Will Growlers Repeat ‘Unlikely’ Season With Majority of Coaching Staff Returning?
Coming off of their 2022 Championship season, the Growlers are setting the stage for a (potential) repeat in 2023, starting with the coaching staff.
A statement released this week from the Northwoods League, and Growlers management confirms nearly the full Coaching staff will be returning this year.
The full statement was released by the team:
Following a Northwoods League championship in 2022, the Growlers return the majority of their coaching staff for 2023.
Manager Cody Piechocki returns for his 8th season at the helm of the Growlers. Piechocki has led the Growlers to playoff appearances in 2018, ’19, ’20 and ’22. Steve Bennecke also returns for his fifth season overall with the team and will serve as the assistant coach in 2023. Bennecke is the current head coach at Kalamazoo Valley Community College. Pitching coach Ben Harley is back for his second season. Harley currently serves as the head coach at Centralia College in Centralia, WA.
Only one coaching position will change in 2023, and that's hitting coach Kyle Houts, who is currently serving as the Associate Head Coach at Lane University in Jackson, Tennessee. But, he's a Michigan native, hailing from Spring Lake, MI.
As for head coach Cody Piechocki, this will be his eighth season with the Growlers, and his 10th season as a coach in the Northwoods League. Previously, he was with the Battle Creek Bombers as an assistant coach before joining the Growlers in their inaugural season in 2014.
Ben Harley returns for his second season as pitching coach, and Steve Bennecke will celebrate his fifth season with the Growlers this year as Assistant coach. He was also named head coach at KVCC in 2021 after Piechocki left the position.
The Growlers went on a historic run in 2022, finishing first place in the first half of the season, guaranteeing them a spot in the Northwoods League playoffs, but then hit a skid in the second half of the season that had people saying "better luck next year."
But the team turned that negativity on its head, and made a playoff run for the history books that took the "Unlikely" outcome of winning a Northwoods League Championship, and made it a reality.
So the question remains, will the Growlers be able to repeat the "Magic in a Bottle" produced during last season? If Cody Piechocki's excitement just for the 2023 schedule release is any indicator, he's already hyped for May!
Kalamazoo is certainly ready for another exciting year.
You can watch the full Two-Part "Unlikely" documentary below on the Growlers historic Championship Run from last season.