July 09, 2012

Ex-Piper Dan Kaczrowski Makes Mark As Pinch-Hitter For Mobile

When he was in the Arizona Diamondback spring training camp in March, former HU baseball player Dan Kaczrowski was told he needed to learn how to be an utility man if he wanted to advance in the team's system. That meant playing the infield one day, moving to the outfield the next and, then needed, come up a pinch-hitter. He found himself in the latter role on July 8 ... and responded dramatically with a grand slam home run. It capped a wild 20-3 win for the Mobile Bay Bears in a game at Pensacola. It was his first four-bagger of 2012 and the sixth of his minor league career with the D-Backs, who drafted him in the 26th round in 2009 .During that time, he has played every position but pitcher and catcher. 

It added to what has been an interesting year for the St. Anthony, Minn. native, who graduated form HU in 2009. In March, he became the first Piper since Howie Schultz in the 1940s to appear in a major league baseball game when he had an at-bat in a preseason game for the D-Backs. He started the season Mobile and briefly was moved to AAA Reno. He was returned to Mobile where he struggled at the plate until June, when he hit a solid .300. One thing that has remained constant: Kaz is tearing up southpaw pitching, whacking them at a .340 batting average and a .468 slugging mark. 

The Bay Bears have already qualified for the 2012 playoffs, having won the first half South Division title in the AA Southern League with a 40-30 won-loss standard. Their current overall mark is 48-40. Last year,Kaczrowski was a member of the Bay Bera team that tore the league up with an 84-54 mark and won the post-season playoffs as well.