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New Great Falls, Helena skippers eager to begin Pioneer League season

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Baseball is back. Opening day has come and gone across the country and Pioneer League play is right around the corner.

Great Falls and Helena will have new skippers in town. Tommy Thompson takethe reins of the Voyagers alongside new pitching coach, Matt Zaleski and hitting coach Willie Harris. 

“We’re excited to see who is going to be out there, we have some new coaches along with myself and I’m sure it will be adventurous and fun,” Thompson said. “The fans were good and hopefully we can win them some games and get us into a championship.” 

Thompson has plenty of experience in a minor league coaching career that stretched back to 1988. 

You try to teach every day and you try to tell them the prize is the major leagues,” he said. “And the mistakes along with the things you’re doing well all lead up to the major leagues” 

The rosters won’t be permanently set until after the MLB Draft June 8th and the team won’t report to Great Falls until the 15th, but in the meantime players are working with instructors in Arizona.

Some will be here the next two and a half months and we’ll mix those in with the college kids we draft, we won’t be together but a couple days before we break so we got some work to do.”

In Helena Nestor Corredor replaces Tony Diggs as the Brewers new skipper. He may be new to the position but he’s not new to Helena. He played for the rookie-league affiliate as a catcher in 2004, then again in 2008 as a pitcher.

He will be joined by three new faces, pitching coach Mark Dewey, hitting coach Liu Rodriguez and coach Reggie Williams. 

“Managing will be very exciting, a new experience for me,” said Corredor. “Away from the complex I have heard the fans are great and we are all going to try to do the best and be the best over there. It’s a family game and we’re excited to see a lot of families out there this season.” 

Spring training is the players chance to impress their future coaches and Corredor was pleased with what he saw the past two months. 

It’s fun for me because there’s a lot of competition a lot of good players and so we were excited to see the new guys perform within the system.”

The message he preaches to players remains the same at any level. 

They need to go out and play hard every day like it’s going to be the last game of their life.” 

Like the Voyagers, the Brewers won’t have their rosters set until they know who they will acquire from the Dominican Summer League and the MLB Draft in early June. 

Tommy Thompson and the Voyagers head to Helena to open the season against the Brewers on June 17th.

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