Hawkins, Loosen and Kriech sign major-league contracts
Three JU baseball players will look to continue their careers at the next level as junior shortstop Jamaal Hawkins, junior pitcher Matt Loosen and senior pitcher Kyle Kriech each signed Major League contracts and are currently in mini-camp.

“I’m happy these guys are getting the opportunity to continue their careers,” said JU head coach Terry Alexander. “You always like to keep players for their senior seasons but Jamaal and Matt have displayed the talent to play at the next level. Even though Kyle did not get drafted, the fact that he was signed right away tells you that he also has the tools that scouts are looking for. I wish all of them the best as they enter the next chapter of their careers.”

Hawkins, a 28th round selection by the Minnesota Twins, is participating in a two week mini-camp in Fort Myers, Fla. before being assigned to the Elizabethton Twins (Rookie) of the Appalachian League in Elizabethton, Tenn.

“The Twins are a great organization and I think this is a great fit for me,” Hawkins said. “They have told me that I will continue to play shortstop when I head to Elizabethton for rookie ball.”

Loosen, who was selected in the 23rd round by the Chicago Cubs, is participating in mini-camp in Mesa, Ariz. and will start with the AZL Cubs before being moved to the Boise Hawks (Low A) of the Northwest League in Boise, Idaho.

“When my season ended with JU, I basically just rested my arm for two weeks,” Loosen said. “Once I signed, they told me I’ll spend time in rookie ball to get my conditioning back and pitch count up again before moving me to Boise.”

Kriech, who signed as a free agent by the Kansas City Royals, is participating in mini-camp in Surprise, Arizona before being assigned to either the AZL Royals (Rookie) of the Arizona League, the Burlington Royals (Rookie) of the Appalachian League or the Burlington Bees (Low A) of the Midwest League in Burlington, N.C.

“Everything happened so fast that I didn’t have time to think about not being drafted,” said Kriech. “As soon as the 50th round was over, I got the call from the Royals and it was done. I’m just excited to get this opportunity and I appreciate all the help and support to get me here.”