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Recent Bates graduate Ryan Sonberg '13 is now the first baseball professional to come out of Bates College since Jason Coulie '00 played in the Angels' minor league system.

Sonberg, a two-time First Team All-NESCAC shortstop, signed a contract to play in the independent Pecos League, for the Taos Blizzard last summer. Sonberg earned the invitation after performing well at a recent pro tryout arranged by an Arizona Diamondbacks scout.

The 2014 season looks to be another step towards the top with many returning players and a large senior class.

Mike Leonard


Head Coach

Mike Leonard, a former Boston Red Sox minor leaguer and All-Big East catcher at the University of Connecticut, was appointed as head baseball coach at Bates College in November 2010.

Leonard has led the Bobcats to three winning seasons in his first three years, for a cumulative record of 63-49. Under his guidance, Bates has placed four players on the NESCAC All-Conference First Team. Other postseason individual honors include a 2013 ECAC All-Star nod for catcher Mekae Hyde.

Leonard was drafted by the Red Sox following an All-Big East career at the University of Connecticut, where he earned his bachelor's degree in political science in 2004. He spent four years as a catcher in the Red Sox minor league system, including two months with the Double A Portland Sea Dogs. He concluded his professional career in 2009 as a player-coach under former Red Sox catcher Rich Gedman with the Worcester Tornadoes of the independent Can-Am League.

"Mike is the person best suited to continue the arc of success that has been established with Bates baseball," Bates Director of Athletics Kevin McHugh said at the time of Leonard's appointment. McHugh said he was impressed by Leonard's coaching philosophy and his plan for the team's future, which combines "a unique blend" of the influences of some of his former coaches, such as his two head coaches at Connecticut, Andy Baylock and Jim Penders; St. Lawrence head coach Tom Fay; and Red Sox major league coaching assistant Rob Leary, a former minor league instructor for the organization. McHugh also cited Leonard's playing background, his coaching experience and "the unique and highly applicable lessons that he learned while playing professionally."


Jeff Benson


Assistant Coach

Jeff Benson enters his third season as an assistant coach in the Bates College baseball program in 2013-14, working with the team's outfielders and hitters.

A 1979 graduate of the University of Maine at Farmington, Benson played baseball for the Beavers. He served as an assistant coach at St. Joseph's College of Maine from 1987-90 and worked as an umpire through Maine's chapter of the Collegiate Baseball Umpires Assigning Organization for 15 years.

The athletic director at Oxford Hills High School, Benson resides in Auburn with his wife Jody.

Sam Grainger


Assistant Coach

Sam Grainger enters his first year as an assistant coach with the baseball program in 2013-14 coming off a successful career as a player and assistant coach at Clarkson University.

A 2012 graduate of Clarkson, Grainger spent the 2012-13 academic year serving as an assistant coach with the Golden Knights working directly with catchers, hitters, and pitchers. He also administered the team's strength & conditioning and nutrition programs in addition to duties involving the recruitment of players. In 2011-12, Grainger mentored the club's catchers as a volunteer assistant coach.

Grainger enjoyed a four-year career as a catcher at Clarkson from 2007-11 earning New York State Liberty League First Team honors as a senior. Born in England and raised in Bedford, Mass., Grainger captained the Golden Knights during his senior campaign.

Karl Olson


Assistant Coach

Karl Olson enters his second season as an assistant coach with the Bates College baseball program in 2013-14.

Olson completed a four-year career at Wheaton College (Mass.) from 2005-09. As a first-year, Olson helped lead the team to a New England Regional Championship in the NCAA tournament as the team came in second place at the NCAA College World Series. While with the Lyons, he aided the team in earning three consecutive NEWMAC Tournament titles (2006-08).

A 2009 graduate from Wheaton, Olson earned a bachelor's degree in Chemistry and began his coaching career at Bridgton Academy in North Bridgton, Maine.

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