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Finally, Bandits hire a winner, salty Bocock

Posted 2018-09-06

    After posting a season record that will live in Valley Baseball League infamy, the Woodstock River Bandits Tuesday announced the hiring of a new coach.

    Mike Bocock, a 2016 VBL Hall of Fame inductee who has won league championships with four teams, will coach the Bandits in 2019.    

    Bocock managed in the Valley Baseball League for 23 seasons with five different franchises.  He won a record seven league championships as a head coach, reaching 13 championship series and 13 pennants.

    Bocock earned Valley Baseball League titles with New Market (1989), Staunton (1995, 1999), Luray (2006, 2008, 2010) and Waynesboro (2013).  He was 2005 Valley Baseball League coach of the year, had a career record of 535-388 in regular season and an 85-54 record in postseason.

    On his return to coaching, Bocock said he was excited and that his family is supportive of his decision. “We are truly a baseball family,” he said.

     He thanked the River Bandits board, especially president Randy Jones, general manager Robert (Porky) Bowman, and long-time board member Jerry Walters for the opportunity.

    The River Bandits this summer completed a 5-37 season, the worst in team history and among the worst in league record books.

    In earlier coaching days, Bocock was known as a fiery competitor, often in conflict with umpires and occasionally players. An old school coach, Bocock has spared no emotion in his quest to win, but says he has  “mellowed somewhat over the years.”

    Bocock was hired, in part, because of his contacts within college baseball ranks and his ability to recruit talent. He has been a winner at each coaching post.

    A graduate of Turner Ashby High School, Bridgewater College and the University of Florida, Bocock built successful high school programs at Stonewall Jackson and Harrisonburg, and two schools in Florida before moving into the college ranks at Chowan.

    Major League players who played under Bocock in the Valley Baseball League include Aubrey Huff, Mike Maroth, Jason Michaels, Daniel Murphy, Chad Tracy, Yonder Alonso, Brian Bocock, Nick Regilii and Luke Scott.

    Former Bocock player selected in the first round of the Major League Draft include Jason Arnold (New York Yankees), Carlos Gutierez (Minnesota Twins) and Alex Wimmers (Minnesota Twins).

    Many players who have passed through Bocock’s Shenandoah Valley Baseball-Softball Academy have gone on to college careers.

    Bocock also co-hosts the local sports talk show “Play Ball” on WSVA-550 AM in Harrisonburg.

    Until recently, he was commissioner of the Rockingham County Baseball League.