Eagles News
Baseball - Tue, Dec. 4, 2012
 

Former Concordia baseball players Jake Hovis and Aaron Gates recently signed contracts to play in the newly-founded American West Professional Baseball League, an independent league made up of teams in Orange County, San Diego, Northern California, and Arizona.

 

Jake Hovis signed with the Orange County O's located in Irvine, CA, and Aaron Gates signed with the Yuma Desert Rats in Yuma, AZ.

American West Baseball League (AWBL) conducted its first two day tryout at the facility, Kino Sports Complex, in Tucson, Arizona for the American West Baseball League 2013 season. The tryouts had 44 players attend to showcase their talents, out of the 44 players there were 22 Pro Contracts offered to select players and one offer made by the Boston Red Sox to have a player try-out for a pitching spot.  Hovis and Gates were among those offered contracts.

American West Baseball League was formed in 2012 and will play its inaugural season in 2013. The league was founded by Michael Cummings, after acquiring 2 teams, which played in another league that ceased operations 30 days after the acquisitions.

Cummings, a Southern California native, decided to create a new league that would support the team members and their organizations, provide an opportunity that ball players would be looked at by scouts and other leagues, all the while providing Fun Friendly, Family Entertainment. AWBL will operate in cities not served by Major or Minor League Baseball teams and is an Independent Minor Baseball League. Though not part of the official minor league system, its level of play is considered to be comparable to A-AA level.

Hovis played for Concordia in 2011 and 2012 after coming over from Grossmont College.  Hovis posted a 4.36 ERA in his two seasons, winning a National Championship in 2011, two GSAC Tournament Championships, and an NAIA Opening Round Championship.  He had a record of 9-8 and struck out 76.  He is currently completing his degree from Concordia.  Concordia faithful will be able to continue watching Hovis as he plays for the O's in Irvine.

"I plan on representing Concordia University to the fullest. I wouldn't be where I am today without the people I have played with, played for, and have met along the way as well as the support from my family," Hovis said.   "It's an honor to play for the O's but there are still hard work and bigger goals to be accomplished. I'm blessed and I thank God for my abilities to continue to be playing the game of baseball."

Gates came to Concordia in 2012 after playing three seasons at Pepperdine University.  In 2012 he was All-GSAC and hit for a .348 average and had 46 hits.  He finished ninth in the country in slugging percentage (.742) and 36th in home runs (11).  He drove in 45 RBI and had three hits on three different occasions last year.  He graduated from Concordia in the spring of 2012.

"I'm excited about the opportunity to continue my baseball career. Being a professional baseball player is something I've worked towards my whole life," Gates said.

The AWBL begins spring training in May and the season continues into September, with each team playing around six games per week.  Hovis said the O's will either play their games at Saddleback College or UC Irvine.

 

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