New Hampshire Hardball

Keene State announces staff

KEENE – Keene State College baseball head coach Justin Blood has announced the coaching staff for the 2024 season, which includes both returners and new faces as he begins his third season with the Owls.

Among the returners are Assistant Coach and Recruiting Coordinator Tim Lunn, Assistant Coach John Luopa, and Assistant Coach Connor Longley, all of whom helped KSC improve their win total from six to 13 a season ago and will look to take further steps in 2024.

Lunn, whose brother Jeff played on the men’s basketball and baseball teams from 2013-2014 through 2016-2017, will work primarily with the infielders and hitters as he returns for his third season with the Owls.  He was the head coach of the Nashua legion team that has won state tournament in both 2019 and 2023, and made an appearance in the New England Regional championship game this past year.  In addition to his summer work with the legion team, he had been the junior varsity head coach and varsity assistant coach at Bishop Guertin High School and currently coaches the New Hampshire Team Purple of the Showcase League.
Luopa and Longley each return for their second seasons as assistant coaches.  A KSC Hall of Famer who hit a program-record .402 and had the best on-base percentage in program history (.481), Luopa was a versatile competitor and cornerstone of the program after it was re-established in 1987, at one time holding 11 Owl batting records.  He had 134 hits, 10 triples, 11 home runs, and a .643 slugging percentage (third in program history) in 333 at bats from 1987-1990.  Luopa’s first season with the team came last year, and he will continue to work primarily with hitters and contribute to in-game strategies.

Longley will also join the staff again in 2024 and work with the hitters and outfielders after returning to the program he played for last season.  He hit .292 from 2016 through 2019 (122 career games, 120 starts) and had a .355 on-base percentage and .315 slugging percentage.  In the summer, he played two seasons in the prestigious NECBL, including one with the local Keene SwampBats and another with the Valley Blue Sox (Holyoke, Mass.), a season they won a league championship.

The two newcomers to the program this year are no strangers to the Little East Conference.

Noah Plantamuro was a member of the 2022 Eastern Connecticut State University national championship team and will join the staff for his first season.  His duties will include recruiting and running the day-to-day operations for the junior varsity program as well as working with the infielders and hitters.  Plantamuro served as a team captain for the Warriors in his senior season last year when they won the LEC tournament championship, and hit .290 over his career while also recording a .973 fielding percentage.

Shaun McKenna has enjoyed many career successes, including helping the University of Southern Maine win the 1997 NCAA national championship and the first-ever Little East Conference championship that same year.  Over his four seasons with the Huskies, he hit .285 with 11 doubles, one triple, and two home runs.  He is also currently the head coach of the Keene SwampBats in the NECBL after joining the organization as an assistant in the 2019 championship season, and took over the head duties in 2020.  Additional coaching stops for McKenna have included St. Anselm College, Castleton University, and Ranger Junior College in Texas.  With the Owls, he will mainly work with catchers and also help with hitting instruction.

Dominic Fanizzi, a Sport Management major at KSC, will be the Director of Baseball Analytics and assist the coaching staff with management of Rapsodo, SQNZR, and 6-4-3 programs.

“I’m really excited about the group of coaches we have in the program right now,” said Blood.  “We were able to bring in four new assistant coaches with great skillsets and ties to Keene State, the Keene SwampBats, and the LEC.  With our collected efforts we have a great opportunity to grow the program, support our student-athletes and connect with alumni and our community.”


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