WENATCHEE– Fourth-year coach, and second-year head coach AJ Proszek announced his decision to not return as the head coach of the Wenatchee AppleSox for the 2017 season, Tuesday. Proszek will spend more time in Spokane with his wife and family, while dedicating his summer months to time recruiting and managing his pitching staff at the Community Colleges of Spokane.
“My time in Wenatchee has given me an incredible experience to learn and grow as a coach, and I am grateful for the last four summers that I have spent as a member of this community,” said Proszek. “The West Coast League provides an outstanding atmosphere for players and coaches to improve their skills, and everyone involved spends a great deal of time to make each summer a valuable experience. After talking with my family and weighing my options, I’ve decided the best thing for me to do right now is to focus my energy in Spokane with the Sasquatch baseball program, and also to spend more time at home with my wife Cara.”
In total, Proszek coached 136 collegiate athletes during his four seasons in Wenatchee. The third all-time coach of the AppleSox, Proszek coached Brandon Bailey to a West Coast League All-League Pitching honor in 2014, and an additional three players to All-League honors in 2015, with more 2016 league honorees scheduled to be announced after the postseason.
“AJ continued the history of impressive AppleSox coaches as an integral part of our operation, and was an outstanding representation of what AppleSox baseball is all about,” said team co-owner and general manager Jim Corcoran. “Every day I work with AJ, I grow more and more impressed with the way that he manages his team, and is able to focus his energies into efforts to not only make the summer a positive experience for his players and coaching staff, but also for the rest of our staff, the fans, and other teams we work with in the league. It has been a pleasure working with AJ the last four seasons, and he leaves extremely large shoes for the next AppleSox head coach to fill.”
A two-year player in the West Coast League with Spokane RiverHawks, and former minor-league pitcher in the San Francisco Giants organization, Proszek won 50 games in two seasons as the AppleSox head coach, and his teams had five players selected to WCL All-Star rosters.
His pitching staff set the West Coast League record for strikeouts in 2014, setting down the opposition 468 times; a record barely beaten this year by the Walla Walla Sweets (471).
Tuesday, following his fourth year in Wenatchee, Proszek continued to thank those who made his last four years of coaching a success.
“First and foremost, I’d like to thank my wife for her continuous support of my career and my family for their love and encouragement. Also, I’d like to thank the AppleSox organization, especially Jim Corcoran and Ken Osborne for the opportunity to lead the AppleSox. I also owe a great deal of thanks to former AppleSox head coach Ed Knaggs, the assistant coaches I have worked with the past few seasons, the other coaches I have worked with in the league, and the players who made my time coaching here a positive experience. Also, I’ve been blown away by the fans, host families, and people I’ve met in the Wenatchee Valley. They have always valued me as AJ the person, not just AJ the coach. I will be taking many great memories and friendships away from Wenatchee with me.”
The AppleSox have begun the search for the team’s next coach, and co-owner and assistant general manager Ken Osborne is heading the search committee. The team is excited to find a coach who can build upon the foundation laid by the organization’s first three head coaches; Gary Lewallen, Ed Knaggs, and AJ Proszek.