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Jedd Gyorko returns for second season as Black Bears manager

GRANVILLE — After a successful inaugural season with the MLB Draft League, the West Virginia Black Bears announced Tuesday Jedd Gyorko will return for his second season as team manager. The Morgantown-native and WVU Sports Hall-of-Famer led the team to a 30-19-6 record and had seven players drafted in the MLB Draft in 2021. 

Joining Gyorko for a second season are coaches Jake Hale (pitching) and Preston County native Jimmy Galusky (hitting). Hale makes his second appearance as the Black Bears pitching coach while Galusky moves from position coach to hitting coach in his second year.

“We are thrilled to have Jedd and the rest of the coaching staff back this year,” said Leighann Sainato, general manager of the Black Bears. “The team had a lot of success last season, and Jedd was the driving force behind those accomplishments. The entire staff brings a lot of experience, on and off the field, which is very important for the young players on our roster.”

As manager, Gyorko led the Black Bears to a winning record last season, falling just short of the MLB Draft League Championship by half a game to the Trenton Thunder. In addition to the success on the field, seven players were drafted from Gyorko’s team in the 2021 MLB Draft, with another six Black Bears signing major league or independent league contracts as free agents.

“It was a lot of fun [last season]. There were obviously new challenges … never being a manager before, but it was great to see the kids’ progress,” Gyorko said. “A lot of [last season’s players] got drafted, and even more signed to professional deals. It was fun to be able to watch them perform and teach them along the way.”

Gyorko, 33, is a former 2nd round draft pick of the San Diego Padres in 2010, and he finished 6th in NL Rookie of the Year voting in 2013. In addition to his career with the Padres, Gyorko played parts of four seasons with the St. Louis Cardinals from 2016-2019, and finished his career with a .245 BA, 121 home runs and 370 RBI in 846 games over eight seasons.

Hale’s coaching talents generated the most draft success of the season as five of the seven Black Bears players taken in the MLB Draft were pitchers, including 5th round pick Mitch Bratt (Texas Rangers) — the second-highest draft pick from the MLB Draft League. A former All-American relief pitcher, Hale began his coaching career in 2015 at the NCAA Division II level as the pitching coach at Ohio Dominican University.

As position coach in 2021, Galusky was instrumental in the Black Bears’ successful inaugural season. As a shortstop for WVU, Galusky played in 171 games between 2016-18 and was named to the All-Big 12 Honorable Mention team twice in 2016 and 2017.

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