Herald said. “It's funny, you go to school and you know all these guys and to be on a college team you bond with them and become great friends.

“When I first came to the BlueSox, not knowing anyone you think you have to do all that bonding all over, but it was a shock in how easy it was.”

Chris Adamski is a freelance writer for Trib Total Media.

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