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Lavallee to Lead C's NWL Title Defense in '24

January 30, 2024 - Northwest League (NWL)
Vancouver Canadians News Release


VANCOUVER, BC - Northwest League Champion and native son Brent Lavallee will return to Vancouver for his third season on the top step of the dugout at Rogers Field at Nat Bailey Stadium. The Toronto Blue Jays made the announcement on Monday, naming Lavallee skipper of a crew that includes returning staffers Austin Bibens-Dirkx, Ryan Wright, Ashley Stephenson, Katie Reyes and Raul Pimentel. Former Canadian infielder Deiferson Barreto and newcomers Carson Phillips, Rob Shifrin, Bailey Forst, Zane Hunt, Alexis Maier and Cristian Cordova complete the coaching staff.

"I am beyond excited to return to Vancouver and the Northwest League this season," Lavallee said via text. "What an honour to be asked to lead a great group of players and staff while representing one of the best Minor League teams in the world."

Brent retakes the reins in 2024 with a C's record of 144-116 and is 169-145 in his managerial career. After a 67-win season in 2022 and 77 victories last year, Lavallee needs 56 wins to become one of the few managers in team history to reach the 200-win mark.

"Our experiences in Vancouver have been second to none," Lavallee continued. "The fans, the history, and the significance of being the only affiliated MiLB team in Canada is a responsibility I do not take lightly. We look forward to showcasing some of the best players that the Blue Jays have coming up through the system and defending our title from 2023."

Joining Lavallee as his right-hand man is bench coach Deiferson Barreto, who played for the C's in 2016 and 2017. He finished his six-season MiLB career as a .272 hitter in 325 games before transitioning to the coaching ranks.

Former big leaguer Austin Bibens-Dirkx returns to The Nat and has been promoted to pitching coach after handling the bullpen in his professional coaching debut last season. Vancouver's 'pen led the league in 2023 with a 3.40 ERA and .223 batting average against in 564.1 innings while converting a league-best 62% of saves.

Ryan Wright is the team's hitting coach for the fourth consecutive season. The Boise, ID native's mentorship of top Blue Jays prospects Alan Roden and Josh Kasevich last year led to both players finishing atop the league's batting average leaderboard. He oversaw the offensive evolutions of Davis Schneider, Spencer Horwitz, Addison Barger and Damiano Palmegiani, all of whom have gone on to become a part of the big league roster conversation heading into the 2024 campaign.

Baseball Canada legend Ashley Stephenson returns for her second stint with the Canadians as position coach. She debuted in the same role last year and was instrumental in the defensive development of multiple players at key positions throughout her first season as a pro. The pride of Mississauga, ON brought her championship pedigree from both baseball and hockey to Ontario Street; her collegiate career at Wilfred Laurier featured multiple conference titles and a national championship before spending 14 years as a key part of Canada's women's national baseball team.

Carson Phillips assumes the role of bullpen coach after serving in the same capacity for Triple-A Buffalo last year. A native of Riverside, CA, he pitched collegiately at Utah Tech, San Diego Mesa CC and Cal Baptist.

Rounding out the staff are athletic trainers Rob Shifrin (head) and Katie Reyes (assistant), strength & conditioning coaches Bailey Forst (head) and Zane Hunt (assistant). Alexis Maier will handle nutrition, Raul Pimentel is back as a mental performance coach and Cristian Cordova has been tabbed as the technology assistant.

Quotable

"I'm excited for the new role and the challenges it entails. We have a great staff back in Vancouver this year, and I am looking forward to getting back in front of the amazing fans and atmosphere they provide at The Nat. We are going to set our sights high and hopefully defend our title by bringing another championship back to Vancouver." - Austin Bibens-Dirkx, Pitching Coach

"Last year was a great experience that was capped off with a championship, which made my first pro season extra special. Our staff was a special group. We worked well together and I was thankful for them, all of whom I learned a great deal from. This year I look forward to continuing to grow as a coach and helping players improve and reach their goals. I'm excited to be back in Vancouver!" - Ashley Stephenson, Position Coach

"I'm more than excited to return to the hometown stomping grounds. Receiving a ring my first year has to be a top memory, especially with it coming in Vancouver. The team, the staff and the fans really made 2023 an unforgettable 'Canadian Summer.' Everyone who was a part of last year's team should be more than proud; it was a long season and everyone executed their roles incredibly well. That said, I believe we are more than ready to run it back for the 2024 season. It will be tough, but I'm certain we're all ready to work." - Katie Reyes, Assistant Athletic Trainer

The 2024 season begins in Spokane on April 5 and Opening Night at Rogers Field at Nat Bailey Stadium is slated for Tuesday, April 9 at 7:05 p.m. For tickets and more information, visit CanadiansBaseball.com or call 604-872-5232.


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The opinions expressed in this release are those of the organization issuing it, and do not necessarily reflect the thoughts or opinions of OurSports Central or its staff.

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