Ten Pioneer Baseball League (PLB) clubs selected 23 players in its 2022 Preseason Tryout Camp, presented by TicketSmarter, held from April 1st to the 4th, with the Glacier Range Riders picking pitcher Reid Johnson first overall in the draft.
The camp opened with introductory remarks from former MLB manager Jim Riggleman, the newly named manager of the Billings Mustangs. Additionally. players received additional direct instruction and feedback from the PBL managers and scouts throughout the camp.
“What a great experience this was”, said Riggleman, former manager of the Cubs, Reds and Nationals. “I was impressed with the depth of talent and the commitment these kids made to further their baseball dreams. I loved every minute of it.”
The draft followed the conclusion of a four-day tryout camp at Kino Sports Complex, in Tucson, Ariz., attended by over 160 players.
Prospects from around the world, including The Bahamas, Canada, the Czech Republic, and the Dominican Republic participated in the camp that included timed 60-yard dashes, numerous defensive drills, and two days of live action scrimmages.
“This camp validated the PBL as a preferred league for developing young ballplayers,” said Henry Hunter, the PBL Executive Vice President. “Prospects got a unique opportunity to pursue their pro baseball dreams. There was some great talent out there and we hope the players our clubs drafted will all make their clubs’ 25-man rosters.”
Johnson, who hails from Frederick, Colo., said he had a lot of fun and endorses the camp for any players looking for a potential pro baseball opportunity. Plus, he is chomping at the bit to join the Range Riders.
“The Pioneer League pro showcase was a blast, in a beautiful complex,” Johnson said. “I would 100 percent recommend. I was blessed to be picked first by the Glacier Range Riders. I’m very excited to make Flathead Field my home.”
With the next three selections, the Northern Colorado Owlz chose left-handed pitcher Chase Wilkerson of Headland, Ala.; catcher Caleb Marquez of Blue Springs, Mo., went to the Rocky Mountain Vibes; and the Great Falls Voyagers drafted lefty pitcher Viktor Vercerka of the Czech Republic.
Coaches and scouts clocked Wilkerson’s fastball between 90-93 mph, which was complemented by a devastating breaking ball. Marquez is 6-foot-2 and 240 pounds, and the Milwaukee Brewers previously drafted him out of high school. Vercerka’s work ethic stood out to the PBL scouts along with his control on the mound.
“These guys showed a dedication to their craft and love of the game that embodies the spirit of independent league baseball,” Hunter said. “We were very pleased with both the turnout and talent level at this year’s tryout camp. The draft was led by strong pitching that will immediately impact our league, and the number of position players also selected speaks to the broad range of talent in attendance.”
Here is complete list of the 23 players drafted in the PBL tryout camp.
(1) Glacier: Reid Johnson – RHP
(2) Northern Colorado: Chase Wilkerson – LHP
(3) Rocky Mountain: Caleb Marquez – C
(4) Great Falls: Viktor Vercerka – LHP
(5) Billings: Kenneth Stewart – RHP
(6) Boise: Jeffrey Rotz – RHP
(7) Grand Junction: Tyler Bonsky – RHP
(8) Ogden: Fox Semones – SS
(9) Idaho Falls: Hunter Hudson – 3B
(10) Missoula: Rhyse Dee – RHP
(11) Missoula: Sam Brace – LHP
(12) Idaho Falls: Sam Troyer – SS
(13) Ogden: Dane Tofteland – 3B
(14) Grand Junction: Teddy Natter Jr. – LHP
(15) Boise: Jessie Fuentes Jr. – 2B
(16) Billings: Robert Malone – OF
(17) Great Falls: Montana Quegley – RHP
(18) Rocky Mountain: Domonique Hernandez – OF
(19) Northern Colorado: Euro Diaz – OF
(20) Glacier: Nathan Gilman – RHP
(21) Glacier: Matt Geoffrion – RHP
(22) Glacier: Jake Gitter – OF
(23) Glacier: Victor Cerny – C
— Jerry Del Priore