Grand Junction Jackalopes

Jackalopes Sign Two Former CMU Mavericks

December 14, 2023 - Pioneer League (PL)
Grand Junction Jackalopes News Release

Two former Mavericks are coming "home" to the Grand Valley as professionals.

The Grand Junction Jackalopes are pleased to announce the signing of Conrad Villafuerte and Matthew Turner to the 2024 roster.

Villafuerte and Turner played collegiately at Colorado Mesa University in Grand Junction. Villafuerte from 2019-2022, and Turner from 2018-2022.

Villafuerte will enter his first professional ball season after batting .422 and recording an OPS of 1.208 in his senior year last spring. The Fountain Valley, CA native was named Second Team All-RMAC in a conference full of outstanding outfielders.

The chance to turn that outstanding college career into a professional one is as surreal as it is remarkable to Villafuerte.

"I don't think it's really sunk in," Villafuerte said. "It feels awesome. It's what every kid dreams of."

Even though Fountain Valley is his hometown, Villafuerte feels a special connection to Grand Junction and looks forward to continuing in the community as a professional.

"I couldn't have asked for anything better." Villafeurte said, "This is my sixth fall here. [Grand Junction is] a second home for me. I love the community here."

For Matthew Turner's part, he has already gotten a taste of professional baseball in the Pioneer League, playing for the NOCO Owlz in 2022. He also spent time in the Frontier League, playing nine games for the Empire State Grays in 2023.

"It's been a dream of mine [playing professionally in Grand Junction] since playing at Mesa," Turner said.

At Colorado Mesa, Turner's most notable season came his junior year in 2021 when he became the first Maverick since 1997 to eclipse the 20 home run mark. Along with his 23 home runs, he also hit .390 with an OPS of 1.403.

Turner credits the CMU program and head coach Chris Hanks with preparing him for the professional level.

"Coach Hanks knows how to run a program; he instills a professionalism that prepares you for the next steps," Turner said.

Villafuerte and Turner were not just teammates but also good friends in college, and they are looking forward to playing together again.

"I'm looking forward to playing with Conrad again. I'm glad our baseball paths crossed again," Turner said.

"It's pretty sweet. Going to be fun," Villafuerte said, grinning, "We're just going to be doing the same thing... right."

Villafuerte, Turner and the Jakalopes open their season on May 21st in Boise before returning to Suplizio Field for the home opener on June 2nd. 2024 season tickets are on sale now.

• Discuss this story on the Pioneer League message board...

Pioneer League Stories from December 14, 2023

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.

Other Recent Grand Junction Jackalopes Stories

Sports Statistics from the Stats Crew
OurSports Central