Trifecta! Minnesota Twins Sign Three USPBL Standouts
Local players from Fraser and Shelby Township headed to MLB systems
ROCHESTER, Mich. – August 1, 2017—The United Shore Professional Baseball League (USPBL) announced today that Randy Dobnak, pitcher for the Utica Unicorns, Kevin Marnon, pitcher for the Birmingham-Bloomfield Beavers, and Taylor Grzelakowski, catcher for the Utica Unicorns have all been signed by the Minnesota Twins organization. Dobnak, Grzelakowski and Marnon are the third, fourth and fifth USPBL players signed to a MLB contract this year. Overall 18 players have been signed by MLB organizations since the league’s inaugural season last year.
Randy Dobnak, a 22-year-old, 6’1”, 215 lb. right-hander from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, appeared in 6 games this season for the Utica Unicorns. He compiled a 3-0 record, with 29 strikeouts over 35 innings and an ERA of 2.31. Dobnak joined the USPBL’s Unicorns following a collegiate career at Alderson Broaddus University in Philippi, West Virginia.
Dobnak praised his experience with the USPBL, saying, “Getting the opportunity to play in the USPBL is something special to me. Having the chance to play baseball beyond college is something every kid dreams of doing and I got the chance to live it. Throughout my time here, I've learned even more about the game and how I can become better as a person and as a player, pushing myself to my limits. The players, coaches, and staff in the USPBL are top notch and I could not have asked for anything more.”
Kevin Marnon, a 23-year-old, 6’7”, 240 lb. left-hander pitcher from Shelby Township, Michigan, appeared in 16 games with 18 innings pitched, 29 strike outs and an ERA of 1.50. Marnon joined the USPBL after pitching as both a starter and reliever at Ball State University.
“Being signed by a Major League club is a surreal feeling,” said Marnon. “I’ve worked for this my whole life, and I’m just so happy that things paid off. I’m extremely grateful for the USPBL organization and everything they’ve done for me.”
Tayor Grzelakowski, a 5’11, 200 lb. catcher from Fraser, Michigan, Grzelakowski joined the USPBL’s Utica Unicorns following his collegiate career at Madonna University where he led the Crusaders in home runs, RBI’s and batting average. Grzelakowski appeared in 29 games this season for the Unicorns and was leading the league in home runs with 9. In 108 at bats he hit .306 with 7 doubles and 23 RBI’s.
“The USPBL has been an incredible experience, from the facility to the staff at Jimmy John’s field, I could not have asked for a better opportunity,” said Taylor Grzelakowski. “I will be forever grateful for the chance that Andy Appleby, Justin Ordenruff and Jim Essian have given me. They allowed me to continue my baseball career, and helped get me signed by the Minnesota Twins Organization. Special thanks to Cedrick Landrum and Ray Ortega for the countless hours they spent with me honing my craft. I’m excited to see what this new chapter brings but I will never forget my time as a Utica Unicorn.”
“We are absolutely thrilled to have three more of our players signing by Major League Baseball (MLB) organizations,” said Andy Appleby, Commissioner and Founder of the USPBL. “These players are textbook examples of what we are trying to achieve with player development in the USPBL. Our goal is to make every player better and see them succeed at the next level and beyond,” Appleby added.
About United Shore Professional Baseball League
Rochester, MI-based General Sports and Entertainment founded the United Shore Professional Baseball League (USPBL), an independent professional baseball league, in Metro Detroit in 2015. The league plays in the new,
state-of-the-art $16 million ballpark named Jimmy John’s Field located in downtown Utica, Mich. The first of its kind for the region, the USPBL provides a fun and exciting family atmosphere while showcasing top baseball talent to fans of all ages. The inaugural season of the USPBL, which began on Memorial Day 2016, featured three teams—the Utica Unicorns, the Eastside Diamond Hoppers and the Birmingham Bloomfield Beavers, from which 13 players were signed to contracts by Major League organizations.
The 2017 USPBL season features four teams with the addition of the Westside Woolly Mammoths, and the season began on May 11, 2017 and runs through September 10, 2017. Additional teams and ballparks will be added in future years.