The Worcester Bravehearts today named Westborough-native Alex Dion as the fourth Manager in the team’s history. Dion, who was an Assistant Coach for the Bravehearts in 2018, takes over for J.P. Pyne after he left in August to become the Head Coach of the Amherst College baseball program.
Dion is a 2011 graduate of Western New England University and has coached locally for the past seven years. He was an Assistant Coach at Milford High School for four seasons before being offered the job of Head Coach of the varsity baseball team in September, 2017.
Alex Dion is a familiar name in Northborough baseball circles as well. He’s had two coaching stints with Northborough American Legion Post 234 from 2011 - 2013 and again from 2016 - 2017. In between, he coached for Team Mizuno Northeast based at Hit Quarters in Shrewsbury.
“I would like to thank the Creedon family and our GM Dave Peterson for giving me the opportunity to lead this baseball team,” said Dion. “It’s an honor to be the head coach within such a great organization and continue to build upon the winning tradition that has been established here. I’m excited for the opportunity to try and bring another championship back to the city of Worcester.”
In his first season with the Bravehearts in 2018, Dion was the team’s Hitting Coach. His individual work in the batting cages with players and his team emphasis on producing quality at-bats led the Bravehearts to a league-leading .298 team batting average — the highest in the history of the franchise. Under his tutelage, returning Bravehearts players Mariano Ricciardi (West Boylston, MA / Cypress College) and Brett Coffel (Clermont, FL / Saint Leo) each raised his batting average significantly in 2018: Ricciardi from .248 to .298 and Coffel from .262 to .289.
Dion also managed the team in four games this past season when J.P. Pyne was with his family for the birth of his son in June.
“Alex Dion brings the work ethic and attitude the Bravehearts need in our next Manager,” said General Manager Dave Peterson. “He has a quiet confidence that commands the room every time he walks in, but he is not afraid to lean on others for input and advice. I believe he’ll do very well in the Futures League.”
The Bravehearts have also announced that Pitching Coach Casey Cummins will not return in 2019. Cummins has been in the Bravehearts’ dugout since he was hired halfway through the 2014 season to replace Justin Edwards, who was elevated to Manager at the time. He led the pitching staff to three sub-4.00 ERAs in five seasons and has helped in the development of eight former Bravehearts pitchers who are now playing professionally around the country. Cummins, whose son Kyle was born on the same day as J.P. Pyne’s son Brennan this past June, cited the desire to spend more time with family in his decision to leave the coaching staff in 2019.
“Obviously we’ll miss Casey leading our pitching staff next summer,” said Peterson. “In a league that has strict limits on pitch counts and days rest, Casey always balanced that to perfection while delivering a winning product on-field. He was phenomenal at running our youth baseball camps as well, but he’ll certainly provide guidance for us as we search for his replacement.”
Peterson and Dion are expected to spend the fall searching for Cummins’s replacement.
Kevin Hartigan is staying on in his position as the Director of Baseball Operations and will still work closely with Peterson and Dion in the recruitment of the 2019 roster. The returning Bravehearts will be announced in December.