Former Northwoods League pitcher and manager Drew Saberhagen takes over at the helm
Willmar, Minn. – The Willmar Stingers will have new leadership on the field next week as the team takes the field for its fifth season in Willmar. The team’s only manager in the history of the ballclub has stepped down recently to focus on his full-time duties at Wilkes University in Pennsylvania. Hollod’s focus will be directed towards working at the university’s administrative offices and recruiting for next year’s team.
During his time as manager in Willmar, Hollod recorded 160 wins in four seasons, which currently ranks ninth all-time in managerial wins in league history. The organization also during that time has seen 26 former players sign professional contracts, including Hunter Dozier 8th overall pick by the Kansas City Royals in the 2013 Major League Draft.
“Matt did a great job as manager for the ballclub the past four years.” Co-owner Marc Jerzak said. “The timing isn’t ideal as the season is near, but we have hired a very qualified manager to lead the team this summer.
The Stingers began looking for Hollod’s replacement right away and the position was filled quickly.
Drew Saberhagen will take over immediately as the manager of the Stingers after just finishing up his first year as pitching coach at University of South Carolina-Upstate.
Saberhagen is no stranger to the league as he spent seven years in Alexandria. He played for the Beetles for four seasons before becoming a coach for the organization. He became the team’s pitching coach in 2010 and 2011 before being named manager in 2012. During the 2011 season, he was a part of the coaching staff that helped the Beetles set a franchise record with 44 wins.
“Drew is a great guy and has a great knowledge of the game.” Jerzak said. “His experience as a player, coach and manager in the League will be huge asset to our players and coaches this summer.”
Saberhagen began his college playing career at Pepperdine University, turning down the chance to play professionally after being drafted in the 38th round of the 2004 MLB Draft by the Oakland A's out of Calabasas (Calif.) High School. Saberhagen eventually transferred to Western Carolina University where he was an All-Southern Conference performer as a sophomore in 2007.
He has also coached at the University of Tennessee and at Newberry College. Saberhagen is married to Kelsey Murphy-Saberhagen and lives in Greenville, SC. He is also the son of former major league 16-year veteran Bret Saberhagen.
Saberhagen will be joined by coaches PJ McIntee (Southeastern Community College) and Matt Passauer (East Georgia State College). McIntee returns for his second season and will work with the infielders and hitters, while Passauer will be the team’s pitching coach this season.
The Stingers are close to finalizing the roster for the fifth season of Stingers baseball. With the start of the 2014 season nearing, the final additions to the roster will be announced in the next week. The Home Opener presented by Marcus Construction is scheduled for Thursday, May 29 at Bill Taunton Stadium. Season tickets for the upcoming season are currently on sale now. For more information regarding this news release or season ticket pricing, please call 320-222-2010 or visit willmarstingers.com. The 2014 season is presented by Charter.
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The Willmar Stingers 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 summer collegiate 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 Cy Young Award winner Max Scherzer (DET) and MLB All-Stars Chris Sale (CWS), Jordan Zimmermann (WAS), Curtis Granderson (NYM), Allen Craig (STL) and Ben Zobrist (TB). All league games are viewable live via the Northwoods League YouTube channel. For more information, visit www.willmarstingers.com.