Two talented backstops will be joining the Bellingham Bells for the 2017 season. Chase Illig from West Virginia University and Austin Pinorini from Bellevue College will be suiting up for the Bells this summer.
“We are thrilled to add two talented catchers to the 2017 roster,” Bells’ general manager Stephanie Morrell said. “Chase and Austin are great players and we are excited to welcome them to the team."
Illig is in his freshman season in the Big 12 conference with the Mountaineers. The Bluefield, VA. native has appeared in 12 games this season for WVU, including reaching base all four times he saw the dish in a win over the weekend against Jacksonville. In the 8-1 win, Illig went 2-2 with a home run, a run scored, a walk and a hit by pitch.
Prior to joining West Virginia, Illig played for powerhouse high school IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida. With the Ascenders, Illig was named 2nd team All-Atlantic region and honorable mention All-American by Perfect Game USA. In addition, Perfect Game rated Illig as one of the top 10 players in the state of Virginia and in the top 500 nationally. Illig played last summer with the Wilmington Sharks of the Coastal Plain League, ripping eight hits in 10 games.
“Not only is Chase an extremely talented catcher, he is also a player with great power and potential offensively,” Morrell said. “Chase is a guy who just finds a way to get on base. We look forward to him helping spark the Bells’ offense this summer!”
Pinorini, who is signed to become a Gonzaga Bulldog in fall 2017, is in his second season at Bellevue College. In 56 games over two seasons with Bellevue, Pinorini is hitting .301 with 38 runs batted in, 13 extra base hits, 14 stolen bases and just 11 strikeouts compared to 42 walks drawn, earning second team all-league honors in 2016. Prior to joining the Bulldogs, Pinorini was a standout at Cascade High School, where he was a captain and hit at a .460 clip as a senior, earning first team All-Area honors.
“Austin is a great addition to the Bells’ roster,” Morrell said. “He’s a player who can really make things happen, whether at the plate or on the base paths. He’s also very reliable behind the plate. We are thrilled Austin is going to be a Bell, and look forward to the contributions we know he will make this summer.”
Pinorini, Illig and the 2017 Bells will look to begin another successful campaign on Friday June 2nd against the Gresham GreyWolves at Joe Martin Field.