by Jim Holland
Pitcher Bernie Martinez and outfielder Eddy Gonzalez, a pair of 20-year old sophomores from University of Incarnate Word, have signed contracts to play with the West Virginia Miners for the 2017 Prospect League season. Their signings were announced by the Miners organization on the morning of February 20 as the 12th and 13th of the many individual contract signings expected to be periodically unveiled by the Beckley, WV based team over the next several months.
Their path is interesting since they were high school teammates, currently college teammates at UIW, an NCAA D-I school located in San Antonio, TX, and both will jointly travel to Beckley this coming summer to wear the colors of the Miners. Martinez, a right-hander, was one of the Cardinals most consistent pitchers in 2016 as a freshman at UIW. The 6-1, 185-pounder appeared in 17 games (12 starts) and his 63.1 innings on the mound saw him strike out 46 hitters versus yielding only 27 walks. He was named to the 2016 Southland Conference Commissioner’s Honor Roll. His high school playing career at Laredo (TX) United High School saw him earn first team All-District honors as a senior while also being named the Laredo “Pitcher of the Year.”
Gonzalez, also a resident of Laredo, TX, was the starting left fielder in 2016for the UIW Cardinals as a freshman. He played in 43 games and started 39 of them. He hit .256, collected 41 hits and scored 15 runs. The 5-9, 180-pounder hit five doubles, four triples and drove in 13 runs. He also had a nine-game hitting streak. He too was named to the Southland Conference Commissioner’s Honor Roll.
As a high schooler, Gonzalez was also on the baseball team at Laredo United High School. He helped lead the team to a school record 34-3 mark as a sophomore. He hit .430 with seven doubles and 27 runs as a senior. He opened his career by hitting .351 with 23 runs, 19 runs batted in and eight doubles as a freshman.
The Prospect League is the premier collegiate wood bat summer baseball league in the Midwest. It has been operating in its current form since 2009 while serving the summer baseball needs of top collegiate players. The 2016 Prospect League title won by the Miners was the team’s third league championship in the last five seasons.
Season-long box seats and other ticket packages for the West Virginia Miners are already on sale for the 2017 Prospect League season, which begins on May 30 while the Miners home opener will be on June 1 versus the Butler (PA) Blue Sox. Persons needing more information on the Miners can contact the team either by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by telephone at 304-252-7233.