Our professional staff of journalists reports on collegiate athletes. Why? Because as long as your favorite collegiate athletes are out strutting ther stuff, we believe you should know about it. Often, while these athletes are out pursuing athletic and academic excellence, their local newspapers may not have the resources to document those achievements.That doesn't stop us. We go the extra mile to contact the universities, coaches and athletes to bring you their stories. If you are interested in having your local college athletes appear on our website, please contact us via e-mail.

Marion County College Report

Dinkelman to Start Spring Training With Minnesota Twins

For the rest of his life, Brian Dinkelman will never forget the final month of 2009 or the first month of 2010.

Those two months could lead to some great things, both professionally and personally. Dinkelman found out in late December that his chance of playing for a major league club could be much closer than he thought. Dinkelman, who is currently in the Minnesota Twins organization, was notified he will start Spring Training with the major league club in Fort Myers, Fla.

"This is my dream as far as baseball goes," Dinkelman said. "I want to start as high in the system as they will allow me to. If I can be promoted to Triple-A ball or the major league club to start, that would be great. I was happy with my 2009 season because it was very consistent."

In his personal life, things are happening for Dinkelman as well. Today he becomes the husband of Centralia resident Randi Rothchild.

Dinkelman, along with a select group of players in the Twins organization, is scheduled to report on Feb. 22. The major league club will use him at second base and in left field in Spring Training, after which a decision will be made to assign Dinkelman to the major league team or one of the minor league affiliates.

Dinkelman was a member of the Double-A New Britain Rock Cats during the 2009 season and finished the season with a .296 batting average. In his team-leading 129 games played, Dinkelman finished as New Britain's leader in hits (136), doubles (38) and walks (55) and his batting average was the third highest on the team. Dinkelman also finished with 65 RBI, 62 runs, eight homers and two triples.

The infielder helped New Britain finish with a 72-69 mark, good for second place in the Eastern League-Northern Division. They were 10.5 games behind the Connecticut Defenders, the Class AA affiliate of the San Francisco Giants.

In the field, Dinkelman was at times a second baseman, but he also played in the outfield. That fact combined with his prowess at the plate helped him Eastern League All Star status.

"Brian's selection constitutes a league-wide recognition of something we've observed here in New Britain all season,” Rock Cats President Bill Dowling said. “(That is) his unique ability to perform at a high level at both infield and outfield positions while maintaining his consistently strong offensive production. He is an unselfish player who puts the team first. We could not be happier.”

Dinkelman was promoted to Double-A during the middle of 2008. The McKendree University graduate made 198 trips to the plate that season and had 49 hits including 14 doubles, two triples and two homers. Dinkelman also scored 26 times, drove home 21 runs, walked 10 times and stole two bases.

He was promoted to the Class AA level from the Fort Myers Miracle, the Class A Advanced affiliate of the Twins. During the first half of the 2008 season, Dinkelman posted a .293 batting average with 68 hits, 18 doubles, two triples and two homers in 232 trips to the plate. He scored 44 times, walked 33 times, drove home 19 runs and stole 10 bases. Dinkelman started his minor league career with the Beloit Snappers, the Class A affiliate and has spent his entire professional career with the Twins organization.

"I am very happy with the Twins and am pleased with playing a few positions in the field," Dinkelman said. "I want to do anything to help the team win and it helps me as well. The more spots that I get experienced at, the more valuable I am."

Message from Dan Chamness

As we wrap up for the week, I have a couple of announcements. First of all, this is the last week for the Boyll Insurance Agency as a sponsor of The College Report Online. Patrick Boyll, who ran the agency, sponsored this column since its inception in 2007. The Boyll Insurance Agency went out of business at the end of November.

Over the years, Boyll has not only supported this article, but other projects related to reporting of local athletics. The College Report Online is sorry to see him leave the insurance business. Over the years, he has grown into a friend and we wish him well in retirement. Boyll will be helping transition his accounts to Central Insurance & Bonding.

Secondly, as the college basketball teams and other winter sports began to hit their conference schedules, we will be picking up the intensity of our coverage.