Draft Prospect Varsho Leads Panthers
The Milwaukee Panthers baseball team will try to keep up their hot play as they enter the final stretch of the regular season with a birth in the Horizon League tournament within reach. The Panthers took 3 of 4 this past weekend in a pair of doubleheaders against UIC and Northern Kentucky to move into a three-way tie for fourth place in the Horizon standings with a 9-14 mark. The top six teams advance to the conference tournament.
Despite a slow start marred by injuries and bullpen troubles, the Panthers have been tough to beat at Henry Aaron Field this year, running up a 7-1 home record that helped them to climb back to contention. “I feel like we have a good chance of making a run and getting into the conference tournament,” said Panthers head coach Scott Doffek. “We have been competitive, just have not been able to finish off games. Hopefully we can get a little healthier down the stretch and make a push.”
On Sunday, the Panthers showed that they could be a dangerous opponent in tournament play. Milwaukee pounded third-place Northern Kentucky in both ends of the twin-bill, outscoring the Norse 23-1. Righthander Austin Schulfer handcuffed NKU in the opener, striking out five in seven innings while allowing just a single hit. Southpaw Alex Fischer was just as tough on the back end, fanning seven in seven innings of two-hit work. Junior Daulton Varsho, splitting time between the outfield and catcher, went 6 for 9 on the day, while drawing a pair of walks and scoring six runs.
Varsho has been a standout all season. He is batting .387 on the year with an OBP of .498 and a slugging percentage of .665. He has also stolen 10 bases in 12 attempts and has more walks (34) than strike outs (33). As the son of Gary Varsho, who spent eight years in the Major Leagues, Daulton also possess the coveted “baseball pedigree” and grew up around the game. He was even named an old teammate of his father’s – former all-star catcher Darren Daulton.
“Daulton is a great player with a high skill set. He can run, defend and hit with power,” said Doffek. “His baseball IQ is very high and has great game instincts.” Doffek added that he expects Varsho to be drafted as high as the third round in June’s MLB draft. He is not alone in his assessment of Varsho as a legitimate prospect. Varsho was named the Horizon League’s pre-season top prospect by Baseball America and ranked 124th in their latest MLB draft prospect rankings.
The Panthers have six more home games on the schedule before wrapping up the season with a three game series at Valparaiso. They will take on Chicago State in a non-conference game on Wednesday, May 10 at 3 pm and host Wright State and Valparaiso in noon doubleheaders the following Friday and Saturday. The Panthers close out their home season on Tuesday, May 16 with a 3 pm non-conference match-up with Northern Illinois. All Panther home games are at Henry Aaron Field in Lincoln Park in Glendale and are free to the public.