Left to right: Robbie Nichols (Operations Manager), Nellie Franco-Nichols (Co-Owner), Matt Burch (Head Coach), Don Lewis (Co-Owner), Archie McNellis (Asst. Coach) and Brian Hill (Asst. Coach). Photo courtesy Elmira Pioneers
Elmira, NY- The 2013 season might seem a little ways away, but the Pioneers are gearing up for play next season in the Perfect Game Collegiate Baseball League. The coaching staff might not need much of an introduction though. The organization has been searching for a winning coaching staff and that combination, the Pioneers, believe has been found right here in the Twin Tiers.
The 125th season of baseball in Elmira is ahead and the Pioneers wanted to find a group that knows of the rich history and tradition that come with Dunn Field. The Pioneers have assembled a passionate group of baseball talent that has suited up and played for Elmira in the past. The Pioneers look forward to Matt Burch returning to lead the team in 2013. Burch will be assisted by Archie McNelis and Brian Hill as they look to continue the great tradition that is Elmira Pioneers baseball.
Burch will return to the Pioneers with the same staff that guided Elmira to a playoff appearance in 2006 and NYCBL champions in 2007. This will be Burch's third stint with Elmira as he was a player/pitching coach during the 2004 season and managed from 2006-2008. Burch was a Div. I All-American while at Virginia Commonwealth University and was selected first overall by the Kansas City Royals in the 1998 Major League draft.
Burch was at the helm during a transition period in Elmira as the team went from independent league baseball to a summer collegiate wooden bat league. Burch was able to guide the Pioneers to summer league prominence in just a few summers developing potential stars of tomorrow. Hill, who formerly coached Corning Community College has helped many student-athletes go on to play Div. I and even the pro ranks.
McNelis will be a valued piece to the coaching staff this upcoming season. McNelis served as the assistant coach under Burch from 2006-2008 and was part of a mid-season coaching change in 2009 that saw him take over the team after a rough start to the season. The experience and love for the game that McNelis shows when it comes to the teams and players that he has coached in the past.
The coaching staff will look to fill next year's roster spots with players from colleges and universities that have supplied quality players in the past that have helped build championship teams. Burch and his staff have produced major league talent in the past, most notably current New York Yankee pitcher Cody Eppley. Eppley suited up for Elmira in 2006 and was a NYCBL All-Star on a team that fell just short of a championship.
"The roster will be compiled with a deliberate approach to put the best players on the field from the best universities that are willing to place their players in a winning city with an iconic, historic ballpark such as Dunn Field" stated Burch. The Pioneers had an excellent 2012 season off the field with many fans coming to see the Pios play and with this coaching staff in place fully expect to see the team produce on the field as well next season.
Season tickets are now on sale for the 2013 season! Call 607-734-2690 to reserve your tickets for the exciting 125th season of baseball at historic Dunn Field in Elmira, NY.