Weather Forecast


College Baseball: Bye bye, Bobb

Willmar Stingers pitcher Abe Bobb winds and throws during a recent home game. Bobb, who starts tonight against Duluth, is one of the top pitchers in the Northwoods League this season. Tribune photo by Ben Brewster.

Abe Bobb only has one start left in a Willmar Stingers uniform. It’s been quite a run.

The righthander from San Francisco is pacing the Northwoods League with a 1.36 ERA and has tossed a league-leading three complete games.

He went 4-0 during the first half, helping the Stingers to a second-place finish, 1.5 games out of a playoff spot behind the Waterloo Bucks.

“I would’ve liked to take home a postseason spot in the first half, but Waterloo just played a little better,” Bobb said. “I trust these guys — they’re playing well.”

Bobb is leaving the team due to an innings limit and nagging injuries. He makes his last start against the Duluth Huskies at 7:05 p.m. today at Bill Taunton Stadium.

“He’s dealt with an injury all year long,” Stingers’ manager Matt Hollod said. “Believe it or not, he leads the league in ERA. He’s a little sore and he has to take care of himself for school ball.”

Bobb said he’s been pitching with a small tear in his hip labrum for the past two seasons and has dealt with a minor arm problem this year.

He hasn’t pitched like someone coping with two different injuries.

Bobb debuted for the Stingers on June 8 against Duluth and went eight innings in a 4-2 Willmar victory. Bret Dahlson pitched the ninth in that game, earning the save in Bobb’s only start that wasn’t a complete game.

He followed that up with a 6-1 win against St. Cloud on June 14, setting down the Rox on just 88 pitches.

June 22 was more of the same. He won a 2-1 complete game in seven innings, with the abbreviated length due to a doubleheader.

He capped it off July 2, holding Duluth to three hits and one run in a 8-1 victory for the Stingers.

“(The complete games) are a lot of fun,” Bobb said. “I haven’t really done that this often ever in my career.”

He’s also done it without the benefit of swing-and-miss stuff.

“(Bobb) calls his own game, which is unlike most other pitchers,” Hollod said. “He really understands how to pitch and use what he has. He has a lot of movement on his pitches — he’s got so much movement that he gets a lot of ground balls and it’s hard to get solid contact off him.”

He only has 12 strikeouts this season in a team-leading 33 innings pitched, an average of 3.2 per nine innings. In comparison, Madison’s Luke Staub has the second-lowest ERA in the NWL at 1.58, while averaging 8.5 strikeouts per nine.

Bobb works from two different arm angles. He’ll throw a fastball, slider and changeup overhand in the 88-91 mph range, and he also will drop down to sidearm for a fastball-slider combo.

“I don’t really think about strikeouts,” Bobb said. “With my stuff, they just have trouble barreling up the ball early in the count. I try to keep them off-balance.”

Bobb, who is heading into his redshirt senior season for San Francisco, said he has pro aspirations but that the injuries hurt his stock.

“Before I got hurt I was on playing pro ball after this year,” he said. “I’ll probably go back to college now.”

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.

(320) 214-4332