We have some personnel news to report from the Somerset Patriots (independent; Atlantic League) and the Winston-Salem Dash (High A; Carolina League).
In Somerset, the news is of a notable retention, as the Patriots have confirmed that closer/director of player personnel Jon Huton is returning in 2017. We covered Hunton’s story last May, when he set a new Atlantic League record for saves. Hunton has served his dual role for the last several seasons, providing a rare instance of a player/front office member in professional baseball, and will continue to do so in the upcoming campaign.
After another great season where we had the best record in the league and made the playoffs for the fourth-straight season, I am very excited to return in 2017. Somerset has truly become my home and there’s nowhere else I’d want to be right now,” Hunton said.
Hunton’s 37 saves led the league during the 2016 season and helped him shatter the Atlantic League career saves record. He broke the record held by Southern Maryland’s Jim Ed Warden on May 10th and added to the mark to finish with 165 saves going into 2017.
The two-time Atlantic League All-Star (2013, 2016) has now saved 30 or more games in each of his last four seasons in Somerset.
“I’ve always looked at saves and records for them as a true reflection of team success,” said Hunton. “They might go under my name in the record books, but they always represent the Patriots players and coaches that put me in the position to achieve these milestones.”
Hunton enters his sixth season with the Patriots, and fourth as the director of player personnel. Three years ago, Hunton became the first player in professional baseball to hold the title of director of player personnel while still playing.
“Since the last out of the 2016 season, I’ve been looking forward to putting together a team that will go to work each day and represent the Somerset Patriots organization and its tradition of excellence. I think fans will be really excited about how the team is starting to take form with a nice mix of returning stars and new faces,” Hunton added.
The 6’9” closer finished second in the Atlantic League in saves in 2015 with 32. He also carried a 3.09 ERA over his 50 appearances on the year.
Hunton broke the Atlantic League record for saves in a single-season with 49 in 2014. He finished that season as the Atlantic League’s “Closer of the Year” for a performance that also included a 2.08 ERA and 33 strikeouts in 56.1 innings pitched over 59 games.
The North Plainfield, New Jersey native has experience in the Chicago Cubs and Oakland A’s organizations, including a season at both the Double-A and Triple-A level.
Hunton joined Somerset late during the team’s championship run in 2008 and appeared in eight games. After his time with the Patriots, Hunton signed with the A’s, where he spent the next two seasons.
Hunton has 274 career saves over a 13-year career that’s taken him all over the United States and around the world.
In Winston-Salem, the Dash have announced some moves of their own, finalizing some promotions as well as new additions to their front office.
Both Devin McLemore and Brittani Stewart earned promotions within the Dash’s sales department, while Tanya Stevens has done the same in the sponsor services department. McLemore will work as a ticket sales and service representative, while Stewart is now a group sales representative. Stevens is now the Dash’s sponsor services assistant. Also, Jessica Aveyard (director of entertainment), Shelby Cuthbertson (business development representative), Brittany Daley (ticket sales and services representative) and Lee Masters (business development representative) have joined the Dash for the 2017 season.
A High Point native and Winston-Salem State University graduate, McLemore joined the organization through the Dash’s sales relationship with the Atlantic Coast Conference. While at WSSU, McLemore was a member of the Rams’ baseball team.
Stewart was also a student-athlete at WSSU before joining the Dash in a seasonal capacity for the 2016 season. The Davie County High School graduate was a team captain on the Rams’ volleyball team and helped the program claim its first CIAA volleyball championship.
Stevens assisted with ACC ticket sales before shifting over to the Sponsor Services department. A graduate of Mt. Tabor High School and North Carolina State University, Stevens has also worked for the NFL Players Association as a Licensing and Business Development Intern.
After an eight-year stint with the Dayton Dragons, one of Minor League Baseball’s most successful teams, Aveyard has joined the Dash for the 2017 season. A Dayton native, Aveyard held several roles with her hometown team, including mascot performer, “Green Team” member and Entertainment Assistant.
Cuthbertson was a Business Development Representative with SERVPRO of South Cabarrus County before becoming a member of the Dash. She was involved with several charitable causes, including the American Red Cross and the Cabarrus County Fire and Life Safety Bowl. Cuthbertson is an alumna of UNC Charlotte.
Following an internship with the Danville Braves of the Appalachian League, Daley has moved to a ticket sales role in Winston-Salem. She is a Harrisburg, Va., native and a graduate of Averett University’s Sport Management program.
Masters earned a Bachelor’s Degree and a J.D. from West Virginia University. Most recently, he was a member of Mountaineer Athletic Hospitality at WVU. Masters is originally from Charleston, W.Va.
Image of Jon Hunton courtesy Somerset Patriots.