FARGO-When Dan Sattler talks about the final out of the 2014 American Association baseball season, his face tips off his excitement.
That's because the Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks reliever ended that year with a strikeout that clinched a league championship for the Wichita Wingnuts.
"It was the best feeling I've ever had on a baseball field," Sattler said. "Hopefully, we can do that here."
Sattler has been one of the key relievers for the RedHawks since he signed with the team less than two weeks into this season. Right-handed starter Taylor Stanton pitched eight solid innings to help lift F-M to a 4-2 victory against the Sioux Falls Canaries on Tuesday, June 21, at Newman Outdoor Field before an announced crowd of 3,414 fans.
"He was really in command of his game," RedHawks manager Doug Simunic said of Stanton. "He was really good."
The game marked the 20th anniversary of the first game played at Newman. That was also against Sioux Falls in 1996.
A hard-throwing right-hander, Sattler, 32, is one the team's options to close out games, along with right-hander Colton Reavis. Reavis earned the save in Tuesday's game against the Canaries, pitching a perfect ninth inning.
Sattler has a 2-0 record with a 3.75 ERA in 10 appearances, and primarily throws a fastball and a slider. His fastball has topped out in the mid-90s this season.
"He's a hard thrower," RedHawks pitching coach Michael Schlact said. "He's got good stuff. He's a back-of-the-bullpen arm, a guy who can close a game down if we need to, he's a good guy to get us to the closer. ... He can do a lot of different things, which is really important on a pitching staff."
Sattler is in his 10th season as a pro, advancing as high as Class Triple-A with the Minnesota Twins in 2012. He's played in four different Major League organizations, including the Texas Rangers, Oakland Athletics and Los Angeles Angels.
"Up and down their systems, that's a ton of different cities and teams I've played on in those places," Sattler said.
He played for four other independent league teams before the RedHawks. He was with the Kansas City T-Bones, St. Paul Saints, Wichita and the Somerset (N.J.) Patriots.
Sattler has also played in Mexico and Venezuela.
"Being all those different places has been pretty crazy and amazing," Sattler said. "It's a blessing."
Playing in Mexico and Venezuela had a different vibe than playing affiliated ball or in an independent league. The crowd gave the game a more festive feel. The fans are chanting, playing trumpets and drums, Sattler said.
"There's this feeling that's going through you and through the crowd and through the stadium. The noise level is just a constant thing," he said. "It was crazy. I will never forget it. I helps you focus a little bit more. ... It's weird. You can't hear one thing. You just hear the buzz."
Sattler vividly remembers the final moments in the 2014 American Association championship series. He struck out Lincoln clean-up hitter Ian Gac to help the Wingnuts complete a three-game sweep. Sattler was in the Rangers organization with Gac, who was one of the top hitters in the American Association that season.
"It was awesome because it set up perfectly," Sattler said. "I threw a fastball as hard as I could right by him. It was crazy, man."
Schlact said Sattler's experience has been an asset for the pitching staff, especially as an example for younger pitchers in the bullpen.
"He's got a cool and calm demeanor," Schlact said. "He doesn't seem to panic. He doesn't seem to get worked up, even in the tightest of spots. That's what you need."
Up next: Sioux Falls at RedHawks
When: 7:02 p.m. Wednesday, June 22
Radio: 740 The Fan