The Northwoods League All-Star break is a three-day recovery period for a number of players around the league amid the night-in, night-out grind of the summer. Those players selected for the All-Star game, however, aren't complaining.
Just a week after Major League Baseball's All-Star festivities, two Willmar Stingers will play among the best the Northwoods League has to offer Tuesday July 24 in Kalamazoo, Michigan.
Outfielder Tyler Reichenborn, in his second season with the Stingers, will be joined by relief pitcher Ben Mora in the trip to Homer Stryker Field, home of the Kalamazoo Growlers, to represent the North Division. Reichenborn has been nearly unstoppable at the plate, batting .395. It's the league's second-highest batting average, just one point behind Duluth infielder Augie Isaacson, a fellow All-Star.
Entering Friday's game, Reichenborn had 49 hits, including eight doubles, a league-high four triples and three home runs. He also added 20 walks and eight stolen bases to his resume. His gaudy .497 on-base percentage and 1.094 OPS are the highest among qualified hitters in the league.
Mora has helped lead an improving Stinger bullpen, registering a 3-0 record with one save and 1.97 ERA in eight appearances and 13-2/3 innings pitched. He has allowed just eight hits with 17 strikeouts and only two walks.
Thanks in large part to the efforts of Reichenborn and Mora, the Willmar Stingers sit atop the Northwoods League standings with an overall record of 29-15, though they finished third in the first half and are one game behind the La Crosse Loggers in the second half standings. Mora has been a key member of the pitching staff who currently has the third-best team ERA in the league at 3.65.
Reichenborn, meanwhile, leads the team in batting average, hits, runs (29), triples, OBP and OPS.
Fellow outfielder Matt Rudick just missed out on a spot on the All-Star team despite a batting average of .366 with five doubles, a triple and a home run.
Infielder Nic Hernandez and catcher Eli Wilson both have numbers that are worthy of All-Star selection but have played in just 15 games.
Fourth-year Stinger Corey Binger likely deserved a spot, as well, despite a pair of bad starts. He had posted a 2.38 ERA in 34 innings pitched with 23 strikeouts. Two-way star Jayson Newman misses out despite hitting .319 and pitching 18-1/3 innings with 29 strikeouts and 11 walks for a 2.45 ERA and five saves.
The Mankato MoonDogs lead the North Division with five representatives, including first baseman Kyle MacDonald who has slammed 11 home runs, eight doubles, 35 runs scored and 49 RBIs. MoonDog pitcher Jon Ludwig will also make an appearance with 40 strikeouts and a 1.18 ERA in 38 innings pitched while teammate Adam Lukas earned a nomination with a league-high five wins and 50 strikeouts.
The Duluth Huskies, Eau Claire Express and First-Half North Division Champion Bismarck Larks each have four All-Star selections.