03/01/2007 10:45 AM - JOLIET, IL-The Joliet JackHammers have signed infielders Chad Ehrnsberger and Chris Brown and catcher Dennis Blackmon, Jr. to 2007 contracts. Erhnsberger will return for his third season in 2007, after playing in 69 games last season and hitting .294 with 12 home runs and 48 RBI. Season six of Joliet JackHammers baseball begins on May 17, 2007 at 7:05 p.m. against the Calgary Vipers at Silver Cross Field.
(Chad) is the type of player who can beat you in any at-bat, said JackHammers manager Hal Lanier. Thats the type of player we are looking for.
Ehrnsberger had an outstanding year in 2006 despite missing 29 games with a partially torn hamstring muscle. He returned on August 10 and hit safely in all but six of the 25 games he played in following his injury. He was one of four JackHammers selected to the Northern League All-Star Games East Division squad but was unable to play because of his injury. His 12 home runs tied a career high set in St. Paul during the 2005 season.
"I'm excited to spend another summer in a JackHammer uniform, said Ehrnsberger. The stadium, fans, and city of Joliet are all first-class."
The Lima, Ohio native began his JackHammers career in 2005, playing in 16 games in the midst of leading the Northern League in hitting with a .354 batting average in time split between the JackHammers and the St. Paul Saints. He was named to the 2005 Northern League post-season All-Star team at shortstop. Ehrnsberger stands 5 feet, 10 inches tall and makes his home in Orlando, Florida.
Brown began his professional career in 2006 when the JackHammers signed him as a non-drafted free agent out of the University of South Carolina. He hit .333 with no home runs and 11 RBI in 28 games, mostly at third base.
Brown was a two-year starter at second base for the Gamecocks. He hit .358 in 2006 with five home runs and 19 RBI in 40 games started. Brown transferred to South Carolina for the 2005 season from Manatee Community College in Florida. He stands 5 feet, 11 inches tall and makes his off-season home in Miramar, Florida.
Blackmon, Jr. hit .257 with the JackHammers in his rookie season in 2006. He hit one home run and 12 RBI in 53 games played. The Barton (NC) College product won the starting catching job in June and continued until he was placed on the inactive list following a season-ending injury where he broke his wrist in early August.