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Positional Preview: Infielders

Positional Preview: Infielders

There will be a lot of new faces around the River City Rascals diamond this summer, as well as a few key returners. Third baseman Braxton Martinez, second baseman Trevor Achenbach and first baseman Ross Haffey all return from the 2018 squad, and are joined by newcomers Artemis Kadkhodian, Logan Blackfan, Jay Estes, Keith Grieshaber and Andrew Penner to round out the infielding corps for the 2019 season.

Martinez will serve as a player/coach in 2019, his fourth season with the team. The St. Peters, MO native hit .252 in 2018, along with 12 home runs and 51 RBIs. He also drew a team-high 56 walks on the year. The 25-year old started the campaign with the (AAA) Pericos de Puebla of the Mexican League, whom he appeared in 31 games for. Martinez stayed close to home to play his college ball, completing an impressive career at Saint Louis University in 2016. He was a four-year starter for the Billikens, and finished with a .300 career batting average. Braxton was an NCBWA (National College Baseball Writers Association) Freshman All-American in 2013.

Achenbach enjoyed a breakout season in 2018, his second as a professional. The Billings, MT native hit .327 with five home runs and 36 RBIs, leading the team with 18 HBP as well. He had a five-hit game on August 4th against the Washington Wild Things. The 24-year old split his rookie season between the Lake Erie Crushers and the East Side Diamond Hoppers of the United Shore Professional Baseball League. Trevor had a decorated career at Oklahoma Wesleyan, where he hit .476 as a senior in 2017, leading the NAIA in hits with 109.

Haffey was a reserve infielder for the Rascals as a rookie, appearing in 21 games with two home runs and five RBIs. The Birmingham, MI native hit his first career home run on June 27th against the Normal CornBelters. The 6'5" 24-year old played collegiately at Miami University (OH), where he was first-team All-MAC as a senior, hitting .315 with 15 homers and 43 RBIs.

Kadkhodian spent the 2018 season with the Gateway Grizzlies, where he was an All-Star for the Rookie Team. The Fayetteville, GA native hit .234 in 58 games, registering 51 hits, five home runs and 22 RBIs. The University of West Georgia alum spent the 2017 season in the Los Angeles Angels organization, splitting his time between the (RK) AZL Angels and (A) Burlington Bees of the Midwest League. Artemis hit .327 during his sophomore year of college.

Blackfan is entering his first season as a professional in 2019. The Germantown, TN native played collegiately at Southern Illinois University, where he was a four-year starter at first base. As a senior in 2018, Logan led the Salukis with 11 home runs and 62 RBIs, and was named second-team All-MVC. He was first-team All-MVC as a sophomore, when he hit .296 and led the conference with 23 doubles in 57 games.

Estes spent his rookie season with the (RK) Great Falls Voyagers, an affiliate of the Chicago White Sox organization in the Pioneer League, in 2018. He played in 39 games for the team, accumulating 17 hits, of which seven were doubles. The Crawfordville, FL native signed with the Sox out of Auburn University, where he led the Tigers with a .329 batting average, and ranked fifth in the SEC with 19 doubles as a senior. Estes helped the Tigers win the Raleigh Regional of the 2018 NCAA Tournament, picking up All-Regional honors in the process.

Grieshaber was originally a 16th round pick of the Los Angeles Angels in 2016 out of Jefferson College. The Chesterfield, MO native spent two seasons in the halo's system, reaching as high as the (A+) Inland Empire 66ers of the California League in 2017. The 23-year old hit .298 overall across 135 total games in the minors.

Penner is a rookie out of Cal State Bakersfield, where he had a decorated two-year career with the Roadrunners after transferring from LA Valley College. The Frazier Mountain, CA native is the school's all-time leader in both career batting average (.366) and on-base percentage (.445). The 24-year old ranked 26th in NCAA Division I baseball in batting average as a junior in 2017, hitting .372 on the season.

The Rascals kick-off the 2019 campaign against the Washington Wild Things on Thursday, May 9 at CarShield Field. Tickets for the season are available at rivercityrascals.com, or by calling the team box office at 636-240-2287.

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