Stingers notebook: Gagne to be opening day guest
WILLMAR — Former Minnesota Twins shortstop Greg Gagne will be the opening day guest for the Willmar Stingers’ opener against the Thunder Bay Border Cats on May 29 at Bill Taunton Stadium.
Gagne, a member of the Twins’ Hall of Fame, was the starting shortstop from 1985 to 1992, and was one of seven Twins to be a member of both World Series-winning teams in 1987 and 1991.
In the decisive Game 7 win versus the St. Louis Cardinals in 1987, Gagne had the go-ahead two-run single to help the Twins secure their first world championship.
The Twins acquired Gagne from the Yankees in 1982 as part of the trade that sent Roy Smalley to New York. He went on to hit .249 with 69 home runs and stellar defense over his Twins tenure, though he never won a Gold Glove due to the presence of Cal Ripken Jr. and Omar Vizquel in the American League.
He signed as a free agent with the Kansas City Royals before the 1993 season and finished his career with two seasons with the Los Angeles Dodgers before retiring after the 1997 season.
Gagne will throw out the first pitch and will be available for autographs starting at 6 p.m.
Fischers to play for Rox
Twin brothers Kyle and Garrett Fischer (St. Cloud State), who both played for Willmar in 2012, have signed with the division-rival St. Cloud Rox for 2013. Kyle started 10 games and compiled a team-leading 59-1/3 innings for the Stingers with a 5.91 ERA and 46 strikeouts. This season, Kyle is 4-1 with a 2.48 ERA through 29 innings for the Huskies.
Garrett was a temporary acquisition for the Stingers and got 16 at bats in July. He’s off to a hot start with the Huskies, batting .378 through 37 at bats.
Stingers dot national leaderboards
2010 Stinger Mikey Reynolds (Texas A&M), who led Division I in hits for much of the month of March, fell to a tie for sixth place on the latest NCAA leaderboards. Through March 24, Reynolds has 42 hits, six behind Oklahoma’s Matt Oberste, who has 48. Forrestt Allday (Central Arkansas), who was briefly tied with Reynolds in first place, is hanging around in a tie for 23rd place with 37 hits. Reynolds is 13th in the nation with a .438 batting average, and Allday and Hunter Dozier (Stephen F. Austin) are in the Top 50.
Dillon Haupt (San Diego) is leading the nation in doubles for the second straight week with 14, though he is now sharing the top spot with Delaware’s Jimmy Yezzo.
2011 Stinger Ricky Knapp (Florida Gulf Coast) continued his strong spring with an eight-inning, eight strikeout performance against East Tennessee State on Friday. Knapp is 5-0 in five starts with a 1.15 ERA and 30 strikeouts in 39 innings of work. His ERA puts him at No. 30 in the nation.
Knapp’s former teammate Thomas Taylor (Kansas) isn’t far behind, posting a 1.35 ERA and 28 strikeouts in 33.1 innings over five starts.
Central Arkansas and San Diego both dropped out of Baseball America’s Top 25 this week. Kentucky, coming in at No.8, is the only ranked team remaining with a Stingers player (Max Kuhn). Kuhn, who has started at third base every game for the Wildcats, is batting .318 with a .454 on-base percentage and .459 slugging percentage. He has 1 home run and 19 RBIs.