NEWARK, N.Y. – Newark Pilots team owner Bob Ohmann has announced the hiring of Clayton VanderLaan, pitching coach at Saginaw Valley State University, as the franchise’s new head coach for the upcoming 2018 Perfect Game Collegiate Baseball League (PGBCL) season.
“It's an incredible honor to take charge of this ball club,” VanderLaan said. “The organization and the league as a whole are top-notch and play an extremely high quality brand of baseball. I can't thank Mr. Ohmann enough for the opportunity and I'm beyond excited to get all of our guys to Newark to get rolling.”
“Clayton was highly recommended to us by our former coach and friend, Chris Ebright, who recently brought him aboard his staff at Saginaw Valley State,” Ohmann said. “He has a tremendous résumé with a successful career as a collegiate pitcher and experience playing professional ball. I know Clayton just won a Texas high school state championship and I am confident he can help us bring championship-caliber baseball back to our fans at Colburn Park.”
VanderLaan is in his first season at SVSU under Ebright, who guided the Pilots to the inaugural PGCBL title in the summer of 2011. He joined the Cardinals after spending three seasons as the pitching coach at St. Thomas High School, a prep school powerhouse in his hometown of Houston, Texas. In those three season combined, he mentored St. Thomas’ pitchers to a 2.85 ERA and an 80-21 record. He coached 11 players who went on to pitch at the collegiate level and captured the 2017 Texas Association of Private and Parochial Schools (TAPPS) Division I state championship. VanderLaan’s work with St. Thomas pitcher Owen Meaney, who has committed to LSU, has the right-hander projected to be a first-round pick in the 2018 MLB First-Year Player Draft.
As a student-athlete, VanderLaan began his college career at Michigan State University, where he appeared in nine games out of the bullpen for the Spartans in 2009. He then transferred to Cameron University, a Division II institution in Lawton, Oklahoma, and spent his final three seasons on the mound for the Aggies. He led the team in starts in both 2010 and 2012, and as a senior he went 5-4 with 56 strikeouts in 67.2 innings en route to All-Lone Star Conference Honorable Mention accolades.
Following his collegiate baseball career, VanderLaan finished his bachelor’s degree while playing football at Graceland University, a NAIA school located in Lamoni, Iowa. He then played professional baseball at the independent level for the Alexandria Aces in 2013 and the Brownsville Charros in 2014, both members of the United League.
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