UW-Milwaukee standout Chad Pierce is now in the Milwaukee
Brewers farm system.
Ask a young boy
what he wants to be when he grows up. If he doesnít say a
firefighter, the answer is probably a Major League baseball player.
The dream starts
in T-ball, and for most continues to Little League.
At that point,
the field starts to winnow a bit. By high school, even the top players
know realistically this will likely be the end of their competitive
baseball careers. A select few go on to play in college and the best
of the best, the top one-tenth of 1 percent, are drafted by a Major
League franchise. And then the real work begins. A long slog through
the minors with the hopes of one day putting on a Big League uniform.
Chad Pierce, a
Milwaukee resident and UW-Milwaukee alum, is on his way. Pierce, a
pitcher, was selected in the 38th round of the 2011 Amateur Draft by
the hometown Milwaukee Brewers.
drafted is an experience in and of itself, but to be selected by the
team I grew up rooting for was surreal; itís something Iíll
remember for the rest of my life," Pierce says.
to professional baseball was a unique one. After playing at Fond du
Lac High School, he signed with the University of Arkansas ó as a
catcher. He was quickly converted to a pitcher and after two years he
transferred to UW-Milwaukee. As a senior, he went 6-4 and struck out
almost a batter an inning.
As excited as
Pierce was by being drafted, he knows his real work is just beginning.
He was assigned to the Helena Brewers and rookie league baseball in
Montana. He struck out 33 batters in 40 innings but was 2-4 with a
college, there are two or three hitters who are outstanding," he
says. "In the minors, you canít take a batter off. If you miss
a pitch, theyíre going to hit it pretty hard."
He pitched his
best at the end of the season and will take that experience and
momentum into his second professional season.
"I know I
can do it," he says.
For Pierce, the
In addition to Chad
Pierce, the UW-Milwaukee grad in the Milwaukee Brewers Minor
League system, there are a number of local players pursuing their
Big League dreams in the minors. Here is a sampling.
James, Whitefish Bay, a pitcher in the Tampa Rays system.
Following in the footsteps of WFB alum Craig Counsell going to
Tampa Bay, Jamesí career is just getting started.
Butler of Oak Creek, a pitcher in the Seattle Mariners system.
He was a third round selection in the 2006 draft. He posted a 3.26
ERA last year in A ball.
Rohlinger of West Bend East High School, a shortstop/third
baseman in the San Francisco Giants system. He appeared in 46 MLB
games during the last four seasons and has hit 71 homers in the
Scott of Milwaukee, a catcher in the Pittsburgh Pirates
system. He has 50 Minor League home runs.
Versnik, a West Allis Hale graduate, is a pitcher in the
Seattle Mariners system. He has a 3.06 ERA in two Minor League