We have personnel news today for the Reading Fightin Phils (Class AA; Eastern League), Corvallis Knights (summer collegiate; West Coast League) and Kenosha Kingfish (summer collegiate; Northwoods League).
After 15 seasons working as a member of the front office, Reading Fightin Phils Assistant General Manager Ashley Peterson has decided to step away from the organization to commit to being a full-time mother for her three sons.
“Truthfully, it’s hard to imagine not waking up and going to the ballpark every day. This place is a part of who I am and the people are my extended family. I started when I was 15 and grew up working here. This is just the next chapter,” said Peterson. “I haven’t attended games as a fan since I was a kid and now I get to bring my kids here and enjoy the fan experience that I have been a part of creating all this time.”
Though she worked in the front office since 2000, Peterson actually got her start with the franchise as a Diamond Girl when she was 15 years old. She returned to the team in 2000 for an internship after earning her degree in Fitness Management from the University of Delaware. With Reading, Peterson held a variety of positions—from Director of Fan Development to Director of Group Sales and Game Entertainment. She has been Assistant General Manager since 2007.
In 2006, Peterson was the recipient of the Rawlings Woman Executive of the Year Award, presented annually to the top female executive in Minor League Baseball.
“Ashley has been an integral part of our Fightin Phils family ever since she was a Diamond Girl at 15 years old. Today, she is nationally regarded as one of the most respected and creative leaders in our industry,” said Fightins General Manager Scott Hunsicker. “As a family-oriented organization, it is with great joy that we celebrate Ashley’s tremendous career, and at the same time, celebrate the next chapter of her life as she gets to spend even more time with her three young sons. She has impressed us all by balancing being both a world-class baseball executive and world-class mom. Now, she gets to really enjoy being a world-class mom full-time.”
A native of Exeter Township and 1996 graduate of Exeter High School, Peterson resides in Sinking Spring with her husband Jon and children Greyson, Avery, and Harrison.
Peterson’s career with the Reading Fightin Phils will be celebrated on Fightins Opening Night on April 17th, where she will be joined by her three sons to throw out a ceremonial first pitch.
The Fightin Phils also announced Matt Hoffmaster, a former longtime front-office member, has returned to the franchise as the team’s new Executive Director of Operations. Hoffmaster comes back to Baseballtown after serving as Athletic Director at Muhlenberg High School since July 2013.
The Reading native previously worked for the Fightins for nine years, starting as an intern for three seasons (2005-07). From there, Hoffmaster was promoted full-time at the end of the 2007 season and held multiple positions over six seasons, the last being Director of Group Sales in 2013.
“The culture of the Fightins organization made it an easy decision to return,” said Hoffmaster. “I grew up attending games at FirstEnergy Stadium and witnessed the growth of the organization as a fan and am thrilled to return to the organization that provided me with many childhood memories. My nine years working in Baseballtown provided me a lot of great experiences. It is professionally satisfying being a part of the process that provides family entertainment to thousands of people all summer long.”
Hoffmaster is a 2003 graduate of Muhlenberg High School and went on to graduate from Slippery Rock University with a degree in Sport Management in 2007. He currently resides in West Lawn with his wife Erin.
“Having Matt rejoin our already strong front office staff is exciting,” Hunsicker said. “Matt grew up here and attended games as a fan, began here as an intern, and worked his way up through the organization. He is highly regarded both in our industry and throughout our community. We are thrilled to welcome Matt back to our Fightins family.”
The Fightins front office will now be led by the team’s six executive directors—Executive Director of Sales Joe Bialek, Executive Director of Baseball Operations and Merchandise Kevin Sklenarik, Executive Director of Graphic Arts and Game Entertainment Matt Jackson, Executive Director of Tickets Mike Becker, Executive Director of Community Relations Mike Robinson, and Hoffmaster.
“We have a fantastic front office staff and the addition of Matt Hoffmaster makes it even stronger,” Hunsicker said. “It’s a staff of 25 dedicated people that care deeply about each other and our shared success – and also cares about our fans, partners, and game staff employees. It should be a fun 2015.”
Award-winning broadcaster Mike Parker will return as the radio play-by-play announcer for the Corvallis Knights after a one-year absence, Knights’ president Dan Segel announced. Parker will start his duties as soon as the Oregon State baseball team completes its season.
“I am absolutely excited to be coming back,” Parker said. “I’ve had great experiences with the Knights. I missed it last summer. I’m excited to come back and to be around some of the best college players in the West.”
The play-by-play voice of OSU football, men’s basketball and baseball since 1999, Parker was also the Knights’ original broadcaster. He joined the team in 2007 for the club’s inaugural summer in Corvallis following their offseason relocation from Gresham, and gave them immediate credibility in the mid-valley market.
He remained with the Knights until 2012, when Virginia Tech graduate Kevin Burke succeeded him for a summer.
Parker returned for the 2013 WCL championship series, and then took a break last summer as well, when Iowa grad Alex Kuhn handled the play-by play chores.
Parker said he enjoys the more relaxed atmosphere in summer college ball after a spring in the pressure-cooker of the Pacific-12 Conference.
“I don’t feel as though I live and die with every pitch, as I do in the grind of a Pac-12 season,” he said. “Having said that, down the stretch in August, when the playoffs beckon and we get into postseason, which has happened every year in Knights’ history, I find my nervousness and energy level approximates that of a Beaver season. “But for the long haul of the summer, I just love spending summer nights at the ballpark, talking great baseball and watching great baseball. The pace and all of that is conductive to a great summer experience, on the radio and with my family.”
He also enjoys exploring the smaller cities of the Northwest and always makes a point of learning as much about the local culture as possible, be it floating down the river in Wenatchee, hiking in Bend, or running through Walla Walla, Bellingham or another WCL outpost.
“The West Coast League is wonderful for travel, with some great cities to visit, a beautiful part of the country,” he said. “Until I got into the league, there were a lot of places I’d never seen before.
“I look forward to trips up and down the area. Knights’ baseball has been a big part of my life since I’ve moved here. Goss Stadium in the summer is a great place to be and I’m glad I’ll be part of it again.”
In Kenosha, public address announcer Aaron Sims will return for the 2015 season. This marks Sims’ twelfth year in the Northwoods League. He began with the Madison Mallards in 2004 as a radio play-by-play announcer and transitioned to public address announcing in 2005. He spent 2014 in the Kingfish press box as their public address announcer during the team’s inaugural season. Sims is currently the play-by-play announcer for the Milwaukee Admirals of the American Hockey League.
With a background in standup comedy, play-by-play in baseball, hockey, and football, and as the host of various radio shows, Sims has combined this experience to become one of the best public address announcers in minor league baseball. Kingfish General Manager Jake McGhee knows the impact Sims can have on the fan experience and is thrilled to have him back at historic Simmons Field this summer. “It is undeniable that Aaron brings an incredible level of talent and fun to the ballpark every day,” said McGhee. “I could not be more excited to have him back and I am looking forward to a few good laughs again this summer.”
The Kingfish provide a ballpark experience unlike any other and Sims truly enjoyed the inaugural season in Kenosha, “I am very happy to be back in the booth for 2015. Last summer was a very special season,” said Sims. “The community was so wonderful with its support. They helped make the entire experience a joyful one and I’m looking forward to building on that this summer.”
In addition to his role as the lead play-by-play announcer for the Admirals, Sims also serves as the head of the organization’s community outreach program. In 2013, Sims filled in for the NHL’s Nashville Predators as their radio play-by-play announcer.