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Call summoned to Northwoods League

Alex Call of River Falls, pictured scoring a run in a game with the River Falls Fighting Fish earlier this season, signed a 10-day contract with the Eau Claire Express of the Northwoods League last week. Call is the third River Falls High School graduate to play in the Northwoods League this summer. (River Falls Journal photo by Bob Burrows)

Alex Call, who has been tearing up St. Croix Valley Baseball League pitching this summer after earning Big Rivers Conference Player of the Year honors with the Wildcats last spring, is making one more stop on the baseball ladder of success before heading to Ball State University later this month.

The 2013 River Falls High School graduate joined the Eau Claire Express of the prestigious Northwoods League last week and made his debut with the team over the weekend.

Call started in left field Saturday night against the Wisconsin Rapids Rafters and went 1-for-3 at the plate with two walks and a stolen base in Eau Claire's 11-6 victory at Carson Park. He followed that up with another 1-for-3 performance in Sunday's 6-0 loss to the Battle Creek Bombers.

The Express are currently in third place in the Northwoods League's South Division, 2.5 games out of first with seven games remaining in the regular season.

Call is the third River Falls player to play in the Northwoods League this summer. JP Feyereisen, a 2011 graduate, set a Wisconsin Rapids franchise record with 11 saves while going 3-1 with a 1.16 earned run average in 22 appearances for the Rafters, while 2010 grad Marty Herum played the first month of the season with the Lakeshore Chinooks in Minocqua before signing a free agent contract two weeks ago to play professional baseball in the Arizona Diamondbacks organization.

The Northwoods League is a 16-team summer baseball league comprised of teams of the top college players from across the nation and North America. All players in the league must have NCAA eligibility remaining in order to participate. Players are not paid in order to preserve their NCAA eligibility.

Call will report for his freshman year at Ball State University in Muncie, Ind. later this month.

Call, the 2013 Big Rivers Conference Player of the Year and a finalist for the Wisconsin Sports Network Outfielder of the Year award, batted .413 with eight doubles, 26 stolen bases and 14 runs scored, all team highs, for the Wildcats last spring.

He joined the River Falls Fighting Fish of the SCVBL at the conclusion of the high school season and was leading the team in batting with an average of .481, with one home run, 16 RBI and a team-high 10 stolen bases in 17 games before getting the call from the Express.

A total of 130 current and former Northwoods League players and alumni were chosen in the 2013 Major League Baseball draft. Five Northwoods League alumni were selected to play in the 2013 Major League All-Star game -- Max Scherzer of the Detroit Tigers (La Crosse Loggers, 2004), Chris Sale of the Chicago White Sox (La Crosse Loggers 2007), Ben Zobrist of the Tampa Bay Rays (Wisconsin Woodchucks 2003), Jordan Zimmerman of the Washington Nationals (Eau Claire Express 2006) and Allen Craig of the St. Louis Cardinals (Alexandria Beetles 2005).

Bob Burrows
Bob Burrows has been sports editor at the River Falls Journal since 1996 and at the Hudson Star-Observer since 2009. Prior to joining the Journal, Burrows served as sports editor with Ledger Publications in Balsam Lake, Wis. A native of Bayonne, N.J. and a U.S. Navy veteran, Burrows attended Marquette University before completing his studies at UW-River Falls in 1992.
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