The February International Star of the Month is Left-Handed Pitcher and Outfielder Max MacNabb who has been pitching on the weekends for the Adelaide Bite in the Australia Baseball League since November as well as playing both pitcher and outfield for the East Torrens Red Sox in the South Australia State League competition. This dual threat earned the prestigious distinction of being a “Feature Star” after tossing 7 shutout innings, striking out 6, allowing no walks and scattering 5 hits in Game 1 of the ABL semi-final playoff game on February 3rd against eventual ABL Champ Brisbane Bandits. His final start of the ABL season capped off an incredible run to start the 2017 year by striking out 16 batters in 19.1 innings pitched across 3 games, while only allowing 1 walk in the highest competition of Australia baseball. The 24 year old Southern California native was a 2-way player in Europe this past season (2016) for Senart Templiers of the French top league and played for 2 different International Stars teams – first helping the Stars win the 2016 Prague Baseball Week championship against the Czech National Team in June and then playing for the Stars in the Yoshida Challenge in France in September. As Max continues to dominate Adelaide for both the Bite and East Torrens (clearly he likes to do things 2 at a time), he is still considering multiple offers to play in Europe again for the 2017 season. See below to read our interview with Max about his incredible journey through International Baseball….
Louis Cohen of the Canberra Cavalry earns the distinction of January International Star for a standout performance during the 2016-2017 Australian Baseball League. As two-time ABL Pitcher of the Week, Cohen proved a valuable asset for the staff until the end. Needing a series win against the Brisbane Bandits in a head to head battle for the final playoff spot, Cohen got the nod in the series opener and shut down a strong Bandits offense, allowing just a single run over seven dominate innings.
“When it came to the Brisbane series”, says Cohen, “I wasn’t thinking about which game I was going to start, I just wanted to be ready for any situation to give my teammates the best start I could.” The next two games of the series weren’t as kind to the Cavalry, and in the playoffs Brisbane would go on to repeat as ABL champions.
Louis has good distraction ahead of him, however. In March he heads back to the US to join the Lancaster Barnstormers of the Atlantic League, an independent league which is often compared to Triple-A level baseball. “Going into the Atlantic league, I’m enormously excited for this opportunity. I thank everyone who’s given me an opportunity and hope I can keep climbing the ladder. I expect to be the small guy and just do the best I can out what is asked of me.” More than a dozen former big-leaguers played in the Atlantic League this past season, and most players leave the league when offered a contract with an affiliated club.
May’s featured International Star is Dylan Verdonk, a 6’9 Right-Handed pitcher from the Netherlands who just completed his first year attending and playing for NCAA Division I Seton Hall University in New Jersey. Dylan grew up playing for the Tex Town Tigers (TTT) in Enschede – a small town in the far eastern part of the Netherlands, bordering Germany. Dylan possessed such a strong passion and love for the game that as he progressed to higher levels in the Netherlands, including the Junior (U-18) National Team, he began making 3 hour daily train rides across the country in order to practice and play against the highest competition possible, so he could continue to develop.
Dylan has been with the International Stars as a pitcher at the 2013 Prague Baseball Week AND as a participant in the Fall 2014 College Showcase where he was scouted and recruited by Seton Hall University’s Pitching Coach. In his first year at Seton Hall, which plays in the Big East Conference, Dylan had a perfect 0.00 E.R.A. in 6 games, only giving up 1 extra-base hit and 2 walks in 9 innings of work and also picked up his first collegiate win in the month of May. For all his accomplishments, and perseverance on and off the field, Dylan has earned the Feature Star for the month of May.
It was a busy Spring (and Summer) season for Dylan, playing the entire year in America for the first time, but we had a chance to catch-up with the “Dutch Pirate” and ask him about his first year of playing college baseball in America. Check out his Q and A here: