Baseball | Thursday, February 16, 2012
Former Willamette Athlete Stepan to Play Professional Baseball in Austria
Catcher for Bearcats Earned a .341 Career Batting Average
SALEM, ORE. -- Former Willamette University baseball catcher Max Stepan (Pueblo, CO/Pueblo County HS), who graduated in the spring of 2011, has signed a contract to play professional baseball for the Feldkirch Cardinals in Austria. The Cardinals compete in the Baseball Bundesliga in Europe. The season is scheduled to begin at the end of March.
Last spring, Stepan hit a career-high .381 while providing the Bearcats with 39 runs scored and 39 RBIs. He ranked second in the Northwest Conference with 11 home runs and was second in the NWC with a .739 slugging percentage. He also earned 13 doubles and walked 24 times.
Stepan achieved a hit in 25 of the last 27 games last year, including a 17-game hitting streak. On defense, he recorded a .987 fielding percentage behind the plate.
"Max was a tremendous player at Willamette and I am excited he will be able to continue his baseball career in Austria," Willamette Head Coach Aaron Swick said. "Max was someone who left his footprint on our program and I know he will thrive with this new opportunity."
During four seasons with the Bearcats, Stepan achieved a .341 career-batting average to tie for eighth all-time at WU. He earned 137 hits and 102 RBIs, while finishing third all-time with 25 home runs and tying for fifth all-time with 33 doubles. He earned 336 putouts and 50 assists behind the plate.
Stepan received All-NWC honors three times. He was selected for the First Team in 2011, was chosen for the Second Team in 2010 and was on the Honorable Mention list in 2008.