Finlandia adds three assistant baseball coaches

HANCOCK, Mich. (WLUC) – Finlandia baseball head coach Evan Brandt has announced Jack Brundage, Cole Jepsen and Matt Valin will be on the coaching staff for the 2023 season.

Valin has been the pitching coach the last three years at Jefferson CC (NY). He has also played professional baseball since 2019.

Valin has experienced success at all levels of his playing career. At LaFargeville Central (NY), he was a three-time All-Frontier League selection.

Valin started his collegiate career at Onondaga CC (NY). In 2017, was 8-1 with 93 strikeouts (single season school record) and a 2.25 ERA in 52 innings and was named to the All-Mid State Athletic Conference first team. Valin was 12-3 with 138 strikeouts and a 3.17 ERA in 93.7 innings during his career (2016-17). He helped the Lazers go 67-33 and qualify for the Region III tournament in 2016.

Valin then took his talents to SUNY-Cortland (2018-19). In 2019, he was 9-0 with 92 strikeouts and a 2.35 ERA in 69 innings. Valin set the SUNYAC Tournament record with 17 strikeouts vs. SUNY-Fredonia (May 4, 2019). The Red Dragons finished 34-13-1 and won an NCAA Regional Championship. Valin was a SUNYAC All-Star, Co-Pitcher of the Year, All-New York Region and was All-America on two teams ( first, ABCA third).

During his career, Valin was 10-0 with 126 strikeouts and a 2.60 ERA in 90 innings. He set the school record for highest win percentage in a season (2019) and career. Valin helped the Red Dragons go 69-25-1 with two trips to the regional tournament.

Coach Brandt on Valin

“I’m extremely excited to add Matt to our coaching staff. He has a wealth of experience as a player at the D3 level. Matt’s career at Cortland was outstanding and he learned from one of the best coaches in D3 baseball. He will provide a lot of tangible information to our pitching staff as he has gone from D3 to professional baseball. I believe that Matt’s body of work in D3 baseball will be a goal for our pitchers to follow. He is a very intelligent young coach that will bolster our player development program with our pitching staff. I believe Matt’s ability to relate to our players and lead them through the development process will be an amazing opportunity for these young pitchers.”

Jepsen has been a coach with the Marquette Blues (American Legion) the past two years. He assisted in guiding the Blues to the Michigan Class A State Championship in 2021 and a third-place finish in 2022.

Jepsen had a strong career at Houghton High School culminating in being named Copper Country Conference Pitcher and Player of the Year as a senior. He was primarily a pitcher in college at College of Lake County (Ill.), Rock Valley CC (Ill.) and Truman.

Coach Brandt on Jepsen

“I’m excited to add Cole to our coaching staff. I have had the pleasure of watching him play as a young ball player and have always been impressed with his versatility on the field. In college, Cole saw most of his time on the mound, but he brings us a ton of experience all over the field. His ability to lead young ball players on the field is something I have had the pleasure of watching these last two years with Marquette. Cole will help in all aspects of the team. He will be helping coach Valin with the pitchers at times and also helping myself and coach Brundage with the hitting and defensive side of things. Cole will also serve as our third base coach. He has done an amazing job on the player development side of things for Marquette and will help solidify that part of our program here.”

Brundage is no stranger to Finlandia as he has been part of the baseball program for the last four years. As a player (2019-21), he had a strong season in 2021 with six doubles and a batting average of .294. In 2022, Brundage was a student assistant coach for the Lions.

Coach Brandt on Brundage

“I’m excited to officially announce Jack as an Assistant here. He is a great young man who has a lot of respect in our program. As a player, Jack was an amazing teammate and the hardest worker on the team. He provides a wealth of knowledge for our outfielders and does a great job with handling their daily practice agenda. Jack also helps with our offensive game. He was a very skilled college hitter and gives our players a great offensive perspective. I will continue to enjoy watching Jack build and maintain relationships within our program. A lot of our roster has played alongside him and to see those relationships evolve says a lot about who Jack is and what he means to our program. It is great having him to help grow our program. Jack is also our first base coach.”

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