The Greenville Drive will be well-represented in the 55th Annual South Atlantic League All-Star Game on Tuesday, June 17th at L.P. Frans Stadium in Hickory, North Carolina. Four Drive players were selected to the roster, including one starter at his position, and a pair of Drive coaches will be on the Southern Division coaching staff.
Jake Romanski was named the Southern Division’s starting catcher, while Carlos Asuaje and Jantzen Witte were named utility infielders and Joe Gunkel was selected to the pitching staff. In addition, Manager Darren Fenster and Pitching Coach Paul Abbott will serve as coaches.
“Jake, Carlos, Joe and Jantzen are all much-deserving of being named to the South Atlantic League All-Star Game,” said Fenster. “Their seasons thus far have all been very impressive, each in their own unique way, and it's great to see that others around the league have recognized their accomplishments. Paul and I are honored to be joining them in Hickory as well.”
Romanski earned the nod as the starting catcher thanks to his .302 average in 40 games, which ranks 3rd on the team among qualifying hitters. He is also among the team leaders in hits (3rd, 48), RBI (3rd, 29) and stolen bases (T-2nd, 7).
Asuaje has delivered big hits for the Drive all season long while splitting time between third base, second base and left field. He leads the club with seven triples and 32 walks and is second with a .305 batting average, 32 runs, 53 hits, 13 doubles, four homers, 36 RBI, and a .428 on-base percentage.
Gunkel began the season in the back end of the bullpen before moving to the starting rotation at the end of May, and he has thrived in both roles. Overall, he is 2-0 with a 2.31 ERA and two saves in 15 appearances, including three starts. In 39.0 innings, he has allowed only 22 hits and 7 walks while striking out 51 and holding opponents to a .159 average.
Witte has dominated South Atlantic League pitching for two months, as he leads the league in numerous offensive categories, including average (.363), runs (45), doubles (23), on-base percentage (.455) and slugging percentage (.600). In addition, he leads the Drive with 69 hits, six homers and 46 RBI.
Fenster is in his first season as the club’s manager, and he was the Drive’s hitting coach in 2012. Abbott has helped tutor numerous young arms the past two seasons as the Drive’s pitching coach.
“Having six people represent the Drive in this year’s South Atlantic League All-Star Game is a remarkable accomplishment,” said Drive Co-Owner and Team President Craig Brown. “It speaks volumes to the job the Boston Red Sox organization has done in both the scouting of terrific young players and in the hiring of quality coaches to help these players reach their potential. The Red Sox minor league system is among the best in baseball, and these players and coaches are terrific representatives of the Greenville Drive and the Boston Red Sox.”