Stingers sign 5 more pitchers
You can't win a battle if you don't have enough arms.
The Willmar Stingers bolstered their roster on Friday with the signing of five pitchers for the 2011 season. The team now has 19 players signed among the 30 they will have on the roster when the Northwoods League season begins on June 1. The Stingers open at home that day against the Thunder Bay Border Cats.
This will be the second year for the Stingers in the elite summer collegiate baseball league.
Signed on Friday were Scott Lieser, a sophomore right-hander from St. Cloud State; Sean Wardour, a sophomore right-hander from California State University-Dominguez Hills; Kurt Spomer, a junior right-hander from Creighton University; Chris Gonzales, a junior right-hander from Point Loma Nazarene University; and Zach Hull, a sophomore left-hander from Lewis and Clark University.
Lieser, a 6-3, 185-pounder from Browerville, was a Lions' All-Star in 2009 and helped the Bears reach the state high school tournament twice. At St. Cloud State, Lieser has not lost a game, going 3-0 last season with 33 strikeouts in 33 innings pitched and is currently 2-0 this spring with a 3.09 ERA and nine strikeouts in 112/3 innings.
Gonzales, a 6-3, 190-pounder, has made four starts for Point Loma this spring and is 1-1 with a 3.24 ERA. In 25 innings pitched, the Madera, Calif. native has pitched one shutout and struck out 16 batters. He transferred after two seasons at Fresno City College.
Wardour a 6-5, 225-pounder, is from the same school as Carlos Leyva, an impressive second baseman for the Stingers last summer. Wardour pitched primarily in relief last year, leading the team in appearances and also had the lowest walks-to-innings pitched ratio on the team. He had a stretch of at least one strikeout in 10 straight appearances. Wardour is off to a slow start so far this season as he is adjusting to being a starter. In five starts, he is 1-3.
Spomer, a 6-2, 200-pound pitcher, was a standout high school player for Tri-Center in Honey Creek, Iowa. He started as an eighth-grader, earning honorable mention all-conference, then was all-conference and all-district his final four years. He earned 17 letters in four sports. As a senior, he was 8-1 with a 0.98 ERA and struck out 81 batters in 57 innings. He also batted .486 with nine home runs and 29 RBI in 26 games. At Creighton, Spomer has appeared in six games this spring and is 0-1 with a 4.66 ERA in 92/3 innings. His batterymate at Creighton is Stingers catcher Anthony Bemboom of Sauk Rapids.
Hull was a standout high school player for Moscow, Ind., earning all-conference honors as a quarterback in football, a forwrd in basketball and as a pitcher in baseball. He tossed a no-hitter with 13 strikeouts and hit a solo home run in a 1-0 win in the first game of the state baseball tournament his senior year. His team finished runner-up at state. Last season for Lewis and Clark University, Hull was 1-0 with a 1.26 ERA in 141/3 innings pirtched. This spring, Hull is 2-0 and has not allowed an earned run in 11 innings on the mound, allowing eight hits and striking out five. Opponents are hitting .190 off him.
NOTES: Bemboom, who will play a second season with the Stingers this summer, is currently hitting .318 with one home run and five RBI at Creighton ... Michael Jahns, a junior pitcher for Northwestern, will also return for a second season with the Stingers. He is currently 0-1 with a 2.08 ERA in four relief appearances for the Wildcats. He has struck out seven batters in 82/3 innings. ... Carter Bell, a shortstop for the Stingers last summer who signed to play again this summer, is hitting .216 with eight RBI in 12 games with Oregon State ... Sean Dwyer, an freshman outfielder for Florida Gulf Coast University, rejected a contract offer from the San Diego Padres and indicated he will again play for the Stingers, is currently batting .235 with six RBI in 12 games ... Mitch Delfino, another Stinger who will return for a second season, is off to a torrid start with the University of California. The junior third baseman is hitting .381 with three extra-base hits in seven games with the Bears ... Jason Leblebijian, a sophomore infielder at Bradley University, is batting .361 with three doubles and a triple in 10 games.