Loggers Announce Coaching Staff for 2018 Season
La Crosse, Wis. – The La Crosse Loggers Baseball Club announced today that they have put together their coaching staff that will lead the team for the 2018 season which includes the return of field manager Brian Lewis and pitching coach Tom Kinney, but also includes the addition of new hitting coach Stu Pederson.
Brian Lewis will be returning for his third season as skipper of the Loggers in 2018, but is entering his sixth season with the club. In two seasons at the helm, Lewis has guided the Loggers to a 69-73 (.486) record. Under Lewis’ guidance the past two seasons, the Loggers produced a league-high four all-NWL selections in 2016 in Mason McCoy (Iowa), Griffin Conine (Duke), Cullen Large (William & Mary) and Nick Raquet (William & Mary) and added three more in 2017 in David Villar (South Florida), Kennie Taylor (Duke) and Korey Lee (California). The Loggers also had a league-high 21 players drafted in the 2017 Major League Draft.
Along with serving as the field manager of the Loggers, Lewis is also enjoying his second season as the head coach with the Viterbo (La Crosse) V-Hawks. Prior to joining the V-Hawks, Lewis served as the head coach of the La Crosse Central High School baseball program during the 2014-2015 school year. Before moving to the La Crosse area, Lewis was the hitting coach at Illinois Central College and an assistant coach at Lewis & Clark Community College from 2001-2011. The Alton, Ill. native also coached professionally in the Frontier League (Independent Pro) where he was director of baseball operations as well as the hitting coach for the River City Rascals from 2003-2006. Lewis’ summer collegiate experience dates back to the years 2001-2003 when he was the field manager for the Dubois County Bombers of the Prospect League. During his time in the coaching ranks, Lewis has coached four current and/or former major league players including Joe Thatcher, Cory Wade, Jeff Gray and Justin Christian.
Tom Kinney returns for his third season with the Lumbermen, leading the Loggers pitching staff. Logger hurlers have amassed 1,137 strikeouts over the past two seasons under Kinney’s direction, a total that ranks second in the entire Northwoods League. Kinney has played a key role in the development of several Logger pitchers who are now in professional baseball including 2016 pitchers Nick Raquet (3rd Round Pick ’17, Washington), JonathonTeaney (20th Round Pick ’17, Cleveland), Mitch Stalsberg (23rd Round Pick ’17, Detroit), Dave Smith (25th Round Pick ’17, Washington), Joe DiBenedetto (29th Round Pick ’17, Toronto) and Graham Spraker (31st Round Pick ’17, Toronto). Kinney grew up in Morton, Ill. and played at four different colleges including Olney Central College, Illinois Central College, Florida Atlantic University and Bradley University. After Bradley, he signed a free agent contract with the St. Louis Cardinals and went on to win the Rolaids Relief Award of the Arizona Rookie League in 1990. The following year he was converted to a start in the South Atlantic League before being released later that year. Kinney then began a career in law enforcement and is a retired office from Aurora, Ill. After retirement from the police force Kinney began coaching at Waubonsee Community College for three years and then moved on to Illinois Central College for three years. The Loggers pitching instructor has also served as scout for the New York Mets organization. Tom has been married to his wife, Kim, for nearly 24 years and they have three sons (Thomas, Kyle and Chase).
Joining the Loggers staff for the first time will be Stu Pederson who brings vast array of knowledge and experience to the dugout. Pederson, who will serve as the Loggers hitting coach, spent 12 years in professional baseball, from 1981-1992 in the Los Angeles Dodgers and Toronto Blue Jays organizations. He was drafted in the ninth round of the 1981 MLB Draft out of the University of Southern California. An outfielder, Pederson played eight Major League games for the Dodgers in 1985, and made his MLB debut on September 8, 1985. He spent much of his professional career- parts of nine of his 12 seasons- at the triple-A level.
He played for five seasons with the Syracuse Chiefs in the Blue Jays farm system, becoming one of the team’s most popular players and even earning “Stu Pederson Night” in 1991. The Chiefs honored his achievements with induction into the team’s Wall of Fame in 2012.
Since the end of his playing career, Pederson has coached baseball at both the high school and summer collegiate levels. Pederson is also no stranger to the world of college summer baseball, having spent three seasons (2014-2016) as an assistant coach with the Anchorage Glacier Pilots in the Alaska Baseball League and most recently served as the field manager of the North Adams Steeplecats of the New England Collegiate League this past summer.
He also coached high school baseball in California, one of the top states for prep baseball in the nation, contributing at Palo Alto and Cupertino High Schools where he helped over 100 players get drafted into professional baseball and another 150 players advance on to Division I collegiate baseball programs.
Pederson and his wife Shelley have four children, including two that have professional baseball experience of their own. His son Joc, a former MLB All-Star, is in his fourth season with the Los Angeles Dodgers, and his youngest son Tyger was drafted in the 33rd round of the 2013 MLB Draft by the Dodgers and played four seasons professionally. Tyger was recently named the field manager of the Duluth Huskies in the Northwoods League. His eldest son Champ is a motivational speaker and has competed at the Special Olympics, and his daughter Jacey plays soccer at UCLA, and is a member of the U.S. Youth National Team program.
The La Crosse Loggers are a member of the finest developmental league for elite college baseball players, the Northwoods League. The 24-year-old summer collegiate league is the largest organized baseball league in the world with 20 teams, drawing significantly more fans, in a friendly ballpark experience, than any league of its kind. A valuable training ground for coaches, umpires and front office staff, more than 180 former Northwoods League players have advanced to Major League Baseball, including two-time Cy Young Award winner Max Scherzer (WAS), two-time World Series Champion Ben Zobrist (CHC) and MLB All-Stars Chris Sale (BOS), Jordan Zimmermann (DET), Curtis Granderson (LAD) and Lucas Duda (TBR). All league games are viewable live via the Northwoods League portal. For more information, visit www.lacrosseloggers.com or download the new Northwoods League Mobile App on the Apple App Store or on Google Play and set the Loggers as your favorite team.