Gulls Hire New Pitching Coach

NECBL veteran Darryl Morhardt to join Manager Al Leyva’s staff

The Newport Gulls have hired veteran NECBL coach Darryl Morhardt to join Manager Al Leyva’s staff as the team’s 2016 pitching coach.

Morhardt, who has nearly two decades of coaching experience in the NECBL, will take over for long-time Gulls Pitching Coach Kevin Long, who after five consecutive seasons in Newport is taking the 2016 season off for personal reasons.

“The Newport Gulls are privileged to have someone as experienced as Coach Morhardt join our staff for the summer,” said General Manager Chuck Paiva. “Coach Morhardt’s extensive career in baseball at multiple levels makes him well-suited to mentor our players, and he will be an excellent addition to Coach Leyva’s staff.”

“Newport is the place to be,” said Morhardt. “I’ve always respected how well the organization is run, and the high quality, talented players that Chuck and his staff bring to Cardines every summer.”

Morhardt’s experience in the NECBL dates back to 1997, when he joined the Torrington Twisters staff (the franchise has since relocated to New Bedford and plays today as the Bay Sox). The Winsted, Connecticut native served as the Twisters pitching coach through the 2006 season.

From 2008-2014, Morhardt was the manager of the Holyoke (later known as Valley) Blue Sox. Beyond the NECBL, he has coached in various roles for the University of Hartford, Gateway Community College, Western Connecticut State, Marietta College, The George Washington University, and Fairleigh Dickinson University. While serving as pitching coach at Marietta, the team made three Division III World Series appearances, including finishing as national runner-up in 2001 and 2002.

Morhardt, a graduate of Coastal Carolina University, played professionally from 1985-1987, including a season with the Atlanta Braves Class A affiliate. Among his numerous roles in baseball, he also has worked as a scout, including time with the New York Mets as an associate scout from 1997-2002.

His father, Moe Morhardt, played Major League Baseball for the Chicago Cubs from 1961-62, and was head coach of the NECBL’s Danbury Westerners from 1998-2004.

Morhardt joins new Gulls Manager Al Leyva, who was previously Newport’s hitting coach from 2011-2013 and 2015 under recently retired Manager Mike Coombs. Like Morhardt, Leyva has coached or managed multiple organizations in the league for stints dating back to 2003, including the Middletown Giants, Manchester Silkworms, and North Adams SteepleCats. The staff is rounded out by Defensive Coach Eric Degre, who himself worked as an assistant coach for North Adams in 2015.

The Newport Gulls, members of the 13-team New England Collegiate Baseball League (NECBL), are a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, founded as the Rhode Island Gulls in 1998 in Cranston, R.I., before moving to Newport in 2001. In addition to recruiting, fielding, and developing a team of the nation’s top collegiate baseball athletes and attracting 50,000 fans annually to Cardines Field, the predominantly volunteer organization strives to benefit the youth of Newport County via summer camps, reading programs, fundraisers, scholarships, and charitable donations – totaling over $1 million since 2001. The Gulls are six-time champions of the NECBL – the winningest franchise in league history – and were ranked as the overall No. 1 summer collegiate baseball team in the country by Perfect Game USA in 2012.

For more information about the Newport Gulls, visit facebook.com/newportgulls, follow the Gulls on Twitter @NewportGulls or visit www.newportgulls.com

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Ryan M. Belmore

Ryan M. Belmore is the Owner & Publisher of What's Up Newp. Ryan is a member of Local Independent Online News (LION) Publishers. Send questions, tips, and story ideas to Ryan@whatsupnewp.com.