Medford and Klamath Falls are the two newest teams in the West Coast League. The Gems were added in 2011, the Rogues this season. The two young franchises have both chosen young coaches to lead their ball clubs.
Josh Hogan is at the helm for Medford, while Mitch Karraker is the head coach for Klamath Falls. It’s Karraker’s first ever season as a head coach, while Hogan is in his second year. While Both have experience as assistants, being the head coach his a whole different ball game and a big challenge for someone still in their mid-20s.
“I’ve been around the coaching world a little bit,” said Hogan, “but I hadn’t been a head coach before. It was kind of a new world for me but I thought I was ready for it and properly prepared.”
“My only concern when we first talked to him is, gosh, he’s 23 years old, can he lead people?” said Rogues’ General Manager Chuck Heeman. “It’s never been an issue since we hired him.”
Karraker and Hogan took similar paths to the West Coast League. Both were players for the 2009 Oregon Ducks, the first year that baseball was brought back to the University. Both also went from Ducks’ players to assistant coaches under George Horton. The two remain close to this day, and as fate would have it, Karraker coached his first ever game against Hogan.
“It was fun you know, my first game there was a little bit of jitters and nerves,” said Karraker. “Obviously my first head coaching experience, but after that it felt a little bit like a scrimmage. We know what each other’s going to do. We know what each other likes to do and it’s going to be a blast playing against him in the future.”