Independent Baseball Chatter – by Bob Wirz

American Association pitchers who crave more developmental time in the winter (or merely want to escape colder weather) are finding opportunities for themselves in a variety of professional leagues, including Australia.

This may not have ever been more apparent than in the recent Australian League All-Star Game where no less than five hurlers who have played in the American Association got an inning apiece, led by current Wichita Wingnuts standout Alex Boshers (pictured) and St. Paul’s Mark Hamburger.

The 26-year-old Boshers, who has been an exceptional 27-9 in Wichita the last three seasons (11-4 in 2017), has the fourth best earned run average at 2.79 in Aussie land after making six appearances (five starts) for the Perth Heat.  The University of Tennessee-Martin product, who went directly to Wichita after five years in the college system, allowed one run during his stint in the All-Star Game but his World team still prevailed over Team Australia, 6-4.

Hamburger, who will turn 31 before next season, pitched a scoreless second inning.  He was 13-6 for the Saints last season, increasing his log for three summers in Minnesota to 31-20.

Ryan Bollinger, third in the ERA race at 2.20, spent part of the ’14 season at St. Paul and Winnipeg.  He was the World team’s starting pitcher, working a scoreless inning.  Former Kansas City T-Bones hurler Josh Tols had a scoreless frame for Team Australia while onetime Grand Prairie hurler Ryan Searle struck out two but also gave up a solo home run in his inning of work.

Previously the chief spokesman for Baseball Commissioners Bowie Kuhn and Peter Ueberroth, Bob Wirz has been writing extensively about Independent Baseball since 2003.  He is a frequent contributor to this site, has a blog,, and a book about his life, “The Passion of Baseball”, is available at traditional book-buying sites, or at


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