COVINGTON, VA. — There is a collegiate wood bat team located near the Jackson River in Virginia that is making waves this summer because they have taken over the Valley Baseball League behind new skipper and Templeton Eagles alum Alex Kotheimer.
The Covington Lumberjacks are currently 24-14 on the season, they are currently in first place, and have already clinched at least second place in their league with only four games to go. Kotheimer, son of newly retired Templeton Eagles baseball coach Pete Kotheimer, graduated from Templeton High School in 2012 and then began playing baseball in junior college and at San Francisco State before ultimately finishing his career at NAIA school West Virginia University Institute of Technology.
“As a player, you always want to see how far you can go,” Kotheimer said of his playing career. “But I didn’t have the skill set to go far enough, but I wanted to stay around the game as long as possible.”
Last season Kotheimer works as the main assistant coach for WVU Tech Golden Bears and developed a friendship with the head coach of the team who happened to have a connection to the owners of the Covington Lumberjacks. Kotheimer applied for the job this year once it was made known there would be a vacancy and was chosen not long after.
At only 24 years old, Kotheimer is the youngest coach in the league and needed to first fill out the rest of his coaching staff. His first choice, one of his best friends and former teammates Brent Elgin who works with the pitching staff. The Lumberjacks also added current Atascadero head baseball coach Jonathan Thornhill in their dugout.
After filling out his coaching roster, Kotheimer began down the recruiting trail in search of excellent ball players.
“We have a lot of great guys from all over,” Kotheimer said. “There are guys on the team from 13 different states.”
According to their website, the Valley League in which the Lumberjacks play was founded in 1897, was NCAA sanctioned in 1961 and regularly boasts some of the best players and best teams in the country producing well over 1,100 big leaguers during its existence. Last season, the Charlottesville Tom Sox, who also played in the Valley League, was named the top summer college team in the country by Perfect Game.
As the top team in the league this year Kotheimer had the honor of coaching the all-star game that was played at James Madison University.
“The talent was tremendous, some of the best talent in the country,” Kotheimer said. “And there were probably 30 to 35 scouts in attendance to watch the kids.”
The Lumberjacks are the top team in the South Division of the league and their playoffs begin Sunday. You can keep up with the team by following their team Facebook page by simply typing Covington Lumberjacks into the search bar.