By Sean Rooney on October 10, 2018.
It was mission accomplished for the Medicine Hat Mavericks this summer, and for some involved with the team that was a perfect way to say goodbye.
The Western Major Baseball League champions announced a new coaching staff Wednesday, a couple weeks after head coach Andrew Murphy and assistant Kyle Swannack decided they wouldn’t be back for 2019.
They’ll be led by Californian Tom Vessella, an ex-minor league pitcher, and returning assistant Fehlandt Lentini, who played in the minors for 17 years.
Murphy said he’d only come to the decision a couple weeks ago that he couldn’t return to Medicine Hat due to a new assistant coaching job at his alma mater, Oklahoma Wesleyan University.
“Just want to thank everyone in Medicine Hat for the support,” Murphy said in a text message to the News. “The fans along with the organization make it one of the best summer ball experiences out there. If I was going to coach again this summer it was no doubt going to be back with the Mavs. The job just won’t allow.”
The Mavericks won the franchise’s third WMBL title in August, beating Regina in the fifth game of the championship series in front of an estimated 2,500 fans at Athletic Park.
While many players are simply not eligible to return having finished their senior college seasons, staff don’t change quite as often. Murphy had moved up from being an assistant with the club in 2017 into the head role and brought a calm demeanour to the position, earning WMBL coach of the year honours as the team finished 38-9.
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