BRYAN -- Not only will the boys be back in town, but this time they’re bringing friends. The Brazos Valley Bombers, who have promised fans that “The Boys Are Back In Town” in 2008, announced today that sophomore outfielder T.J. Mittelstaedt and junior catcher Kip Masuda will return to the team this summer. The two will be joined by junior righthanded pitcher Dustin Rasco and sophomore lefthanded pitcher Brandon M. Godfrey, both teammates of theirs at Long Beach State.
A star in the making, Mittelstaedt will be looking to build on a strong freshman campaign with the Dirtbags and a solid rookie season with the Bombers. Mittelstaedt led Brazos Valley hitters with 18 runs scored and 28 walks, the third highest total in the league. His .349 on-base percentage was fifth on the team even though a leg injury limited him to a .168 batting average. More importantly, he showed a command of the game’s nuances that belied his age, a trait that has excited both fans and scouts alike.
In his freshman year at Long Beach State, Mittelstaedt played his way from a raw prep player to a budding star in just a few months. Despite being converted from an infielder to the outfield, the Mission Viejo, Calif., native was an All-Big West Conference Honorable Mention. Mittelstaedt hit .296 for the season but got stronger as he became more comfortable, batting .389 in conference games. He topped the Dirtbags with 33 walks and a stunning .468 on-base percentage.
Masuda, who already had distinguished himself as one of the nation’s top defensive catchers, showed a penchant for some timely power hitting in 2007. The Hawaiian native delivered three home runs for the Bombers last summer, tying Ryan Weber for the team lead. His .369 slugging percentage ranked fourth on the team, and he added 11 RBI, good for sixth on the squad. He finished the season with a .214 average.
The 2007 season was Masuda’s second in summer collegiate baseball. He starred for the Peninsula Oilers in the prestigious Alaska Baseball League in 2006. There he cemented his reputation as one of the top young catch-and-throw backstops, throwing out 40% of opposing baserunners on his way to being named the league’s top catcher.
Rasco may be new to a Bombers uniform, but he is no stranger to the TCL. Pitching last year for the Duncanville Deputies, Rasco posted six saves, tying Brazos Valley closer Tyler Davis for second in the league. He went 2-1 with a 1.80 ERA in 12 relief appearances and held opposing hitters to a .182 average. He also mowed down hitters at an alarming rate, striking out an amazing 27 batters in just 15 innings.
Rasco’s spring campaign with Long Beach State was also solid, delivering a 1-0 record and one save with a 3.81 ERA. In 28.1 innings pitched, he allowed just 18 hits, holding opposing batters to a .180 average. Interestingly, even though it was Rasco’s sophomore season in college, it was his first collegiate stint on the hill. Rasco only saw action at first base and in the outfield as a redshirt freshman at Kansas State before transferring to Long Beach State. He starred as a prep for Tomball High School, where he earned all-conference, all-district, and all-Houston area honors.
Godfrey is no stranger to summer league ball either. Playing for the Danville Dans in the Central Illinois Summer League last summer, he appeared in nine games with seven starts, pitching in over 47.0 innings. He jumped out with a 2-0 record and pitched four shut-out innings in just his second appearance. He finished up 3-2 with a 4.98 ERA, striking out 24 and walking 15.
Godfrey had nine appearances on the mound for the Dirtbags last season as true freshman. A Glendora, California native, he was a four-year letterman at Glendora High School and received All-Sierra League honors his senior season. He also threw a two-hit shutout as part of the California Interscholastic Federation (CIF) Quarterfinals in 2004 at Blair Field, his future home park.
Season tickets for the Bombers 2008 campaign are currently on sale. Founder’s Club seats, the front row seating that includes in-your-seat-wait service, are available, as are reserved seats in the main grandstand. The team has also created two new season ticket options. Reserved Plus will offer fans comfortable, contoured seats in the first several rows of the grandstand, while general admission season tickets – with both adult and child/senior/student prices – are the most affordable way to enjoy all the fun of Bombers baseball. Season tickets may be purchased online at bvbombers.com, by phone at (979) 779-PLAY, or by visiting the Bombers offices at 405 Mitchell Street in Bryan.
About the Brazos Valley Bombers:
The Bombers are members of the Texas Collegiate League, one of the nation’s premier summer collegiate circuits. Teams like the Bombers bring minor league baseball-style entertainment to communities throughout the country, giving some of the best college players a chance to further their careers in wood bat leagues in front of Major League scouts. The Bombers 48-game season begins in early June and runs through the beginning of August, followed by the TCL playoffs and a championship series. Season tickets for the 2008 season are now on sale. More information is available by calling the Bombers ticket office at (979) 779-PLAY, visiting the Bombers office in Bryan, or logging on to the Bombers’ official web site at www.bvbombers.com.