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Stingers finalize 2011 roster

WILLMAR -- The Willmar Stingers of the Northwoods League finalized its 2011 roster Thursday with the signing of six players, including three temporary players to begin the season next Wednesday at Bill Taunton Stadium.

The team will open with a full 30-man roster, along with three temporary players, bringing the complete roster to 33 players for the second season of summer collegiate baseball.

Even though the Stingers have signed 33 players, only 26 players can be on the active roster for a game. The Stingers, like most teams in the league, will exercise a temporary player contract to help fill a key role until the entire roster reports.

This season, the Stingers will have another Jordan Smith on the team.

Last season, Jordan Smith, an outfielder from Willmar, was the Northwoods League batting champion.

This season, Jordan Smith, a right-handed pitcher/catcher from Raymond, will begin the season as a temporary player. A temporary player in the Northwoods League must participate in a minimum of 10 days, counting against a team's active roster of 26 players. A temporary player is allowed to participate until the end of June before having to be waived or signed to a full contract.

Smith will be used in a similar dual role, as he was as a sophomore this spring at the University of Minnesota-Duluth.

As a freshman last year, he was 5-0 on the mound and was named Freshman Pitcher of the Year for UMD. This year, Smith's versatility earned him a spot behind the plate for the Bulldogs. He was also called on to pitch occasionally, but was limited due to his role as catcher.

Smith is joined by shortstop Pierce Trumper, Jake Eikenberry, Michael Shreves, Anthony Hinsey and Kyle Fischer as the last players to sign contracts for the 2011 season.

"These recent players we signed will need to play a big role for us, hopefully allowing us to get out of the gates strong," Stingers manager Matt Hollod said.

Trumper will replace Carter Bell on the 2011 roster. Bell, a shortstop who played with the Stingers last season and was set to return again this summer. will not be back. The Stingers were recently notified by Oregon State University that Bell has suffered a hand injury that will not allow him to play this summer.

Trumper red-shirted this year at the University of Arkansas and will be the Razorbacks utility infielder in the future. He helped lead his high school team to three consecutive state championships at Rocky Mountain High School in Fort Collins, Colo.

Joining the Stingers will also Eilenberry, a left-handed pitcher Iowa Western Community College. Eikenberry has signed with South Carolina State University next year after an impressive sophomore year. In 12 games this year, he has a 1.84 ERA, with 76 strikeouts in 631/3 innings. Eikenberry was a former teammate of current Stingers catcher Anthony Bemboom.

Shreves, a right-handed pitcher will replace Michael Garber on the current roster as injuries have plagued Garber this spring. Shreves is a sophomore at the University of Montevallo in Alabama and a transfer from Manatee Community College in Florida.

The final two temporary roster spots have been filled by Hinsey and Fischer. Hinsey, a junior shortstop from Doane College, will begin the season with the Stingers in the middle infield.

Hinsey finished the season hitting .337 and had a team-leading 26 stolen bases. Fischer, a right-handed pitcher from St. Cloud State, will also add depth on the pitching staff.

Fischer finished the regular season for the Huskies with a 6-0 record.

"The second season is quickly approaching and good tickets still remain for the home opener," Co-owner Ryan Voz said. "We like how our roster finished up this spring, giving us depth to hopefully stay healthy throughout the season, playing 70 games in 75 days."