Leyva to Return as Field Manager for 2021 Season
Willmar, Minn. – The Willmar Stingers are excited to announce that when the 2021 season gets underway, a familiar face will back in the dugout.
Returning to Willmar for his fourth year in a Stingers uniform will be Willmar Stingers Manager Al Leyva. Leyva, the 2020 Stingers Manager, will return for his second season at the helm to lead the ball club into its 12th season of Northwoods League baseball.
Leyva, a proven leader, navigated through the 2020 shortened season during a pandemic and orchestrated a winning record of 22-20 with an expanded team roster. The Northwoods League decided to increase the roster size of each team in 2020 to allow more players an opportunity to play, while other leagues were shutting down.
“What a great summer with a great group of guys,” Co-owner Ryan Voz said. “The Northwoods League allowed each team an opportunity to play and our coaching staff including Leyva, Kevin Smith and Matt Caselli did a phenomenal job, getting everyone playing time.”
The Stingers season was highlighted by a 11-2 start of the season, featuring a 9-game win streak, and witnessed some of best performances in the league that included a league batting title for fan favorite Jayson Newman (.405). Catcher Chase Stanke, pitcher John Bezdicek and Newman were all named to the Northwoods League Post-Season All-Star Team.
“It was a remarkable year in fact that we were able to play games, keep guys healthy and give these athletes an opportunity to play the game,” Co-owner Ryan Voz said.
Leyva, along with his assistant coaches, arrived in Willmar this past mid-June managing to get guys in shape with pre-season practices and finished what will probably be the most unique season to go down in history.
For Leyva, next summer will be his 15th year of coaching summer collegiate baseball. Prior to arriving in Willmar, he coached in the New England Collegiate League for the Newport Gulls. Leyva’s resume also includes spending time coaching with his brother Nick Leyva in the Chicago White Sox organization.
“I am thrilled to be coming back to Willmar for the 2021 season,” said Leyva. “Being part of this organization–one that takes great pride in providing a top-notch experience for players, coaches and fans–is something I am extremely proud of.”
Leyva’s debut with the Stingers organization was in 2018 as an Assistant Coach under Manager Bo Henning. During that summer, the team had the second-best overall record in the Northwoods League (48-24) and claimed a playoff spot by winning the second-half North Division title. The following year, Leyva under Henning’s guidance, helped lead the club back into the post-season winning the Great Plains West Division title.
Leyva, in the next few months, will announce his coaching staff for 2021 and the organization will begin signing players for the upcoming season of Stingers Baseball. Stay tuned for these announcements of team briefings and Northwoods League news in the upcoming weeks.
If you would like information on tickets for the 2021 season, or more information regarding this press release, please contact the Willmar Stingers front office at 320-222-2010 or visit www.willmarstingers.com.
The 2021 Stingers season is presented by J.D. Kreps Financial Group, empowering investors with powerful financial advice.