Great Lakes League: Brenner & Gerbus from College Conference Mates to Summer Rivals
Two Mid American Conference rivals are once again in the same group but on different teams as members of the Great Lakes Baseball League.Ryan Brenner of the Great Lake Mariners is having a great 1st half of summer baseball despite his team being 9-11 and in 8 th place. Brenner is batting .364 after 66 at bats with 24 stolen bases, and does not seem to be letting up. In his second to last game against the Stark County Terrier, Brenner proved his leadoff hitting capabilities by going 2 for 4 with a run scored in a 6-3 victory. This past spring with the University of Miami of Ohio, Brenner was sluggish as a junior, he hit only .258 in his 97 at bats, but showed his true potential in a late season series against Chicago State. In the 3 games, Brenner went 6 for 11 with 5 runs, and 3 RBI’s. Then in the Mid American Conference final games against Kent State, he went 1 for 1 with 3 prized walks. Getting on base is the sole purpose of a leadoff hitter, and Brenner did exactly that, except in college he hit mostly in the 9th spot.
The Hamilton Joes are in a better position in the standings. They are in 3 rd place with a record of 13-7; the team was founded in 2008 and inspired by the legendary Cincinnati Reds announcer Joe Nuxhall smiling face on a highway billboard. This summer, one of their most solid hitters is Wally Gerbus and his hitting and 18 stolen bases are gaining momentum for the 2nd half of the season. Gerbus is hitting .379 and has a slugging percentage of .500 after 66 at bats. With the Joes, Gerbus hits in the 3rd slot on the lineup, a place where most hitters dream of lining up in the box. But, this past spring with Eastern Michigan University, Gerbus was also hitting at the bottoms 9 spot. And similar to Brenner in Miami, Gerbus struggled at Eastern Michigan in 103 at bats he only hit .262. Batting averages can sometimes be a bit misleading when in the .260’s, because there are others statistics to take into account. The most interesting numbers are the ones created in championship games. Gerbus went 3 for 3 with 1 RBI against Toledo, and 1 for 2 hitting his 3 rd homerun of the season against Kent State in the Mid American Conference Championships.
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In the Mid American Conference, Eastern Michigan is in the Western Division, and Miami (OH) is in the Eastern Division so they didn’t face each other all year, but in the summer, Brenner and Gerbus have surely played against each other. The last game between the Mariners and the Joes took place back on July 6 th. In the game Brenner went 2 for 3 with a run scored for the Mariners, and Gerbus went 1 for 3 with 3 RBI’s for the Joes. The Joes won the game 10-1. When college players decide what summer league to play in each year, the options must be tempting. Why wouldn’t it be? It’s an opportunity to choose a different part of the country, new teams, new fields, and a whole new learning experience. The recruiting effort on the part of the teams is similar to any baseball recruiting. The selling of traditions, the weather, and the scouting ability play huge roles in who goes where. I feel that most leagues have equal positive angles for the players to dissect, and the Great Lakes League is still rocking the bells as a summer league destination.
By Adrian Nevarez
DFN Sports Staff Writer