LITTLE FALLS, N.J. – Former Wesley College baseball player Rob Benedict ('12) has signed a professional contract to play for the New Jersey Jackals of the Canadian American Association of Professional Baseball, it was announced by the organization earlier this week. Benedict becomes the second Wolverines baseball player to sign a contract in the Can-Am League (Ryan Buckland with the American Defenders of New Hampshire in 2009).
"I am very excited to get an opportunity to play with the New Jersey Jackals and be invited to their spring training," said Benedict. "It's also exciting that it is close to home so I can be able to see my daughter, Taylor, more often. I am extremely happy to be given this opportunity and I am going to play the best that I am capable of playing and work hard in order to earn a spot on the Jersey Jackals."
Benedict will report to the Jackals for Spring Training on May 1.
The 2012 Capital Athletic Conference Player of the Year, Benedict earned First Team All-Region honors at shortstop as a senior while hitting .373 with a league-high 57 runs scored and 43 stolen bases. After four years at Wesley, Benedict ranks first in program history in steals (103), third in runs (156), third in hits (208), fifth in games played (153), fifth in doubles (35), fifth in triples (8) and tenth in runs batted in (101).
Prior to signing with the Jackals, Benedict was playing for the Coachella Valley Snowbirds of the California Winter League. With the Snowbirds, Benedict led the team with a .581 batting average, 15 runs scored and 11 stolen bases in 11 attempts. He also drew eight free bases in 14 games to give him a team-high .659 on-base percentage.
The Canadian American Association of Professional Baseball, based in Durham, North Carolina, is a professional, independent baseball league located in the Northeastern United States and the Canadian province of Quebec.
The Association is usually referred to as the Can-Am League. This was also the name of the Canadian-American League, which operated between 1936 and 1951. The current Can-Am League was formed in 2005 after the Northeast League was reorganized.
Former Can-Am League players that currently play in Major League baseball are Steve Delabar (Toronto Blue Jays), Raul Valdes (Philadelphia Phillies) and Stu Pomeranz (Baltimore Orioles).
The Wesley College baseball team opens its 2013 season on February 16 when it hosts future CAC member Penn St.-Harrisburg in a 12 pm doubleheader. In 2012, the Wolverines, under first-year head coach Bret Underwood, won a school-record 31 games and earned the top seed in the ECAC South Region Tournament.