(Photo via Northwoods League website, seen here)
The South Division took home the Northwoods League All-Star crown Wednesday night, defeating the North Division 2-1 in Kalamazoo, MI. The contest featured a pitchers’ duel, with the South using a total of 15 pitchers who never walked a single batter in nine innings and the North staff striking out nine in eight frames. As the designated home team, the South used every single pitcher on the roster.
Jack Dunn of the Lakeshore Chinooks earned MVP honors with an 8th-inning home run that stood as the game winner. Playing shortstop and batting ninth for the South, Dunn’s homer was his first of the year in Northwoods play this season. The rising senior from Alpharetta, GA hit one homer in his junior and freshman seasons at Northwestern.
According to CBBSN Associate Scout Robert Frey, Dunn has an above average approach at the plate. “He has good strikezone intelligence,” Frey said. “He will rarely chase breaking balls out of the zone and will not chase high fastballs.” Dunn has demonstrated his approach this summer for the Chinooks, posting 22 walks with just 19 strikeouts and a .326 average in 132 at-bats before the All-Star break.
Frey says another asset of Dunn is his defense. “He shows a quick first step, especially when going to his left,” Frey said. He also added that the 6-foot-2, 185-pound shortstop has an above average arm tool and plus footwork.
Son of former major leaguer Joe Randa, Jake Randa also starred for the South. Starting in center, Randa went 2-4 from the three hole with a pair of doubles, driving in the South’s first run in the sixth. Randa’s two-baggers came as no surprise since he leads the Northwoods League with 21 doubles for the Madison Mallards. He’s hitting .327 with 5 homers and 41 RBI this summer.
Before joining the Mallards, Randa finished his freshman season at Northwest Florida State College. At 6-foot-1 and 190 pounds, Randa slashed .412/.507/.753 with 13 homers in 50 games in the NJCAA. “He’s got very good instincts and a lot of pop in his bat,” Associate Scout Ben Rydecki said. He added that Randa utilizes a simple swing.
The North Division All-Stars used 12 of their 13 pitchers to combine for 24 outs. Helping to preserve the shutout was Adam Lukas, recording the first two outs of the fifth with a pair of strikeouts. He also walked a batter. The 6-foot-4 righty has put up big strikeout numbers for the Mankato Moondogs this summer, fanning 59 batters in 44 innings to go along with 17 walks in eight starts.
Lukas started five games and made 12 relief appearances during his sophomore season for the University of Evansville in the spring. Associate Scout Anthony Osnacz found Lukas to sit in the 91-94 range, topping out at 97. “His arm is very quick and loose,” Osnacz said. “Lukas’ fastball is rather hittable due to its lack of life and his lack of a strong secondary offering.” Osnacz characterized Lukas’ body as athletic and added that while his changeup is weak, his slider shows some promise and that Lukas projects as a reliever going forward. For the Evansville Purple Aces, Lukas walked 30 hitters with 43 strikeouts in 41 2/3 innings.
The final stretch of the Northwoods League begins Thursday. Dunn and Lukas will be draft eligible in 2019, and Randa will be in 2020.