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Lynch, Barber to appear for Gophers' Night on Saturday

The Willmar Stingers have lined up two guests to throw out the first pitch for Minnesota Gophers Night on Saturday night at Bill Taunton Stadium.

Aaron Barber, a former Gophers golf standout from Willmar, will be joined by former Gophers basketball standout Kevin Lynch. Goldy Gopher, the school mascot, will also be here as the Stingers host the Thunder Bay Border Cats.

Barber played for the Gophers from 1993-96 and was All-American in 1996, All Big Ten first team as a junior and senior, and was a three-time Academic All Big Ten member.

Lynch then turned pro and was a member of the Canadian Tour, winning two tournaments. He earned his PGA Tour card in 2002 and was the PGA Tour Rookie of the Year in 2003.

Lynch was named Mr. Minnesota Basketball while playing for Bloomington Jefferson in 1987, then played four seasons for the Gophers. He scored 1,355 points in his career, which is 11th on the Gophers' all-time list. He averaged 18.1 points-per-game his senior year and was named to the All Big Ten second team. He was the 28th overall pick in the 1991 NBA draft by the Charlotte Hornets. He played two seasons with the Hornets, appearing in 95 games. He is currently broadcasting games for the Minnesota Timberwolves.

Those two will sign autographs beginning at 6:15 p.m. until right before game time at 7:05 p.m. and then will sign during the game.

Bell has pneumonia

Carter Bell, a shortstop from Courtenay, British Columbia, who plays collegiately for Oregon State, was diagnosed with pneumonia on Wednesday and will miss at least the next seven games. Bell, who earned a spot on the Canadian National Team will be on the Stingers' roster up to the All-star break July 19-21 and will then leave to play for Canada. He joined the team last week and started at shortstop but was out of the lineup the next night with flu-like symptoms. He has played sparingly since and then went to a doctor for tests.


While there are 30 players on the roster, only 26 can be active for games, meaning four players must be placed on the five-day inactive list.

Jacob Barnes, a right-handed pitcher who has yet to be scored on in seven innings this season, left the team recently because of a family emergency. Matt Collins, a right-handed pitcher, has a strained right bicep muscle and is inactive. Jeff Barto, a left-handed pitcher, was also placed on the five-day inactive list after throwing six strong innings recently and the team figured he wouldn't be available to pitch during that spell anyway. Those three, plus Bell, are the current inactive players.

.500 after 20

Willmar went 10-10 after its first 20 games in the Northwoods League, bringing both smiles and frowns to the coaching staff and front office.

"I'm pleased with where we are at considering we aren't hitting the ball well as a team and our pitching is depleted," said Stingers manager Matt Hollod. "To be .500 at this point is a positive. There are things I think we can do better and improve on, but overall I'm fine with where we're at to this point."

The Stingers are currently short three pitchers with Barto, Collins and Barnes all on the inactive list and other relievers being asked to pitch more than Hollod would like.

"We had a couple of games recently where we've asked guys to do more than we want them to," said Hollod. "In last night's game, our starter threw 33 pitches in the first inning and couldn't go out for the second inning because of the league rules. So we had to use a lot of guys for more innings than we'd like."

Jayson Huett, who has pitched well of late in relief, was given his first start of the season. He allowed three hits and one run. Under normal circumstances, he would have been sent out to pitch the second inning. Throwing 30 pitches in an inning doesn't mean he was necessarily pitching poorly. There could be a number of foul balls or errors, too. But if a pitcher throws more than 30 pitches in an inning in the Northwoods League, he is not permitted to pitch anymore that night. The rule is in place to protect players from injuring themselves and possibly not being able to pitch in college anymore.

Also, no Northwoods pitcher can start an inning if he has already thrown 100 pitches in the game.