We have personnel news to report from a trio of summer-collegiate league teams, including the Corvallis Knights (West Coast League), Eau Claire Express, and Wisconsin Rapids Rafters (Northwoods League).
In Corvallis, the Knights have announced a couple of front office staffing appointments.
Sarah Hoechlin, the team’s 2019 Staff Member of the Year, began her new job as the Promotions and Game Day Operations Coordinator on Jan. 1. She is an Oregon State University graduate from Springfield, Ore. She graduated from Thurston High School in 2015 as class valedictorian and also attended Clark College from 2015-2017 where she played catcher on the softball team.
Former Knights’ pitcher and Knights Baseball Club board member Mike Gits (2000-2001) has been named the team’s first Partner Relationship Manager. A Portland State graduate who lives in SE Portland, he also started his Knights’ management career on Jan. 1.
Hoechlin will oversee promotions, game day operations and group and partnership sales. She will also coordinate ticket and intern support, community events, donations and sponsor activation.
“I’m very excited to join such a fantastic organization and to work with great people,” Hoechlin said. “I had a wonderful experience in 2019 and look forward to a great 2020.”
A mathematics major/statistics minor at OSU, Hoechlin served as the OSU softball team’s head student manager as an undergrad. She also interned with the Knights in 2019, primarily in promotions.
“Sarah is a team player and has a hungry attitude to complete tasks in a timely fashion and with great attention to detail,” Knights President/General Manager Bre Miller said. “She was always the first person to ask what else she could help with and really made this past season more efficient for everyone involved.”
Gits will foster strong business relationships with key customers and vendors, and work with other Corvallis Knights staff to provide excellent service to all partners. He will also assist with group and ticket sales efforts and strategic customer marketing and play a key part in generating new business by identifying opportunities and supporting the team’s service and sales plans.
Gits will be responsible for supporting and growing community events in which Knights Baseball Club has partnered, such as the Oregon All-Star Series and Northwest Baseball Coaches Association convention in Portland. The Oregon All-Star Series showcases the top 6A & 5A senior high school players in the state at Goss Stadium each third weekend in June. The NWBCA is an annual convention held each January that brings together regional high school and college coaches to share, learn and network.
“I am really excited to be part of the Knights front office staff,” Gits said. “I played for the Aloha Knights for two years and was on the Knights Baseball Club Board of Directors for the last five years. I am looking forward to helping make a very successful brand even better.”
Following a successful high school career playing for Mike Clopton at Wilson High School, Gits pitched at Oregon State from 1997-1999 for Pat Casey and then finished his career at Western Oregon in 2000-2001. He graduated from PSU in 2001 with a liberal arts degree. He then worked for Nike for 14 years, the last 10 in sports marketing for Major League Baseball.
He and his wife, Lindsay, have a daughter, Addie (9) and a son, Clutch (7).
“I’m very excited to have my children grow up around baseball and the Knights,” he said. “I can see nothing but positives for them” to have the Knights’ players serve as role models.
In Eau Claire, Andy Neborak has informed the Express of his intention to resign from the organization and explore new job opportunities within the Chippewa Valley. Since joining the Express as an intern while attending UW-Eau Claire in 2007, Neborak has served in many capacities, most recently as the team’s Chief Financial Officer.
“Dale (Varsho) and I wish Andy the very best in his pursuit of employment. His contributions to our organization are far too numerous to list…and he will be missed,” said Bill Rowlett, Managing Director of the Express.
The Express will attempt to replace Neborak’s accounting responsibilities with external assistance while his sales contacts will be distributed internally.
In Wisconsin Rapids, the Rafters have announced a new addition to the front office staff for the 2020 season. Nick Coquyt is stepping into his role as the Rafters Ticket Accounts Manager.
This will be Coquyt’s first season with the organization and his third season within the Northwoods League. He spent the 2018 season as an Operations and Promotions intern with the Willmar Stingers and the 2019 season as a Sales intern with the Mankato Moondogs. His duties will include reaching out to new potential fans, providing customer service to current fans, and helping out with operational aspects, including food and beverage and box office duties during the season.
Coquyt is a graduate from Minnesota State University – Mankato with a degree in Sports Management and a minor in Marketing. Raised in Willmar, Minnesota, he spent his childhood playing baseball, football, and any other rec sports imaginable. In his free time, Coquyt enjoys watching TV, working out, and cheering on all the Minnesota sports teams.
“I am thrilled to be apart of this wonderful organization”, said Coquyt. “I am blessed to call Rapids home for the next year.”