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Tribune Notebook: Former Stinger slated as first-round pick

Brooks Lee is a top prospect in the MLB draft starting Sunday

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Willmar infielder Brooks Lee grins as he walks into the batter's box during a Northwoods League game against Rochester at Bill Taunton Stadium in Willmar during the 2020 season.
Joe Brown / West Central Tribune
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Former Willmar Stingers player Brooks Lee is expected to hear his name early in the Major League Baseball draft this weekend.

Lee wrapped up his sophomore season at California Polytechnic State University and is projected to go in the first round of the MLB draft on Sunday.

During the COVID-shortened 2020 season, Lee played 36 games for the Stingers. He batted for a .345 average with 35 RBIs, 19 runs, four home runs and seven doubles.

If picked on Sunday, Lee will be the second Stingers player taken in the first round. Hunter Dozier was taken eighth overall by the Kansas City Royals in 2013.

This spring, Lee won the Brooks Wallace Award as the nation’s top college shortstop. A switch hitter, Lee hit .357 with 25 doubles, 15 home runs and 55 RBIs He led the Big West Conference in hits, walks, doubles, home runs, runs scored, RBIs, slugging percentage and total bases.

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In prospect rankings, Lee is: fourth by The Sporting News’ Edward Sutelan; fifth by MLB.com; and sixth by ESPN’s Kiley McDaniel. MLB.com’s Jonathan Mayo has Lee being picked sixth by the Miami Marlins. McDaniel has Lee going eighth to the Minnesota Twins.

Cayden Hansen of Willmar American Legion Post 167 throws a pitch while kicking off the season against Dassel-Cokato during Willmar's opening game of the season at Bill Taunton Stadium on Thursday, June 16, 2022.
Cayden Hansen of Willmar American Legion Post 167 throws a pitch while kicking off the season against Dassel-Cokato during Willmar's opening game of the season at Bill Taunton Stadium on Thursday, June 16, 2022.
Macy Moore / West Central Tribune

Post 167 gets top seed

The Willmar American Legion baseball team got the top seed in the DI Sub-State 15 tournament.

Ranked second in the state, Post 167 will open the postseason against Mound at 6:30 p.m. Monday at Bill Taunton Stadium.

Other opening-round games include: Waconia vs. Delano; Buffalo vs. Annandale; and Orono vs. Hutchinson.

The Sub-State 15 championship is scheduled for 1 p.m. on July 24 in Buffalo.

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Zumbrota-Mazeppa head wrestling coach Link Steffen (left) hugs his son Caden after he won his second straight state championship on March 7, 2018 at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul.
File photo

Steffen named to NSIC HOF

Former Granite Falls-Clarkfield state wrestling champion Link Steffen was inducted into the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference Hall of Fame.

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On Tuesday in Moorhead, Steffen, a wrestler and baseball player at Southwest Minnesota State University, was one of seven former NSIC athletes that were honored. Along with Steffen, the 2022 Hall of Fame class includes: Maggie McNamara, Concordia-St. Paul; Jim Kapitan, Minnesota State-Moorhead; Amanda (Madden) Mahlke, Northern State; Matt Schneck, St. Cloud State; Katie Wilson, Wayne State; and Ben Barrone, Winona State.

At SMSU, Steffen won the 190-pound NCAA Division II championship in 1998, becoming the school’s first NCAA champion. A four-year letterwinner, three-time NCAA qualifier and two-time All-American, Steffen was 39-1 as a senior in his championship season. His only loss came to two-time Olympian and UFC two-division world champion Daniel Cormier.

Steffen won two Minnesota state wrestling championships for Granite Falls-Clarkfield in 1992 and ‘93. He was the West Central Tribune’s Hengstler-Ranweiler Award winner in ‘93, given to the area’s top three-sport male and female athletes.

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