01/12/2017 3:00 PM
2016 PGCBL Coach of the Year Blake Nation will return to Mohawk Valley for a fourth season in 2017 (Photo credit: Travis Larner)
LITTLE FALLS, N.Y. – The Mohawk Valley DiamondDawgs have announced the return of their coaching staff from the 2015 Perfect Game Collegiate Baseball League (PGCBL) Championship squad for the upcoming season, as Head Coach Blake Nation and Assistant Coach Steve Luby continue to manage the team in 2017.
Nation will return to Veteran’s Memorial Park for his fourth season, while 2017 will mark Luby’s third as an assistant. As a tandem, Nation and Luby have led the DiamondDawgs to a combined 59-38 overall record in the past two seasons, in addition to the 2015 PGCBL title. That year, the Dawgs upset East Division power, Amsterdam, in three games in the semifinal round, before sweeping the Victor RailRiders in two games in the championship series.
Said Mohawk Valley Owner and President, Travis Heiser, in a statement released by the team, “We have been very lucky to have two high-caliber coaches here such as Blake and Coach Luby, and it was my goal early on to ensure that continued. Coach Nation has led us to the playoffs, brought Mohawk Valley a title, and last year won Coach of the Year. I am excited to see what’s next. I know that with these coaches, our players and this franchise is in stable hands.”
“I’m excited to return this summer for my fourth season as head coach of the Mohawk Valley DiamondDawgs,” Nation said. “Mohawk Valley is such a great place for baseball and the fans are top-notch. I’m looking forward to another winning season and competing for a championship in the PGCBL.”
In his three previous seasons, the Nation-led DiamondDawgs have won a total of 85 games in the regular season. Eleven of his players have gone on to earn All-League accolades, including five last season, led by outfielder Drew Arciuolo (Fairfield) and pitcher Joe DeSarro (Herkimer C.C.) on the First Team. DeSarro was also crowned a co-winner of the 2016 PGCBL Pitcher of the Year award, after finishing the season with a 7-1 record, a 2.80 ERA, and 46 strikeouts. For his efforts, Nation was named the 2016 PGCBL Coach of the Year.
Nation is in his second season as an assistant coach for the junior varsity program at the University of Tampa, a Division II powerhouse out of the Sunshine State Conference that has won seven NCAA National Championships, most recently in 2015.
Said Heiser about Luby, “Coach Luby is such a big part of what we do here with the Mohawk Valley DiamondDawgs and I am thrilled to be able to bring him back for another season. Coach Luby’s experience with the game is unmatched. His attention to detail and pure love for the game and for his players is something that does not come around every day.”
Luby, a former assistant coach with the Watertown Rams, is entering his sixth year as an assistant with the Chukars of Treasure Valley Community College in Ontario, Oregon. The Chukars have finished atop the East Region of the Northwest Athletic Conference in three of his previous five seasons during Luby’s tenure.