MANKATO, Minn. – The Mankato MoonDogs, members of the Northwoods League, are thrilled to announce that Field Manager Mike Orchard will be returning to Mankato for the summer of 2014.
The all-time winningest manager in MoonDogs history will get the chance to pad his already-impressive record as Orchard, the pitching coach for Central Arizona College, will spend his sixth season in the Franklin Rogers Park dugout.
Orchard’os 190 victories find him second among active Northwoods League managers and in the top ten all-time.
"The MoonDogs are extremely lucky to be able to bring back a proven winner behind the helm in Mike,"MoonDogs Vice President Kyle Mrozek said. "Orch has found a home in Mankato and his past success and accomplishments speak for themselves."
Despite sporting an extensive coaching resume, including playoff appearances in three of the last five years and managing three Northwoods League All-Star Games, Orchard returns in 2014 as hungry as ever.
"It’s good to get wins but I’d rather have the division titles and Championships," said Orchard. "This next season is all about getting over the hump, we’ve had success in the past so we are looking to improve upon that."
While the 2013 campaign ended without the elusive playoff hardware for Orchard&rsquos MoonDogs, it was still yet another successful year. Mankato just came up short in capturing a second-half North Division Title and saw a slew of individual single-season and career records set.
Even though Orchard is determined to keep building upon the winning culture he helped establish in Mankato, he doesn&rsquot forget about the little things that make being a Northwoods League manager so special to him.
"I’m really proud of the impact we’ve had on our players" Orchard reflects. "Year in and year out kids come in and play hard for us and I think they go back to school as better stronger players who are more ready to move on in their careers."
It is this pride and dedication to the players that has made the MoonDogs and the Northwoods League instrumental for the advancement of so many through the years.
The Mankato MoonDogs are a member of the finest developmental league for elite college baseball players, the Northwoods League. Playing its 21st season of summer collegiate baseball, the Northwoods League is the largest organized baseball league in the world with 18 teams, drawing significantly more fans, in a friendly ballpark experience, than any league of its kind. A valuable training ground for coaches, umpires and front office staff, more than 115 Northwoods League players have advanced to Major League Baseball, including MLB All-Stars Max Scherzer (DET), Chris Sale (CWS), Jordan Zimmermann (WAS), Curtis Granderson (NYY), Allen Craig (STL) and Ben Zobrist (TB). All league games are viewable live and free of charge via the Northwoods League YouTube channel. For more information, visit mankatomoondogs.com