Estrada, Lydon, Hanson, Kehner first players set to come back to Willmar
Willmar, Minn. – The Willmar Stingers are excited to announce that Eddie Estrada (University of Minnesota), Will Lydon (University of the Pacific), Tyler Hanson (University of Minnesota) and Brian Kehner (Presbyterian College) are the first players set to return to Willmar for the 2016 season, the Stingers seventh in the Northwoods League.
Estrada, a Litchfield, MN native, came to the Stingers last summer as a high school senior after a stellar career with the Dragons. Estrada saw success as the summer went on in the Northwoods League. Playing in 40 games, Estrada led the Stingers with a .356 batting average. Estrada was third on the team in both RBI (31) and doubles (11). His continued success over the course of the summer earned Estrada Postseason All-Star honors by the Northwoods League.
As a senior at Litchfield High School, Estrada had one of the best seasons in all of high school baseball across the state. His .590 batting average, 30 walks, 28 RBI and seven home runs were good enough to earn Estrada the Gatorade Player of the Year award in the state of Minnesota. The seven home runs and 28 RBI were the first and second most in Minnesota, respectively.
The Stingers had one of the best pitching staffs in the Northwoods League last summer. As a team, they led the league in batting average against (.232), fewest hits allowed (565) and fewest walks (219). The staff finished 2nd in ERA (3.26) and earned runs allowed (227). The 2015 pitching staff was led by strong starters and a variety of great arms coming out of the bullpen.
Lydon has been a mainstay in the Stingers pitching staff for the last two summers, and again will be looked upon for the 2016 season. This past summer Lydon was 5-0 with a 1.71 ERA in 7 games with 42 innings pitched. Lydon had 31 strikeouts, and with a season high 8 K’s coming in a win against the Alexandria Blue Anchors on June 23rd in 2016.
Lydon has been one of the steadiest pitchers for the Pacific Tigers his first two seasons on campus. As a freshman in 2015, Lydon had 46 strikeouts in 64.2 innings. He backed up that stellar season with another solid season in 2016 when he led the Tigers staff in both innings pitched (74.1) and strikeouts (56).
Hanson, now a collegiate teammate of Estrada with the Golden Gophers, finished the year with a 5-2 record in 11 starts for the Stingers. Hanson led the formidable staff in both innings pitched (60.1) and strikeouts (46). His steady performance all summer earned him the start in the playoffs against the Duluth Huskies where Hanson threw 6 solid innings and only gave up 1 run.
With the University of Minnesota, Hanson earned Academic All-Big Ten as a sophomore last year. During his career as a Gopher, Hanson has a 3-0 record in 33 innings pitched, 16 strikeouts and 2 saves. Hanson has proven that he can swing the bat a little bit to, getting some reps in at both first base and designated hitter for the Gophers. In 65 career at-bats, Hanson 12 hits along with 1 home run.
Kehner was steady presence on the mound all summer for the Stingers. The left-hander started the summer coming out of the bullpen, but then was inserted into the starting rotation in July. In his 12 appearances, Kehner had a 3-2 record along with a 2.01 ERA. Over the course of his 44.2 innings pitched, Kehner amassed 38 strikeouts which was second on the team.
At Presbyterian College, Kehner has been a valuable asset as both a starter and reliever. This past season with the Blue Hose, Kehner made 25 appearances (7 starts) with 51.1 innings on the mound. Kehner tied for second on the team with 43 strikeouts. As a freshman in 2014, Kehner made 17 appearances (8 starts), compiled 45 innings pitched and had 28 strikeouts.