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Published On: September 27th, 2013

Northwoods League Announces Postseason All-Star Team
Stingers Gonzalez & Leblebijian

(ROCHESTER, MN) The Northwoods League announced its 2011 Postseason All-Star Team and award winners on Saturday afternoon. In addition to the 30 players that were selected to the honorary team, Mankato outfielder Shaun Cooper was named the Northwoods League Most Valuable Player while fellow MoonDog right-handed pitcher Blake Schwartz was named Pitcher of the Year as voted by the League’s coaches and members of the media. Green Bay led all teams with four players selected while Brainerd Lakes Area was second with three. Playoff participants Battle Creek and Mankato split the coaching awards.

Mankato MoonDogs outfielder Shaun Cooper (Utah) caps off his record-breaking Northwoods League season with the MVP award. Cooper has been hitting well-above .300 all season and for most of the summer had been flirting with the Triple Crown award.  While he won’t finish with the league’s top batting average—he has a .332 mark through 61 games—he will lead the NWL in home runs and RBIs. His 20 home runs breaks the single-season Northwoods League record set in the NWL’s inaugural summer of 1994. His 60 RBIs currently place him fourth in that category, but two more RBIs would put him second behind long-time Major Leaguer Jay Gibbons who collected 68 RBIs for Manitowoc in 1997. The 5-foot 10-inch, 195-pound junior from Tucson, Arizona ranks high in a number of offensive categories including second in runs (53), third in hits (78), and first in total bases (158), extra-base hits (36) and slugging percentage (.672). He’s also stolen 15 bases in 16 attempts, which is the second base percentage (.938) in the league.

Another Mankato MoonDog player will bring home some hardware this offseason as Blake Schwartz (Minnesota State-Mankato) was named the Northwoods League’s Pitcher of the Year.  Schwartz, in his second summer with the MoonDogs, leads the NWL with a 1.71 ERA in 63 innings of work. He’s started 10 games, making 11 total appearances, and has struck a league-leading 75 batters while walking only 15. In addition, the 6-foot 3-inch, 205-pound righty from Rosemount, Minnesota was the starting and winning pitcher for the North Division in this year’s NWL All-Star Game. Schwartz is 6-1 on the year with his most dominating performance coming in a complete game, two-hit shutout on June 27th where he struck out 14 Thunder Bay Border Cats.

Both Cooper and Schwartz are among the 30 players selected to the NWL’s Postseason All-Star team. Two Gonzaga Bulldogs make up half of the four Green Bay Bullfrogs that were named to the team. Outfielder Billy Moon (Gonzaga) joins a trio of talented pitchers including Andy Hunter (Gonzaga), Adam Cimber (Washington) and Tim Giel (Columbia) to make up the quartet from Green Bay. Giel is one of three Ivy League pitchers on the squad. Michael Fagan (Princeton) of the St. Cloud River Bats and Joey Novak (Harvard) of the Duluth Huskies are the others.

Madison left-handed pitcher Rusty Shellhorn (Texas Tech) is the only two-time member of the all-star team. Shellhorn followed his 3-3, 2.40 ERA season in 2010 with a 5-2 record and 2.30 ERA in 2011 for the Mallards.

Battle Creek’s first-year field manager Donnie Scott is the 2011 Manager of the Year after leading the Bombers to their first playoff appearance. Battle Creek is on the verge of sweeping the first and second half championships in the South Division as they enter play Saturday in first place by one game. They currently have the league’s second best overall record at 41-26. Scott played in the Major Leagues for the Rangers, Mariners and Reds and later managed in the minor leagues in the Reds organization.

Mankato’s first-year assistant coach Jason Ramos of Seminole State College was recognized as the Coach of the Year for his role in leading the MoonDogs to their third postseason appearance since 2008.

In other awards, Madison’s Warner Park, known to many as “The Duck Pond”, was voted as the field with the Best Playing Surface. The stadium itself was enhanced greatly with major renovations prior to the 2011 season but this award shows how highly the managers in the South Division think of the field.

Mankato MoonDogs third-year broadcaster J.J. Hartigan and Wisconsin Rapids Rafters second-year broadcaster J.W. Cox were recognized by their peers as Co-Play-by-Play Announcers of the Year. Hartigan, a Sioux Falls, South Dakota native, has spent three of the last four seasons behind the microphone for the MoonDogs. Cox, from Arizona State University, was the voice of the 2011 Northwoods League All-Star Game in Wisconsin Rapids.

2011 Northwoods League Post Season All-Star Team

Chris Manship C Duluth Huskies JR University of Kansas

Andrew Knapp C La Crosse Loggers FR University of California

Nate Theunissen 1B Madison Mallards JR Central Michigan University

Johnny Coy 1B Rochester Honkers SO Wichita State University

Brett Wiley 2B Battle Creek Bombers FR University of Evansville

Cullen Mahoney 2B Thunder Bay Border Cats SO South Mountain CC

Dan Olinger 3B Brainerd Lakes Area Lunkers FR University of Minnesota

Cameron Perkins 3B Waterloo Bucks SO Purdue University

Ty Forney SS Eau Claire Express JR New Mexico State University

Jason Leblebijian SS Willmar Stingers SO Bradley University

Daniel Rockett OF Battle Creek Bombers SO University of Texas-San Antonio

Steven Brault OF Brainerd Lakes Area Lunkers FR Regis University

Billy Moon OF Green Bay Bullfrogs SO Gonzaga University

Shaun Cooper OF Mankato MoonDogs JR University of Utah

Carlos Lopez OF St. Cloud River Bats SO Cal State University-Fullerton

Danny Susdorf OF Wisconsin Woodchucks SO University of California, San Diego

Eduardo Gonzalez DH Willmar Stingers JR Alcorn State University

Carlos Escobar DH Wisconsin Woodchucks SO University of Nevada-Reno

Anthony Bazzani RHP Alexandria Beetles SO Eastern Kentucky University

Jason Forjet RHP Brainerd Lakes Area Lunkers JR Florida Gulf Coast University

Joey Novak RHP Duluth Huskies SO Harvard University

Andy Hunter RHP Green Bay Bullfrogs JR Gonzaga University

Tim Giel RHP Green Bay Bullfrogs SO Columbia University

Adam Cimber RHP Green Bay Bullfrogs SO University of Washington

Dan Child RHP La Crosse Loggers FR Oregon State University

Rusty Shellhorn LHP Madison Mallards JR Texas Tech University

Blake Schwartz RHP Mankato MoonDogs JR Minnesota State University-Mankato

Patrick Goelz RHP Mankato MoonDogs SO Bethune Cookman University

Michael Fagan LHP St. Cloud River Bats FR Princeton University

Mike Wisecarver LHP Waterloo Bucks JR Nicholls State University

Most Valuable Player
Shaun Cooper OF Mankato MoonDogs JR University of Utah

Pitcher of the Year
Blake Schwartz RHP Mankato MoonDogs JR Minnesota State University-Mankato

Manager of the Year
Donnie Scott Battle Creek Bombers

Coach of the Year
Jason Ramos Mankato MoonDogs Seminole State College

Best Playing Surface
Warner Park Madison Mallards

Co-Play-by-Play Announcers of the Year
J.J. Hartigan Mankato MoonDogs
J.W. Cox Wisconsin Rapids Rafters