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Knights Announce 2024 Coaching Staff

Friday, May 3, Corvallis, Ore. – Connections made during what many considered to be a lost summer for baseball have paid off for Corvallis Knights assistant coach Cole Stringer, the newest member of the four-man 2024 staff announced by the Knights on Friday.

The other coaches will all be familiar faces to Knights fans.

  • Head coach Brooke Knight returns for his 16th season at the helm.
  • Associate head coach Ed Knaggs is back for his 5th season.
  • Beau Kerns returns for his 4th tour as the pitching coach.

Stringer was a rising senior at the University of Oregon when the Covid-19 pandemic shut down the West Coast league’s projected 2020 season. So, he spent the summer playing for the West Linn Knights in the Wild Wild West League.

West Linn was coached by Brooke Knight. So when the Corvallis Knights had an opening on their 2024 coaching staff, Knight knew exactly where to look.

He found the successor to Youngjin Yoon at Linn-Benton Community College, where the 27-year-old Stringer is in his first season at the Roadrunners’ pitching coach.

“Cole will help manage our arsenal of young arms, with arm care, body dynamics, pre-game preparation, mental acuity, and in-game performance,” Knight said. “Cole’s aptitude for the game is apparent and his demeanor shows leadership promise.

“We are really happy to have Cole join our Knights family.”

Stringer will assist Knights pitching coach Beau Kerns, and take on other assignments as warranted, in his second go-round in the WCL. He spent last summer coaching for Joey Wong with the WCL’s Bend Elks.

“It’s another opportunity to work and learn under some amazing coaches,” he said. “Having played for Brooke, and from being around the West Coast League and understanding how big and how successful the Knights have been, it is a chance to sharpen my tools learning from them.”

A Knights assistant for the past seven seasons, Yoon is now a full-time assistant coach at Cal State Northridge. The Knights have several Matadors on their 2024 roster and NCAA rules prohibit Division I assistants from coaching their own players in the summer.

Stringer was a standout pitcher at Central Catholic High School in Portland before pitching at the University of Oregon. He earned first-team Mt. Hood Conference and second-team 6A all-state recognition and Perfect Game honorable mention All-American honors as a senior in 2015.

He also played in that year’s Knights-operated Oregon All-Star Series at Goss Stadium, earning Most Outstanding Pitcher honors for the North team.

He lettered three times at Oregon and was 7-8 with a 4.62 ERA in 49 games, with 104 strikeouts in 157 innings. He then signed with the independent Ogden (Utah) Raptors and parlayed that opportunity into a shot in affiliated baseball by signing a free-agent contract with the Colorado Rockies.

Stringer spent the 2021 and 2022 seasons in Colorado’s minor-league system at several levels, topping off with two different stints with the triple-A Albuquerque Isotopes before being released.

He was 4-2 with a 4.98 ERA in 19 games as a pro, with 64 strikeouts in 56 innings.

“I injured myself at the (2022) all-star break, didn’t finish the rest of the season and then was released off of my injury,” he said. “But for me that was perfect, I got all that I needed” out of pro ball.

Returning to Portland, he began his coaching career in 2023 at Central Catholic.  He spent that summer working for Wong, now an Oregon State assistant, with the Elks in 2023 and then joined head coach Andy Peterson’s LBCC staff for the 2024 season.

LBCC’s pitching staff has excelled this spring. Through 40 games, the Roadrunners have the NWAC’s lowest team ERA (2.08) and WHIP (0.95), and second-best strikeouts per nine innings (9.70).

The Beaks have surrendered only two homers in 341 innings, with an outstanding 368-130 strikeout-walk ratio. LBCC pitchers Ethan Kleinschmit and Kellen Segel are set to play for Corvallis this summer.

“My philosophy is to throw lots of strikes,” Stringer said. “And I think you get the most out of baseball by just having fun.

“Being a guy whose career ended from being injured, I tell my players not to take it lightly. Every single day is a chance to get better, whether in the relationship with your teammates, or growing in baseball.

“It can end in the blink of an eye, in a heartbeat. So just enjoy every moment of it.”

Head Coach Brooke Knight is the most successful coach in West Coast league history, having earned 10 titles in 13 championship-series appearances. His teams have posted a 666-276 record (.707 winning percentage) over his 15-year stint.

He directed the Knights to WCL crowns in 2008, 2011, 2013, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2021, 2022, and 2023.

The Knights have qualified for the playoffs in all 15 of his seasons at the helm. He garnered WCL Coach of the Year honors in 2008, 2009, 2011, 2013, 2017, 2019, 2021 and 2022.

Knight will also return to the Australian Baseball League this fall as the manager of the Sydney Blue Sox. It will be his third stint as an ABL skipper; he also managed the Perth Heat and Adelaide Giants. Brooke’s son, Briley, the 2019 West Coast League MVP, won the Claxton Shield last fall playing for the Giants.

Associate head coach Ed Knaggs was the head coach of the WCL’s Wenatchee AppleSox from 2001-2014 and posted a winning record every season. He led Wenatchee to five WCL championships (2005, 2006, 2009, 2010, 2012) and two runner-up finishes (2008, 2013).

Corvallis and Wenatchee met in the Championship Series in 2008, 2009, 2012 and 2013; Corvallis won in 2008 and 2013, Wenatchee in 2009 and 2012.

Knaggs also won five division championships and earned WCL Coach of the Year honors four times at Wenatchee before retiring after the 2014 season. He coached 771 total games and was 300-172 (.636 winning percentage) in WCL regular-season contests. Wenatchee also won the 2003 Pacific International League title; that circuit was the precursor to the current WCL, which was formed in 2005.

Pitching coach Beau Kerns begins his fourth season as pitching coach after spending part of the off-season playing in Australia. He was an assistant coach at Umpqua CC before joining the Knights and then was the head coach at Central Valley High School for two springs.

Kerns has both pitched and coached in the WCL. He pitched for Ed Knaggs in 2012 and 2013 for the AppleSox and spent his 2014 summer hurling for the Yakima Valley Pippins.

This is Kerns’ second stint as a pitching coach in the WCL, as he assisted at Yakima Valley from 2017-2019. Following his collegiate playing career at Wenatchee Valley College and Lewis-Clark State College, he pitched in the independent professional Frontier League (2015-2016).

A native of Lewiston, Idaho, Kerns won a NAIA title for his hometown Warriors in 2015, and earned World Series MVP honors.

The Corvallis Knights season kicks-off on Thursday, May 23 at Goss Stadium with its annual Science, Engineering & Art Day, presented by Paventy & Brown Orthodontics, as the Knights play the NW Star Nighthawks in a non-league contest. The team’s West Coast League opener is Friday, May 31 at Cowlitz; the WCL home opener is Friday, June 14 versus Port Angeles.

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