BERLIN- Two former Stephen Decatur baseball standouts moved forward with their professional baseball careers this winter with each signing contracts to play on separate teams in major independent leagues in the Midwest.
Former Seahawk pitcher David Whigham has been offered a contract with the El Paso Diablos in the American Association and is expected to finalize the deal at any time. Similarly, Whigham’s former teammate at Decatur and another standout pitcher Mike Castrignano has a contract in hand from the River City Rascals of the Frontier League is also expected to join his new team.
Last July, Whigham became what is believed to be the first ever from Decatur to sign a professional baseball contract when he joined the Herkimer Trailblazers of the historic New York State League. Whigham was later moved up to the New Haven County Cutters of the Canadian-American Association, or the Can-Am League.
Whigham, who dominated at times for Decatur during an outstanding high school career, went on to pitch at the college level, first at Guilford College before transferring to Virginia Wesleyan. Whigham pitched in 14 games for Virginia Wesleyan last spring, posting an impressive 2.00 earned run average while striking out 69 batters in 63 innings of work.
Whigham now joins the El Paso Diablos in the American Association, which has produced more than its share of major leaguers over the years. The league’s 10 teams are scattered across the Midwest and southwest and often host tens of thousands of fans. For example, Whigham said this week El Paso routinely attracted 12,000 fans to their games last year.
“It’s a great opportunity for me to continue my professional career and get some exposure,” he said. “It will be a little different for me flying to games, staying in nice hotels and playing in front of thousands of fans.”
Castrignano, meanwhile, is set to join the River City Rascals of the Frontier League. River City plays its home games in O’Fallon, Missouri and also draws big crowds and many big league scouts.
Castrignano played college baseball at Delaware Tech and last spring pitched the first-ever perfect game in school history. Last summer, Castrignano played for the College Park Bombers of the Cal Ripken Sr. Collegiate League, which features some of the best college players from all over the country. His pending contract with the River City Rascals is the first of his budding professional career.