AIA’s Collin Radack honored by Baseball America

CONWAY, Ark. – Hendrix College junior outfielder Collin Radack was named to Baseball America’s Top 10 and’s Top 30 Great Lakes Summer Collegiate League Prospect List. The Austin, Texas native ranked eighth on Baseball America’s list and 27th on PerfectGame’s. He was the only non-NCAA Division I player to be featured.

Pat Hickey of Baseball America says “Radack is a diamond in the rough at Division III Hendrix (Ark.). He proved himself against mostly D-I competition this summer, hitting .393/.429/.563 in 112 at-bats. He has an athletic frame at 6-foot-4, 205 pounds and has plenty of room to add strength. His 6.7-second time in the 60 at the scouting combine makes him a slightly above-average runner. As the season progressed, Radack showed considerable improvement in adding loft to his swing, though it has yet to translate into game action. A line-drive hitter, most of his doubles came to the pull side. Defensively, he may have to move to a corner outfield position unless he can improve his routes in center.”

Radack spent the summer playing for the Xenia Scouts, a team sponsored by Athletes in Action in Ohio. He ended the season hitting .393, ranking third in the Great Lakes League, and was tied for fifth with 13 doubles. He also recorded two home runs, 19 RBI and six stolen bases in 29 games, earning All-GLSCL First Team honors. He was also selected to play in the league’s All-Star Game.

As a sophomore at Hendrix, Radack earned All-Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference First Team honors for the second consecutive year, as he hit .403 with 45 RBI, 64 hits, 39 runs, 12 doubles, four triples, two homers and 13 steals.

He ranks third in Warrior history with a .380 career batting average.

Radack will once again compete for Athletes in Action in Alaska with the Chugiak-Eagle River Chinooks.

article taken from the Hendrix University Athletic Website:


AIA Rally Thwarted in 5-4 Loss to Olean

AIA Baseball Jon Burkhardt

WEBSTER, N.Y. – Athletes in Action scored two runs with two outs in the ninth inning but left the bases loaded in a 5-4 loss to the Olean Oilers at Basket Road Field Monday.

Jonathan Burkhardt (East Texas Baptist – Oceanside, Calif.) drove in Frank Dreslinksi (Rend Lake College – Milford, Mich.) with his second hit of the contest and later scored on a bases loaded walk drawn by Kolbe Andrade (St. Petersburg College – Largo, Fla.) to pull AIA within a single run in the ninth before Olean brought in relief ace Cody Petre (Monroe Community College – Silver Springs, N.Y.). Petre struck out his only batter faced to squash the rally and notch his league-best fourth save of the season. Petre has fanned seven batters in six innings without allowing a hit this summer.

Burkhardt was one of three AIA batters with multiple hits in the game as Zach Gilcrease (South Florida – Odessa, Fla.) and Zac Goodno (Indian River State College – Moultrie, Ga.) each had two hits.

AIA starter Patrick Woerner (Illinois-Springfield – Chatham, Ill.) kept Olean off the scoreboard through the first four innings and scattered seven hits over 7.1 innings before running into a jam in the eighth. AIA entered the top half of that inning with a 2-1 lead and saw Woerner strike out the first batter before giving up back-to-back hits. AIA relievers Davis Patrick (North Georgia – Gainesville, Ga.) and Goodno couldn’t slow Olean’s charge as the next four batters reached and the Oilers scored four runs before a double play ended the inning.

Goodno worked a scoreless ninth to give AIA a chance to rally, but Petre closed the door before the home team could take full advantage of the opportunity.

Jon Kemmer (Clarion – Shippenville, Pa.) earned the win in relief for Olean after starter David Spaeder (Gannon – Erie, Pa.) limited AIA to two runs over eight innings. Pat Welsh (Marist – Millersville, Pa.) and Mike Scarello (Buffalo – South Buffalo, N.Y.) each had two hits and scored a run for the Oilers.


AIA Tops Niagara for First Win of 2012 Season

AIA Joel Belk

WEBSTER, N.Y. – Frank Dreslinksi went 2-for-4 and AJ Crosby drove in a pair of runs as seven different Athletes in Action batters recorded a hit in a 6-3 win against the Niagara Power at Basket Road Field Saturday night.

Dreslinksi (Rend Lake College – Milford, Mich.) collected two of AIA’s eight hits and Crosby (Edward Waters – Callahan, Fla.) helped the home side capitalize on five Power errors while AIA notched its first win of the summer in its second game. Kolbe Andrade (St. Petersburg College – Largo, Fla.) led AIA with two runs scored.

AIA starter Joel Belk (Azusa Pacific – Rancho Cucamonga, Calif.) scattered three hits over five innings and was touched for just one run to earn his first win. Belk set the tone early with a pair of strikeouts in the first inning and fanned five batters before leaving the game.

Niagara scored first with a single run in the second frame, but AIA responded with all six of its runs in the next three innings while building an insurmountable lead. Niagara tacked on two runs in the top of the eighth to trim the lead, but Dominic Porretta (Otterbein College – Westerville, Ohio) pitched a scoreless ninth to preserve the win.

Niagara’s Adam Taylor (North Greenville – Laurens, S.C.) led all hitters with a 3-for-3 effort and a pair of runs scored and teammate Seth Eller (Mt. Vernon Nazarene – Dublin, Ohio) was 2-for-4 with an RBI. Jonathan Knapp (Olivet Nazarene – Davison, Mich.) was charged with the loss.

AIA welcomes the Geneva Twins to Basket Road Field Sunday at 5 p.m., the third game of a five-game homestand to open the 2012 New York Collegiate Baseball League schedule. Geneva swept a doubleheader with Wellsville, 14-0 and 5-3, on Saturday with Jon Menke (Rochester – Highland Park, Ill.) and Alex Juday (Owens CC – Elwood, Ind.) combining on a one-hit shutout in game one.

AIA Drops NYCBL Opener to Wellsville, 7-3

AIA Zach Hedges


AIA Drops NYCBL Opener to Wellsville, 7-3


WEBSTER, N.Y. – Josh Davis tallied a pair of extra-base hits and Athletes in Action’s pitching staff combined to strike out 11 batters in a 7-3 season-opening loss to the Wellsville Nitros at Basket Road Field Thursday night.

Davis (Whitworth College – Spokane, Wash.) went 2-for-4 with a double in the second inning and triple in the ninth. The third baseman was the only player on the home side to manage multiple hits in the contest as Wellsville outhit AIA 11-6.

Five different AIA pitchers combined to fan 11 Nitro hitters, including Davis Patrick (North Georgia – Gainesville, Ga.) who struck out two of the four batters he faced in the ninth inning. AIA starter Zach Hedges (Azusa Pacific – Glendora, Calif.) struck out five in 5.0 innings, but was tagged with the loss after surrendering five runs – just three earned.

Hedges used a double play to work around a hit batter in the first frame, but AIA couldn’t muster the same result after allowing two singles to lead off the second. An error loaded the bases and Wellsville’s Pete Strommen (Eastern Illinois – Madison, Wisc.) cleared them with a one-out double. Hedges retired the next two batters to end the inning but the damage proved too much in the end.

AIA attempted to answer in the bottom of the first as Joe Belk (Azusa Pacific – Rancho Cucamonga, Calif.) pushed across AJ Crosby (Edward Waters – Callahan, Fla.) on an RBI groundout for the first run scored of the season. Wellsville’s Anthony Galan (Brown – Watching, N.J.) induced another ground ball to end the inning and limited AIA to five hits and one earned run in 8.0 innings en route to his first win of the season.

Wellsville tallied single runs in the fourth and fifth before chasing Hedges, and added another in the eighth. Belk and Jordan Doherty (Mt. Vernon Nazarene – Powell, Ohio) scored during a mini AIA rally in the eighth but a pair of clutch strikeouts from Galan ended the threat.

Garrett Gooding (Point Loma Nazarene – Newhall, Calif.) and Jonathan Breneman (Westmont College – San Luis Obispo, Calif.) also pitched for AIA.

AIA continues New York Collegiate Baseball League action at home on Saturday, as the Niagara Power visit Basket Road Field at 7 p.m.


AIA Baseball Opening Night Thursday June 7th at 7pm








AIA Baseball’s Opening Night to start the 2012 NYCBL Season is Thursday June 7th at 7pm at Basket Road Stadium in Webster, NY.  Come out to the ballpark for a night of good baseball and family fun at an affordable price.  Hope to see you at the stadium this summer.

Ben Alison named NAIA Player of the Week


KANSAS CITY, MO – AIA New York Alum Ben Alison of MidAmerica Nazarene has been tabbed National Baseball Player of the Week, the national office announced Tuesday. Alison was selected based on his performance from April 16 – 22 and was chosen out of a pool of conference/independent/unaffiliated groupings.


Alison, a native of Ankeny, Iowa, hit .500 (7-for-14) with four home runs, seven runs scored and 15 RBIs to lead the Pioneers to a pair of doubleheader sweeps against Culver-Stockton (Mo.) on April 18 and Graceland (Iowa) on April 21. In the victories against Graceland, the senior right fielder went 3-for-5 with two home runs and a season-high tying seven RBIs in game one before going 2-for-3, including a home run and four RBIs, in game two.


On the year, Alison ranks fifth nationally with a program single-season record 15 home runs, while also appearing amongst the top 20 in RBIs with 53. Additionally, he leads the team with a .721 slugging percentage, while ranking second in stolen bases (20) and third in batting average (.350). Alison is the only player in the NAIA with at least 15 home runs and 20 steals this season.

Brown shares about his summer with AIA Baseball

MOUNT VERNON, OH – The past two months have been an amazing journey that has been such a powerful experience for me in my life. Just one week after our season ended at MVNU in pool play at the NCCAA national tournament, I set out on May 28th from my home in Westerville, Ohio for a six-hour car drive to upstate New York to a small town called Alfred. Feelings of apprehension and nerves were hitting me hard with each mile. This was going to be the longest I had been away from home by myself in my entire life. I was going to be staying with a host family that I had never met, and I was going to be playing in a highly competitive collegiate league with players from all over the United States. I was excited for the challenge athletically and spiritually. The prospect of playing with a Christian organization called Athletes in Action was very attractive for me, but I did not know how great the summer would actually turn out to be.As I stand on the other side of the journey, I look back and can honestly say this was one of the best summers of my life. All my feelings of apprehension were washed away day by day. My host family turned out to be the perfect fit. I could not have asked for a better situation, I had four host siblings who were all a blast to be with and my roommate was an outfielder from Chicago with a great sense of humor that matched mine perfectly. My host mom took great care of me and my roommate, packing us lunches to take with us on trips, and my host dad was so supportive at all of our games. The Ryan family is an amazing group of people that I feel blessed to have been able to stay with.

Playing with Athletes in Action was the best decision I could have made for the summer. I gained 23 great friends from all over the country. We participated in daily group Bible Studies hearing from three separate chaplains from Athletes in Action staff on the campuses of Colorado State, UCLA, and Ball State. Over the course of the summer, we participated in numerous community service projects as well as visiting a homeless shelter in Rochester to serve food. We participated in prison ministry playing softball against the inmates at a local prison. We visited a nursing home and shared a meal with people who normally do not receive visits from even their families. The highlight of our ministry by far, though, was the opportunity to share the Gospel with the opposing teams in the league. We shared the AIA principles that were life changing for me as an athlete

Our team name was the Alfred Thunder and we were in the New York Collegiate Baseball League (NYCBL). The NYCBL is one of eight leagues that make up the National Alliance of College Summer Baseball. It is partially funded by Major League Baseball and is a tool for development and scouting for amateur baseball players. Within the NYCBL, there are two divisions – East and West. The Alfred Thunder participated in the West Division. The schedule consisted of 44 games within a two-month span. Every day, we would play at 7 p.m. We would be picked up sometime in the early afternoon and we would head to our home church to have discipleship together.

On the mound, I had a very successful summer. On the first day of training camp, the pitchers were standing in one spot and you could say that I was the “Roy Oswalt”of the staff. I was the smallest pitcher of the staff standing at 6-1. The rest of the pitchers were in the range of 6-3 to 6-6. Despite my disadvantage in physique I tied for the team lead in appearances with 13, complete games with 2, led the team in strikeouts with 30 in 34 innings pitched, and I was selected to the NYCBL West Division All-Star Team.

Playing in the NYCBL was a great experience for me and without a doubt helped me grow as a pitcher. I am so thankful for the success I had this summer, but more importantly I grew immensely in my spiritual walk with the Lord. The discipleships with the team were by far the best part of the experience for me. One thing that I gained from this experience was the realization that God is the only thing that will satisfy the desires of my heart. I had always agreed with that statement intellectually, but I think this summer was the first time that all my inmost being realized the truth in that. God is enough, God is enough to satisfy the desires of my heart, and nothing else will ever come close. The game of baseball may fail me, my abilities on the field may fail me, but He will never fail me. He is the solid rock on which I stand. I am excited to head back to Mount Vernon to start another championship run with the Cougars in a new conference. We’ll all be back on campus in no time!

Cunniff finds success with AIA Baseball

MARSHALL, Texas (8/30/11) – East Texas Baptist University sophomore catcher Cayden Cunniff wanted to stay busy this summer and wasn’t necessarily looking forward to leaving the quiet, peaceful, Christian-based atmosphere at ETBU. Ideally, he wanted to stay busy with something that would both benefit his baseball career and his spiritual life, and going home for the summer wasn’t exactly what he felt like doing.

That restlessness, along with an early-season suggestion by Tigers head coach Sam Blackmon, led Cunniff to a season with the Alfred Thunder, in upstate New York, as part of Athletes in Action’s summer baseball league. Now that he’s back at ETBU, Cunniff definitely feels the experience was exactly what he was looking for.

“I was kind of praying…I struggle a little more at home, and it’s easier here to do the right things with a Christian environment,” said Cunniff, a native of Joshua, Texas. “I was kind of worried about the summer. Even though I was kind of wanting to go home I knew that sometimes for me I struggle with some influences there so a couple of weeks after I started praying about that I got this opportunity.”

Blackmon has encouraged other Tigers to pursue summer ball with Athletes in Action, including one of Cunniff’s senior teammates last season, Ryan Yezak. He felt that Cunniff would be a great fit and that the experience would benefit his two-year catcher both on and off the field.

“I believe Athletes in Action helps develop players with Christian leadership skills,” Blackmon said. “For Cayden and for our program I felt that Cayden being involved in that setting this summer would only enhance that in him as a leader. A few weeks into it, we visited and you could just tell the difference in his confidence level not only from playing but from the confidence level of being a Christian leader. I can already tell the difference from him being away this summer.”

The baseball part of the experience, at least at the start, was intimidating. Although Blackmon had stressed to Cunniff that his baseball skills would work fine with Athletes in Action, Cunniff had to prove it to himself.

“I was a little intimidated at first, when I first got there,” he said. “At training camp everyone seemed like they were a foot taller than me. It was good competition but I saw that it wasn’t really overpowering. I definitely had to be at the top of my game to compete but I liked the challenge and knew it was going to make me a better player.”

Cunniff was one of two catchers on the Thunder roster, and he and Matt O’Neill, of Avernia University, split time throughout most of the season. When O’Neill sustained an injury late in the summer, however, Cunniff became the full-time catcher the rest of the way.

“Overall I was pleased with the way I played and I got the chance to catch a lot of innings,” he said. “I’ve just always wanted to catch, I enjoy the defensive part of it a lot and to me as a defensive catcher it’s all about keeping mistakes to a minimum. I practice blocking and stuff every day and my goal is to just get better at everything, and playing this summer allowed me to do that against good competition.”

What makes Athletes in Action a little different than other summer collegiate organizations is the off-the-field spiritual emphasis. Cunniff said the Thunder took part in daily devotional sessions and also had some mission-type activities, such as playing a softball game against a group of prisoners at a state prison. During this experience he said the players were able to share the Gospel with inmates.

“It was a really cool experience, and since I’m a Criminal Justice major it just kind of fit for me,” Cunniff said. “Having that opportunity to share the Gospel with people in need was a cool thing.”

Cunniff has already been invited back to play in the league, and he is looking forward to the opportunity. Blackmon, from a coaching standpoint, can already see the growth and maturity in his young catcher.

“Cayden has had an impact on our program since he arrived as a freshman,” he said. “It has been a pleasure to watch him mature into not only a great baseball player, but also a strong Christian leader as well. He is very dedicated to his academic studies and the weight room. He brings everyone that is around him to a higher level.”

Donaldson opens season as A’s starting third basemen

XENIA, OH – Athletes in Action Alaska (Chugiak-Eagle River Chinooks) Alum Josh Donaldson opened up the 2012 season in Japan as the Oakland Athletics’ starting third basemen. Donaldson, who played with AIA  in 2005, is a graduate of Auburn University. A converted catcher, Donaldson is making his second appearence at the big league level. He was called up in 2010 as a catcher for the A’s where he received 32 at bats in his 14 games with Oakland. On May 1, 2010 he got his first major league hit, which also happened to be a 2 run homerun.

Donaldson was named to the All Alaska Baseball League team for AIA in 2005 and was drafted in the first round of the 2007 MLB Draft by the Chicago Cubs.


The Angel’s Point of View

March 2012
by John Henschen

 Recently I was reading “New Testament Christianity” by J.B. Phillips and came accross this imaginary story from one of the chapters in the book. The story is meant to tell the story of Jesus from the angel’s point of view. It really gave me a new look on the Gospel message. I hope you enjoy it.

Once upon a time a very young angel was being shown round the splendours and glories of the universes by a senior and experienced angel. To tell the truth, the little angel was beginning to be tired and a little bored. He had been shown whirling galaxies and blazing suns, infinite distances in the deathly cold of inter‑stellar space, and to his mind there seemed to be an awful lot of it all. Finally he was shown the galaxy of which our planetary system is but a small part. As the two of them drew near to the star which we call our sun and to its circling planets, the senior angel pointed to a small and rather insignificant sphere turning very slowly on its axis. It looked as dull as a dirty tennis‑ball to the little angel, whose mind was filled with the size and glory of what he had seen.

“I want you to watch that one particularly,” said the senior angel, pointing with his finger.

“Well, it looks very small and rather dirty to me,” said the little angel. “What’s special about that one?”

“That,”‘ replied his senior solemnly, “is the Visited Planet.”

“Visited?” said the little one. “You don’t mean visited by –‑?”

“Indeed I do. That ball, which I have no doubt looks to you small and insignificant and not perhaps over‑clean, has been visited by our young Prince of Glory.” And at these words he bowed his head reverently.

“But how?” queried the younger one. “Do you mean that our great and glorious Prince, with all these wonders and splendours of His Creation, and millions more that I’m sure I haven’t seen yet, went down in Person to this fifth‑rate little ball? Why should He do a thing like that?”

“It isn’t for us,” said his senior a little stiffly, “‘to ques­tion His “why’s” except that I must point out to you that He is not impressed by size and numbers, as you seem to be. But that He really went I know, and all of us in Heaven who know anything know that. As to why He became one of them ‑ how else do you suppose could He visit them?”

The little angel’s face wrinkled in disgust.

“Do you mean to tell me,” he said, “that He stooped so low as to become one of those creeping, crawling creatures of that floating ball?”

“I do, and I don’t think He would like you to call them ‘creeping, crawling creatures` in that tone of voice. For, strange as it may seem to us, He loves them. He went down to visit them to lift them up to become like Him

The little angel looked blank. Such a thought was al­most beyond his comprehension.

“Close your eyes for a moment,” said the senior angel, “and we will go back in what they call Time.”

While the little angel’s eyes were closed and the two of them moved nearer to the spinning ball, it stopped its spinning, spun backwards quite fast f or a while, and then slowly resumed its usual rotation.

“Now look!” And as the little angel did as he was told, there appeared here and there on the dull surface of the globe little flashes of light, some merely momentary and some persisting for quite a time.

“Well, what am I seeing now?” queried the little angel.

“You are watching this little world as it was some thousands of years ago.” returned his companion. “Every flash and glow of light that you see is something of the Father’s knowledge and wisdom breaking into the minds and hearts of people who live upon the earth. Not many people, you see, can hear His Voice or understand what He says, even though He is speaking gently and quietly to them all the time.”

“Why are they so blind and deaf and stupid?” asked the junior angel rather crossly.

“It is not for us to judge them. We who live in the Splendour have no idea what it is like to live in the dark. We hear the music and the Voice like the sound of many waters every day of our lives, but to them ‑ well, there is much darkness and much noise and much distraction upon the earth. Only a few who are quiet and humble and wise hear His Voice. But watch, for in a moment you will see something truly wonderful.”

The Earth went on turning and circling round the sun, and then quite suddenly, in the upper half of the globe, there appeared a light, tiny but so bright in its intensity that both the angels hid their eyes.

“I think I can guess,” said the little angel in a low voice. “That was the Visit, wasn’t it”

“Yes, that was the Visit. The Light Himself went down there and lived among them; but in a moment, and you will be able to tell that even with your eyes closed, the light will go out.”

“But why? Could He not bear their darkness and stupidity? Did He have to return here?”

“No, it wasn’t that,” returned the senior angel. His voice was stern and sad. “They failed to recognise Him for Who He was ‑ or at least only a handful knew Him. For the most part they preferred their darkness to His Light, and in the end they killed Him.”

“The fools, the crazy fools! They don’t deserve –‑”

“Neither you nor I, nor any other angel, knows why they were so foolish and so wicked. Nor can we say what they deserve or don’t deserve. But the fact remains, they killed our Prince of Glory while He was Man amongst them.”

“And that I suppose was the end? I see the whole Earth has gone black and dark. All right, I won’t judge them, but surely that is all they could expect?”

“‘Wait, we are still far from the end of the story of the Visited Planet. Watch now, but be ready to cover your eyes again.”

In utter blackness the earth turned round three times, and then there blazed with unbearable radiance a point of light.

“What now?” asked the little angel, shielding his eyes.

“They killed Him all right, but He conquered death. The thing most of them dread and fear all their lives He broke and conquered. He rose again, and a few of them saw Him and from then on became His utterly devoted slaves.”

“Thank God for that,” said the little angel.

“Amen. Open your eyes now, the dazzling light has gone. The Prince has returned to His Home of Light. But watch the Earth now.”

As they looked, in place of the dazzling light there was a bright glow which throbbed and pulsated. And then as the Earth turned many times little points of light spread out. A few flickered and died; but for the most part the lights burned steadily, and as they continued to watch, in many parts of the globe there was a glow over many areas.

“You see what is happening?” asked the senior angel. “The bright glow is the company of loyal men and women He left behind, and with His help they spread the glow and now lights begin to shine all over the Earth.”

“Yes, yes,” said the little angel impatiently, “but how does it end? Will the little lights join up with each other? Will it all be light, as it is in Heaven?”

His senior shook his head. “We simply do not know,” he replied. “It is in the Father’s hands. Sometimes it is agony to watch and sometimes it is joy unspeakable. The end is not yet. But now I am sure you can see why this little ball is so important. He has visited it; He is working out His Plan upon it.”

“Yes, I see, though I don’t understand. I shall never forget that this is the Visited Planet.”