Raptors take over popular NW Baseball Coaches Association Conference

Annual convention in Portland attracts hundreds of coaches, many from Clark County

The business of baseball works better with the coaching of baseball, brought to you by the people who have a love of baseball.

The Northwest Baseball Coaches Association Conference will be held Jan. 17-19 at the Sheraton Portland Airport Hotel. 

The convention, which serves college and high school baseball coaches from Washington, Oregon, Idaho, and Montana, is now run by the Southwest Washington Baseball group, which owns the Ridgefield Raptors. 

“Our business and baseball cannot prosper just being in a silo,” said Gus Farah, the general manager of the Raptors. 

The event will feature guest speakers as well as a place to learn player/coach skill development, leadership, the ;atest practice plans, data analysis, and more. 

“If there is a happy baseball community, we feel our business is going to be healthy as well,” Farah said. 

Close to 400 are expected to attend.

The keynote speaker at this year’s event will be Jim Morris, the former Miami Hurricanes coach. 

In all, there are 18 scheduled speakers, including the four Pac-12 head coaches from the Northwest: Brian Green, the new head coach at Washington State, Lindsay Meggs, the head coach at Washington, Oregon State coach Mitch Canham, and Oregon coach Mark Wasikowski.

Also on the schedule is Kyle Boddy, founder of Driveline Baseball and the pitching coordinator for the Cincinnati Reds. For a full list of speakers, go to the convention’s website at: https://nwbca.com/

“The lineup that they have is the best that I can remember,” said Union High School baseball coach Ben McGrew, who has attended the convention at least 15 times.

The January event is a perfect spot on the calendar, McGrew said.

“It’s the time to focus back on your (upcoming) season. It shows it is time to get going,” he said. “You pick up new stuff from people there. It’s a time to network with everyone in the Northwest you’ve coached against over the years and worked with. It’s always fun to see them and collaborate with them.”

McGrew said most of the Clark County high school coaches attend the conference every year.

Jerry Gatto started the conference more than 20 years ago. A lifelong Portland resident, he was the winningest coach in Lewis and Clark College history. He died last March after a battle with cancer.

“He left it in our hands. He knew some of us and liked why we were interested in it, which is really to just further baseball,” Farah said. “Now we have the responsibility.”

The Ridgefield Raptors are looking ahead to the 2020 baseball season, their second. The inaugural season brought West Coast League, wood-bat baseball to Clark County and drew thousands of fans to the Ridgefield Outdoor Recreation Complex.

For schedule and ticket information for the 2020 Raptors, go to the team’s website at: https://ridgefieldraptors.com/

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About The Author

Paul Valencia joins ClarkCountyToday.com after more than two decades of newspaper experience. He became the face of high school sports coverage in Clark County during his 17 years at The Columbian. Before moving to Vancouver, Paul worked at Oregon daily newspapers in Pendleton, Roseburg, and Salem. A graduate of David Douglas High School in Portland, Paul enlisted in the U.S. Army, serving three years as a soldier/journalist. He and his wife Jenny recently celebrated their 20th anniversary. They have a son who has a passion for karate and Minecraft. Paul’s hobbies include: Watching the Raiders play football, reading about the Raiders playing football, and waiting to watch and read about the Raiders playing football.

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