Pair of Lopers Sign Pro Baseball Contracts
Former Nebraska-Kearney baseball players Danny Droll and Aaron Smith recently signed with the professional Tucson (AZ) Saguaros of the Pecos League.
About to begin its sixth year, the Pecos League operates from May-August and will have 10 teams in five different states in 2016. Tucson will compete in the league’s South Division.
The Saguaros are an expansion team that will play in Veterans Memorial Stadium, former home of the San Diego Padres’ AAA team and the former host of the Chicago White Sox and Arizona Diamondbacks during spring training.
Both Droll (Penrose, Colo.) and Smith (Cheyenne, Wyo.) were seniors in 2015. They become the seventh and eighth pro Lopers since 2004.
Planning to play catcher at the next level, Droll was a four-year starter who played several different positions for the Lopers. He finished his career batting .346 with 59 doubles, 10 home runs and 111 RBI’s.
Droll was an all-region selection as a junior and a two-time All-MIAA pick.
“We are very excited to have these two great players join us in 2016,” said Saguaros manager JD Droddy. “Danny doesn’t strike out, which makes him a particularly valuable hitter. He will probably hit in the 2 or 3 spot in our lineup.”
A left handed pitcher, Smith spent two years at UNK after beginning his career at Scottsdale (AZ) College. Mainly a reliever for the Lopers, he had a career mark of 13-3 with 93 K’s and a 3.51 ERA.
He earned third-team All-MIAA honors in 2015.
“Aaron has fantastic command and movement, which leads to strikeouts and avoid walks. That is a big key to success for a pitcher in professional baseball,” said Droddy.
Prior to heading to Arizona, Droll and Smith will serve as Loper assistant coaches during the upcoming 2016 season.