We have personnel news today from the Salem Red Sox (Low-A East), USA Baseball, the Modesto Nuts (Low-A West) and the Charleston RiverDogs (Low-A East).
in Salem, Blair Hoke has been promoted to Assistant General Manager and will continue to serve as the Vice President of Ticket Sales & Services. Kayla Keegan has been promoted to the Director of Merchandise and Special Events.
USA Baseball announced the expansion of its Board of Directors with the addition of three former athletes, including Women’s National Team alum and ESPN analyst Jenny Dalton-Hill, Professional National Team alum Jacob May and nine-time national team coach and Olympic gold medalist Ernie Young.
Dalton-Hill and Young previously served on the USA Baseball Board of Directors, while May will serve for the first time. The three additions were approved at the annual Board of Directors meeting in December. Courtesy of the expansion, former USA Baseball athletes now compose 40 percent of the board’s membership.
“The expansion of our Board of Directors with three additional former athletes is a tremendous step forward for USA Baseball and we are thrilled to welcome our newest member Jacob, as well as welcome back Ernie and Jenny,” said USA Baseball President Mike Gaski via press release. “These three individuals bring incredible experience and value to our board. We anticipate their contributions making a big impact and having a great influence on USA Baseball as we continue to evolve and grow in the world of amateur sports.”
Dalton-Hill rejoins the Board of Directors with over ten years of experience as both a player and a coach for USA Baseball. Her first stint with Team USA came as a member of the 2010 Women’s National Team, where she helped guide the U.S. to a bronze medal at the 2010 International Baseball Federation (IBAF) Women’s Baseball World Cup. After her playing career, Dalton-Hill served as a coach at the inaugural USA Baseball Girls Camp in 2021 as well as at the Women’s National Team Development Program (NTDP) in 2011, 2014, and 2021. In addition, she was an assistant coach for the 2012 Women’s National Team, helping to lead Team USA to an IBAF Women’s Baseball World Cup silver medal. Currently a college softball analyst for ESPN, Dalton-Hill was an All-American softball player at the University of Arizona, where she won three national championships and was named 1996 National Player of the Year. Dalton-Hill also previously served on the USA Baseball Board of Directors from 2012-2020 and was a member of the Colorado Silver Bullets in 1997 where she played under MLB Hall of Famer Phil Niekro.
May made his USA Baseball debut in 2015 with the Professional National Team. He started all eight games for Team USA in the 2015 World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) Premier12, helping the U.S. earn a silver medal. May was selected in the third round of the 2013 MLB Draft by the Chicago White Sox out of Coastal Carolina University and played in 550 minor league games throughout his professional career, collecting 557 hits and a .265 career batting average. The outfielder made his Major League debut on April 4, 2017, and appeared in 15 games for the White Sox that season before finishing his career in 2018. Following his final season of professional baseball, May began working at Live Oak Bank where he served as an Associate Relationship Manager and a Business Analyst before becoming a Wealth Manager Administrator at Budros, Ruhlin & Roe, Inc. in December 2019. He currently works as an AVP, Junior Special Assets for United Midwest Savings Bank after joining the company in February of 2021. May will also serve as a USA Baseball representative on the United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee (USOPC) Athletes’ Advisory Council, joining fellow Team USA alum and board member Willie Bloomquist.
Olympic gold medalist Young has had an accomplished playing and coaching career with Team USA spanning 23 years. A member of the gold medal-winning Sydney 2000 Olympic Games team, he also played on the Professional National Team again in 2003. Young spent eight years playing in the major leagues for the Arizona Diamondbacks, Cleveland Indians, Detroit Tigers, Kansas City Royals, and Oakland Athletics between 1994 and 2004. He remained involved with Team USA after the Sydney Olympic Games by joining the Board of Directors in 2003 before rejoining in 2021. He also served as a hitting coach for five national teams, including the 2021 Olympic Team that won silver at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, and managed the 2010 and 2011 Professional National Teams. With Young on a coaching staff, Team USA has amassed an overall record of 55-17-2 and won a world championship in 2009.
In addition to welcoming three new members, Mike Gaski, Jason Dobis, and Elliot Hopkins were reelected to leadership roles on the USA Baseball Board of the Directors. They will continue to serve as president, treasurer, and secretary, respectively. Additionally, George Grande (At-Large) and John Gall (10 Year+ Athlete) were also both reelected to extra terms and National Amateur Baseball Federation (NABF) Executive Director Derek Topik rotated onto the board as a National Member Organization (NMO) representative.
In Modesto, Veronica Hernandez is the new Assistant General Manager of the Nuts.
Hernandez started her baseball career in 2015 with the summer-collegiate Danbury Westerners (NECBL), spending time in the Hudson Valley Renegades (Short Season A; NY-Penn League) before joining the Arkansas Travelers (Double-A; Texas League) front office as Corporate Event Planner in 2016.
After two seasons with the Travs, Hernandez took on a role with the Lancaster JetHawks (High-A; California League) as Sales and Special Events Manager. In the fall of 2018, Hernandez accepted the role of Director of Marketing and Promotions with the Nuts.
“Before I was offered the position, I came up for a visit and in that moment, I knew it would be my future home,” Hernandez said in a press release. “The community welcomed me with open arms.”
“From the moment I met Veronica I knew she was a rising star in our industry,” saidModesto Nuts General Manager Zach Brockman via press release. “Since her arrival in Modesto, she has helped galvanize our fan base, create new and exciting programs and grow the team’s local & national brand. She’s incredibly versatile and can adapt to any situation thrown at her on the fly. That is an extremely rare quality in any individual. We’re extremely excited and incredibly fortunate to have her. She is and will continue to be an integral part of our organization’s success.”
“The future is bright for baseball in Modesto and I am honored to be apart of the team to continue making lasting memories for all fans who visit our ballpark.” she said.
In Charleston, Ben Abzug has been elevated to Senior Vice President, Garret Randle takes over as Assistant General Manager, Ryan Perry is now the organization’s Director of Marketing and Entertainment, Cynthia Linhart transitions to Director of Merchandise and Brandon Dunnam is now Director of Operations.
“I am excited to announce these well-deserved promotions for a group of talented individuals who have made incredible contributions within our front office,” President and General Manager Dave Echols said via press release. “Each of them took on added responsibilities during a very challenging time within our industry last year.”
Abzug moves to Senior Vice President, having served as the RiverDogs Assistant General Manager since joining the organization in 2013. He has been heavily involved in the day-to-day operations of the ballclub and management of the staff, while also playing an integral role in the RiverDogs corporate and ticket sales departments. In addition, Abzug was the driving force behind the team’s marketing efforts during the season and for the Segra Club at Riley Park. His focus will remain on developing and executing meaningful relationships with the ballclub’s corporate partners. The native of Cedar Rapids, Iowa spent four seasons with the Burlington Royals (Rookie; Appalachian League) prior to his time in Charleston and began his career in baseball with two years as an intern for the Cedar Rapids Kernels (Low-A; Midwest League).
Randle transitions to Assistant General Manager after four years as the team’s Director of Ticket Sales. In 2021, despite capacity restrictions early in the season and a reduced staff, the RiverDogs averaged 3,660 fans at home games under Randle’s leadership. That total was the second-highest among the 30 Low-A organizations in Minor League Baseball. He will continue to lead the RiverDogs ticket efforts in his new role while also becoming involved in the day-to-day operations of the team and staff members. Randle joined the RiverDogs after spending time as a Business Development and Account Executive with the Houston Dynamo Soccer Club and four years in various positions for the Frisco Roughriders (Double-A; Texas League).
Perry takes on added responsibilities, initially joining the RiverDogs as Director of Video Production in 2019. During the 2021 campaign, the California native was responsible for the video content produced by the club both inside and outside the ballpark. He also took on the added challenge of managing the RiverDogs renowned promotions calendar, introducing ideas such as the highly publicized Toilet Paper Night, Anime Night and Viral Trends Night. In his new role, Perry will oversee the creative department, direct the promotions team and be responsible for the team’s marketing efforts. Prior to his arrival in the The Holy City, Perry was an intern in the video department of the Cincinnati Reds.
Linhart joined the RiverDogs staff as Office Manager in 2018 and served in the same role until the 2021 season. In her former role, the Charleston native was the first point of contact for visitors to the team offices and played a key role in the orientation of new staff members. As the Director of Merchandise, Linhart will manage all aspects of the RiverDogs Team Store including ordering merchandise, operating the store’s website and fulfilling online orders. She is a licensed real estate broker and has over two decades of experience in residential and commercial real estate.
Dunnam, in his role as Operations Manager, supervised the day-to-day operations at Joseph P. Riley, Jr. Park including cleaning and sanitizing the stadium, ballpark security and managing the team’s gameday employees. Those responsibilities will continue to be the focus of his position. Dunnam joined the RiverDogs in 2021 with a wealth of professional sports experience. His time in Minor League Baseball included previous stints in the operations departments of the South Bend Cubs (Low-A; Midwest League), Carolina Mudcats (Low-A; Sally League), Tennessee Smokies (Double-A; Southern League), Helena Brewers (Rookie; Pioneer League) and Mobile BayBears (Double-A; Southern League). Hailing from Saraland, Alabama, he also served as Public Safety Manager’s Assistant at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome and Public Safety Lead for the Nashville Predators.