FIRST HONOR FOR MINERS SKIPPER
September 1, Augusta, NJ – The Can-Am League announced today that Sussex County Miners manager Bobby Jones has been named the 2018 Can-Am League Manager of the Year. The award is the first such honor for the Miners skipper, and the first in franchise history.
Jones was brought on board as the Miners manager on October 21, 2015 and has guided the Miners through steady improvement in each of his three season. His inaugural campaign saw the Miners go 39-61, which was a 1.5 game improvement over the season before. Jones would make further improvement to the team as the Miners went 45-54 in 2016 and clinch their first ever Can-Am League playoff berth. This past season. however, surpassed the expectations of many fans who follow the team and league, as the Miners have won 63 games this season and stand one win away from establishing a new Can-Am benchmark for best season-to-season improvement in the league’s history.
“It’s definitely up there with anything I’ve done as an athlete or anything in sports,” Jones would comment upon learning that he had won the award. “It’s a great accomplishment, but obviously it’s a team thing. The guys really played well and made this happen.”
Miners General Manager Justin Ferrarella was certainly effusive in his praise of the Miners bench boss. “(The award is) Well deserved,” he would say earlier on the celebratory evening. “He brought this team from nothing and revamped the roster completely. I love his fire and passion for the game. He works very well with the guys, especially the pitchers. David (Rollins) and (Alex) Demchak are a testament to that.”
The Miners have set several Can-Am League records in 2017. The first record to fall was the consecutive home wins mark, which the Miners currently hold at 16 consecutive games. The Miners would then obliterate their own team stolen base mark, formerly at 163 swipes, with a current total of 240 total steals. Breland Almadova would break the individual single season stolen base mark of 49, as he carries 51 steals going into the last game of the season. The Miners would then go on to notch their 41st home victory in the first game of a doubleheader against Trois-Rivieres to set the single season home wins mark.
All of the records and awards have not been lost on Ferrarella. “No one wants to win more than Bobby Jones,” Ferrarella noted. “He’s going to get the best out of his guys. (He) takes chances and I believe that’s just part of what led to this special record breaking year.”
Jones is quick to credit the players for the Miners success this season. “It’s a blessing,” Jones would say. “When you put this together, you never know what you’re going to get when you’re looking at numbers. But we’ve been very fortunate to have a great group a guys, a bunch of winners, and now I know as a manager exactly what I’m looking for as well in a player so my team can keep moving forward.”
Jones also helps out the front office throughout the calendar year, a fact that Ferrarella acknowledges. “He has helped me in so many ways,” Ferrarella would add. “(He does so much on the field and so much off the field for the team.”
“It’s the world,” Jones would add when asked about this experience. “I mean, I love to play but I think I love managing a little bit more. Obviously, I wouldn’t be managing if I didn’t play, but I just got to say the impact you can have on guys lives and just the game and everything, it means the world to me.”
The Miners – led by their manager Bobby Jones – begin their push for a Can-Am League Championship on Wednesday, September 5th on the road in a best-of-five series. The Miners will return home for Game Three on Friday, September 7th.
Photo: Sara Schaarschmidt