Calvird Streaking Towards Success with Bombers
Ronnie Calvird
Ronnie Calvird

June 30, 2008

NORMAL, Ill. - Illinois State's Ryan Copeland continues to baffle hitters in the Central Illinois Collegiate League (CICL), striking out seven for his second win Sunday, but another Redbird could steal Copeland's title as the league's hottest player. Ronnie Calvird, a freshman infielder for the Redbirds last spring, hit .417 in four games last week and extended his hitting streak to nine games.

Calvird and Copeland are two of four Redbirds in the CICL and a pair of the handful of Illinois State baseball players staying sharp in summer leagues across the country.

Calvird, who hit .283 in 51 games for the Redbirds in the spring, started slowly this summer while adjusting to the wooden bats used in the CICL, but has upped his average from .189 to .245 in the past seven days while playing for the Dubois County Bombers.

"It's hard making the transition from metal to wood (bats)," Calvird said. "It's got a different feel to it, and different weight distribution. I've kept the same approach at the plate, however, and physically, I've caught up to it. I'm kind of figuring it out now."

The Farmington, Mo., native went 0-for-2 against Illinois State teammates Kevin Tokarski and Copeland, of the Dupage Dragons, June 17, but has collected a hit in every game he's played since. Calvird is 11-for-30 (.367) over that stretch.

Calvird has teamed with Illinois State's Corey Maines to lead the Bombers to victory in four of their past six contests. Maines scored the game-winning run and earned the save on the mound to start the Bombers' current stretch last Monday. Maines is hitting .211 in six games but has been the Bombers' top relief pitcher while striking out 14 in 9.2 innings and not surrendering an earned run.

"He's been playing a lot better this summer," Calvird said of Maines. "He had a bit of a rib injury that he played through in the spring but has come back from that and is 100 percent. Playing as a position player every day and starting was kind of tough on his arm in the spring. He's been able to rest his arm a little bit not playing the field every day. His arm is real healthy and his velocity has been good. He's our go-to guy out of the bullpen - we know every time he comes in that he'll give us a chance to do well."



Though he's found success offensively, Calvird said he's been working on making a transition to third base for next season and has emphasized getting in good fielding position, making the longer throws and changing his defensive footwork.

Copeland improved to 2-0 in CICL action Sunday while striking out seven and walking one in a seven-inning complete game. Copeland has 26 strikeouts in 19 innings and has walked just five batters. Despite a 13-day layoff, Copeland didn't allow an earned run in Sunday's start and lowered his earned run average to 0.95.

Copeland's teammate, Tokarski, continues to hit above .300 and reach base at an exceptional rate. Tokarski's batting average dipped to .333 but his on-base percentage rose to .423.

In the Cal Ripken Sr. Collegiate Baseball League, Quinn Ewert combined with three other Bethesda Big Train pitchers to shutout the Maryland Redbirds, 9-0, Wednesday. Ewert has struck out seven batters in six innings of work, including four in three innings last week. Ewert has only allowed one run and walked one in four appearances.

Jake Wielebnicki picked up his second win of the season Sunday, as the Grand Lake Mariners defeated the Stark County Terriers in the second game of a doubleheader. Wielebnicki is 2-1 with a 3.38 ERA in eight innings of relief.

Cal Ripken Sr. Collegiate Baseball League
Quinn Ewert (Bethesda Big Train)

Central Illinois Collegiate League
Ronnie Calvird (Dubois County Bombers)
Ryan Copeland (Dupage Dragons)
Corey Maines (Dubois County Bombers)
Kevin Tokarski (Dupage Dragons)

Great Lakes Collegiate League
Ryan Court (Anderson Servants)
Mike Stalowy (Grand Lake Mariners)
Jake Wielebnicki (Grand Lake Mariners)

Jayhawk Collegiate League
Ben Hays (Joplin Slashers)

New York Collegiate Baseball League
Ken Long (Allegheny County Nitros)

Rock River League
Kyle Nelson (Shoe Box)

St. Louis Metro Collegiate Baseball League
Brad Budde (Ballwin Bandits)