WATERTOWN — The Watertown Rapids have a new manager, their third as they approach their third year of the franchise.
The Rapids have hired John Rizzo has their new field manager, the team announced Tuesday.
An Auburn native, Rizzo is currently an assistant coach at Ithaca College, according to the Rapids. Previously, he was also an assistant coach at Cayuga Community College.
“We’re really excited to bring John on board and look forward to the energy he will bring to our club,” Rapids’ general manager Brandon Noble said. “We’ve been fortunate with great coaches over the first two seasons and have high expectations on and off the field. We were impressed with John’s experience and have continued to be impressed with his work ethic since joining our team.”
Rizzo played four seasons of baseball at Keuka College, where he was named rookie of the year, first team all-conference in the North Eastern Athletic Conference, as well as third team All-Region according to D3 Baseball and the American Baseball Coaches Association, playing under coach Rick Ferchen.
Ferchen has coached college baseball for 36 years and has won two NEAC Coach of the Year awards since 2014.
“I was lucky enough to play under a decorated coach, Rick Ferchen,” Rizzo said in a release. “During my four years I saw how Ferchen ran his program like an absolute professional.”
While at Cayuga CC, Rizzo had the opportunity to coach under T.J. Gamba, a former player in the Cleveland Indians organization as well as a former coach in the Miami Marlins organization. Rizzo feels his playing and coaching experience will assist him to successfully lead the Rapids.
David Anderson, the team’s first manager who guided Watertown in its first season in the Perfect Game Collegiate Baseball League, was replaced by Mike Wood, who managed the squad this past summer.
Wood, who attended Jefferson CC and was an assistant coach at St. Lawrence University, took a position as an assistant coach at Northwest Florida State College.
Anderson is entering his second year as pitching coach at Emory University and coached the Fayetteville SwampDogs of the Coastal Plain League this past summer.
Rizzo, one of three Rapids managers from upstate New York as Anderson hails from Syracuse while Wood is from Seneca Falls, has begun recruiting and building the team’s roster for next summer.
“You never lose the will to win,” Rizzo said in a release. “We are looking for players that are capable of winning baseball games and are difference makers on the field. Whether you are recruiting for college or the PGCBL, the first thing you look for is character and someone that meets the high standards of the Rapids organization.”
The Rapids, who reached the PGCBL playoffs in the team’s inaugural season, are looking to return to the playoffs after going 16-30 overall this past summer.
The PGCBL will return to a 13-team league with the return of Jamestown in 2020.