Smith hoping to make lasting impression in temporary role with Stingers
WILLMAR -- The Willmar Stingers unveiled their latest version of Jordan Smith on Wednesday night with similar results.
Jordan Smith, a native of Willmar who plays for St. Cloud State, led the Stingers in nearly every offensive category last season. He elected not to return to the team this season and instead will play in the elite Cape Cod League unless he is drafted by a major league team, which is highly likely.
But the Stingers have another Jordan Smith on the roster this summer, this one a 2009 MACCRAY graduate from Raymond who plays for the University of Minnesota-Duluth Bulldogs. Smith, a pitcher/catcher, is currently signed to a 10-day temporary contract until some of the missing regular players return from college or the injured list.
Smith started behind the plate as both of the team's other catchers, Anthony Bemboom and Jared Scarafiotti were missing from the team in Wednesday's season opener against the Thunder Bay Border Cats at Bill Taunton Stadium.
The Stingers rallied from a 4-0 deficit to win 6-4 as Smith went 2-for-4 with an RBI.
"I have to admit I was pretty nervous right when the game was about to start and then again when I got up to bat for the first time," said Smith, who is second on the all-time area high school hit list with 125 for MACCRAY. "I'm not used to playing in front of a big crowd (the Stingers' attendance was 1,187 for the opener). We only had about 25 to 30 fans at our games in Duluth. The biggest crowd I've ever played in front of before this was at the state tournament."
Smith helped MACCRAY win the Class A state title in 2009.
For now, he is trying to help the Stingers win a few games and impress his manager and owners enough to maybe get a full-time contract when his temporary one is over.
"It was really exciting playing in front of family and friends last night," he said. "I hope I'll get a chance to play all summer, but if not, it will be something I will always remember."
After grounding out in his first plate appearance and striking out in his second at-bat, Smith swatted a single up the middle to drive in a run in the sixth inning to pull the Stingers within 6-4. He also singled in the eighth with two on and two outs, but John Haberman was thrown out at the plate to end the inning.