June 16th, 2024

Nelson embracing switch to coach with Mavs

By JAMES TUBB on May 25, 2024.

NEWS PHOTO JAMES TUBB Medicine Hat Mavericks assistant coach Tory Nelson winds up with a pitch during batting practice Friday at Athletic Park.

jtubb@medicinehatnews.com@ReporterTubb

Tory Nelson is back for his third season with the Medicine Hat Mavericks. But instead of a utility man role, the local product is taking on a new responsibility.

Nelson has joined the Mavs as an assistant coach on head coach Kevin Mitchell’s staff, alongside assistant coach Cody Henderson who is still with his college team in DII playoffs but is expected to arrive early next week.

The former Medicine Hat High Hawk has played for the Valley City State University Vikings the last two seasons and after a few injuries, Nelson says playing wasn’t an option. That’s when Mitchell reached out and asked it he wanted to be on his coaching staff for the upcoming WCBL season.

“It was hard to say no to that.”

Nelson has coached some Little League baseball in the past and has worked with minor baseball players while at school and with the Mavs. Having played the last two seasons in the red and white and alongside four current players, it’ll be a new role but the same approach to the game, Nelson says.

“I’ve always been a guy to have a relationship with all the guys, I like to have fun and that’s not going to change,” Nelson said. “Obviously my perspective might change a little bit, I’m not getting ready to play in the game. But I’m here to help the guys out as much as possible. I’ll tell the guys that I’m here for them, whatever they need, I’m there for them. So it’s an exciting transition and I’m happy for it.”

He’s been utilized as a first-base coach at times during games over his time with the Mavs, guiding runners on the bases and scoping out the opposing pitcher. It’s a role Nelson says he enjoys, trying to pick apart pitchers and relaying that to his team.

Having worked with Nelson last season, Mitchell says having him on the team is invaluable due to the impact he’s had on local baseball throughout his life.

“Even just these first few days that I’ve been back, the little bit of time we’ve spent together has been great and I know it will continue to be that way,” Mitchell said. “I expect Tory to kind of be the middleman in some ways between players and myself. I obviously like to build relationships with my players but Tory being so fresh out of his playing career, I think has a unique advantage in that. He’s well aware of that fact and I think he’s going to make the best of it.”

Nelson threw his first round of batting practice Friday, the second day of the Mavs’ mini-camp ahead of their season opener Saturday at Moose Jaw against the Miller Express. He was happy he walked away without hitting anyone.

“I’ve seen worse, but I’ve seen better, it only can get better from here as my first time throwing to all the guys, it’ll just go up from here,” Nelson said.

Looking at the Mavs through the first two days of camp, the rain-plagued days they’ve been, Nelson is excited about the group and he is even more excited they can open their season against a rival in Moose Jaw.

“We’ve got a great group of guys, on paper, this is the best looking team since I’ve been around,” Nelson said. “Guys are getting along really well, we’ve known each other for a couple of days, so super exciting.

“If (playing Moose Jaw) doesn’t get you excited, even though it’s new teams, it’s still going to be the same rivalry. We’re still going to be two of the top teams in the division, that’s how we want it to be. It’s exciting. We want to face the top seeded opponent from last year and that’s how we want to kick it off.”

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