By Ryan Palencer
— For Avon’s Ray Hancock, the 2013 baseball season is going to be an exciting one as he will take the reigns of the Raton Osos in the Pecos League.
“I am extremely excited,” Hancock said. “Just like anyone else, you always want to go to the next level. The players that I have, most of them are 24 through 28 or 29, as far as age goes. A lot of them have some pro experience, one or two years. Quite a few guys are right out of college.”
Hancock is also pleased that the Pecos League “gets a lot of guys that are sent to the higher levels” of independent league baseball.
Hancock was initially slated to manage the Carlsbad Bats, but the team folded before the season began. This led to the change of plans and taking over for Raton.
Since the announcement that he was taking over, Hancock has had a busy schedule. He recently spent a month working as part of the development league for a pair of teams from the Pecos League.
In addition, he leaves April 29 to travel to St. Louis for a tryout camp for the Frontier League, where there will be some players that they may look to sign. Hancock has worked on a staff in the Frontier League with the Ohio Valley Redcoats.
He is scheduled to report to Raton on May 1, with a report date for players of May 5.
In addition to working with the Redcoats, Hancock has also coached with the USA Baseball Collegiate summer team, a number of AJAA teams, several summer and fall high school teams, and he served as coach for the Avon Middle School South team in its single year of existence.
Hancock led Avon Middle School South to a 14-1 record and a county championship two years ago.
However, when it comes down to Hancock’s preferred job, it’s not a difficult decision.
“I do miss the seventh grade at Avon and was upset that they could not find the money to keep the program going, because I would still be here in Avon,” he said. “Even though I do have the opportunity to go somewhere else, I really enjoyed that level and the kids.”
Hancock’s opportunity to coach professional baseball spurs from some work that he had done in the past with some professional players, like Derrick Pyles. Pyles also spent some time in the Pecos League, prior to joining the United League this season.
“(Pyles) asked me one day if I would be interested in coaching,” Hancock said. “I thought ‘why not? I’m not doing anything else.’ He put me in touch with the commissioner, Andrew Dunn, and I sent my resume in. I got called to go to Houston last month to check me out. I had the job before I left, but that’s when they cancelled the Carlsbad team.”
Hancock said he’s excited about the opportunity to coach in the Pecos League.
“This will be the third year for the Pecos League,” he said. “They’re doing pretty well actually. A lot of the towns are in New Mexico and one is in Colorado and the towns are behind them pretty good. That’s a good thing.”
In addition, he said he’s looking forward to coaching a team with some different backgrounds and even some international flavor.
“There are several players from other countries,” Hancock said. “There’s one from Japan, one from South Korea, Australia, Norway, and just about every place. There’s a bunch from America. We are talking about them all being quality players. They’re looking to get a foot in the door to move to higher levels.”
For more information about the Raton Osos, visit the website at raton.pecosleague.com.