Author: turksbaseball

Nick Zona’s Dream Comes True

August 8, 2022
John Breeden
Harrisonburg Turks

From the beginning, Nick Zona’s childhood dream was to play in the Major Leagues. He started playing baseball when he was five years old and has been around the sport his entire life. That dream became a reality on July 19, when he was drafted to the Seattle Mariners in the 20th round of the MLB draft.

“Obviously as a little kid, it’s a far goal [at] that young of an age,” Zona said. “As I’ve gotten older and older … the more I feel like I could make it happen.” 

The day he got drafted, Zona was working out with friends at James Madison University’s Memorial Hall. Once he got home, he got a call from a Philadelphia area code. He was thrown off at first by who it could be that was calling him. When he picked up the phone it was Scott Hunter, the scouting director from the Mariners.

“For a second, I was thinking it was a joke,” Zona said. “It was still the 20th round and I was expecting to go after the draft … then he popped up with that and I said, ‘Yes sir, I’ll take it.’”

Since getting drafted, Zona has been working out and getting back into the baseball routine at the Mariners’ training complex in Arizona.

A former JMU infielder, Zona is fortunate to have played for the Diamond Dukes because he said his development in college baseball has him ready for the professionals. “I feel like I have a better skill set than some other guys in some aspects because we’ve been working on drills and stuff at JMU,” Zona said. “It’s definitely a whirl of a difference.”

Zona was a big part of the Harrisonburg Turks family, having played 33 games in 2019 and averaged a .243 at the plate.

This past summer, he was the Turks’ game day operations intern until the time he was drafted. He said it was “crazy” how he both played and interned for the Turks and that the 2019 summer season was another step in improving as a player.

“I loved it there, being with the Turks with Bob Wease and Teresa,” Zona said. “They treat their players good, it’s a famous organization. That was the first time I was playing every single day, compared to college baseball … where you have some day breaks. I definitely needed that to start off my career.”

Zona compared summer ball to professional ball because they play almost every day and that if a player has an off night, they have to prepare for a quick turnaround and come back stronger the next day. Whereas in collegiate baseball, they have more days off.


When playing for JMU, the biggest thing Zona learned was how to communicate with other players. “I’m a Virginia kid going all the way out to Arizona with a bunch of random people,” Zona said. “It’s just meeting guys on the team again … intertwine, get to know each other, and come together as one. I think it [JMU] prepared me in that aspect.”

As Zona begins a new journey in life, he credits his family the most for helping him get to where he is today — especially his two older brothers, Jeffrey and Anthony. Without their willingness to help Zona, he doesn’t know if he’d be in the spot he’s in. Whether he’s playing good or bad, his brothers are there to talk to and build him back up.

“They want to sacrifice whatever they can to make me a better player,” Zona said. “Whether it’s throwing to me in the [batting] cages, throwing with me [or] hitting ground balls. I’m very fortunate to have them … they’ve made me who I am today.”

As Zona ventures off into the professionals, he’s going to take serious notes of his off-season work.

Now that he’s graduated from college, he can focus on bettering his skills 24/7. His goal is to take it one step at a time and not focus on the next step until he finishes what’s right in front of him.

“That’s the only thing I can control at this moment, so you can’t control anything outside of that,” Zona said. “Great players that make it into the Major Leagues … they can control how they can control. That’s the only thing I really want to take away, work really hard where I’m at right now in Arizona … and hopefully climb the ladder as fast as I can and make it to Seattle.”

1992 Turks Player Link Jarrett to Coach Florida State

Florida State University
June 24, 2022:

Link Jarrett Named 10th Head Coach in Florida State Baseball History

TALLAHASSEE – Link Jarrett, a two-time National Coach of the Year at Notre Dame and a 1994 Florida State graduate, was named the 10th head baseball coach in FSU history Friday by Vice President and Director of Athletics Michael Alford. The Tallahassee native has 10 years of head coaching experience, including the last three at Notre Dame, where he led the Fighting Irish to the 2022 College World Series for just the third time in school history.

Jarrett will be formally introduced at a press conference Monday, June 27 at 10:30 a.m. Fans will be able to view a stream of the press conference live on

“I think that Link is the finest coach in the game today, and that opinion is held by many in college baseball. We could not be more pleased that he will be leading our program,” said Alford. “He has been a proven winner at each of his coaching stops.

“His teams have not only posted historically successful seasons, but they have also mirrored Link’s tradition of running a first-class program. He is well-known for his record of developing players everywhere he has coached.

“He’s a Seminole through and through and there is no question that he will dedicate himself to the success of our student-athletes and his team. I know he is excited to be returning home and we are just as excited to welcome him and his family.”

⚾: Link Jarrett Named 10th Head Coach in Florida State Baseball History

Under Jarrett, Notre Dame went 86-32 (.729), the second-best winning percentage in the country in that span. Notre Dame’s 44-21 record in the Atlantic Coast Conference was the best in the league.

Jarrett was the 2021 ACC Coach of the Year and the D1Baseball National Coach of the Year. This season, after leading the Irish to a 41-17 record and a College World Series berth, Jarrett was named the NCBWA Mike Martin Coach of the Year.

“It has been an absolute privilege to represent Notre Dame which truly is one of the finest academic and athletic institutions in the country,” said Jarrett. “I want to thank Father Jenkins, Jack Swarbrick, Jody Sadler and the entire Notre Dame administration for all of their support during my time at Notre Dame. I want to thank all of our student-athletes for their tireless work ethic and dedication to our baseball program. Their accomplishments on and off the field are something I will cherish for the rest of my life. To the entire Notre Dame family and community, thank you for welcoming and supporting my family, you are truly first-class in every manner.

“I’m humbled to become the next Head Coach at Florida State. Having the opportunity to come home and lead this storied program is something I take great pride in. FSU is a special place to our family and I’m excited to be the next leader of Seminole Baseball. Our goals will be simple – to achieve on the field, in the classroom and embrace the FSU family and community. I know the expectations from our fans and we expect to compete for ACC and National Championships.

“We’re thrilled to welcome Link Jarrett back to his alma mater,” said FSU President Richard McCullough. “His proven and outstanding track record as a head coach makes him an excellent choice to lead our storied baseball program.”

Jarrett earned his bachelor’s degree in communication from Florida State in 1994. Jarrett and his wife, Jennifer – a former cheerleader at Florida State – have two children, J.T. a five-year baseball starter and 2022 Graduate in Sports Management, Business Leadership Development from NC State and Dawson, currently a junior at the University of Alabama majoring in Apparel and Textiles, Fashion Retailing.

Jarrett’s Career Accolades include:
  • Two-time National Coach of the Year at Notre Dame (2021, 2022)
  • Three-time conference Coach of the Year (2016 & 2018 at UNC Greensboro; 2021 at Notre Dame)
  • 2022 College World Series – only the third in Notre Dame history
  • Back-to-back Super Regionals for the first time in Notre Dame history
  • Finished 41-17 in 2022, most wins for the Irish since 2006
  • 301-198 career record as a Head Coach at UNC Greensboro (2013-19) and Notre Dame (2020-22)
  • Jarrett was the head coach at UNC Greensboro for seven years (2013-19), winning Southern Conference Coach of the Year honors in 2016 and 2018. He led the Spartans to the 2017 and 2018 Southern Conference Regular Season Championship as well as the 2017 NCAA Regional, the first for UNCG since 1997.
  • Jarrett was an assistant coach at Auburn for three years (2010-12), earning SEC Assistant Coach of the Year honors in 2010 the same year Auburn won the SEC West. Jarrett was in charge of the team’s offense and helped the Tigers set school records for batting average (.348), home runs (131) and slugging percentage (.591), the latter two both national bests in NCAA Division I baseball. Auburn’s 816 hits, 584 runs and 9.1 runs per game also finished in the Top 10 in the nation and led the SEC.
  • As an assistant at East Carolina from 2006-2009, Jarrett was part of a staff that led the Pirates to 40 wins per season including three NCAA regional appearances highlighted by a 2009 run to the Chapel Hill Super Regional.
  • Jarrett was named the 2009 Conference USA Assistant Coach of the Year when the Pirates led the country with 814 hits and were top 20 in runs, doubles, home runs, slugging percentage and batting average.
  • Jarrett was the recruiting coordinator for two seasons at Mercer (2004-05) and got his start in college coaching in 1999 at Flagler College in St. Augustine, where he coached for three years.
  • Jarrett’s first stint at his alma mater came in 2003 when he was an assistant under Mike Martin. The Seminoles finished the year 54-13-1 and were the ACC regular-season champions and the No. 1 national seed in the NCAA tournament.
  • Was a two-time All-American shortstop (1993 and 1994) and was part of Seminole teams that reached three College World Series and he still holds the NCAA record of 802 career assists.
Jarrett’s Head Coaching record:

Longtime Friend and Former Turks Coach Keith Lytle Named OCU Head Coach

Thursday, August 4, 2022
Oklahoma City University 

Lytle Becomes OCU Head Coach

Lytle has contributed heavily to winningest program since 1991

OKLAHOMA CITY – Oklahoma City University has appointed Keith Lytle as its new head baseball coach.

Lytle has built a sterling reputation as one of the finest hitting instructors and assistant coaches in the nation over the past 34 years at Oklahoma City. Since 1991, OCU owns the most victories in college baseball with 1,535.

During his tenure, Lytle has contributed to OCU accumulating 14 50-win seasons, 14 NAIA World Series appearances, three national runner-up finishes (2002, 2003, 2004), and the 2005 national championship. The Stars have the single-season NAIA record for wins with 73 in 2004.

Oklahoma City has won 14 Sooner Athletic Conference regular-season championships, 13 SAC Tournament titles, six NAIA Championship Opening Round crowns, five regional titles, three area titles, and one district crown with Lytle’s aid.

“I am extremely excited to announce that Keith Lytle will be the next head coach of the OCU baseball program,” Oklahoma City director of athletics Corey Bray said. “There is no one better suited to continue the tradition of excellence established by Denney Crabaugh and no one better able to lead the program through this difficult transition. Keith was with DC every step of the way and played a major role in creating the winningest program in college baseball since 1991. Keith fully understands what it takes to recruit and develop student-athletes who will graduate from OCU, win championships and make significant contributions to their communities and chosen career fields after graduating from OCU. Keith is a character-driven coach who will continue to be a tremendous mentor to the young men currently in the program and those who will become Stars in the future. Please join me in congratulating Keith on this well-deserved promotion.”

Lytle has mentored eight national players of the year award winners (Miguel Beltran, Mario Delgado, Cross Factor, Nick Klusaw, Ted Ledbetter, Allen Thompson, Kirk Walker, and Brent Weaver) among 89 NAIA all-Americans. Lytle has coached 149 future professionals, 71 taken in the Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft, and five who have reached the major leagues. Freddy Sanchez, the 2006 National League batting champion, blossomed under his tutelage, resulting in Sanchez leading the San Francisco Giants to the 2010 World Series championship and becoming a three-time all-star.

“It was a labor of love when Denney and I started,” Lytle said. “We realized what we wanted to put together. We started to puzzle together the ingredients to the program we wanted. Denney shared that with me in building it together. When he called me the heart and soul of the program, he undersold himself. We all had talents and gifts we equally invested in the program. He was truly the heart and soul of the program.”

Lytle joined OCU the same year Denney Crabaugh became head coach in 1989. Crabaugh consistently recognized Lytle as a key factor in the success of the Stars baseball program, which went 1,601-493-2 during that time. OCU owns the team national record for home runs and consistently has been ranked among the national leaders in most hitting categories. Oklahoma City student-athletes achieved 83 NAIA scholar-athlete awards, 21 CoSIDA academic all-America honors, and two CoSIDA academic all-American of the year accolades in that time.

“I knew Keith was a good baseball guy,” Crabaugh said at Lytle’s OCU Athletics Hall of Fame induction. “The stats and stuff have proven, all the home run records and all the wins and championships, they speak for themselves. What I have come to appreciate about Keith is his passion and love for the game of baseball. And more importantly, his passion and love for the players we’ve had in our program. And by looking across here all the alumni who have shown up, baseball parents and people here, I can tell you, that love is not one-sided.
“He was the first recruit I have ever had, and I say he was the best recruit I ever had. I would also say, he’s been the heart and soul of the baseball program. He has poured his heart and his soul into this program and into our guys.”

Lytle said, “Obviously taking over under these circumstances, this is a difficult situation for me. It’s hard to express the loss of a brother who I’ve had for the past 34 years. We’ve built something special here with this program. It’s going to take me a long time to get comfortable looking across the hall and not seeing Denney.”

Lytle became the first OCU Athletics Hall of Famer who spent his time at the university as an assistant coach his entire tenure in 2011-12. He entered the NAIA Hall of Fame, another honor rare for an assistant coach, in 2013-14. In 2003, he was named the AFLAC national assistant coach of the year, and in 2018, he was honored as the inaugural NAIA assistant coach of the year by the American Baseball Coaches Association.

From 1988-95, Lytle coached in the Shenandoah Valley League. He led the Harrisonburg Turks (Va.) to the league championship in 1991.

Lytle has experience coaching at the Triple-A level with the Texas Rangers organization. Lytle served three years as assistant hitting and first base coach with the Oklahoma City RedHawks. Lytle coached Nelson Cruz when he was named the Pacific Coast League most valuable player in 2008. In 1990-91, Lytle worked as a bullpen coach for the Oklahoma City 89ers.

Prior to coming to OCU in 1989, Lytle served as an associate coach at New Mexico State. Before that, he was a pitcher and first baseman for the Aggies. He graduated from New Mexico State with a bachelor’s degree in education in 1986.

Lytle is married (Jane) with one son (Joe Jackson). Joe Lytle has played baseball professionally.
Keith Lytle is a major contributor to the legacy of the OCU baseball program. Keith will continue to impact the lives of young men. Overall class act.” – Joe Blackwell, Southwestern Christian coach

“Keith is, without a doubt, the right guy to take over the program for the legendary Denney Crabaugh. He obviously knows what it takes to win as he recruited and developed one of the top offensive teams in the nation year in, year out. We definitely had some intense battles with those guys over the years, and we always knew that the Stars were going to be prepared and tough to beat. Keith not only knows how to win, but he is also a great friend, leader and developer of men.” – Nathan Blackwood, Lubbock Christian coach
“Keith is a big-time recruiter who has committed his life to the OCU baseball program. He will continue to lead OCU in the right direction.” – Lonny Cobble, Oklahoma Christian coach
“This is a very tough time for OCU students, athletes, and alumni. There are some massive shoes that need to be filled, unfortunately. I don’t believe anybody can fill that spot as DC did, but if anybody can, it’s definitely Keith. With him at the helm, OCU will continue to be the powerhouse it has been a year in and year out. Excited to see what the future holds for Keith and OCU.” – OCU alum Brent Weaver, 2009 NAIA player of the year

2022 Valley League All-Defensive Teams

Valley Baseball League
August 2, 2022

2022 Valley League All-Defensive Teams

The Valley League is pleased to announce, for the first time, the league’s All-Defensive teams!

Like the All-Valley League teams, coaches both nominated and voted for these honors, and the teams are split by division.

Congratulations to all honorees!

North Division

Defensive Player of the Year: Jose Torres, Purcellville (San Jacinto)

All-Defensive Team

C- Jose Torres, Purcellville (San Jacinto)

1B- Cullen Horowicz, Purcellville (San Jacinto)

2B- Frankie Ritter, Woodstock (Shenandoah)

SS- Trent Jeffcoat, Front Royal (West Florida)

3B- Leighton Banjoff, Winchester (Nebraska)

OF- Bryce Fowler, New Market (Southern Miss)

OF- Jo Jo Jackson, Front Royal (Georgia State)

OF- Tomas Sanchez, Woodstock (Texas Wesleyan)

South Division

Defensive Player of the Year- Seaver King, Harrisonburg (Wingate)

All Defensive Team

C- Tanner Garrison, Waynesboro (Coastal Carolina)

1B- Nate Stocum, Covington (Western Carolina)

2B- Tyler Borges, Waynesboro (South Alabama)

SS- Seaver King, Harrisonburg (Wingate)

3B- John Montes, Waynesboro (Central Florida)

OF- Jaylon Lee, Harrisonburg (EMU and JMU)

OF- Joseph Sullivan, Waynesboro (South Alabama)

OF- Sam Schner, Harrisonburg (Florida Tech)


South Division All Valley League Team

Valley Baseball League
August 1, 2022

It’s time for the Valley League postseason awards!

The Valley League decided to split the awards this year by the North and South Divisions. Coaches and media members voted on their own divisions only, and coaches were not allowed to vote for their own players. So, for the first time ever, there will be two Most Valuable Players and Pitchers along with a first-team All-Division team. Defensive teams will be released later (today?).

South All-Valley League

Most Valuable Player: Seaver King, Harrisonburg (Wingate)

Pitcher of the Year: Kelsey Ward, Waynesboro (Embry-Riddle)

All-Valley South Division

Catcher: Satchell Norman, Charlottesville (Florida Southwestern State): .319/.450/.473, 21 runs, eight doubles, two home runs, 19 RBIs, 21/10 BB/K, nine stolen bases

First Base: Cole Wagner, Charlottesville (Georgia): .361/.473/.580, 24 runs, 12 doubles, one triple, four home runs, 34 RBI, 21/19 BB/K

Second Base: Christian Martin, Charlottesville (Virginia Tech): .384/.486/.570, 28 runs, five doubles, one triple, three home runs, 17 RBI, 15/10 BB/K, eight stolen bases

Shortstop: Seaver King, Harrisonburg (Wingate): .313/.378/.487, 32 runs, 11 doubles, three triples, three home runs, 31 RBI, 15/18 BB/K, eight stolen bases

Third Base: Matt Ruiz, Waynesboro (South Florida): .316/.415/.453, 33 runs, 10 doubles, three triples, 19 RBI, 18/21 BB/K, 12 stolen bases

Outfield: Joe Delossantos, Staunton (William & Mary): .301/.410/.551, 28 runs, 10 doubles, eight home runs, 30 RBI, 19/33 BB/K, 11 stolen bases

Joseph Sullivan, Waynesboro (South Alabama): .317/.461/.489, 26 runs, seven doubles, four triples, three home runs, 20 RBIs, 31/32 BB/K, 15 stolen bases

Michael Rosario, Harrisonburg (Miami): .318/.400/.523, 25 runs, nine doubles, two triples, three home runs, 14 RBIs, 12/20 BB/K, 16 stolen bases

Carter Cunningham, Charlottesville (East Carolina): .435/.490/.647, 23 runs, seven doubles, one triple, three home runs, 21 RBIs, 12/9 BB/K

Designated Hitter: Caleb Cali, Waynesboro (Arkansas): .360/.467/.520, 10 runs, five doubles, one home run, 16 RBIs, 8/8 BB/K, two stolen bases

Utility: Mitch Farris, Harrisonburg (Wingate): .316/.422/.574, 32 runs, 11 doubles, six triples, four home runs, 29 RBIs, 18/26 BB/K, three stolen bases; 4-1, 1.97, 27.1 innings, 1.43 WHIP, 4.6 BB/9, 9.2 K/9

Starting Pitcher: Kelsey Ward, Waynesboro (Embry-Riddle): 5-0, 1.80, 30 innings, 1.20 WHIP, 5.1 BB/9, 9.3 K/9

Miles Hellums, Staunton (San Jacinto): 3-1, 3.14, 34.1 innings, 1.22 WHIP, 4.5 BB/9, 10.8 K/9

Trey Yesavage, Charlottesville (East Carolina): 1-1, 2.50, 18 innings, 1.28 WHIP, 4.5 BB/9, 12.5 K/9

Logan McClure, Harrisonburg (West Virginia Tech): 1-0, 1.44, 25 innings, 1.28 WHIP, 2.9 BB/9, 6.1 K/9

Relief Pitcher: Orlando Hernandez, Waynesboro (Florida International): 3-0, 0.64, 14 innings, 1.14 WHIP, 1.9 BB/9, 9.0 K/9

John Armstrong, Charlottesville (Auburn): 2-0, 0.00, 1 saves, 15.2 innings, 1.02 WHIP, 4.0 BB/9, 11.5 K/9

Congratulations to all honorees!