Pinto comes to the team after two seasons at the helm of the Sioux Falls Canaries of the American Association and three seasons of coaching with the Joliet Jackhammers of the Independent Northern League. Mike also coached two seasons at Oakton Community College.
During his first official day on the job, Pinto signed the first two players for the Miners:
- Chris Hall, a 6' 3", 220 lb 3rd Baseman, played at Indiana State University and hit .350 his senior year with a .470 slugging percentage. He started his professional career in Shreveport, Louisiana in the Central League in 2004 where he hit .260. He then went with manager Terry Bevington to Edmonton in 2005 and hit .277 while setting a Northern League record for assists with 203 as the leagues best 3rd baseman. Although he hit .239 in 2006 for Sioux Falls, Chris hit .323 in the final month of the season while continuing his sparkling play at 3rd base. He also hit 19 doubles, had 4 home runs and 7 stolen bases.
- Jose Torres, a 6', 195 lb left fielder, drafted in the 39th round by the Texas Rangers, split the 2006 season with the Lincoln Saltdogs and St. Paul Saints of the American Association, hitting a combined .247 with 6 home runs and 37 RBI along with having 6 outfield assists.
The team also released the 2007 season schedule. Pinto and the Miners will take the field for the first time on May 23 against the Gateway Grizzlies in Sauget, Illinois, and for the first time at home on May 29th against the Evansville Otters.
The schedule includes 51 home games during 11 home stands. The team plans to have fireworks displays after the first home game and all Friday home games.
Inaugural season tickets and Miners team merchandise can be purchased by calling the team office at 618-998-8499, stopping by the office in the Illinois Centre Mall in Marion, or on the team website: www.southernillinoisminers.com.