Mike Orchard

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

For the past 11 seasons, Mike Orchard has been working hard as a baseball coach for a number of college and summer collegiate baseball teams. Come June, he’ll put that experience too good use as the new manager of the Mankato MoonDogs Northwoods League team.

Orchard was named the new skipper of the Dogs on Wednesday and becomes the fifth manager in the franchise’s history. The 30-year-old native of Bettendorf, Iowa, has already had two stops in the Northwoods League with teams in Thunder Bay, Ont., and La Crosse, Wis. He’s also had stints with teams in the Arizona Summer Collegiate League and with Hyannis of the Cape Cod League.

Orchard said he picked Mankato because of his familiarity with owner Joe Schwei and general manager Kyle Mrozek.

“I’ve know Kyle for four or five years now and we’ve talked a lot of baseball and, for me to come back to the Northwoods League I knew it was going to have to be in Mankato as a head coach,” he said Thursday from Coolidge, Ariz. “I’m big on working for good people and that’s the situation in Mankato. That makes things pretty easy.”

Mrozek says he feels confident Orchard will do a first-rate job.

“We are extremely excited to have such a well connected and hard working coach on board for next season,” he said. “Mike’s experience in several summer college baseball leagues and strong work ethic will be a great fit for the MoonDogs.”

In addition to his summer collegiate league experience, Orchard has spent time coaching high school teams in Davenport, Iowa; Charleston, S.C; and Kissimmee, Fla. In Florida, he developed back to back pitchers of the year in Osceola County.

In 2006, Orchard accepted the position of pitching coach at Chandler-Gilbert Community College in Arizona. He spent two years with the Coyotes where 10 of his pitchers moved on and pitched Division I baseball and five signed professional contracts. His staff also had the lowest earned-run average in the conference in 2007.

Last year, Orchard worked at the University of Southern California (USC) and the Rod Dedeaux Research and Baseball Institute. This year he is working as the pitching coach at Central Arizona College.

Orchard intends to use his familiarity and connections in the Arizona/California area to attract players to the MoonDogs.

“I wish I had gotten this job a little sooner I might have been able to get a few more of those players up to Mankato for this summer,” he said. “But, when I come back down here in August, I should be able to attract some good players from schools like ASU and U of A and Long Beach State and some community colleges to play the next season.”

“I am excited for the opportunity that the MoonDogs have given me. “(I hope) we can piggyback off the success of last season and then take the next step in winning the Northwoods League.”

React to this story:

React to this story:

0
0
0
0
0