Smith to play for Stingers
WILLMAR -- Former Willmar Cardinals prep standout Jordan Smith will be playing baseball this summer with the Willmar Stingers after his contract was made official on Wednesday.
Smith received his contract several weeks ago and the team recently received it, then had to have league approval before officially announcing he would be joining the team for its inaugural season.
"I'm really excited to be coming back home to play this summer," said Smith, a freshman outfielder who is hitting a team-best .462 for St. Cloud State this spring. "It's a good opportunity to see how I do in the Northwoods League and playing with wood bats."
Smith said the only time he recalls hitting with a wood bat in a game was in a tournament when he played American Legion baseball.
"There's no cheap hits with a wood bat," he said. "I'm sure it will take a little getting used to, but I think it's going to be a lot of fun."
Smith, who is already drawing interest from several Major League Baseball teams, won't be eligible to be drafted until after his junior year at St. Cloud State, in compliance with MLB rules.
"I'm not ready to be drafted anyway," Smith re-marked. "I still have a lot to learn."
Hitting has always come easy for Smith. In high school as a pitcher/shortstop, the left-handed hitter has a robust .540 average with 11 doubles, one triple and three home runs. He had a .902 slugging percentage and struck out only once in over 80 plate appearances.
His hitting didn't take a step back in college either. In addition to leading the Huskies in batting average, he also leads with 11 home runs, 64 RBI, an .823 slugging percentage and 16 stolen bases in 45 games. He's second on the team with 16 doubles and four triples.
"Jordan has had a great freshman year at SCSU," said Stingers co-owner Ryan Voz. "And we are looking forward to having a top local talent be a part of the franchise."
Smith was recently named the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference Player of the Week after going 13-for-24 last weekend.
Four other players also signed recently with the Stingers: St. Cloud State sophomore pitcher Logan Birr, University of California-Berkeley freshman third baseman Mitch Delfino and freshman pit-cher/catcher Seth Spivack, and Georgia State University junior pitcher Charley Olson.
Birr pitched for the St. Cloud River Bats last season. He is currently 7-1 at SCSU with a 3.76 ERA and 54 strikeouts in 52 innings.
Delfino is hitting .333 for Cal-Berkeley and is a solid defensive player.
Spivack, a right-handed pitcher and a switch-hitter at the plate, throws in the low 90s. He has been limited this year due to an injury, but has regained his health and should be ready for the Stingers' season opener on June 3.
Olson spent two years at Pasco-Hernando Community College and earned All-Suncoast first team honors. He currently leads Georgia State in innings pitched (59) and in strikeouts (42).