The 2007 Frontier League Champion Windy City ThunderBolts professional baseball team has announced the singing of outfielders LaFringe Hayes and Tim Rowe and contract extensions for outfielder Scott Billak and catcher Gavin Concepcion.
LaFringe Hayes is a graduate of Walther Lutheran High School in Melrose Park, where he was named Second Team All-State as a senior after hitting .560 with nine home runs and 28 stolen bases. Hayes played college baseball at the University of Cincinnati, where he led the Bearcats with a .343 batting average, seven triples, and 14 stolen bases in 2005. Hayes finished the 2006 season with a .275 batting average with five triples, 33 RBI, and eight stolen bases. He signed with the Traverse City Beach Bums last season, but only appeared in one game before a groin injury sidelined him.
Tim Rowe has previous experience playing under new ThunderBolts field manager Brian Nelson from his time at Rockford College, where Nelson was the head coach from 2004-06. Rowe was named an Honorable Mention All-American by d3baseball.com last season when he hit .400 with 11 home runs and 52 RBI in 39 games, leading the Regents to the Northern Athletics Conference title. Rowe left Rockford College as the programs career leader in games played, at bats, hits, and RBI. Rowe signed with the River City Rascals last summer, hitting .188 with four RBI in ten games.
Scott Billak made his professional debut with Windy City last year, hitting .265 with 16 doubles, four home runs, 40 RBI, and 12 stolen bases in 82 games. He added a home run and three RBI in the decisive game of the Frontier League Championship Series. Billak came to the ThunderBolts out of Birmingham-Southern College, where he hit .336 with 16 doubles, nine home runs, and 45 RBI in 2006, leading the Panthers to the Big South Conference title.
Gavin Concepcion also made his professional debut last season, seeing action in 41 games. Concepcion finished with a .207 batting average, two home runs, and 19 RBI. He signed with Windy City out of Hawaii Pacific University, where he hit .291 with two home runs and 25 RBI in 2006. Concepcion previously played at Lewis-Clark State University, leading the Warriors to the 2003 NAIA Championship.
Scott and LaFringe are both versatile outfielders who can play all three positions, providing us depth plus the ability to pressure the defense with their speed on the base paths, commented ThunderBolts field manager Brian Nelson. Gavin will be competing again this season to be the everyday catcher, while Tim has all the tools to be an All-Star in the Frontier League.