Rockford, Illinois News

Rockford Rivets firm up 2020 coaching staff ahead of July 1 start

LOVES PARK – The Rockford Rivets have firmed up their coaching staff ahead of their July 1 opener.

Josh Keim returns for his second season as manager. A Rock Island native, Keim is a former all-conference player at St. Joseph’s College where he logged 100 hits in two seasons. He also played at Black Hawk College and Illinois State University.

Before coming to Rockford, Keim spent four seasons as the head assistant coach and recruiting coordinator at Quincy University in Quincy, Illinois. His teams posted a 149-79 record during his tenure, earning Top-10 national rankings while reaching the NCAA Tournament all four years.

After guiding the Rivets to a 33-39 mark last year in the Northwoods League Great Lakes East Division, Keim is excited about being back on the field after a long offseason.

“We are excited about most of the guys we have coming to Rockford. Look for Jimmy Burnette, Carson Seymour and Jarret Olson to have solid summers on the mound,” Keim said. “Branden Comia, Jeff Heinrich, Ryan Hampe, and Bobby Seymour are huge additions to the offense.”

Like ball clubs across the nation, Rockford is starting its 2020 campaign more than a month late because of the coronavirus pandemic, something Keim says players and coaches are overcoming.

“There have been many unknowns throughout the pandemic of whether we would even get the chance to play this summer,” he said. “Guys will be rusty and it will take some time to get their legs back, but we will play hard. Our biggest goals for the team are to stay healthy, develop, and leave better than when they showed up to Rockford.”

Keim will again be assisted by pitching coach Adam Carey and hitting coach TJ Marik. Carey earned three varsity letters at Central College (Iowa), where he also works with Dutch pitchers.

Marik is a former NCAA Division I student-athlete at both Austin Peay University and Northern Kentucky University. He served as the first base coach at Saint Leo University in Florida, this past season, a campaign cut short because of the pandemic. Marik spent last season as an assistant at Roosevelt University in Chicago.

Keim said while there have been many unknowns throughout the pandemic, including whether Rockford would even take the field this summer, the Rivets have tried not to miss a beat in their offseason training.

“We have made sure our guys are prepared no matter what as if we were going to play July 1.”

The Fond du Lac Dock Spiders, Green Bay Booyah, La Crosse Loggers, Wisconsin Rapids Rafters, Wisconsin Woodchucks  and the Rivets all return to play July 1. A full schedule will be released June 22.

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