Cal assistant coach takes over reins for 2014 season
Wisconsin Rapids, Wis.- The Wisconsin Rapids Rafters have announced the hiring of a new Field Manager to lead the team for the 2014 season. Ruben Noriega, an assistant coach at the University of California-Berkeley, will guide the Rafters this summer. Chris Ebright, who was slated to be the Rafters manager this season recently accepted the head coaching position at Saginaw Valley State which would not allow him to coach summer ball. He resigned from his position last week to focus on his new responsibilities with his university.
“With the season beginning next Tuesday the timing of this change was surely not ideal, but I am confident we have found a very qualified candidate to lead the team we have assembled for the 2014 season,” said Rafters general manager John Fanta.
Noriega is nearing the end of his second season as an assistant baseball coach with the University of California-Berkeley Golden Bears’ program. Some of his duties include working with the outfielders, assisting
with the hitters and coaching first base. Before he began coaching at Cal, Noriega spent the 2012 season
as an assistant coach at San Jose State as well as two seasons as an assistant coach at his alma mater, Lindenwood University, in St. Charles, Missouri. Noriega was the Lindenwood hitting coach and outfield coach, oversaw the strength and conditioning program and was the assistant recruiting coordinator. During Noriega’s first year as hitting coach at Lindenwood in 2010, the Lions had a team batting average of .323 and an on-base percentage of .421. The team totaled 91 doubles and 42 home runs while outscoring their opponents 390-236. Lindenwood offense had six all-conference selections and led the Lions to a 41-15 record and a Heart of America Athletic Conference (NAIA) championship. In 2011, the Lindenwood offense posted several top-30 national marks, including team batting average, hits, doubles, RBIs and runs scored. The Lions had the 2011 conference player of the year and four all-conference selections.
Noriega is no stranger to summer collegiate baseball as he was a coach for the East Los Angeles Dodgers Organization from 2009-2011, which competes in three summer collegiate leagues, including the Western Baseball Association (three-time league champions 2009, 2010, and 2011), the Southern California Collegiate League and the Orange County Collegiate League.
Noriega joined Lindenwood in 2008 as a junior outfielder after two years at Los Angeles Harbor College. He contributed to back-to-back HAAC championships in 2008 and 2009. In 2009, Noriega played in 39 games for the Lions and hit .324 with a .471 OBP.
“Ruben has had many great experiences as a coach in the game and this is a tremendous opportunity for him to showcase what he can do in the Northwoods League,” said Fanta. “His experience as both a player at Lindenwood University as well as a coach at the Division I level will be a tremendous asset to our players this summer. ”
Noriega received his associate degree from Los Angeles Harbor College in 2007, his bachelor’s in physical education from Lindenwood in 2009, and his master’s in education with an emphasis in strength and conditioning
from Lindenwood in 2011. Noriega and his wife, Mckenzie, reside in Concord, California.
The Wisconsin Rapids Rafters are a member of the finest developmental league for elite college baseball players, the Northwoods League. Playing its 21st season of summer collegiate baseball, the Northwoods League is the largest organized baseball league in the world with 18 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 115 Northwoods League players have advanced to Major League Baseball, including Cy Young Award winner Max Scherzer (DET) and MLB All-Stars Chris Sale (CWS), Jordan Zimmermann (WAS), Curtis Granderson (NYM), Allen Craig (STL) and Ben Zobrist (TB). All league games are viewable live via the Northwoods League YouTube channel. For more information, visit www.raftersbaseball.com.