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.”