MOUNT PLEASANT – Iowa Wesleyan College infielder Jay Olson (So.-Agency, Iowa) and pitcher Derek Zander (Jr.-Colorado Springs, Colo.) both recently signed to compete next summer for the Alfred Oilers, an Athletes in Action-affiliated collegiate baseball summer league team in the New York Collegiate League (NYCBL).
The New York Collegiate Baseball League, founded in 1978, is a summer wood bat league sanctioned by the NCAA and partially funded by Major League Baseball. The league, located in upstate New York, gives college players who have not yet signed a professional contract the opportunity to develop their skills at a higher level of play, gain experience with wood bats, and be evaluated by scouts.
As a freshman for the Tigers, Olson played in 48 games for the Tigers spending the majority of his time at third base. During those 48 games, he compiled a .342 batting average including 52 total hits, nine doubles and 24 RBI.
Zander transferred to Iowa Wesleyan this fall from junior college power Indian Hills Community College in Centerville. As a sophomore Zander compiled a 3-2 record on the mound for the Falcons while making 11 appearances and compiling a 4.50 ERA during the 2009 season.
Athletes in Action (AIA) is a branch of Campus Crusade for Christ, a Christian outreach ministry with groups on more than 1,000 college campuses in the United States and beyond. Athletes in Action was founded in 1966 and, according to its Web site, has “sought to be a global pioneer, innovator, and servant leader in sport ministry.” Athletes in Action is best known for sending teams of athletes in a number of sports to compete overseas or in the U.S.
“AIA is getting two of the hardest working players I have had the privilege to coach,” said IWC Head Coach Brett Monaghan. “Not only that, the character of these two individuals is second to none. This is a great opportunity for both Jay and Derek, not only to become better players, but better young men as well. I am extremely pleased that these two will be representing our program this coming summer.”
Teams in the NYCBL play a 44-game regular season schedule in June and July. Many current and former Major League Players have spent a summer playing in the league including such Tim Hudson (Atlanta Braves), Brad Lidge (Philadelphia Phillies) and Hunter Pence (Houston Astros). In all, 82 total players within the Athletes in Action organization have signed to play professionally since 1981.