PALM SPRINGS, Calif. - After leading Purdue baseball in hits and batting average as a freshman, Skyler Hunter has continued his hot hitting on the West Coast and garnered all-star honors in the Southern California Collegiate League.
As of July 5, Hunter is batting .402 for the league-leading Palm Springs Power, which has compiled a 23-3 overall record (16-3 in SCCBL play). He'll play for the East team in the July 8 All-Star Game. He's one of a number of Boilermakers currently playing in NCAA-sanction collegiate wood bat summer leagues.
Hunter has recorded at least three hits in a game six times this summer. He's also been playing some shortstop defensively, where he played primarily as a high school standout in Oregon before Purdue used him exclusively as a center fielder in its 19-win turnaround season.
Hunter became the first freshman to lead the Boilermakers in hits (65) and batting average (.323) since 2010. Future big leaguers Cameron Perkins (hits) and Kevin Plawecki (average) accomplished the feat in 2010 while also being the last freshmen prior to Hunter to record 30-plus RBI. He represented Purdue on the 2017 Big Ten All-Freshman Team.
Harry Shipley and Daniel Sander were the last Boilermakers to play for the Palm Springs Power, helping the team win the 2015 SCCBL title. Milo Beam (Conejo Oaks), Bryce Bonner (Victoria HarbourCats), Stephen Kalina (Healdsburg Prune Packers) and Shipley (Victoria HarbourCats) are also playing on the West Coast this summer.
KENNEDY, WARDEN BACK IN LINEUP WITH FIRST-PLACE AVIATORS
Evan Kennedy and Evan Warden are playing with the Lafayette Aviators of the Prospect League again this summer. Both Boilermakers missed about a month due to injury, but have returned to the lineup recently for the division-leading Aviators (20-12). As of July 5, Kennedy has played in nine games since returning from the wrist injury he suffered as Purdue's start designated hitter in late March. The left-handed hitter is 7-for-21 with a .611 on-base percentage thanks to six walks and nine hit by pitch. Warden has scored a run in all 10 games he's played for Lafayette this summer. He batting .286 with a .412 OBP and 14 runs scored.
Other Boilermakers currently playing for division or league-leading summer ball teams as of July 5...
Jacson McGowan -- Wisconsin Rapids Rafters, Northwoods League (28-9, South Division first-half champs)
Kyle Van Hoeck -- Lake Erie Monarchs, Great Lakes League (16-8, North Division)
DALESANDRO HEATING UP ON THE CAPE
Nick Dalesandro is playing in the Cape Cod League again this summer for the Harwich Mariners. Since the calendar flipped to July, he's 7-for-13 with a .625 OBP, three walks and three runs scored.