FORMER GPHS GRADUATE (2010) AND NUGGETS STAR BRANDON DRURY STARTED THE YEAR IN A SLUMP WITH 28 STRIKEOUTS, 2ND WORST IN THE AMERICAN LEAGUE. BUT, DRURY HAS COME TO LIFE IN TORONTO SERIES AT OAKLAND 4/19 & 4/20 BELTING A SOLO SHOT FRIDAY NIGHT, AND FOLLOWING THAT UP WITH A DINGER SATURDAY, AND A DOUBLE.
By Jay Byrd Reese--
(Grants Pass, OR) – When the 2019 American Legion Baseball ‘Area-4’ league begins play June 1st, there will be four of the six teams with new Manager-Head Coaches.
Last week, the Grants Pass Nuggets were the last of the four to name a new Manager to run its ‘AAA’ baseball program this summer.
He is Jeff Weiss.
The 31-year old former Nugget player and assistant coach takes over the program which has finished 2nd-Place the past two seasons, and has played for the Oregon State Championship twice since 2013.
Weiss succeeds longtime coach and Nuggets Hall of Famer Mike Reese, who recently retired from Legion services after 35 years in the program. Reese was the only coach in history to lead the Nuggets to three state Championship appearances (1988, 2013, 2016).
“I have been blessed to be able to coach under and alongside those I consider some of the best coaches in Oregon. I am a student of the game and plan on utilizing pieces from my previous coaches I’ve had the opportunity to study under as well as my own experiences.”
Weiss, a 2005 Crater HS graduate, has ties to Grants Pass since playing for the Nuggets himself in 2005, and becoming a coach.
He also coached under the leadership of Brian Diatte & Reese at North Valley HS in 2008, and at Grants Pass HS for
Most recently Weiss assisted Jay Campbell helping lead Crater to the 2018 ‘OSAA Class 6A’ State Title.
The former Comet starred at Linn-Benton Community College playing in the NWAAC in 2006-07.
Weiss plans to name a coaching Staff in the coming weeks and is excited to battle for a League Championship in his first summer.
“It’s my opinion that we have great coaches and players that have fed the Nuggets program. Hidden Valley, Grants Pass, Crater and surrounding area schools have and will continue to produce athletes that provide great opportunities for our program. I am looking forward to this journey.”
Grants Pass opens League play on Monday, June 17th at Medford facing the State Champion Mustangs at Harry & David Field at 6pm.
Mike Reese who has served more years as Head Coach-Manager of the Grants Pass Nuggets American Legion baseball program than any other coach in the history of the program announced his retirement November 19, 2018.
Reese, is the winningest baseball coach ever in Josephine County among all area high school, Legion and Independent teams.
The 1977 Grants Pass graduate led the GP legion 'AAA' team to three Oregon State Runnerup finishes (1988, 2013, 2016) during his 5 stints as Manager since the mid 1980's.
"I've been very fortunate to have coached with some of the best coaches in the game period, and to coach against the best. And, I've been lucky to teach and mentor some great players along the way"
Reese who has over 900 career wins combined as a Legion and High School Head Coach adds, "I've dedicated my entire life to baseball in this town, and it's time for somebody else to take the lead."
The Legion Hall of Famer plans to serve as an Assistant Coach next spring on Mark Vidlak's staff at Hidden Valley High School (4A-Skyline Conf.).
Reese most recently led the Nuggets to a second-place (10-10/26-19) finish in 'Area-4' League play in 2018, but were eliminated in the Super Regional playoffs.
He was a member of the 1977 GPHS team that finished OSAA State runner-up. At age 14 he caught his first 'AAA' legion game for the then nicknamed GP Mock Ford Broncos team.
Reese played collegiately in San Diego, and played under contract in Perth, Australia. In addition, he played for the Grants Pass Thunderbirds, twice a Regional Semi-Pro Champion.
He has coached at North Valley, Hidden Valley, and also at Grants Pass High School.
"I'm grateful to the Legion Board of Directors over the years, and to all the sponsors who supported our efforts along the way."