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Published On: February 26th, 2004

(Mankato MN)– The Mankato MoonDogs Baseball Club, a member of the Northwoods League, is proud to announce the return of two mid-season All Star outfielders. Left-fielder Ryan Chiarelli (Santa Clara University, Calif.) and center-fielder Aaron Grant (University of California Riverside) will both be joining the 2004 MoonDogs, along with six others from the 2003 MoonDogs team.

The other returning players include: Will Krout (Sonoma State), Philip Springman (Cal State LA), Warren Rosebrock (Sacramento State), Brent Jackson (U of Iowa), Matt McColgan (Santa Clara University) and Jeremy McIntire (U of Alabama-Huntsville).

Grant, a sophomore from Grand Terrace Calif., made valuable contributions both offensively and defensively for the 2003 ’Dogs. He maintained a spot on the league leader board for a majority of the season, finishing 5th in batting with a .310 average. Grant also tied for the second longest consecutive home game hitting streak in the league with 13 games and an amazing .441 BA over that stretch. He was also named to the 2003 North Division All Star Team in mid July.

"Grant’s the kind of kid who loves to play the game and you can really tell that just by looking at him,” said MoonDogs skipper Brad Rupert "and having a solid outfield return takes some pressure off the pitchers early in the season.”

This year for the UC Riverside Highlanders, Grant has played in 11 of 12 games and has 11 hits as well. Of those 11, five are for extra bases including a triple and a homerun. The Highlanders are 5-7 on the year but are riding high on a 4-game winning streak as they head into the weekend for a series with the University of San Diego.

Also returning for the 2004 season is Ryan Chiarelli (sha-relli). Chiarelli, hailing from San Ramon Calif., is a junior playing his third year at Santa Clara University. Last year he also made major contributions to team, tying for second in the league with 45 runs scored, Chiarelli was always on base. During one stretch of the year, he reached base safely in 18 consecutive games, and 21 consecutive road games, while hitting .324 and using his keen eye to draw 15 walks. Chiarelli also was also in Madison for the 2003 Northwoods League All Star game in July as well.

"Being on base is the only way to score runs, and Ryan proved that beyond a doubt,” Rupert added. "He’s also a great fit here in Mankato and atop our lineup card every night.”

The MoonDogs season is already underway and you can be a part of it. Season tickets are now on sale and opening day is just 103 days away. Call the MoonDogs ticket office at 507-625-7047 today to reserve your seats for what’s sure to be an explosive summer of wood-bat baseball.