Lancaster returns De La Cruz and Loehr in 2024

Right-handed pitcher Oscar De La Cruz and infielder Trace Loehr, both members of Lancaster’s prior championship teams, will be returning to Clipper Magazine Stadium for 2024, it was announced today by manager Ross Peeples.

They are the second and third players under contract with the Barnstormers for the upcoming campaign.

De La Cruz, who turns 29 on March 4, posted a 9-3 record and 4.26 ERA in 2022, but, it was in the post-season that the 6’6” right-hander from the Dominican Republic stepped to the forefront.  After losing, 2-1, in the semifinal opener against Southern Maryland, De La Cruz turned the tables and won, 10-2, in the fifth and deciding game.  He earned the nod to start the third game of the Championship Series against High Point and fired a complete game on 106 pitches as Lancaster clinched the series with a 6-1 win.  He was named the MVP of the series for his effort.

The former Cubs and Mets farmhand was ticketed to pitch in Mexico in 2023 but missed the season due to injury.

“Oscar was our lead guy the second half of the 2022 season,” said Peeples.  “He is coming off an injury, so we will take it slowly with him to see how he recovers.  We’ll be thrilled to have him back in our rotation.”

Loehr, 28, has played an integral role in the ‘Stormers’ back-to-back championship run.  He batted .238 with 58 runs scored and 58 walks.  He stole 20 bases.  This past season, the second and third baseman hit .275 with four homers and 49 runs scored.  The Oregon native was chosen by Atlantic League personnel as the third baseman on the league’s Red, White and Blue all-defensive team in 2023.

Prior to coming to Lancaster, Loehr spent six seasons in the Oakland farm system and one season with the Texas organization.

“Trace is a gamer,” said Peeples. “He simply loves to compete and play the game.  He brings a lot of value to the team in a lot of different ways.  We are glad to have him back.”

The ‘Stormers begin their quest for a third consecutive Atlantic League title, April 25 at Long Island.  Lancaster will open the 2024 season at Clipper Magazine Stadium at 6:45 on April 30 against the Hagerstown Flying Boxcars.