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LEAGUE NEWS: JackHammers Come to Terms with First Round Pick

04/18/2007 1:11 PM - JOLIET, Ill. - The Joliet JackHammers have signed the number one overall pick from the recent Northern League Tryout Camp in Tampa, Florida. INF Eric Scriven joins RHP Aaron Williams and Joliet Junior College alumnus OF Nicholas Morris, Jr. as the newest JackHammers acquisitions. The JackHammers begin their sixth season of play in the Northern League on May 17, 2007 at 7:05 p.m. against the Calgary Vipers at Silver Cross Field in Joliet’s City Center.

“Eric had great action as a shortstop in the tryout camps and can play multiple infield and outfield positions,” said JackHammers Manager Hal Lanier. “Last year we were also fortunate to have the number one pick and ended up with a great catcher in Dennis Blackmon, Jr.”

Scriven, 23, finished his two-year career at Western Kentucky with a .326 batting average and 55 RBI. He finished his college career in 2006, hitting .315 with 25 RBIs for the Hilltoppers. He transferred to Western Kentucky from Mt. Hood Community College in Oregon for the 2005 baseball season. The 23-year old stands five feet, eleven inches tall and is originally from Beaverton, Oregon.

Williams spent time with AA Corpus Christi and AAA Round Rock in the Houston Astros minor league system in 2006. Williams went 7-5 with a 5.25 E.R.A. in 46 relief appearances with Corpus Christi. The 26-year old Rochester, New York resident spent 2003 in independent baseball with the Richmond Roosters of the Frontier League. Williams has been a model of durability, ranking first or second in games appeared in three of his five professional seasons: 2002, 1st in the Golf Coast League with 25; 2003, 1st in the Frontier League with 53 and 2004, 1st in the South Atlantic League with 59. His 53 appearances set a Frontier League record in 2003.

“I think we’re very fortunate that he has the experience we’re looking for,” said Lanier. “I think he’ll do a solid job for us.”

Lockport native Nicholas Morris, Jr. has also been signed to a contract for the 2007 season. Morris, Jr. who played collegiate baseball at Joliet Junior College, was signed to a contract following his performance at the Northern League Tryout Camps in Tampa in early April.

Loose Gravel: The JackHammers have also re-signed RHP Kyle Zaleski and LHP Victor Kleine to 2007 contracts. Zaleski last played professionally in 2005, going 2-1 with a 5.70 E.R.A in 29 appearances in Joliet. LHP Victor Kleine will return to the JackHammers after spending 2000-2005 and part of 2006 in the Cleveland Indians organization. Kleine went 4-3 with a 2.45 E.R.A. in 37 relief appearances for the JackHammers after signing a contract on May 29.