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Draft : : Story
Sweeney, Woods, Christensen Make Us Proud
Jim Ecker        
Published: Monday, April 19, 2010

Perfect Game USA is proud of all the PG alumni who are succeeding in the major leagues, minor leagues and college baseball, but it’s especially sweet when one of our home-grown players from Cedar Rapids (Iowa) strikes it big.

Today we’re talking about Ryan Sweeney, Nate Woods and Chad Christensen.

Sweeney, 25, is off to a fast start with the Oakland A’s this season. Woods, 21, is having an amazing year at Belmont University. And Christensen, 19, is now the starting shortstop for the Nebraska Cornhuskers as a freshman.

Nice going, fellas.

If you saw any major league highlights on TV this past weekend, you saw a lot of Sweeney. On Saturday, he beat Baltimore with a two-run single for a walk-off victory. Then on Sunday, he made a beautiful diving catch on the warning track in right field.

Sweeney is riding a 13-game hitting streak, he’s tied for 18th in the American League in RBIs with nine, and he’s 20th in the league in hitting at .320. He was one of the top hitters in the major leagues during the final six weeks of the 2009 campaign, and the big lefty has picked up where he left off.

We wrote a story about Woods two weeks ago after he socked four home runs and drove in 10 runs in a doubleheader against Kennesaw State. Well, he almost did it again. Woods clubbed three homers and drove in 10 more runs this past Saturday when Belmont swept a doubleheader against Stetson, which was leading the Atlantic Sun Conference when the day began. And on top of that, he pitched six strong innings for the victory in Game 1.

Woods, a junior, went 3-for-5 with a two-run homer, two-run double and an RBI single in a 13-3 victory in the opener, then hit two homers and drove in five more runs as Belmont won the nightcap 14-4. Woods now has 16 homers and 59 rbi for the season as he challenges for the national Division I lead in both departments. He was named the Atlantic Sun Conference Player of the Week on Monday for his exploits.

Christensen is just getting started at Nebraska. He began the season as a part-time outfielder, but he became the starting shortstop about a month ago and has taken full advantage of his opportunity. He was hitting better than .400 for the Cornhuskers, but he’s cooled off a little to .347 with six homers and 15 RBIs.

Sweeney, Woods and Christensen have all spent a significant amount of time at Perfect Game headquarters in Cedar Rapids. All three of them have worked here, and all three of them have trained here.

They make us proud.