Danville Otterbots announce 2022 coaching staff

Danville, Virginia. –As the second season of Otterbots baseball draws closer, the club has announced that the manager, batting coach and pitching coach from their inaugural campaign will all return to the same roles. Manager Desi Relaford will be joined in the dugout by batting coach Ed Fulton and pitching coach Clyde Keller.

The 2021 Otterbots embodied the spirit of their coaches and finished the season as the hottest team in the league, winning 10 of their last 13 games. Relaford compiled a career fielding percentage of .960 during his 11-year career in MLB – the Otterbots led the 2021 Appalachian League in fielding percentage (.965) and double plays (35). Fulton was a patient and present presence at home plate, racking up 158 walks in his first four professional seasons — the Otterbots led the 2021 Appalachian League in walks (300). Keller has shown dominance on the mound during his pro career, racking up 230 strikeouts and a 23:6 K/BB ratio from 1989-1992 — the Otterbots led the 2021 Appalachian League in total strikeouts in the stick (550).

Relaford returns to the Otterbots his plethora of baseball experience and knowledge from nearly every spot on the field. In 2018, Relaford began his coaching career as the bench coach of the Daytona Tortugas, the Advanced-A affiliate of the Cincinnati Reds, where he helped guide the team to a 69-66 overall record and a berth. in the Florida State League Championship Series. Prior to the start of his coaching career, Relaford was drafted by the Seattle Mariners in the fourth round of the June 1991 MLB Entry Draft. He spent 11 seasons with seven different teams in Major League Baseball, including five years with the Philadelphia Phillies.

Throughout his career, Relaford hit .243 with 308 RBIs and finished the 2001 season with a career-best .302 average as well as eight home runs and 36 RBIs for the Mets. Although he excelled at home plate, Relaford was also known for his versatility on the court. He has played in every defensive position except first baseman and receiver throughout his career, and has amassed a career fielding percentage of .960. After retiring in 2008, Relaford started his own label, 6 Hole Records, in Jacksonville before returning to the game as a coach in 2018.

Fulton, a Danville native and longtime head coach at nearby Averett University, will return to his batting coaching responsibilities. In 21 seasons at the helm of the Averett program, Fulton won 404 games, won the 2003 U.S. Southern Conference championship and had three players picked in the Major League Baseball draft. Before joining the Cougars coaching staff in 1997, he played nine minor league seasons, including one year in the Appalachian League with Johnson City and six at the Triple-A level. Fulton was selected by the St. Louis Cardinals in the 16th round of the 1987 Florida State Draft where he helped the Seminoles win 230 games and qualify for the College World Series twice during his career. college career. As a member of the 1986 USA Collegiate Baseball National Team, Fulton hit .351 with six home runs and 35 RBIs in 39 games.

Building on his success in amateur and professional baseball, Keller returned to Danville as the Otterbots’ pitching coach. Previously, he served as pitching coach at Florida State in 2019 after three seasons as a volunteer assistant for the Seminoles. He also coached in the collegiate ranks from 1997 to 2000 as a pitching coach and recruiting coordinator at Western Kentucky. Keller then turned professional as a pitching coach for the Single-A Auburn Doubledays in the Toronto Blue Jays organization for the 2001 campaign. His coaching career began in 1994 when he became a coach -head of Berkeley Prep in Tampa. In four years at the helm, he’s made three trips to regionals and one state championship appearance. He then returned to school as a pitching coach from 2011 to 2014.

The Fair Oaks, Calif., native was a two-way player for FSU from 1988-89, earning All-Metro Conference First-Team honors both seasons. He also participated in the 1987 Pan American Games in Indianapolis as a member of the United States national collegiate baseball team. Selected in the 32nd round of the 1989 MLB Draft by the St. Louis Cardinals, Keller spent five years as a minor and was twice named a finalist for the Rolaids Minor League Reliever of the Year award (1991, 1992).

Corporate partnership opportunities, membership plans and group outings for the 2022 Otterbots season are currently available. For more information, contact the Otterbots Home Office at 434-554-4487, or [email protected].