Season Preview 2017

It will be a new era for the Covington Lumberjacks as they move on without three-time All-VBL second baseman Jose Carrera, along with several others who spent multiple seasons as Jacks teammates including Brian Gonzalez and Lee Lipinski.

2016 Record: 22-20 (3rd in South Division)
2016 Playoffs: Defeated Harrisonburg in two games in quarterfinals; lost to Waynesboro in two games in semifinals

VBL Championships: 2 (2005, 2011)
Pennants: 3 (2001 (South), 2002 (South), 2005 (South))

Last Season: Covington was locked into the South’s third seed pretty early on, finishing five games back of Harrisonburg but eight games ahead of fourth place Staunton. The Lumberjacks swept Harrisonburg with a pair of two-run victories in the playoffs, before falling to Waynesboro in the South finals.

Returning Players: The Jacks do return several key players from last season, including outfielder Brandon Vicens (.289, 4 HRs, 22 RBIs), pitcher Orlando Cannon (1-1, 21 K’s) and Orley Arellano, who hit .252 in the outfield while also throwing two shutout innings of relief. They will be joined by 2015 outfielder Ryan Alvarez.

Key Players/Outlook: Francisco Fernandez (Hillsborough CC) and Dustin Allen (Blue Mountain College) join Cannon to lead the 2017 pitching staff. Oakland’s Nate Schweers is 3-2 with a 4.47 ERA and 37 K’s this spring.

Jackson Strange, the son of former Major Leaguer Doug Strange, comes to the Lumberjacks after homering three times and knocking in 23 runs for Anderson University. Ty Painter is batting .275 and has also homered three times, for Shippensburg he will be joined in the infield by college teammate Tommy Baggett.

Head Coach: Stock Ramirez returns for a second season in charge at Covington after leading them to a 22-20 mark and a spot in the South finals. He has also previously served as an assistant coach in the Valley.

Coach’s Comments: “We expect to be better this year, we have stronger pitching and more depth. I’m looking forward to the season.”

2016 Season Preview

447786_largeSix of Covington’s final eight games of 2015 were decided by one run in an entertaining season that saw the Lumberjacks edge Charlottesville 6-5 in a play-in game before taking division champ Staunton the distance in the playoffs.

2015 Record: 18-24 (4th in South Division, won playoff tiebreaker over Charlottesville)
2015 Playoffs: Lost quarterfinals in three games to Staunton

VBL Championships: 2 (2005, 2011)
Pennants: 3 (2001 (South), 2002 (South), 2005 (South))

Returning Players: The Lumberjacks will have a familiarity in the infield with several starters returning, along with catcher/infielder Lee Lipinski (Rider University). Second baseman/shortstop Jose Carrera was a 2015 VBL All-Star and is hitting .306 for Manhattan this spring. Another returning Valley League All-Star is Lynn University’s Jonathan Corbitt, a collegiate catcher who also saw time at first base for the Lumberjacks. Shortstop Brian Gonzales of Florida Memorial is also back; he hit .269 last summer for Covington.

Key Players/Outlook: Joining Covington’s veterans as key cogs in the lineup this summer will be Miguel Reyes and Javoni Thomas from Lindsay Wilson College. Reyes is batting .316 with 7 HRs and 32 RBIs.

The Lumberjacks are loaded at catcher as Fabian Pena joins the mix as well. Pena has started all 51 games as a freshman for Manhattan while hitting .344 with 7 HRs and 47 RBIs.

The pitching staff features Andrew Stout, who is 8-1 with 70 strikeouts in 13 starts for Southeastern Community College. Jason Polgano is 7-2 with a 2.70 ERA for Felician University and has also hit .343 with 6 HRs and 34 RBIs this college season.

Ballpark: The Lumberjacks play at Covington’s city stadium- Casey Field- which has held both baseball and football contests since 1962. In the past, the park has hosted minor league affiliates of both the Boston Red Sox and Houston Astros.

Head Coach: After two seasons as an assistant in Covington, Stock Ramirez takes over head duties in 2016. He is currently training to become a pro scout.

Coach’s Comments: “This season we are looking to get off to a better start and make sure the players work towards getting better every day.”

Thanks to the Valley Baseball League vbl