Former minor leaguer joins Wildcat baseball coachingWildcat baseball coach Ryan Bishop announced last week that former college All-American and Arizona Diamondbacks minor leaguer Mark Hallberg will join him as co-head coach beginning this season.
By: Bob Burrows, River Falls Journal
Wildcat baseball coach Ryan Bishop announced last week that former college All-American and Arizona Diamondbacks minor leaguer Mark Hallberg will join him as co-head coach beginning this season.
Hallberg, a 2004 Barron High School graduate, spent the last two seasons playing for the Triple-A Reno Aces in the Diamondbacks minor league system before retiring earlier this year. He has enrolled at UW-River Falls to continue pursuing his degree in physical education.
“Mark will take an active leadership role with me in all facets of River Falls baseball,” Bishop said. “I couldn’t be more excited to work with Mark. River Falls baseball just got better today.”
Hallberg was a three-time all-state player at Barron High School and the Northwest Wisconsin Player of the Year in 2004. He played two seasons at the University of Illinois at Chicago, where he was named team captain as a freshman and was a Louisville Slugger Freshman All-American. As a sophomore he was named the NCAA Division 1 Toughest Batter to Strike out.
Hallberg transferred to Florida State University in 2006 where he earned All-Atlantic Coast Conference, All-Atlantic Region and NCAA Division 1 All-American honors while recording a .362 batting average and the highest fielding percentage by a shortstop in Florida State history.
He was selected in the ninth round of the 2007 Major League draft by the Diamondbacks and played five years in the Diamondbacks organization, compiling a career batting average of .277 and a fielding percentage of .977. He was named the 2008 Hawaii Winter League MVP and was invited to the Diamondbacks Major League spring training in 2010.
Bishop said he had the chance to talk to Hallberg at the Wisconsin Baseball Coaches Association conference on Feb. 10.
“It didn’t take us long to realize this was a win-win situation for both of us,” Bishop said. “Mark brings not only a wealth of knowledge and experience, but he also brings the right morals and ethics to lead young men in a positive manner.”
Hallberg said his objective as Wildcat coach is to instill quality character in his student athletes while teaching the fundamental and advanced skills of baseball.
“I’m humbled at the opportunity to work with Ryan Bishop and to be a leader in the River Falls community,” he said. “More than anything else, I’m really excited to roll up my sleeves and get to work with these young men.”
The first day of practice for the Wildcat baseball team is March 20.