Bradley Bailey & Jonny Ortiz lead second group of returners for 2016
Uherek & Binger set to come back to Willmar as well
Willmar, Minn. – The Willmar Stingers are excited to announce that Bradley Bailey (University of North Alabama), Jonny Ortiz (Nova Southeastern University), Nikolay Uherek (Georgia Gwinnett College) and Corey Binger (University of Nebraska-Omaha) are the second group of players set to return to Willmar for the 2016 season, the Stingers seventh in the Northwoods League.
Now with seven returning pitchers (Lydon, Hanson, Kehner previously announced), the Stingers pitching staff has a chance to be one of the top staffs in the Northwoods League. Last season, the entire pitching staff had the lowest batting average against (.232), hits allowed (565) and walks (219).
Bailey was as reliable as anyone in the Stingers starting rotation all summer in 2015. Bailey was the Stingers team leader in innings pitched (57.2) and starts (11). With a 5-1 overall record, Bailey compiled 27 strikeouts and a 4.52 ERA. Back on June 13, Bailey had arguably his best start of the season going 7.0 innings, one hit allowed and not giving a single earned run in a 4-3 Stingers win over the St. Cloud Rox.
With North Alabama, Bailey has been used solely out of the bullpen in his two seasons with the Lions program. Appearing in 26 career games, he has a 2-1 record in 39.2 IP and 33 strikeouts. As a freshman in 2014, Bailey appeared 19 games with opponents hitting .283 against him.
Ortiz, prior to transferring to Nova Southeastern, came to the Stingers from Daytona State Community College where he was teammates with former Stingers pitcher Phoenix Sanders. Last season with the Stingers Ortiz was 2-1 with a 3.54 ERA in nine total games (six starts) and 21 strikeouts. Over the course of the summer Ortiz accumulated 40.2 IP, which was seventh most on the team, even though he missed some time due to soreness in his pitching arm.
In two seasons with Daytona State, Ortiz was used as a starter for the Falcons. While his career record was a modest 2-7, Ortiz threw 119 innings with 80 strikeouts. Ortiz garnered FCSAA Region 8 Pitcher of the Week honors for his performance in February of this season against CCBC-Cantonsville where he allowed just three hits and twelve strikeouts in a seven-inning game.
Uherek joined the Stingers towards the end of June to help bolster a pitching staff that had a few injuries halfway through the summer. Uherek was used as a bullpen arm pitching 12.2 innings over seven games. On August 3rd against the Mankato MoonDogs, Uherek had his longest outing of the year going 4.1 innings in relief and only allowing one run.
Binger, who is from Victoria, MN, joined the Stingers as a late season addition as well prior to the start of the playoffs. In only three appearances, Binger proved enough to the coaching staff to warrant a return trip to Willmar for the 2016 season. Binger was credited with a win in a 9-8 Stingers victory over the Duluth Huskies on August 7th where he went three innings in relief while just allowing a single run.
The Stingers staff will continue to build the 2016 roster as the off-season continues. The team hopes to fill a full 30-man roster before the start of the season which will begin in late May. For 2016 Season tickets or more information regarding this press release please contact the Willmar Stingers front office at 320-222-2010 or visit www.willmarstingers.com.
The Willmar Stingers are a member of the finest developmental league for elite college baseball players, the Northwoods League. Playing its 22nd season of summer collegiate baseball in 2015, 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 140 Northwoods League players have advanced to Major League Baseball, including Cy Young Award winner Max Scherzer (WAS) and MLB All-Stars Chris Sale (CWS), Jordan Zimmermann (DET), Curtis Granderson (NYM), Lucas Duda (NYM) and Ben Zobrist (CHC). All league games are viewable live via the Northwoods League Website. For more information, visit www.willmarstingers.com.