David Reece has been named to fill the position, which became available when Jake Willis left for an administrative post at Midway.
Reece takes over a program that went 18-8 last season and was 11-3 in the All American Conference. The Hawks won the league tournament last spring and reached the second round of the NCHSAA 3-A playoffs.
Reece is a former Triton baseball assistant and junior varsity coach, working with the program from 2004 to 2016, stepping away to spend more time with his mother before she passed away.
Reece pitched on the high school level at Southwest Onslow and in college at Methodist. He played for the Wilson Tobs in the Coastal Plains League in 2002 and roomed with Justin Verlander, who is 16-3 this season with the Houston Astros.
He has been working on the Hawks football staff. Triton football coach Ben Penny will assist Reece in baseball. Former Hawks player Tanner Ferguson will coach the Triton junior varsity baseball team.
Reece began coaching as an assistant to Joey Miriello at Douglas Byrd. Miriello was a catcher and teammate of Reece’s at Methodist and coached the Hawks prior to Willis.
Reece has met with returning players.
“We lost one pitcher, Hayden Pope (who signed with Methodist) and a couple of players, but there is a very good group of starters back,” Reece said. “That also comes with a lot of expectations.”
The returners include Ross Stevens, who hit .564 as a junior last season. Stevens is being recruited by programs including Clemson and East Carolina.
Defense will be an emphasis.
“I’ve always been a very big defensive person,” Reece said. ” … I’m going to be relying heavily on my pitching staff to throw strikes and let the defense work for them.”
Reece talked to his dad, Bill, and his high school coach, Eric Leary, about returning to baseball.
“My dad said he missed baseball,” Reece said. “Coach Leary is at Richlands now as an assistant in football and baseball. He has been a mentor to me. …
“I’m really excited for the opportunity that has been presented.”