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Stingers notebook: Smith assigned to high Class A Carolina

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By Ben Brewster

WILLMAR — Willmar native and Cleveland Indians’ prospect Jordan Smith was assigned to the Indians’ advanced Single-A affiliate Carolina Mudcats of the Carolina League on Monday. The Mudcats, based in Zebulon, N.C., open their season Friday.

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Smith, who played for the Willmar Stingers and St. Cloud State, spent last season with the Lake County Captains in the low-A Midwest League. He batted .316 with 9 home runs and 74 RBIs for the Captains.

Six other former Stingers received their minor league assignments:

- Smith’s teammate in the Indians’ system, Joe Sever (played with the Stingers in 2010), was assigned to Lake County.

- Milwaukee Brewers prospect Jacob Barnes (2010) was assigned to the Brevard County Manatees in the advanced Single-A Florida State League.

- Los Angeles Angels prospect Anthony Bemboom (2011) was assigned to the Midwest League’s Burlington Bees.

- Joining Bemboom with the Bees will be fellow Angels prospect Kurt Spomer (2011).

- Los Angeles Dodgers prospect Pat Stover (2011) was assigned to the Midwest League’s Great Lakes Loons.

- San Francisco Giants prospect Mitch Delfino (2011) was assigned to the Augusta GreenJackets in the low-A South Atlantic League.

Stingers add 3 pitchers

The Stingers signed three new pitchers for 2013 on Tuesday to put their total roster to 18: righthander Olen Little, a junior out of Wingate; Colton Thomson, a sophomore lefty out of Scottsdale (Ariz.) Community College; and Sheldon Lee, a sophomore southpaw out of San Francisco.

Thomson is off to a dominating start for Scottsdale with a 0.68 ERA and 71 strikeouts through 53 innings and six starts. He threw a seven-inning no-hitter against Southern Nevada on Feb. 8. He struck out 10 and after hitting the first batter of the game, was perfect the rest of the way. The performance earned Thomson the NJCAA Division II Pitcher of the Week honors for Feb. 12.

Little has been almost as good for Wingate, posting a 0.88 ERA with 36 strikeouts and a 6-1 record over 51.1 innings.

Lee, a native of Honolulu, Hawaii, has struggled this spring with a 6.08 ERA in 13.1 innings for the Dons, but had a 2.00 ERA over 27 innings as a redshirt freshman in 2012.

“These pitchers will help give our pitching staff some balance,” Stingers’ manager Matt Hollod said. “Having a staff with both left and right hand throwers will give our coaches many options to match up as the season goes on.”

Kentucky moves up to No. 7

Third baseman Max Kuhn led the Kentucky Wildcats to the No. 7 spot on Baseball America’s Top 25. The sophomore drew a bases-loaded walk to force in the winning run and beat Georgia 3-2 on Saturday. The Wildcats took two of three from Georgia and are 21-6 overall. Kuhn, who was drafted in the 24th round of the 2011 MLB draft by the Oakland Athletics, is hitting .273 with a .421 on-base percentage. He leads the team with 24 walks and has struck out 16 times in 99 at-bats.

The San Diego Toreros and catcher Dillon Haupt returned to the weekly rankings at No. 23 this week. Haupt is second on the team with a .324 batting average, and has knocked 4 home runs and 29 RBIs.

Dozier, Brault on fire

2012 Stinger shortstop Hunter Dozier (Stephen F. Austin), a top prospect for this year’s MLB draft, is leading the Jacks with a .432 average (13th in Division I), 8 home runs and 25 RBIs. He’s slugging .832 and getting on base at a .530 rate.

Steven Brault (Regis) has been an outstanding two-way player for the Division II Rangers this spring. He’s batting .411 in 90 at-bats and has a 0.92 ERA and 55 strikeouts through 39 innings on the mound.

Etc.

Matt Serna, who played for the Stingers in 2010, has retired from professional baseball after two seasons in the independent Frontier League with the River City Rascals; the league announced the retirement on Feb. 20 … 2011 Stinger Jason West, who played in the Los Angeles Dodgers organization in 2012, was released by the Dodgers in January … 2010 Stinger Carter Bell played winter ball for the Perth Heat in the Australian Baseball League, a team that also featured current Minnesota Twins’ pitcher Liam Hendriks; Bell spent 2012 in the Arizona Diamondbacks system, but is not listed on any 2013 roster

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Ben Brewster

Ben Brewster covers the Willmar Stingers and other area sports, as well as laying out the daily sports section cover for the West Central Tribune. Follow him on Twitter @benbrewster.

(320) 214-4332
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