Th Mankato MoonDogs Baseball Club announced Mike Orchard will return as field manager for the 2010 season. Orchard led the MoonDogs to their second consecutive first half championship in 2009.
Last season Orchard led the MoonDogs to a 39-29 regular season record, their second best in team history and third best overall in the league. The MoonDogs clinched a first half title and secured their spot in the playoffs for the second consecutive year, eventually losing to Rochester in the first round.
“Mike did a great job last year and we look forward to continued success in the 2010 season,” MoonDogs General Manager Kyle Mrozek said. “We look forward to having Mike around for a full off-season to utilize his vast connections throughout college baseball.”
The 30-year-old Bettendorf, Iowa native is no stranger to summer college baseball. His summers have included stops in the Northwoods League in Thunder Bay and La Crosse, the Arizona Summer Collegiate League, and a stint at Hyannis in the Cape Cod League.
Over the past twelve seasons, Orchard has put together an impressive coaching resume. His coaching career started immediately after college as he spent time coaching high school teams in Davenport, Iowa, Charleston, South Carolina and Kissimmee, Florida. In Florida, he developed back to back pitchers of the year in Osceola County.
In 2009 under Orchard’s coaching the MoonDogs cracked the Top 10 all-time in three single-season pitching categories. The 2.50 ERA marked the best ERA in MoonDog history and was fifth place on the NWL all-time list. The Dogs tied for eighth all-time in strikeouts with 519 and tied for ninth in shutouts with eight. Also, the MoonDogs pitching staff allowed a franchise-low 228 runs and 176 earned runs. The Dogs finished second in the league in strikeouts, but their mark of 519 on the year was also a franchise best.
In 2008 Orchard spent the year working at the University of Southern California (USC) and the Rod Dedeaux Research and Baseball Institute (RDRBI). Over the last two years he has been the pitching coach for Central Arizona in Coolidge, Arizona.
“I am excited to be back in Mankato this summer. I am comfortable and familiar with the area and the team and excited to be a part of the MoonDogs continued success,” Orchard said from his office in Coolidge, AZ. “We had a lot of success in 2009 and we want to continue that and return to the playoffs in 2010.”