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Toledo Targets Another Strong Showing

Players from the University of Toledo have been a common sight around the Prospect League over the past few summers. Their players have been good additions to Lorain, Chillicothe, and Butler. That will continue this summer when infielder/outfielder Anthony Smith and pitcher Ross Achter join the BlueSox.

Achter is getting his first taste of college ball this year after being redshirted last spring. He has posted a 4.62 ERA over seven starts for the Rockets. He has also made three appearances out of the bullpen for a total of 25.1 innings of work.

"Ross has the ability to be a front end pitcher on our staff this summer," said BlueSox manager Anthony Rebyanski. "He knows what it takes to be successful on the mound and is a guy who will put for the extra effort to learn and make his team and himself better on a daily basis."

A native of Oregon, Ohio, Achter was lights out in high school with 64 strikeouts over 48.2 innings in his senior campaign. At the plate he hit .390 with 22 RBIs and was voted first-team all-conference, first-team all-district, and first-team academic all-league. In addition to three letters earned on the diamond, Achter acquired three more on the basketball court and played two years of football.

Anthony Smith, INF/OF - Toledo

Toledo's Anthony Smith will be using the summer to get back into the swing of things after having missed most of the spring with an injury. Last season he started 47 games, dividing his time between left field, third base, and DH.

"Anthony was supposed to join us in 2013 before a season ending injury put those plans to a hault," said Rebyanski. "He is still recovering from those injuries, but he from what we know about Anthony and his abilities, we are looking forward to finally having him join us in 2014."

He hit for a .304 average and was second on the team with a .405 on-base percentage. Smith hit safely in 36 games, including 10 multi-hit games. He scored 25 runs and drove in 22 more.

"Anthony is a gap to gap type of hitter that has the ability to display some power. He's also versatile defensively, being able to play the corner infield as well as the corner outfield, which in our opinion is something important to have throughout the summer," said Rebyanski.

Dave Yakopec, P - Rutgers

A familiar face in Dave Yakopec will be returning to Butler this summer. Yakopec and his fellow pitcher Tyler Ferguson will become the first two players to play for the BlueSox in three different seasons. He is sitting out the spring, having transferred to Rutgers from the University of Pittsburgh.

Dave Yakopec

"Dave is a great team guy, and when he is on, he is very tough to beat when he's on the mound," said Rebyanski. "He worked through some ups and downs last spring and summer before getting shut down, but has been persistent in returning to his natural form. We have seen what he can do when he is on, and as I have mentioned before, you can never have enough left handed pitchers on your staff. It will be great to work with Dave once again this summer."

Yakopec's 2013 summer in Butler was brief—an injury shortened it to just six innings. When he had a chance to play in 2012 though, the lefty was a strong member of the BlueSox rotation. He struck out 32 hitters over 39 innings of work across eight starts.

A University of Pittsburgh Scholar-Athlete and member of the Big East All-Academic Team, Yakopec mainly threw out of the bullpen for Pitt. He lettered all four high school years at Burrell, where he was touted by ESPN Rise Magazine, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazzette, and the Valley News Dispatch.

Butler Health System To Be BlueSox Top Sponsor in 2014

Butler Health System will be the 'Presented by' sponsor for the 2014 Butler BlueSox Season. Both entities intend to continue their goal of supporting the Butler Community and Western Pennsylvania.

"Butler Health System is proud to support the Butler BlueSox," said Ken DeFurio, Butler Health System's President & CEO. "The ownership group, much like BHS, has demonstrated its commitment to our community."

"The benefits to the BlueSox in having Butler Health System as our 'Presented by' sponsor go well beyond the financial component," said William 'Wink' Robinson, Butler BlueSox Managing Partner. "It has established an unbelievably high level of goodwill in our area over the years that simply goes unheralded. For the BlueSox to be associated with BHS is a complement to our ongoing efforts."

BHS contributes to numerous worthy activities in the region, including its well-known Caring Angel Program, which has raised over 1 million dollars over the past two decades. Its recent Crystal Ball raised $135,000 for a newly FDA-approved Tomosynthesis Unit at the Women's Imaging Center, which will allow them to improve early detection rates of breast cancer and reduce the time between diagnosis and treatment. BHS will be the only location between Pittsburgh and Erie to have the technology.

The BlueSox' various fundraising programs, which will continue this Summer with its Buck-a-Hit Campaign and the Fundraising Ticket Program, have helped local non-profit groups raise nearly $15,000 over the past three Summers.

Babe The Ox hangs
                     out with a fan.

Babe The Ox and a young fan hang out at a game last season.

"The team provides fun, affordable family entertainment, while showcasing young athletes and their commitment to fitness and health," said DeFurio. "And like Butler Memorial Hospital, the ballpark in which they play is a historical landmark in the community. We are pleased for BHS to support the valuable community asset that is the Butler BlueSox."

"A common goal between Butler Health System and the Butler BlueSox is to improve our Community in some manner," Robinson added. "We are extremely pleased to have it on our team in 2014, and perhaps for many years to come."

The local ball club is actively seeking a long-term lease agreement for future play at Kelly Automotive Park, formerly known as Pullman Park, where over 85,000 fans have watched the BlueSox play over the past five summers.

"Stability is the key to success," said Robinson. "Butler Health System clearly provides the BlueSox with a solid foundation to continue our goal of providing the public with a wonderful summertime entertainment option."

The BlueSox will begin their sixth season of play in the Prospect League, one of the top summer-collegiate leagues in the country, on May 28 in Lorain, Ohio.

Opening Day

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

at Lorain Ironmen

Home Opener

Thursday, May 29, 2014

vs WV Miners

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