Enumclaw High graduate Jon Ubbenga is tearing it up in the Frontier League as a starting shortstop.
After Ubbenga received his degree from William Jewell College, earning a Rawlings Gold Glove his senior year, he signed a minor league contract with the Gateway Grizzlies out of Sauget, Ill., in the Frontier League.
While Ubbenga lived up to his billing as an infielder, he struggled at the plate and was cut.
“After I didn’t get picked up by anyone when Gateway gave me the boot, I began to wonder if maybe that was going to be it for my baseball career,” said the 2004 EHS graduate. “Just giving up really isn’t in my upbringing though, so I hit the batting cage every day, stayed in shape and three days before my 23rd birthday, I got a call from my old Gateway teammate, Mike Breyman.”
Breyman had moved on to another Frontier League contingent, River City in O’Fallon, Mo., as an assistant coach. Breyman convinced Rascal coach Steve Brook to give Ubbenga a tryout.
“I signed a contract that same afternoon, then started at second base that evening,” Ubbenga said.
The Rascals were having misfortune with infielders getting injured and Ubbenga was in the right place at the right time.
In his first two outings in a Rascal uniform, he went 4-for-8 from the plate with a double and three singles.
River City, like Gateway, is an independent, no major league affiliation, in the Western Division of the Frontier League and is currently second in that division at 24-21.