Bees’ Roster Has Seven Returning Players

By John Bohnenkamp

Seven players who played for the Burlington Bees in their inaugural Prospect League season will be back with the team this season, according to a partial roster released Thursday.

The Bees have 19 players on the roster so far for this season, including seven who are on NCAA Division I rosters.

A look at the roster:

PITCHERS

Owen Coffman (RHP, Southeastern CC) — 2-1 with two saves in 18 appearances, with 18 strikeouts in 18 ⅓ innings.

Weston Fulk (LHP, Iowa) — Hasn’t played this season for the Hawkeyes. A first-team all-state selection in Iowa last summer after going 6-3 with a 2.42 ERA at Ankeny High School, where he was teammates with Iowa pitcher Brody Brecht. Can play first base as well.

Ian Landreneau (RHP, Texas Wesleyan) — 3-4 with a 4.37 ERA in 14 appearances. He has 32 strikeouts in 45 ⅓ innings.

Kyle Maurer (RHP, Fort Wayne) — 0-0 with a 6.17 ERA in 11 appearances, with 7 strikeouts in 11 ⅔ innings. Pitched in four games with the Bees last season, with a 14.29 ERA.

Garrett Moltzan (RHP, Texas Wesleyan) — 2-1 with a 3.55 ERA in 20 appearances, with 46 strikeouts in 38 innings. Went 1-3 with a 6.81 ERA for the Bees last season.

Owen Rice (LHP, McHenry County CC) — 3-2 with a 5.40 ERA, with 30 strikeouts in 25 innings.

Shawn Runey (RHP, Bluefield State College) — 3-4 with a 3.78 ERA in 11 appearances, with 10 starts. Has 62 strikeouts in 64 ⅓ innings.

Jared Townsend (LHP, Iowa Western CC) — Hasn’t played this season.

CATCHERS

Trent Burkhalter (Kirkwood CC) — Hitting .250 with 7 home runs and 22 RBIs.

Chase Honeycutt (Jones County JC) — Hitting .161 with 11 RBIs in 22 games this season. Hit .261 with 14 RBIs for the Bees last season.

Ben Tallman (Iowa) — Hitting .290 in 26 games with the Hawkeyes. Has a .403 slugging percentage and a .416 on-base percentage.

INFIELDERS

Trey Adams (Northeastern JC) — Hitting .380 with 4 home runs and 31 RBIs. Has 16 stolen bases.

Joey Fitzgerald (Harper College) — Hitting .271 with 2 home runs and 17 RBIs. Hit .218 with the Bees last season.

Ryan Grace (Quinnipiac) — Hasn’t played this season.

Spencer Nivens (Missouri State) — Hitting .356 with 4 home runs and 33 RBIs in 37 games. Has a .986 OPS.

Kevin Santiago (Texas Wesleyan) — Hitting .313 with 5 home runs and 33 RBIs. Has a .552 slugging percentage and a .380 on-base percentage. Hit .271 with 7 home runs and 27 RBIs for the Bees last season.

Charlie Terrill (McHenry County CC) — Hitting .214 with 1 home run and 7 RBIs.

OUTFIELDERS

A.J. Henkle (Illinois-Chicago) — Has played in one game this season. Hit .233 with 1 home run and 7 RBIs last season for the Bees.

Lincoln Riley (Eastern Illinois) — Hitting .288 with 2 home runs and 16 RBIs. Hit .237 with 3 home runs and 26 RBIs for the Bees last season.

Photo: Pitcher Garrett Moltzan is one of six players returning for the Burlington Bees this season. (Steve Cirinna/Burlington Bees)

Brecht Ready For Baseball, In Whatever Role, With Hawkeyes

By John Bohnenkamp

Iowa baseball coach Rick Heller knows what he has in pitcher Brody Brecht.

He’s just not sure how Brecht is going to be used in his freshman season.

The right-hander from Ankeny, at Iowa to play baseball and football, has already impressed Heller, even though he hasn’t taken the mound in a game yet.

“Brody’s stuff,” Heller said at Thursday’s media day, “is stupid-good.”

Brecht has already hit 100 miles per hour with his fastball during preseason workouts. Velocity, though, isn’t enough.

“I was pretty excited,” Brecht said of reaching the 100 mph mark. “But you’ve got to be able to command it, spin the ball a little bit. There’s work to be done.”

There’s work to be done on two fields for Brecht. A thumb injury kept Brecht, a wide receiver, from playing in a game during the football season, and although he did get some good practice time in the preparation for Iowa’s appearance in the Citrus Bowl, he admits he’s “already behind.”

“Bowl prep was good,” said Brecht, who is on scholarship with the football team. “It gave me a lot of opportunities to work with the playbook, run plays.”

For baseball, it’s about seeing where he fits in Iowa’s deep pitching group, and it starts next weekend when the Hawkeyes play in the Swig & Swine Classic in Charleston, S.C.

“I don’t know for sure what Brody’s role is going to end up being,” Heller said. “He’s definitely going to get his feet wet next weekend, and then we’re just going to kind of play it from there. We need to get him out there to see how things shake out, not just with him but with other guys. See where he can help the ball club the most, what can Brody bring to the table that gives us a chance to win games.”

“Starting, relief, closer, whatever they need,” Brecht said. “I just want to be a part (of the team) and be able to help the team win.”

Brecht was a dominant pitcher in high school, going 10-0 in his senior season at Ankeny High School with 126 strikeouts.

But he knows he can’t just overpower hitters at the Division I college level. Brecht wants better movement on his slider and curveball, and he’s working on a changeup.

“The velo is there,” Brecht said. “I just have to be able to locate my corners and everything. It’s gotten better since high school, I’ve been able to put it where I’ve wanted to. Obviously not every pitch is going where I want it to, so I still have to work on that.”

Hitting 100 was a big moment, Brecht said with a smile.

“I threw 98 in high school, and hit 99 here a couple of times,” Brecht said. “Just give me that extra mile an hour. Then we had a live set and the adrenaline was flowing and I finally hit it.”

Juggling two sports is another challenge. Football was the priority in the fall, although Brecht said he did get some throwing work in on the side. Baseball is the priority in the spring.

“Obviously, I’m already behind in football,” Brecht said. “I played (high school baseball) through the summer, and then I had my thumb injury. I’ve been pushed back a lot. I’ve been working hard to get back to be able to compete for the job at the ‘X’ wide receiver. Obviously I wish I could be out there for spring ball, but baseball is the priority right now, and that’s where I have to put most of my focus at.”

Brecht was recently ranked the No. 1 prospect in the Big Ten for the 2024 Major League Baseball draft. That seems a long way away for him.

“It was really cool to see that, it’s an honor,” Brecht said. “But I haven’t thrown a college pitch yet. A lot can change. I’ve got a lot to prove, so I have to keep working hard.”

After a fall of working on football on the practice field, Brecht will finally get to play a game soon as a Hawkeye in baseball.

“I still don’t know what that college athletic experience is like,” he said. “So I’m looking forward to it.”