Range Riders pick new manager

Oct. 26—The Glacier Range Riders will have their third manager in three seasons in 2024, with the announcement Tuesday that Paul Fletcher will lead the Pioneer League baseball team going forward.

Chris Kelly, president of Ridge Run Baseball, announced the move in a press release.

"Fletcher has had various coaching positions at collegiate and professional levels and spent time coaching and managing in the Frontier and Atlantic Leagues," the release said. "Fletcher also has scouting experience for organizations like the San Diego Padres, New York Mets, Philadelphia Phillies, and Pittsburgh Pirates.

"Throughout his scouting career, he discovered twenty-three players who eventually made it to Major League Baseball."

Fletcher, a left-handed pitcher drafted out of West Virginia State in 1988, pitched 15 innings in the majors himself, after time spent in the minor league systems of the Philadelphia Phillies and Oakland A's. He spent his last two professional seasons pitching in AAA with the Chicago Cubs in 1997 and Toronto in 1998.

Fletcher joined the Range Riders as pitching coach mid-season, replacing Zach Stewart, who according to then-manager Stu Pederson left the club for family reasons.

Pederson, who was not mentioned in the Range Riders release, said Tuesday he's considering an offer to stay on as hitting coach and bench coach. He held a similar position in the Range Riders' first season, in 2022.

That season the Range Riders went 39-56 under manager Nick Hogan, who after the season was moved to Director of Facility Operations for Glacier Bank Park. Pederson took over and guided the squad to a 31-15 first-half and 54-42 overall records.

Both marks were the second-best in the PL, but Billings' surge to a second-half title in the North Division kept Glacier out of the postseason. The Mustangs eventually fell to Ogden in the Pioneer League Championship Series.

In the release, Fletcher is quoted: "I am truly honored to join the Glacier Range Riders organization as manager and look forward to continuing to build a winning culture and team for the Flathead Valley fans."