Tahlequah Daily Press

Sports

July 9, 2014

Next level stuff

Former RiverHawks sign pro baseball deals

Two former Northeastern State baseball players signed professional contracts this offseason, while a third is currently in his second post-collegiate campaign.

Cody Robinson recently inked a deal to finish out the season with the Wichita Wingnuts, who are a Minor League baseball team based in Wichita, Kansas. The Wingnuts are a member of the Central Division of the American Association of Independent Professional Baseball, which is not affiliated with Major League Baseball.

Robinson suited up for the first time July 7 and went 1-for-4 with a solo home run and two runs scored as the designated hitter. He batted seventh in the order.

“It feels great getting the opportunity to play at the next level with such a class organization. I want to thank the Wingnuts for giving me the opportunity to continue playing this great game,” Robinson said. “I also want to thank coach (Travis) Janssen, coach (Jake) Hendrick, coach (Dusty) Hess, and coach (Jacob) White for preparing me to play at the next level. Without those coaches and my teammates, none of this would be possible.”

Robinson, who recently became a consensus All-American at NSU, has been signed to play DH. He will also compete for playing time in the outfield and at first base.

“The length of the contract is on an annual basis, so it is paramount that I step in and contribute to the team in some way,” Robinson said. “Everyone in this organization, especially the staff and the veteran players, has been extremely helpful assisting me with the transition process and getting adjusted to this level of competition.”

The Sugar Land, Texas, native earned second team All-American accolades in 2014 from the ABCA, NCBWA and Daktronics. He was also a consensus first team All-Central Region performer, an NCBWA All-Central Region Gold Glove award winner and an All-MIAA First Team honoree.

He finished second in the nation in home runs per game (0.36) and third in total home runs (18). He also ranked fourth in the NCAA in slugging percentage (.771), ninth in total bases (135), and 20th in doubles (19). He ended the season with 47 runs batted in.

“I look forward to learning things that will help me progress in this game,” Robinson said. “I want to prove to the veterans and staff that I can compete at this level.”

Roldan Ochoa, who played at Northeastern State for two seasons in 2011-12, signed a one-year deal in April to play for the Vienna Neustadt Diving Ducks in the Austrian Baseball League. He is both a starting pitcher and an outfielder.

Ochoa is currently the league’s most dominant pitcher, as he owns a 4-1 record with a 1.32 ERA through six starts (as of July 1). He has thrown four complete games and one shutout, while striking out 38 and walking just eight in 41.0 innings pitched. He leads the league in wins, ERA, complete games, strikeouts, and innings pitched.

The Valencia, Venezuela, native has also registered a .171 (7-for-41) batting average with seven RBI and three runs scored in 12 games.

Ochoa made 33 appearances on the mound during his time at NSU. He became the closer in 2012 and finished that year with six saves, a 2-4 record and a 3.86 ERA in 30.1 IP.

“One of the things that contributed to my success is the work ethic that I got from coach Janssen,” Ochoa said recently in an interview with The Northeastern. “He has helped me a lot. He made me focus on what was important. He helped me be part of a valuable team, which was important. Now, I can go play professionally. More than just what I learned on the field from Janssen, he contributed to my life off the field and helped me be ready for my career.”

Trevor Walch is currently playing his second season with the Evansville Otters out of Indiana. The Otters are a member of the West Division of the Frontier League, an independent baseball league which is not affiliated with Major League Baseball.

Walch made 17 appearances with seven starts on the mound during his first season with the Otters. He finished last year with a 3.35 ERA in 56.1 innings pitched. He struck out 35 and walked just 17 on his way to a 3-3 record.

The Eufaula native has made nine appearances this season with two starts. He owns a 1-0 record and a 3.00 ERA in 36.0 innings pitched. He has also registered 29 strikeouts and just 14 walks so far this summer.

During his senior campaign in 2013, Walch led the MIAA and finished 12th in the NCAA with 10 saves. Despite being converted to the closer role early in the season, he still managed to finish fourth in the conference in strikeouts (72) and 11th in innings pitched (71.0). He also finished third in opposing batting average (.236) and was named to the All-MIAA Second Team.

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