MISSOULA — With two months to go before opening day, the Missoula Paddleheads pro baseball team is wasting no time putting together its roster.
On Thursday, the independent league team came to terms with the New Jersey Jackals to receive outfielder John Toppa and pitcher Keven Long for future considerations.
Toppa, a 6-foot-1 former standout at UConn, brings versatility and leadership to the PaddleHeads’ outfield. A two-year captain for the Huskies of the Big East Conference, he finishes his career with a batting average of .296, 237 hits, 100 RBIs and 43 stolen bases.
“Toppa is a huge acquisition for our developing roster, and I can’t wait to get him on the field.” PaddleHeads manager Michael Schlact said. “John brings a solid set of all around tools. He’s a fierce competitor and is a great piece for us as we continue to build our DNA."
Long, a 6-2 righty who pitched for Southeastern University, made 16 appearances in his senior season, hurling 89.2 innings with 88 strikeouts and an ERA of 2.31.
“Keven brings the type of makeup and skill set on the rubber that I can’t wait to work with.” said Schlact, a former pitcher himself. “He’s got a really solid, reliable arm, and the stamina, focus, and determination to be a high quality innings eater in our rotation, this season."
—Bill Speltz, Missoulian