ELIZABETHTON, Tennessee – The River Riders announce their 2022 coaching staff will join manager Jeremy Owens this season at Elizabethton. Leading the team this season are batting coach Lee Stevens, pitching coach John Chalupa and bench coach Bree Nasti.
Stevens’ professional resume dates back to 1986, when he was the California Angels’ first pick. He went on to play 17 years in professional baseball, 10 in the major leagues with the Angels, Rangers, Expos and Indians, and two years in Japan. From 2013 to 2019, Stevens served as batting coach with the Colorado Rockies Rookie League A+ and AA levels.
“I look forward to working with these young men and helping them become better players and good role models in this great game of baseball,” Stevens said.
Chalupa is currently the pitching coach for the UVA Wise Cavaliers with a background in college baseball. While a pitcher at Odessa College, Chalupa earned an associate’s degree in sports medicine. After transferring to Fairleigh Dickinson University, he earned a bachelor’s degree in science and biology while pursuing his baseball career for the Knights. After graduation, his college coaching career began at Lake Erie College under Ray Skjold and Gary Vaught.
As Chalupa enters this season with the River Riders, he explained: “[I’m] very excited and eager to work alongside Jeremy Owens and Lee Stevens and learn from him. With their experience and passion for the game, I believe we are going to help these young men in this game while getting ‘W’s along the way!”
For the first time in the history of the Elizabethton River Riders, a female coach will join the staff. Bench coach Bree Nasti has record experience. A graduate of the University at Buffalo, she was a letter winner for four years, a three-time All-Region winner and a three-time Conference All-Mid-American selection. Nasti left Buffalo as the all-time leader in batting average (.387), home runs (27), RBI (113), hits (197), doubles (46), triples ( 7), races (93) and steps (66). In 2002, she set the SUNY Buffalo and MAC single-season record with a .451 batting average. The Baldwin, NY native was the head softball coach at Adelphi University for six years before joining Providence College in 2018 as an assistant coach. In 2021, she was promoted to Associate Head Coach.
“I want to thank Casey Fahy for this incredible opportunity. It’s an exciting time for women in baseball and I’m thrilled to join an incredible staff and organization. I look forward to helping grow the players while developing professionally,” said Nasti. “I look forward to working with and for Jeremy Owens and his team. I believe the River Riders are a great organization whose philosophies, values and styles align with mine. The sense of inclusiveness that I have felt from the start makes me enthusiastic about the culture and environment that I believe I experience in Elizabethton.
Manager Jeremy Owens commented on his coaching staff saying: “I’m so excited for our squad this year, having Lee Stevens, John Chalupa and Bree Nasti added to the squad will give us a great opportunity for success this season.”
The Elizabethton River Riders make their season debut on June 2 against the Johnson City Doughboys. For more information about the team, visit elizabethtonriverriders.com or call the office at (423) 547-6443.