The Brainerd Mighty Gulls are close to completing their roster for the 2000 season and currently have 20 players under contract.
University of San Diego junior Joe Lima, who played for the Gulls last season, is one of only two returnees and was the first player signed this spring. Infielder Matt Johns of Western Kentucky is the other returning Gull.
Lima, a 6-foot, 190-pound outfielder, batted .262 with three home runs, 21 RBI and 11 steals last season. He also hit two home runs in the Gulls' final playoff game against the St. Cloud River Bats.
Lima played mostly at second base last season, but will be expected to play in the outfield for this year's team. He made the transition at San Diego after his sophomore year and is batting .353 early in this year's college season.
"We're very excited to have Joe back," said Eric Coleman, the Mighty Gulls' field manager. "He'll be playing full-time in the outfield at USD, and that will make him more comfortable in the outfield for us this season. I expect an all-star summer from him."
The Gulls, who open their third season June 2, have also signed the following players:
Ryan Wickham, catcher: The 5-11, 205-pound catcher was the first of four Iowa State teammates to sign with the Gulls. Wickham is a junior with the Cyclones after playing at San Diego State and Chabot Community College in California. Wickham was a junior college All-American at Chabot.
Joe Urban, infield: Urban is the second new Gull from Iowa State who also played community college ball in California. The 6-foot, 195-pound junior was a two-year starter at Santa Ana JC where he belted 15 home runs and hit .385 his sophomore year. Coleman says Urban is similar to Houston Astros first baseman Jeff Bagwell.
Mark Hanrahan, pitcher: Hanrahan, also from Iowa State, is a 6-5, 225-pound junior in his first year for the Cyclones after pitching two seasons at Santa Fe Community College. Hanrahan had pitched in seven early games for Iowa State, starting in two. He was used mainly in relief at Santa Fe and recorded 76 strikeouts in two seasons.
Scott Beshears, infield: Beshears is a freshman at Fresno State and played his high school ball at Bullard High School in California, which is one of the best programs in the state, Coleman said. Beshears is a 5-8, 165-pound switch hitter who plays shortstop and second base for Fresno. In high school he hit .405, swiped 36 bases, hit eight home runs and collected 27 doubles.
Jason Gutknecht, pitcher: The 6-foot, 200-pound lefty joins college teammate Beshears on the Gulls' roster. He is also a freshman and was a top California high school player. At Madera High School, he was 8-2 as a senior and posted a 1.80 ERA as a junior. He has seen some time on the mound for Fresno State, which is ranked in the top 20 in the USA Today/ESPN poll.
Trevor Frederickson, catcher/outfield: A 6-3, 189-pounder, Frederickson is a freshman at the University of Illinois. He is a left-handed batter who could catch or play an outfield position for the Gulls. He is a two-time all-league selection at Valley Christian High School (Sunnyvale, Calif.), a team that was 27-3-1 in Fredrickson's junior year.
Andy Wilson, pitcher: Wilson is a 6-2, 195-pound junior at Stetson University (Deland, Fla.), a team which was 27-7 as of April 3. In 12 pitching appearances for Stetson -- four as a starter -- he had a 2-0 record with a 5.23 ERA and 21 strikeouts in 31 innings.
Mike Ziroli, pitcher: Ziroli is a 6-2, 185-pound right-handed junior at Eastern Illinois University, a team that is coming off consecutive Ohio Valley Conference championships and NCAA tournament appearances. He is the workhorse out of the bullpen for the Panthers and has appeared in 13 of 22 games, compiling a 1-2 record and 3.48 ERA. He has 28 strikeouts and two saves.
Luke Appert, infield: The 6-0, 170-pound freshman from the University of Minnesota is the latest signing for the Mighty Gulls. Appert, who played high school ball at Park of Cottage Grove, received little playing time for the Gophers early in the season, but has recently become one of the best hitters in the Big Ten. He is hitting .379, has a team-leading .679 slugging percentage and is tied for the team home run lead with four. As a senior in high school, he was named the 1999 Minnesota High School Coaches Association Player of the Year and was the 1999 USA Today Player of the Year for Minnesota. He had a .522 average his senior season with 10 homers, 36 RBI and a slugging percentage of 1.120.
Other Gulls signings: Al Bomer (pitcher/Iowa State), Keith Laski (outfield/Eastern Illinois), Casey Tornberg (outfield/New Mexico), Tony Perez (outfield/San Diego), Mike McCoy (infield/San Diego), Mike Osequera (pitcher/San Diego), Rick Helland (catcher/USC), Jordan Robison (outfield/Northwestern, La.), Matt Johns (infield/Western Kentucky), and C.J. Woodrow (pitcher/Minnesota).
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