The Free Press, Mankato, MN

Sports

July 4, 2013

MoonDogs, Fuentes become PERFECT MATCH

Northwoods League team needed shortstop; he needed place to play

(Continued)

So instead of returning to his California summer-league team, which wasn't nearly as organized or as popular as Northwoods League franchises, he quickly accepted the offer to come to Mankato.

"Usually, you can find a shortstop that can hit or play defense," Orchard said. "Rarely do you find one, especially late, that can do both."

Fuentes, who is 6-foot-1 and 190 pounds, has made an impact at the plate. In 17 games, he's batting .386 with nine doubles, one triple, three home runs and 15 RBIs. He was hoping to add some power to his game, perhaps catching the scouts' attention, and it seems like it's worked.

"I just want to work on everything," Fuentes said. "Defense, power ... everything."

Fuentes has a cousin that plays for the Colorado Rockies, and another cousin who was drafted this year. The day of the draft was among the worst of his baseball career, but he's turning that disappointment into a positive by making himself a better player in the Northwoods League.

"It's been awesome," Fuentes said. "I didn't realize how many fans came to these games, and all the stuff they do in between innings and all the energy. Everyone here knows about the MoonDogs, and they're into the games."

With this new experience, Fuentes said he hopes to get drafted next year and start a professional career. He's hoping that a good summer in the Northwoods League will convince the scouts to pick him up next June.

"I thought this was my year to get drafted, so that was frustrating," he said. "But I'll go back to school and work hard and do my best. Hopefully, I'll get my chance next year."

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