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Tribune photo by Tom Larson Willmar’s Michael Suchy slides into second base against the Waterloo Bucks on May 31 at Bill Taunton Stadium.

Suchy reaches potential with Stingers

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By Jacob Belgum

WILLMAR — Michael Suchy arrived in Willmar last summer as a relative unknown. He struggled at the plate during his freshman campaign at Florida Gulf Coast University in 2012, batting an unimpressive .195. Suchy knew he could play better, but hadn’t been able to showcase that potential.

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 He realized that potential, however, putting together a breakout season with the Stingers last summer.

“I felt better,” Suchy said, “kind of like a monkey off my back.”

Feeling better is an understatement. Suchy tore up the Northwoods League, leading the Stingers in batting average (.349) and leading the entire league in RBI (62).

“He competes very well,” said Stingers manager Matt Hollod. “He hits balls to all fields.”

Though Suchy is large in stature, he also stole 17 bases, good for third on the team.

Suchy was able to parlay his summer success into a great second spring at Florida Gulf Coast. He credits his success at FGCU this spring to his experience with the Stingers.

“I feel like my body is now battle tested,” Suchy said, “it wasn’t as much of a grind (as freshman year).”

Suchy put up numbers that were comparable to those produced in his first go-round with the Stingers. He batted over .300, led FGCU in homers (9) and tied for the team lead in RBI (46).

Not only is Suchy blessed with tremendous physical abilities, he provides the Stingers with great leadership for the many newcomers the team employs.

“It’s good to have guys like him who have been there and have done it,” said Hollod. “He leads by example in the way he plays the game.”

Suchy was one of five Stingers who decided to return for a second summer with the club. He credits the city’s environment as one of the key reasons for his return.

“I couldn’t see myself playing anywhere else,” he said.

According to Suchy, the type of support and commitment the city of Willmar has provided the Stingers is in total contrast to the backing his FGCU crew receives.

“Honestly it’s like night and day,” Suchy said, “We don’t get this kind of crowd at school and the community involvement.”

Suchy’s defensive versatility is another aspect of his game that sets him apart.

“I can play him in center, I can play him in left, (and) I can play him in right,” Hollod said, “He plays good defense, has a good arm, (and) he’s got decent speed.”

Suchy figures to see most of his action in right field this summer, but he can also play the other outfield spots, as well as first base.

Suchy has picked up right where he left off last summer, hitting .342 through the first 11 games of the season. He is the only Stinger to have played in every game.

Suchy said he hope his success can translate into joining many of his teammates at the professional level.

“I think he’ll do just fine,” Hollod said, “(other players) might have this, they might have that, but they don’t have what (Suchy has) inside.”

Suchy said his ultimate goal is to play in the pros. As of now, no professional organizations have contacted him, but he could draw interest as a draft-eligible junior next season.

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