Joe Stefani (middle) poses with Josh Van Swol ’10 and senior Adam Buol on Opening Night for his Rockford Foresters.
ROCKFORD, Ill. -- The cry of “Play Ball!” echoed across historical Marinelli Field in Rockford, Ill., Memorial Day weekend as the Rockford Foresters took the field for their inaugural season in the Great Plains Baseball League, a collegiate wooden bat summer league.
“A dream come true,” said Joe Stefani ’04 at the opening of his franchise’s first homestand, which occurred nearly three years after he started the project.
“Overall, I think Opening Night went well,” he said. “There is always room for improvement. We made numerous changes to our game presentation before the second game.”
Several current and former Monmouth College students work for Stefani and the Foresters in front office positions. May graduates Josh Van Swol, Jack Clifford and Joel Shumaker and seniors Andrew Farraher, Brittney Parker and Adam Buol all serve on the front office staff. Fighting Scots catcher Brad Winkler serves as the only MC player currently on the active roster.
“It is amazing how much real-world experience I have gained as a member of the front office,” observed Buol, who serves as the concessions coordinator for the Foresters. “I am learning so much that I probably wouldn’t have at any other organization while still in college.”
Stefani attributes some of his success with his entrepreneurial endeavor to his experiences at Monmouth.
“Between classes, activities, and being in Sig Ep (the Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity), it trained me to be busy 24/7,” he explained. “Now I have no problem running multiple tasks at once, and I think my interns and employees from Monmouth feel the same way.”
The Rockford Foresters battled with the Chicago Zephyrs during their opening weekend and were victorious in their opening game, winning 3-2 in 12 innings. They fell 4-1 on Saturday but won the rubber match 7-3 on Sunday to start off the season with a 2-1 record.
Single game tickets start at just $4 and all tickets to Tuesday night games will cost just $2. More information about the team is available at www.RockfordForesters.com.
In addition to the Rockford Foresters, Stefani owns Scotty Gear, an online fraternity clothing store he started while still attending Monmouth. Last spring, Stefani was elected as a trustee for the Algonquin Area Public Library District after defeating an incumbent trustee to become the youngest library trustee in Illinois.