North Adams SteepleCats will have new president, GM, manager in 2018 NECBL season
NORTH ADAMS — Change is in the air as the North Adams SteepleCats prepare to open their 18th NECBL season.
The team has a new president, a new general manager, new colors and will have a new manager for 2018.
"I think the organization has done a really good job of promoting baseball in the community, and I'm not sure there are going to be a lot of changes," said Adam Hall, who replaces Dan Bosley as the president and chief operating officer of the team.
"We're talking to different parts of the community to see what they'd like us to do," Hall said, "and see if we can make some changes."
Andrew Agostini will be replacing Jonah Bayliss as the team's general manager. Bayliss, who moved out of the area, is helping Agostini with the procurement of players.
Hall and Agostini are, however, searching for a new manager. Stu Pederson, who led the SteepleCats last summer, will not be returning.
Hall, an engineer by profession, is a long-time baseball enthusiast who has run the Cal Ripken baseball programs in Williamstown for many years, and was the District 1 commissioner for Ripken.
"I'm at a position in my life where I can do some things to help the community," he said. "It's a good fit, and the timing was right."
Bosley announced on Facebook Tuesday that his tenure as president is over after 7 1/2 years.
"I love baseball and this has been a great experience. I got to hang around with players, staff and fans and hear great stories. I got to see a ton of fantastic baseball. And we made a few stories of our own that live on; setting the field on fire comes to mind. What a thrill to talk to a player that just got drafted. I will never forget any of this," Bosley wrote. "But I have a business that takes me to Boston or elsewhere in New England on a continuing basis and it is not fair to the SteepleCats or my clients that I take as much time off in my SteepleCats role and I can't in good conscience do this anymore."
Followers of the SteepleCats on Facebook and Twitter have noticed some rebranding of the team. The colors will be blue, white and black, instead of the black and gold the team has had since its inception in 2002.
For Agostini, this becomes an opportunity to build on what started with Jon Watterston and continued with Bayliss for the last two seasons.
"It's an unbelievable opportunity to be a part of this league, to be a part of the SteepleCats organization," said the new GM, "and to stay involved at a little higher of a level ... in sports."
While Hall is involved primarily with the operation of the SteepleCats, Agostini is first and foremost working to put together a roster for 2018.
"The whole process is new, but it's been a lot of fun," said Agostini, "Talking to coaches, emailing coaches, talking to players and getting them signed."
The SteepleCats have 10 players under contract for the coming season. One of them has local connections.
Matt Koperniak of Adams, a former Hoosac Valley three-sport standout, will play in North Adams. The sophomore at Trinity College in Hartford, Conn., played for Pittsfield Post 68 last summer.
"It was exciting because we think he's a good player and can really help the team," said Agostini, who is the head football coach and an assistant baseball coach at Mount Greylock Regional High School. "For me, it was awesome to have him on our squad, because I've gone against him in baseball and football. He was very difficult to deal with."
The No. 1 thing on the agenda for both Hall and Agostini is replacing Pederson.
Agostini said there were 25 applicants, coming from all divisions of college baseball, and from across the country. They've narrowed the list from that 25 to between four and six candidates.
"We're looking to bring in young, talented coaches who are looking to eventually be a head coach at a collegiate program somewhere," said Hall. "We've had very good success, like Mike Armstrong a couple of years ago. He was tremendous. We're looking for a person like Mike, who is very enthusiastic and growing in his coaching abilities and is a good leader on the field."
Howard Herman can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, at @howardherman on Twitter, and 413-496-6253.
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