The Mankato MoonDogs are proud to announce that Field Manager Ryan Kragh will return for a second season. The announcement comes in the wake of Kragh leading the 2016 MoonDogs to a franchise-best 46 wins and and low of 26 losses, in addition to their first playoff berth in two years.
The 2017 season will mark Kragh’s fourth with the MoonDogs’ franchise and second as Field Manager. Kragh also spent 2013 as an assistant coach for former Field Manager Mike Orchard, and 2015 as both the interim Field Manager and an assistant coach for Manager Ryan Day.
"I’m excited to come back to what I feel is the best organization in the Northwoods league from top to bottom” Kragh said in a statement. “It's an honor to coach high end athletes and watch them grow as a player and a person while chasing their ultimate dream of playing professional baseball.”
Kragh compiled a roster in 2016 that can be mentioned amongst some of the best in the MoonDogs’ history. The club re-wrote the franchise record books in multiple categories both at the plate and on the mound. The MoonDogs’ staff welcomed four all-stars, six Major League Dreams Showcase selections, and Northwoods League MVP Jake Shepski to the team under Kragh’s watch.
Kragh will resume his duties at Bethany Lutheran College for the 2016-2017 school year as the school’s Head Baseball Coach, a position he’s held since 2005. Kragh is also the school’s Assistant Athletic Director.
Matt Wollenzin – Hitting Coach
Matt Wollenzin returns for his third season as an Assistant Coach for the Mankato MoonDogs. He is currently an second-year Assistant Coach for the University of Evansville Purple Aces where he works with catchers, assisted with hitters and coaches first base. Previous to the 2016 season, Wollenzin was a Graduate Assistant at Austin Peay University, where he played through his collegiate career from 2010-2014. At Austin Peay, Wollenzin was a catcher while also seeing time at DH and first base. During his time at Austin Peay, the Governors won three Ohio Valley Conference Championships, attended three NCAA Regionals, as well as two Regional Championships. This will be Wollenzin's fourth summer with the Mankato Moondogs. In addition to being an Assistant Coach in 2015, he also played for the Moondogs in 2013 where he was selected to the Northwoods League All Star Game.
Wollenzin is a native of Lakewood, CO and graduate of Green Mountain High School. He graduated from Austin Peay University in 2014 with a Bachelors in Healthcare Management and a Masters in Healthcare Administration in 2015.
"I look forward to the opportunity given to me by the Mankato Moondogs, Greg Weis, and Ryan Kragh to return to Mankato for another summer. The city of Mankato has been outstanding in my previous two experiences with the tremendous support and energy they bring to the Frank on a nightly basis. I couldn't be more excited to return to the city of Mankato and coach in a league with such great talent and tradition."
The Mankato MoonDogs welcome back Nick Weinmeister to their 2017 coaching staff. Weinmeister is currently the Head Baseball and Women’s Golf Coach for NCAA Division III Northland College in Ashland, Wisconsin. During his time in Ashland, Weinmeister has led the LumberJacks to some of the most success in UMAC play. The jacks have finished no worse than 4th in the league in all of the seasons Weinmeister has been with the program. Before coaching at Northland College, Weinmeister was the Head Baseball Coach for Janesville High School in Janesville, Iowa, where Weinmeister also graduated from. During the three seasons that Weinmeister was Head Coach at Janesville, the Wildcats captured back to back Iowa Star North Conference Championships in 2012 and 2013. Weinmeister earned his Master's Degree in Physical Education: Coaching of Sport from Southwest Minnesota State University in 2015. Weinmeister earned his Bachelor's Degree in Communications with an emphasis in Public Relations with a minor in Marketing from the University of Northern Iowa in 2011.
Brett "Boomer" Synek – Volunteer Coach
The MoonDogs are also excited to welcome back Boomer Synek, who played four years of college baseball – with two years at Oakton Community College in Des Plaines, Illinois and then transferred and finished at the University of Evansville. Boomer was an infielder until his senior year, then converted to a catcher. He played for the Mankato MoonDogs during the summer of 2014 as well as 2015. After college, he played for a short time with the Lake Erie Crushers, an independent team in Ohio. Shortly after, he signed as a free agent to the Pittsburgh Pirates organization and played one season. He decided to hang them up and work towards being a coach to use his degree in Sports Communication.