RailCats ink Rookard to first pro contract

RailCats ink Rookard to first pro contract

The Gary SouthShore RailCats announced the signing of MJ Rookard to his first professional baseball contract before Wednesday’s doubleheader against Chicago. Rookard is batting second and starting in center field for game one against the Dogs.

After graduating college a few months ago, Rookard had spent the 2019 summer playing with the Macon Bacon of the Coastal Plain League. Rookard leaves the Macon Bacon leading the league in hits (39) and batting average (.382), is second in runs scored (33) and top 10 in OBP (.484), SLG (.569), total bases (58) and doubles (eight). The 23-year-old also hit for the cycle in his first four at bats of a game back on June 17th. Those numbers garnered him a spot on the Coastal Plain League All-Star Team.

Rookard finished up his senior season earlier this year at NAIA Middle Georgia State University. He slashed .348/.456/.582 in 2019, with nine homers, 57 RBI and more walks (33) than strikeouts (23). This season the Douglasville, Ga., native tallied two 4-hit games and a 5-hit game back in February in which he finished with seven RBI.

The 5-foot-8-inch Mass Communications major spent his final two years at MGSU after transferring from Chattahoochee Valley Community College. In his last year with CVCC, he finished with an OBP of .408, more walks (19) than strikeouts (15), 19 runs scored and was 7/8 stealing bases.

Gary continues their three-day, four-game series on Wednesday with a doubleheader against Chicago starting at 5:05 p.m. Game two of Wednesday’s doubleheader is expected to begin 30 minutes after the completion of game one. RailCats right-hander Jumpei Akanuma (2-1, 2.97) opposes Dogs right-hander Trevor Simms (1-5, 7.47) in game one and Gary left-hander Seth Hougesen (0-0, 0.00) counters against Chicago left-hander Jake Dahlberg (3-2, 4.20) in game two.

The RailCats return home to U.S. Steel Yard for the start of their season long 10-game homestand on Friday, July 12 at 7:10 p.m. vs Cleburne. Friday’s game is Kevin “Bacon” Night, and includes bacon themed concession specials. The series-opener also serves as Nurses Appreciation Night, with postgame fireworks presented by Fifth Third Bank.

Ticket packages for the 2019 Gary SouthShore RailCats season are available online at RailCatsBaseball.com or by calling the RailCats ticket line at (219) 882-BALL. The RailCats box office is open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.