June 15, 1998
KALAMAZOO -- Juniors left handed pitcher John Stewart (Streamwood, Ill./Elgin St. Edward) and designated hitter Derek Ottevaere (Grosse Pointe/North) and senior left handed pitcher Eric Place (Olivet/Grand Rapids JC) of Western Michigan University have signed professional contracts following the 1998 major league baseball amateur draft.
Stewart and Ottevaere were selected in the seventh and 14th rounds respectively by the Texas Rangers while Place was a 12th round choice by the Toronto Blue Jays. A total of ten players from the Mid-American Conference were drafted with WMU and Bowling Green leading the way with three each.
Stewart was named to the All-MAC first-team after compiling a 9-3 record, a 2.85 earned runs average with 71 strikeouts against only 11 walks while working a school season-record 107 1/3 innings. He was runner-up for the league's "pitcher of the year award."
Ottevaere also earned All-MAC honors after batting .346 with 36 runs, 48 RBI and 12 home runs. The latter figure was one shy of a Bronco season standard.
Place finished with a 5-4 record, a 3.92 ERA with 60 strikeouts and 4-2 walks for 80 1/3 innings.
Coach Fred Decker's club finished with a 26-29 overall mark, a 16-16 MAC showing and made its first league championship tournament appearance since 1993. Decker has now had 65 of his Broncos go on to play professionally during his 22 years at Western Michigan.
Media contact: John Beatty; 616 387-4138; email@example.com
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