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May 1—HIGH POINT — High Point Rockers’ manager Jamie Keefe on Friday announced his coaching staff for the 2021 season. Keefe is bringing back the staff that coached the Rockers to the playoffs during their inaugural season in 2019.

Billy Horn will return as the bench coach and director of player procurement. Frank Viola remains the pitching coach and Albert Gonzalez will be back as the bullpen coach. In addition, Tyler Ladendorf will serve as a player-coach and will work with the Rockers’ hitters.

“To be able to put the band back together was very important,” Keefe said. “We had some success in 2019, and I’m glad we’re able to take another run at it together. They know what I expect out of them and I know what they expect out of me as well. We’re very happy to be here in High Point knowing we get to take the field every day with Billy, Frank, Albert and Tyler. We are all really excited to be able to do it together.”

Viola, 61, won 176 Major League games as a lefthanded pitcher with Minnesota, the New York Mets, Boston Red Sox, Cincinnati Reds and Toronto Blue Jays. The American League Cy Young Award winner in 1988 with the Twins, Viola went 24-7 with a 2.64 ERA in 35 starts. He pitched the Twins to the 1987 World Series championship, earning the win over the St. Louis Cardinals in Game 1 and Game 7 while being named World Series MVP.

“I’m looking forward to continuing what we started two years ago,” Viola said. “I am honored to be a part of this staff, and I’m looking forward to working with all the guys once again.”

Horn, 41, is a former pitcher at Lynn University in Florida and in independent leagues. He was the pitching coach at Lynn when the Fighting Knights won the NCAA Division II national championship. Horn pitched professionally in Italy and in the Golden Baseball League in California. He began his coaching career in the Pecos League in 2012 and has coached in the Can-Am League. Horn was the manager of the Normal CornBelters of the Frontier League in 2018 and joined the Rockers in 2019.

“I’m really looking forward to getting back to High Point this season,” Horn said. “We’ve all most certainly missed the competition, working with the staff, players and our front office. We had a very successful 2019 season, but there is some unfinished business to take care of on the field. We’re looking forward to putting another top-notch product on the diamond for the fans and competing for a league championship in 2021.”

Gonzalez is a 2013 graduate of High Point University and will be in his second season as the Rockers’ bullpen coach. He has served as the head baseball coach at Monroe College in The Bronx and as an assistant coach at Felician University and Yeshiva University, both in the New York area. Gonzalez coached alongside Keefe in the Can-Am League with the Rockland Boulders in 2017 and 2018.

Ladendorf returns to the Rockers after earning Atlantic League All-Star status in 2019 with a .256 average, 13 home runs and 87 RBI. He has been an assistant coach at Marshall University in Huntington, West Virginia this spring. Ladendorf spent the 2015 and 2016 seasons in the Major Leagues with the Oakland A’s after having been a second round pick of the Minnesota Twins in the 2008 MLB Draft.

“I am thrilled that our staff is returning intact from 2019,” said Rockers President Pete Fisch. “The staff provided great leadership in helping High Point reach the playoffs, which is unheard of for a first-year franchise. I am confident that Jamie and his staff will lead the Rockers to another successful season as well as represent High Point in a first-class manner.”

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