Strike three big names from Miners roster
It's transition time for the Frontier League's Southern Illinois Miners baseball team. Three of the team's top players -- outfielder Aaron Gates, pitcher Adam Lopez and infielder Alex De Leon -- will be retiring from the team and leaving big shoes to fill.
Gates retires holding the team record for hits in a season with 111 during a stellar 2016 campaign that also saw him lead the league in runs scored. The two-time all-star is also the franchise's all-time hits leaders with 317, and places in the top 10 in runs scored, walks, doubles, triples, home runs, RBIs and batting average.
Lopez retires with his 1.62 ERA standing as the best in team history, and he is the only Miners pitcher to rank in the top 10 in both wins and saves. He had an undefeated 10-win season in 2015, and he also led the league with a 1.86 ERA. That mark was also the best in Miners' single-season history for a starting pitcher. He also won Frontier League pitcher of the year in 2015 before transitioning to a relief pitcher the following year, when he finished 13 for 13 on save opportunities and had a 0.71 ERA.
De Leon made his mark on the team with power, popping 14 home runs and knocking in 72 RBIs in the 2016 season, which was good for fifth in the Frontier League. He was also named to the all-star team.
Team captain Steve Marino also hung up his cleats a few weeks back, so Miners have some work to do replacing the great talent that has moved on.
Organizations in this Story
2041 Goose Lake Road
Sauget, IL 62206