(Waldorf, MD, January 14, 2022)The Southern Maryland Blue Crabs announced on Thursday afternoon that all four coaches from the 2021 coaching staff will be returning for the 2022 season.
Blue Crabs General Manager Courtney Knichel will bring back Manager Stan Cliburn to accompany the team’s Pitching Coach, Daryl Thompson, Bench Coach, Joe Walsh, and Hitting Coach, Ray Ortega.
“It feels great to be coming back next season with the same staff as last year,” said manager Stan Cliburn. “We can continue to build and come back better than ever.”
In 2021 Cliburn led the Blue Crabs to a 63-57 record and an ALPB North Division Second-Half championship. Stan’s squad punched the Crabs a ticket to the 2021 ALPB Playoffs, Southern Maryland’s first postseason run since 2017. The skipper’s triumphant turnaround to finish the 2021 campaign earned him his second ALPB Manager of the Year honors. Stan’s Crabs won 10 of their final 15 games and 6 of their final 7 to secure a playoff spot before stealing game one of the Atlantic League North Division Championship Series on the road on Long Island.
On September 10, 2021, Cliburn notched his 1,800th professional-managerial win, a feat few have reached in professional baseball. In 32 years as a Manager Cliburn has sat on the dugout’s top step for 3,569 games, and is currently on the brink of cracking the all-time top 25 for games managed in the minor leagues. 2022 will be Cliburn’s fourth season as the helm in Southern Maryland (‘15,’19, ‘21).
The Prince of La Plata, Daryl Thompson, will be staying home in Southern Maryland. The two-time reigning ALPB Pitcher of the Year is a rare player/coach combination and continues to have success in both positions. In his first two seasons as the squad’s Pitching Coach, Thompson’s staff has swept all ALPB yearly pitching awards. Thompson was named the ALPB Pitcher of the Year in 2019 and 2021, while his relievers have owned the past two ALPB Reliever of the Year Awards (Mat Latos ‘19, Endrys Briceno ‘21).
Blue Crabs’ Bench Coach Joe Walsh will be returning as well for his eighth season with the team, having solidified himself as an essential piece to the Blue Crabs organization. Walsh is highly regarded for his work in the community, scouting, and increasing team morale.
Ray Ortega will return for his second year as the team’s Hitting Coach. Cliburn brought Ortega to Southern Maryland due to his early success in the United Shore Professional Baseball League. Ortega played in the Frontier League and the USPBL where he quickly rose from a player to an Assistant Manager to the USPBL Scouting Advisor. Ortega came to Southern Maryland in 2021 from the San Francisco Giants’ Triple-A affiliate where he had great success as the squad’s Bullpen Coach.
The Blue Crabs are set to start their season on April 21st, 2022, taking on the reigning ALPB champion Lexington Legends before returning for their Home Opener on April 26th at 6:35 PM.