KAMLOOPS, BC—The Kamloops NorthPaws have added some local talent to their coaching staff for the 2024 West Coast League season.
The NorthPaws have agreed to terms with Riley Jepson of Kamloops. Jepson is a graduate of the Kamloops Minor Baseball and Kamloops Riverdogs programs. He will be the team’s hitting and infield coach.
“I am super excited to be back in a place where I got to play growing up and to be with a bunch of guys who want to advance their baseball careers,” Jepson says. I hope to help them on their journeys. I, obviously had a lot of great coaches. I am hoping I can do the same for them.”
A first baseman, third baseman and outfielder, Jepson most recently played with Great Falls Montana in the Pioneer League in 2023. He hit .374 with 120 hits and 49 runs batted in in 82 games.
Jepson had a ‘cup of coffee’ in the professional ranks. He was signed by the Chicago White Sox in 2022 and played with the Winston-Salem Dash, the Sox’s High-A affiliate. While there, the 6’4” Jepson had 42 at bats, notching five hits, scoring a run, achieving one stolen base and had five runs batted in.
“I am hoping my extensive background will help the players focus on the summer,” he states. “The summer is a grind for a lot of kids. They finish a 50-game college season and are instantly into another 50 game schedule. To help guide them after playing two 90 game seasons myself, I am hoping to teach them that it is a process. Not every day is going to be perfect. They need to learn how to grow from each day.”
The 26-year-old left the KMBA for a two-year stint with the University of Fraser Valley Cascades in the Canadian Collegiate Baseball Conference. He had a stellar career where he still holds the league’s record for best batting average in a single season (.489). He is still fourth in the CCBC history books in walks with 27 (2018, 2019).
At Fraser Valley, he was also named a CCBC all-star and was the leagues top hitter for two years in a row (2018, 2019). He also helped lead them to their first league championship in 2019.
Following that, he went to the University of Texas at Tyler (NCAA Div II) for two seasons (2020-21). While there, he was a 2nd team “All Lone Star” selection and co-Male Athlete of the Year.
Jepson isn’t a stranger to coaching. He spent three years as an assistant coach at UFV. He is now the Cascades head coach.
Jepson joins Pitching Coach TC Fairfield as members of Bautista’s staff. He hopes the fact that he is close in age to the players on the Kamloops roster will be a benefit.
“Having Riley joining us is great,” says NorthPaws head coach Jose Bautista about Jepson. “ It means a lot to bring two new coaches that bring more energy and positivity to the team. I think we are going to have the best season.”
“I actually got in touch with Jose through my old coach at Great Falls (Tommy Thompson),” Jepson stated. “Tommy knows Jose and told him I was interested in helping with the North Paws. Fortunately, this worked out.”
Jepson was a multi-sport athlete growing up. He played hockey with the Thompson Blazers in 2012-13 before playing two seasons with the KIJHL Sicamous Eagles. He played 52 games with the Eagles in 2012-13 where he scored 14 goals and added 17 assists. He also played one game in the BC Hockey League with the Salmon Arm Silverbacks. His last year of Junior hockey was 2013-14 where he had 12 goals and 15 assists in 52 games with the Eagles.
The NorthPaws open their 2024 West Coast League season May 31st at Dearborn Ford Field at Norbrock Stadium. Their opponents will be the Victoria HarbourCats.
Tickets and full schedule information are available from the Kamloops NorthPaws website.
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