Suarez Tabbed as Sanford Mainers New Skipper
Written by Jacob Ouellette
SANFORD – The Sanford Mainers will have a new face leading the charge for the 2019 season.
The Sanford Mainers announced Wednesday that Cejay Suarez will take over as the organization's new manager. He fills the void of the recently departed Chris Morris who held the helm since 2016.
Morris leaves the Mainers after a successful three-year stint, compiling a 67-62 record, while taking the Moose to the league championship in his first year. He also earned the Joel Cooney Manager of the Year Award that same season. He then brought the Mainers to the division finals this past season. The Mainers organization extends their gratitude to Coach Morris for his efforts and his time with the team and wish him the best of luck as he takes on a new adventure in his coaching career.
Suarez, who is currently an assistant coach at Bridgton Academy alongside Wolverines head coach and Mainers General Manager, Aaron Izaryk, joins the Moose with very simple goals in mind.
"My goals for this coming summer are to compete at a very high level throughout the entire New England Collegiate Baseball League, but most importantly the Northern Division," Suarez said. "I want to create an atmosphere with our guys that they love coming to the field, looking to get better, and taking their game to the next level."
Suarez is no stranger to the NECBL, spending time in the league as an assistant coach for the now defunct Plymouth Pilgrims for two seasons under the guidance of head coach Greg Zackrison. In those two years he helped the Pilgrims to the Southern Division finals after the team compiled a 50-35 record during that time.
"Those two summers were great building blocks of learning how to manage a roster through a long season," Suarez said. "I can't thank the Plant family and Greg enough for giving a fresh college graduate a chance to coach in one of the best summer leagues in the country. Building positive relationships with the players was a main goal of mine as I still continue to talk with guys, from my first summer in Plymouth."
Izaryk saw this opportunity as a "no brainer" and has watched Suarez grow in all aspects of the game, beginning with his time coaching the new manager at Bridgton before Suarez went on to Saint Joseph's College to play for the Monks. Izaryk then brought Suarez on as an assistant for the Wolverines.
"Whether a player at Bridgton Academy or Saint Joseph's College, or on the coaching side at Bridgton or Plymouth, Cejay has remained consistent in his ability to listen, grow, motivate and lead," Izaryk said. "These traits are immediately evident when working with Cejay."
Though winning a championship is always a goal, Suarez mirrors Izaryk's mentality of the importance of community and looks forward to building off the already strong connection the Mainers have with their supporters, whether it be fans, sponsors, volunteers, or others who back the team.
"The fans should expect a person that truly cares about the community and the organization," Suarez said of himself. "Tying the community in with our players is a great way to build relationships for them. This may be the only summer these players are in Sanford and I want them to build relationships with our community that can last a lifetime."
"While he certainly possesses a tremendous baseball acumen within the nine innings of a game, he is also an individual who values community," Izaryk said. "Not only in its importance, but in giving back to the communities he's involved in. The support from Sanford and the surrounding communities is of utmost importance to the Mainers, and we are excited to have Cejay be a leader both on and off the field."
The Mainers mission in the dual aspect of the game has remained the same throughout its franchise history, and Izaryk says Suarez will only strengthen that mission.
"Cejay brings an appreciation to the Mainers as an opposing coach and visitor to Goodall Park, but he also brings ideas, strategy and a network that is congruent to our league," he said. "He is well respected in the baseball community, and he understands the integrity, performance and empathy that is expected from the entire roster – coaches and players alike – in Sanford."
Though the new leader of the Moose expects challenges ahead, he is gracious for the guidance Izaryk has provided him and is looking forward to the tasks ahead.
"Working with Aaron the past two years at Bridgton Academy has been a dream come true," he said. "Once being a player of his in 2013, to now coaching with him, I see how much he cares about building relationships. Aaron has always been a leader and someone that has helped me through my playing and my young coaching career. He has been more than a boss these past two years, but a mentor and friend."
"He is not only a great baseball mind who has a coaching philosophy rooted in work ethic, integrity and playing fundamentally sound baseball, but he is mature beyond his years," Izaryk said. "Cejay has the ability to relate to today's student-athletes, evidenced in large part by his work within the NECBL and at Bridgton Academy. We are excited to have Cejay learn 'the Sanford way', but also looking forward to him sharing his thoughts and vision for the team moving forward."
Both Suarez and Izaryk will be working on assembling the assistant coaching staff in the coming weeks. The roster has also been in process. For updates and more on the Sanford Mainers 2019 campaign, visit www.sanfordmainers.com.