Loggers Announce 2019 Coaching Staff
La Crosse, Wis. – Front office officials of the La Crosse Loggers announced their 2019 coaching staff today that will once again be led by field manager Brian Lewis. Joining Lewis in the Loggers dugout will once again be pitching coach Tom Kinney and third base coach Taylore Baker and the trio will be accompanied by newly hired assistant coach Rob Sidwell.
Brian Lewis will be returning for his fourth season as skipper of the Loggers in 2019, but is entering his seventh season with the club after serving as an assistant coach from 2013-2015. In three seasons at the helm, Lewis has guided the Loggers to a 109-105 (.509) record. Under Lewis’ guidance the past three seasons, the Loggers have produced ten all-NWL selections including 2018 honorees Braiden Ward (Washington), Shane McGuire (San Diego) and Harrison Freed (Butler) to go along with a trio in 2017 that included David Villar (South Florida), Kennie Taylor (Duke) and Korey Lee (California). The 2016 season saw a league-high four all-NWLers in Mason McCoy (Iowa), Griffin Conine (Duke), Cullen Large (William & Mary) and Nick Raquet (William & Mary). 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 third season as the head coach of 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 also returns for his fourth season with the Lumbermen, leading the Loggers pitching staff. Logger hurlers have amassed 1,741 strikeouts over the past three seasons under Kinney’s direction, including breaking the team single season mark on two separate occasions. 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), Cason Sherrod (7th Round Pick ’18, Miami), Andrew Perez (8th Round Pick ’18, Chicago-AL), Jonathon Teaney (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. Tom has been married to his wife, Kim, for nearly 24 years and they have three sons (Thomas, Kyle and Chase).
Taylore Baker returns for his second year to man the third base coaching box. Baker currently serves as the pitching coach at Madonna University (Michigan). Under Baker in 2018, the Crusader pitching staff ranked top two in every Conference pitching statistical category while setting school records for both strikeouts and strikeouts per nine innings. Tyler Butzin earned both First Team All- Conference and Newcomer of the Year while Cliff Landess earned second team. The Crusaders were WHAC Conference Champions and earned a National Tournament Regional bid. He also is a 2010 graduate of Canton Central Catholic High School (OH) where he earned a State Championship title in 2008. Baker furthered his playing career at Northern Kentucky University, while finishing at Malone University. While at Malone, Baker was an all-conference selection in consecutive years as a pitcher. He then continued on the Pioneer coaching staff as an assistant in 2014-2016 where the Pioneers reached the GLIAC conference tournament two consecutive years. Baker had led the Galion Graders of the Great Lakes Summer Collegiate League both as pitching coach in 2015 and head coach 2016-2017.
Prior to joining the Loggers last season, Baker spent the past three summers leading the Galion Graders of the Great Lakes Summer Collegiate League both as pitching coach in 2015 and head coach 2016-2017 where he coached 7 league all-stars and MLB 25th round selection Patrick Dayton to the St. Louis Cardinals. He currently resides in Livonia, Michigan.
The newest addition to the Loggers coaching staff is baseball veteran, and Florida resident, Rob Sidwell. Sidwell’s professional baseball roots run deep throughout Florida as he served as the Florida Scouting Supervisor for four major-league teams spanning a period of 18 years. Sidwell was the Florida Scouting Supervisor for the Los Angeles Dodgers from 2010-2014. Prior to that, Sidwell served in the same capacity for the San Diego Padres (2007-2010), New York Mets (2005-2007) and the Pittsburgh Pirates (1996-2005). Sidwell has signed numerous players that went on to play in the major leagues, most notably, Andrew McCutchen, the 2013 NL Most Valuable Player. That list also includes the likes of fellow big leaguers Miles Mikolas, Todd Redmond, Cole Figueroa and Keyvius Sampson.
In addition to Sidwell’s extensive professional scouting background, he has also coached collegiately at Central Florida from 1992-1996, Florida International from 1990-1992, and Flagler (1987). Sidwell has also coached in the summer collegiate baseball world as well including stops in the Cape Cod League, Valley League and most recently in the Florida Collegiate League.
Sidwell, and his wife Molly, have three children (Jake, Kirk and Marissa). His eldest son Jake played collegiately at Davidson College and is currently an assistant coach at George Washington University. Kirk played collegiately at Stetson University.
The La Crosse Loggers are a member of the finest developmental league for elite college baseball players, the Northwoods League. Now in its 26th season, the Northwoods 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, over 200 former Northwoods League players have advanced to Major League Baseball, including three-time Cy Young Award winner Max Scherzer (WAS), two-time World Series Champions Ben Zobrist (CHC) and Brandon Crawford (SFG) and MLB All-Stars Chris Sale (BOS), Jordan Zimmermann (DET) and Curtis Granderson (TOR). 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.