BASEBALL: Lefties announce final coaching hires; host families needed

BASEBALL: Lefties announce final coaching hires; host families needed

PORT ANGELES — The Port Angeles Lefties baseball team this week announced the hiring of the team’s final pair of bench coaches and is looking for a few host families for players in the upcoming 2017 season.

The Lefties, a wooden bat team for elite college players with hopes to be drafted professinally, announced this week that all-star catcher Brandon Templer has been hired as a hitting/defense coach and longtime pitcher Damon Porter has been named a bullpen coach.

“We’re excited to have both Brandon and Damon. I have a long history with both of these coaches. Tremendous re-spect for them on and off the field,” said Lefties owner Matt Acker.

“Brandon brings an intensity to the field every day. He got out of the game for a few years and worked at West Port Marina in Grays Harbor. He came back to help resurrect the Grays Harbor College team with coach [Mike] Bruener. Brandon’s fortitude and work ethic will be well-received in Port Angeles and by the players,” Acker said.

Templer joins the Lefties from Hoquiam, where he has been a catchers’ coach for Grays Harbor College. He was an all-league catcher at the school in 1999 and was later an all-conference catcher at Central Washington. He also spent three years in the Pacific International League for the Grays Harbor Reign from 1999-2002 and privately trained catchers and hitters before becoming an assistant coach at Grays Harbor College.

Porter was a right-handed pitcher for the West Coast League’s West Coast Guns. He started at Olympia High School and went on to pitch for Central Arizona College and Faulkner University. He had offers to turn professional, but chose to work three years as a firefighter for the U.S. Forest Service.

Porter has been a bullpen coach for Edmonds College and was an assistant coach for the West Coast Guns and Kitsap Bluejackets. Porter is also an amateur photographer and an aspiring sports pyschologist.

“I had the opportunity to coach Damon at Green River. He was an outstanding pitcher, a leader and most importantly, a great person,” Acker said.

“I offered him head coach and pitching coach [positions] at different levels in the system and he wanted to be in Port Angeles. He coached for us last summer on multiple teams,” he said.

“Damon played in our system. He knows exactly what we are about,” Acker added.

Host families sought for players

The team is also looking for families in the Port Angeles area to host players over the 2017 summer. Many of these college-aged men will be coming to the area from well outside the Puget Sound region, the host family provides “more than just room and board,” according to a Lefties’ new release.

“Families help players adjust to a new area, assist them in integrating into the community and provide a stable living environment, all while establishing lifelong friendship and enjoying the chance to follow ‘your boys’ throughout their progression toward Major League Baseball.

Players need to be hosted for the three-month-long season. Most of the players will have their own transportation or arrangements can be made with other players for transportation.

Players will begin arriving in the area in June 2017 and will stay through the middle of August.

“Each young man is picked because of great recommendations of personality and character and will abide by the ‘house rules’ of their host family, as well as the West Coast League and Port Angeles Lefties code of conduct,” according to the Lefties.

“Host families are in the unique and eviable position of providing a ‘home base for tehse yougn men, who are all far from home. Since travel is a big part of a professional ballplayer’s career, it’s important that these men learn to be part of the communities and families they will be visiting.”

Families will also receive a premium section season ticket for each player hosted, a thank-you party during the season in which the team and the players will show their gratitude and a night at Civic Field in which the families will be welcomed onto the field and honored for their contributions.

“We have our coaches and we have out team. The MVPs yet to be named are the families willing to open their homes to these boys,” said Lefties co-owner Matt Acker.

“The players have a unique opportunity to advance their own hopes and dreams, and host families have a chance to become community all-stars and part of the great tradition and sport of baseball,” Acker said.

Interested families should email Lefties General Manager Ryan Hickey at [email protected] or go to www.leftiesbaseball.com/host-families for more information.

Store opening, season tickets

Acker also said that the Lefties store should be open soon, possibly at the beginning of December, on First Street, two doors down from Next Door Gastropub. Also, season tickets should be available online, possibly as early as this weekend, on www.leftiesbaseball.com.

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