Cavaliers Season Preview: Burman, Jenneman Lead Strong Returning Core

May 24, 2014

In 2013 the Eau Claire Cavaliers posted one of their most successful seasons to date, finishing with a 40-12 record.

Wisconsin State League

In 2013 the Eau Claire Cavaliers posted one of their most successful seasons to date, finishing with a 40-12 record.

With some key veterans returning and a handful of new recruits, the 2014 Cavaliers hope to be even better.

Among the returners is hard-hitting catcher Brian Burman, who is back for his third year with the team after leading it in home runs in 2012 and 2013.

“He’s just solid behind the dish,” Cavaliers manager Mark McHorney said. “Good leadership. He’s a real mature guy and he handles the pitching staff and he’s a heck of a hitter.”

Burman batted .379 with a team-high 15 doubles, five homers and 51 RBIs last year.

Also returning is pitcher Jacob Jenneman, who had a 2.85 ERA and a 9-1 record in 663 innings as the team’s top pitcher last season.

Jenneman leads a staff that also returns Troy Peiffer, Tyler Dierke, Cory Bonner, Matt Flesher and Brian Dickow.

Fall Creek graduate Dusty Kuhnert joins the pitching staff, as do a pair of DII pitchers in Sawyer Bawek and James Holub.

A handful of former Eau Claire Pizza Hut American Legion players will join the Cavaliers. Ryan Connor, Tyler Black and Sam Hurt become the latest local players to join the team as it begins its 44th season.

“We’re really looking forward to having those three local guys,” McHorney said. “I like to have that local presence.”

Two more local players likely will join the team later in the season.

Outfielder and last year’s co-MVP of the Wisconsin State League Brady Burzynski likely will return to the Cavaliers after his contract with the Eau Claire Express comes to an end. Burzynski hit .420 last season and stole 23 bases as the team’s primary center fielder.

Also joining the team late is Memorial graduate and Northwestern infielder Grant Peikert. Peikert underwent a hip procedure and missed his senior season at Memorial. He redshirted at Northwestern this season and will be seeing his first action since 2012.

Several Japanese players will be joining the team for the 2014 campaign — as has been customary for the Cavaliers in recent years — and many of them come with professional experience.

Outfielder Naoki Otani played last season with the Nettuno Baseball Club of the Italian Baseball League, utilityman Masahiro Miyadero played last season for the Las Vegas Train Robbers of the independent Pecos League and Masaki Onose played for the Fukui Miracle Elephants in Japan’s Baseball Challenge League.

After a 17-7 record and a second-place finish in the Wisconsin State League last season, this year’s Cavaliers hope, as always, to bring a league title back to Eau Claire.

“The goal of the state league is always to finish first,” McHorney said. “It’s quite a challenge though.

“It’s a good challenge. We relish it. It’s good to play those types of teams.”



24 — Sparta Millers (dh) 1 p.m. 25 — Spooner Bandits (dh) 1 p.m. 26 — Eau Claire Bears 1 p.m. 31 — at Chaseburg-Coon Valley Blues (dh) 1 p.m.


7 — Sheboygan A’s (dh) 5 p.m. 8 — Sheboygan A’s (dh) 12 p.m. 12 — at Spooner Bandits 6 p.m. 14 — Westmont Red Sox (dh) 12 p.m. 15 — Westmont Red Sox (dh) 12 p.m. 21 — at Addison Braves (dh) 3 p.m. 22 — at Addison Braves (dh) 12 p.m. 25 — Spooner Bandits 7:30 p.m. 27 —Spooner Bandits 7:30 p.m.


1 — Chaseburg-Coon Valley Blues 7:30 p.m. 2 — Brill Millers 7:30 p.m. 5 — at Oshkosh Giants (dh) 4 p.m. 6 — at Oshkosh Giants (dh) 12 p.m. 8 — Eau Claire Bears 7:30 p.m. 9 — at Marshfield Chaparrals 7:30 p.m. 11 — at Sheboygan A’s 7:30 p.m. 12 — Lombard Orioles 1 p.m.; Addison Braves 4 p.m. at Sheboygan. 13 — Oshkosh Giants 11 a.m.; Kenosha Kings 1:30 p.m. at Sheboygan. 16 — at Sparta Millers 7:30 p.m. 19 — Lombard Orioles (dh) 3 p.m. 20 — Lombard Orioles (dh) 1 p.m. 22 — Spooner Bandits 7:30 p.m. 23 — Menomonie Eagles 7:30 p.m. 26 — at Kenosha Kings (dh) 4 p.m. 27 — at Kenosha Kings (dh) 12 p.m. 29 — Marshfield Chaparrals 7:30 p.m. 31 — Taylor County Coyotes 7:30 p.m.


1 — Menomonie Eagles (dh) 7:30 p.m. 2 — Chaseburg-Coon Valley Blues 1 p.m. 3 — Spooner Bandits (dh) 1 p.m.

Story by: Ben Peterson, Leader-Telegram staff

The Wisconsin State League is one of the premier semi-professional/amateur baseball leagues in the mid-west. In operation since 1970, the Wisconsin State League is a highly competitive league that features many of the midwest's top current and former collegiate athletes, as well as many former professional baseball players. Keep up to date on everything happening in the Wisconsin State League by following the league online on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram. | #WSL