Northwoods League: Stingers add coach, three players
WILLMAR -- With three weeks to go before opening day, the Willmar Stingers completed their coaching staff with the addition of Steve Sanchez to coach hitting and infield.
He joins manager Matt Hollod and pitching coach Tyler Shepple who have both been with the Stin-gers since the inaugural 2010 season.
Sanchez comes to the Stingers from San Diego Mesa College where he has coached for the past five years. He played for San Diego Mesa from 2002-05.
He will replace Brandon Cohen who took an assistant coaching position last August with James Madison University.
"We're excited to have Steve as part of the coaching staff this season," Stingers' co-owner Ryan Voz said.
Voz added that the Stingers are fortunate to have two of their three coaches returning.
"Stability (on coaching staffs) is huge," he said. "It's important for knowing the grind, knowing when to use your pitching staff and when to hold back."
"Coaching staffs that return end up getting you a couple wins over the course of a season."
The stability is also important in signing players and building relationships with schools.
"There's a huge comfort level when we recruit returners or new guys," Voz said. "When you have relationships, these coaches are more inclined to send you guys to a coaching staff they're comfortable with."
Voz said that Michael Shreves, who pitched for the Stingers in 2011, is not currently on the 2012 roster, but could possibly return later because his coaches at Montevallo only want to send him to Willmar because of the trust factor.
Stingers lose three, add three
The Stingers lost three pitchers from their early roster in Tanner Banks, Ben Burns and Lance Thonvold.
Taking their spots will be J.D. Dorgan, a catcher from the University of St. Thomas, as a full-time player, and Kentucky catcher Greg Fettes and St. Cloud State pitcher Kyle Fischer on temporary contracts.
Voz said they added two catchers because of questions about San Diego's Dillon Haupt, who could be taken in the MLB draft, and Illinois State's Mike Hollenbeck, who may have to take summer classes.
Banks, who played for the Stingers in 2011 and Salt Lake Community College this season, is transferring to the University of Utah, who want to shut him down because of the 56-1/3 innings he has already thrown this season.
Burns, who also was on the 2011 team, is in a similar situation. His family moved to Georgia and he transferred to Georgia State after two years at Daytona State College, and Georgia State wants to shut him down.
Thonvold, a promising relief pitcher from the University of Minnesota, took a medical redshirt for his freshman season with an UCL strain and will not be playing this summer.
The Stingers' roster currently sits at 27 full-time players and two on temporary contracts.
The Northwoods League allows 30 full-time players and 10 temporary to be on a roster, and requires final rosters to be submitted by May 15.