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November 13, 2017 - Frontier League (FL) - Normal CornBelters News Release

Fletcher (Northern Illinois), a native of Pekin, Illinois, rejoins the CornBelters for his third season as a member of the Frontier League. In 2017, Justin ranked 11th in the league with a .319 batting average on 340 plate appearances and tied for ninth with 108 hits.

"Justin's story is a prime example of what hard work and determination can do. He came to spring training knowing he had to earn a spot on the roster and he did just that and more," said CornBelters Manager Brooks Carey. "We are thrilled to have him back in 2018, and I'm sure his hometown of Pekin is too!"

In his first season in Normal in 2016, Justin served as the primary backup to All-Star second baseman Santiago Chirino. When injuries forced Carey to make adjustments to the infield, Fletcher earned a starting role as Chrinio shifted to shortstop. Justin went on to play in a total of 43 games in his rookie season and recorded a .236 batting average with 7 RBI and 8 SB on 172 plate appearances. Before joining the CornBelters, he played the 2015 season for the Kalamazoo Growlers of the Northwoods League where he played in 69 contests and hit .252 with 3 HR, 35 RBI, and 15 SB.

Justin played college baseball at Illinois Central College for one season (2013) and Northern Illinois University for three seasons (2014-2016). Over the course of his collegiate career, he hit .286/.351/.382 with 4 HR, 121 RBI, and 32 SB. He was born March 24, 1994.

During the offseason, Justin offers private lessons at Fletcher's Hitting Center in his hometown of Pekin, Illinois. The center features three batting cages and pitching machine that can be used for both baseball and softball players. Private lessons in hitting, fielding, and pitching are available, as well as rental opportunities of the batting cages. For more information, contact Justin directly at (309) 696-5323 or visit the Fletcher’s Hitting Center Facebook Page.

Big League Scout Seats

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Santiago on pace to become the Frontier League's All-Time Hit Leader

Chirino (5-10, 188, Venezuela) will enter his tenth professional season in 2018 and sixth in Normal, making him the longest-tenured career member of CornBelters. Santiago finished the 2017 season with a .357 batting average with 3 HR, 60 RBI, and 3 SB in 395 plate appearances, earning him All-Star honors for the third time in his career (2014, 2016).

"Obviously we are all very excited about the return of Santiago. He's a cornerstone of our organization with immeasurable leadership skills and an infectious love for the game," said CornBelters Manager Brooks Carey. "His dedication and commitment to our organization does not go unrecognized. We are all looking forward to him becoming the career hits leader for the Frontier League in 2018; he is a true All-Star."

Over his five Frontier League seasons, Santiago has amassed .319 batting average with 16 HR, 204 RBI, and 48 SB in 1,850 plate appearances. His 593 career hits puts him in a position to become the league's all-time leader in 2018 as he currently trails Chris Sidick (635).

Before joining the CornBelters, Chirino played four seasons in the Texas Rangers organization, which included time with the Myrtle Beach Pelicans of the Carolina League. He registered a .324 average with 8 HR, 124 RBI, and 29 SB in 1,330 plate appearances. The twenty-six-year-old infielder will enter his final Frontier League season in 2018, per league roster restrictions. He was born on February 11, 1991, and is originally from Punto Fijo, Venezuela.


May 8th & 9th at The Corn Crib in Normal

The CornBelters will be hosting two Baseball in Education Days in 2018: Tuesday, May 8th and Wednesday, May 9th .

The day of baseball fun and learning will include a baseball-themed educational packet for each student, offering lessons across a number of subjects (math, science, social studies, etc.). Each game day will also incorporate a number of community partners to create awareness about local programs and extended learning opportunities for kids.

Registration for the Baseball in Education Days is now available.

For tickets or to register, call the MICU Box Office at The Corn Crib at 309-454-2255 or email tickets@normalbaseball.com

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Frontier League Stories from November 13, 2017

The opinions expressed in this release are those of the organization issuing it, and do not necessarily reflect the thoughts or opinions of OurSports Central or its staff.