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Pioneers announce first player, staff signings for 2019 season

GERING, NE – The 2018 Expedition League Champion Western Nebraska Pioneers today announced the team’s first group of player and intern staff signings for the 2019 season. Coach Jimmy Turk has signed five players, two of whom played prominent roles in the team’s 2018 Championship season. The front office also announced the first two intern signings for the 2019 season.

Returning for the 2019 season are:

  • Colin Ludwig, a 6’1, 195 pound junior from the University of Colorado/Colorado Springs and a native of Chandler, AZ. Ludwig hit .343 with eight home runs and 65 RBI for the Pioneers in 2018, finishing second in the Expedition League in RBI and added a grand slam in the team’s championship-clinching game on August 11.
  • Logan Gilbertson, a 6’5”, 200 pound sophomore from Central Arkansas University and a native of Cabot, AR. With the Pioneers in 2018, Gilbertson went 9-1 with a 3.18 ERA in 28 games, striking out 55 in 48 innings pitched. He also led the EL in wins in 2018.

New to the Pioneers for 2019 are:

  • Ty Bothwell, a 5’10”, 180 pound freshman left handed pitcher from Indiana University and a native of Hebron, IN.
  • Brad Busald, a 6’6”, 230 pound junior left handed pitcher from Indiana University and a native of Rushville, IN.
  • Will Richardson, a 6’3”, 205 pound infielder from Arkansas State and a native of Woodlawn, AR.

Also joining the Pioneers for the summer season are interns Hayden Ellis and Josiah Smith.

  • Hayden Ellis, a junior from Auburn University, joins the Pioneers as an Operations Intern for the 2019 season. Ellis currently works with the Auburn athletic department in scouting, recruiting and operations and is in the process of earning a Master of Business Administration degree after earning a Bachelor of Science in Marketing from Auburn in 2018.
  • Josiah Smith, a junior from Western Michigan University, comes aboard as a Marketing and Promotions Intern for the 2019 season. Smith is earning a Bachelor of Science degree in Sport Management with a minor in Communications. He works with the WMU baseball team as a student assistant and operates Jimmy’s Fund, a non-profit scholarship organization. He also works with the Southwest Michigan YMCA as a Sports Director and Youth Sports Coach.

“Going in to year two we have a goal of bringing in player and front office talent from additional major universities and expanding our reach,” Pioneers owner Chuck Heeman said. “Coach Turk has us in with Big Ten schools now, in addition to our great base from last year, for players, and our intern applicants are coming from schools all over the country. We put together a great program in 2018, and going in to year two we can see that we’ll have a tremendous group of people to make Pioneers Baseball fun and exciting for our fans.”

The Pioneers and the Expedition League begin their second season on May 24, 2019. For information on the Expedition League visit and for more information on the Pioneers visit

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