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Stingers' OF Stover wins Big Stick Award

WILLMAR -- Willmar Stingers outfielder Pat Stover has received the Northwoods League Rawlings Big Stick Award for 2011, which goes to the player with the highest batting average in the league at each position.

Stover's .337 mark was sixth-highest in the Northwoods League and the best on the team, just ahead of Mitch Rowan (.333) and Eduardo Gonzalez (.323).

He is the second Stinger to win the award. Jordan Smith won it in 2010 with a .374 batting average as an outfielder.

Stover is entering his junior season at Santa Clara (Calif.) University after receiving a medical redshirt in 2010-11 and only playing in 12 games. He played a full season his freshman year (2009-10) and hit .302.

He is no newcomer to the Northwoods League, though, having played for the Waterloo Bucks in 2009 and 2010. He was a league all-star for the Bucks in 2010 when he hit .286 with five home runs.

Stingers co-owner Ryan Voz said the redshirt was the reason the Bucks didn't bring him back for 2011 and the Stingers were able to sign him as a temporary player in June. They signed him to a full contract on July 1, and he played in 46 games for the Stingers

Voz said the Stingers are looking at bringing him back for 2012, but that Stover is draft eligible and could get selected next June. Stover was previously picked in the 17th round of the 2009 draft by the Oakland Athletics.

The other 2011 winners include catcher Andrew Knapp (La Crosse), first baseman Nate Theunissen (Madison), second baseman Cullen Mahoney (Thunder Bay), third baseman Cameron Perkins (Waterloo), shortstop Ty Forney (Eau Claire), and outfielders Danny Susdorf (Wisconsin) and Shaun Cooper (Mankato).

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.

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