Blake Nation, seen here coaching third base during Game 3 of the 2017 PGCBL Championship Series in Jamestown, N.Y., won two titles with the DiamondDawgs (photo credit: Travis Larner).
Mohawk Valley head coach Blake Nation, who recently wrapped up his fourth season with the DiamondDawgs after winning a second Perfect Game Collegiate Baseball League (PGCBL) title, has resigned from his post to pursue another coaching opportunity, as announced by the team on Monday afternoon.
Nation, who guided the DiamondDawgs to league championships in 2015 and 2017, won a total of 114 regular-season games at the helm of the club. Under his tutelage, the Dawgs advanced to the postseason in all four seasons. Nation, a Georgia native who spent three seasons in the Seattle Mariners system as a pitcher, was crowned the 2016 PGCBL Coach of the Year. That year, he coached Joe DeSarro (Herkimer/SNHU) to the 2016 PGCBL Pitcher of the Year Award. His work with reliever Zach Vennaro (Monroe C.C./Mount Olive) helped the right-hander not only win two PGCBL championships, but also earn a pair of All-Star and All-League accolades.
"I would first like to congratulate Coach Nation on his new coaching position in Vermont," said team owner/president Travis Heiser in a statement. "He was a not only a great coach, but also a great friend of mine who has helped me make the DiamondDawgs a championship organization. Coach Nation will always be a part of the DiamondDawgs organization and my family."
Heiser added, "He's also been a fantastic mentor to the young men he has coached. Many of the players will tell you that Coach Nation is the best coach they have ever played for."
According to Heiser, the team has already begun its search for a successor.
A statement from Nation:
"For the past 10 years, baseball has taken me to many towns across the United States each and every summer. None of those places have been as memorable or special as the past four years I've spent coaching in Little Falls, N.Y. It's with a heavy heart that I would like to let the people of the Mohawk Valley know that, in an effort to continue pursuing my career goals, I have been offered and have accepted a head coaching job with the Vermont Mountaineers in the NECBL.
Over the past four years I've had the opportunity to coach over 100 talented players from all over the country and meet dozens of parents and family members. Those players have made me not only a better baseball coach, but more importantly, a better person.
To the Dawgs' staff, host families, and fans, thank you for your hard work and commitment to this great organization and team. You are what made coaching in the Mohawk Valley feel like home each summer. I'm lucky to have shared the experience of winning two PGCBL championships with all of you.
To [team owner Travis Heiser], who gave me a chance right out of pro ball, your faith and confidence in me allowed me to grow and accomplish more than I could've imagined in the past four years. So, while I'm excited about this new opportunity with the Mountaineers, I will without a doubt miss you, your family and the whole Dawg nation."