The Free Press, Mankato, MN

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June 22, 2013

Feenstra takes advantage of his OPPORTUNITY

MoonDogs pitcher turns temporary stint into full-time position

MANKATO — Donovan Feenstra could be back home in Calgary, playing for a local summer-league baseball team. Or he could be helping to plan for his August wedding.

But he had a chance to play for the Mankato MoonDogs in the Northwoods League, and as he usually does, he made the most of his opportunity, going from 10-day temporary fill-in to permanent member of the MoonDogs pitching staff.

"I'm just trying to be myself and do what I usually do," Feenstra said. "I'm just trying to pound the (strike) zone and let it happen."

Feenstra, a lefty from the University of Cumberlands, found out this week that the MoonDogs wanted him to stay around for the rest of the season. The team started with six pitchers, and four position players, on 10-day contracts, and Feenstra is the only pitcher that has been added permanently.

"I was pretty happy," he said. "I wanted to be here full-time. I'm glad I get that opportunity."

In 18 innings through Thursday's games, Feenstra has allowed 18 hits and six walks, striking out 21. He's 1-1 with a 0.50 earned-run average, using a deceptive, slow delivery that seems to hide the late movement on his pitches.

"He just needs to have the confidence that he belongs here," said MoonDogs manager Mike Orchard, who developed a relationship with the Cumberlands coach last fall that brought Feenstra and pitcher Kahana Neal to the MoonDogs. "A big part of life is getting an opportunity and then making the most of it. He's been doing well."

Feenstra has appeared in five games, starting one. Orchard likes to have some versatile arms on his pitching staff, especially ones that seem to be available every day.

"Those kind of arms are worth their weight in gold," Orchard said.

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