Former Reinhardt College baseball standout Greg Ihlenburg '08 recently signed a contract to play professionally, thus becoming the first Eagles player to do so. Ihlenburg will join the River City Rascals of the Frontier League in early May. Prior to that time, he will serve as an assistant coach with Reinhardt's baseball team.
"It's supposed to be one of the premier leagues in independent baseball," Ihlenburg said. "A lot of guys get scouted out of it to play with a franchise team.
"It's just a blessing."
"It's just a blessing to get the chance to go play, especially since it's something I had dreamt about doing after leaving college. Just to get this opportunity is awesome in and of itself. But now that I've actually been given the chance, obviously I want to have a good career while I'm there, putting up the numbers where I can potentially make it a career. Or if not, go out knowing I gave it everything I had."
The River City Rascals
The River City Rascals are based in O'Fallon, Mo., about 35 miles west of St. Louis, and play their home games at the new T.R. Hughes Ballpark, located in the Ozzie Smith Sports Complex in St. Charles County. The Rascals are one of 12 teams in the Frontier League, a member of the Independent Professional Baseball Federation. Each club plays a 96-game regular season schedule that begins in May and lasts through the start of September.
Ihlenburg's Reinhardt Baseball Career
Ihlenburg enjoyed an outstanding four-year career at Reinhardt. The former first baseman/outfielder from Canton, Ga., earned All-Southern States Athletic Conference honors four times, including a first team selection in 2006. In 2005, Ihlenburg was also named to the SSAC All-Freshman Team. A team captain each of his four seasons with the Eagles, he concluded his career as the school's all-time leader in several statistical categories, including games played (200), games started (199), at-bats (637), runs (143), hits (231), doubles (40), total bases (303), batting average (.364), walks (111), stolen bases (34) and sacrifice hits (12). Ihlenburg also excelled in the classroom, receiving NAIA Scholar-Athlete accolades on three occasions.
A Tremendous Competitor
"Greg was a tremendous hitter and competitor for us during his four years as a starter here at Reinhardt," Reinhardt athletic director/head baseball coach Bill Popp said. "Greg holds many team records and has the distinction of being the only Reinhardt player to garner all-conference awards in each of his four seasons. He not only was great on the field, but he was also a top-notch student-athlete, graduating at the top of his class. Greg's leadership skills and determination will go a long way in helping him become a great professional player.
A Window of Opportunity
"I think Reinhardt getting a player into pro ball will really start to open up avenues for others from our up-and-coming program to have the same opportunities down the road."
A graduate of Roswell (Ga.) High School, Ihlenburg acquired his bachelor's degree in business administration with cum laude honors from Reinhardt in May 2008. Besides baseball, he was involved with several other extracurricular activities while on campus.
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