Sock Puppets announce 2024 on-field coaching staff

Get to know the 2024 Burlington Sock Puppets Coaching Staff
2024 Sock Puppets Staff copy

Burlington, NC. - The 4th-year of the Burlington Sock Puppets is almost here. As the club is set to release the roster later this week, the Sock Puppets named today their on-field coaching staff for the 2024 Appalachian League season. Anthony Essien, whose return as Manager was announced back in October, has a highly experienced staff joining him in Sockville. The 2024 Sock Puppets are chasing their 3rd-straight East Division Championship and their first Appalachian League Championship since the league was remodeled back in 2021.

“We are really looking forward to the 2024 season.” Anthony Essien said, “having Rob back for the 3rd year in a row is a plus, as we work well together. Torrey brings a wealth of baseball knowledge/energy with him and Jason is a young coach making his way in the game.”

Anthony Essien (Manager)

A California-native, Essien has been with the Sock Puppets since its inaugural season in 2021, when he served as Pitching Coach. He became interim-Manager in 2022, where he saw the Sock Puppets go from last-place in their division in 2021, to first-place and finishing as runner-up for the league championship in 2022. He saw continued success in 2023, as the Sock Puppets finished first in their division and runner-up for the league championship yet again. Essien is also the Pitching Coach at Reedley College in California. He is married to his beautiful wife, Ali, and has two daughters (Petra and Dottie) and three step-sons (Tanner, Koby, and Kael).

Rob Selna (Hitting Coach)

Another familiar face to Sockville, Selna is returning for his 3rd season as hitting coach. In two years, Selna has helped the Sock Puppets to the 4th-best and 3rd-best offense (OPS) in 2022 and 2023, respectively. In 2023 alone, Selna had the Sock Puppets offense on top of the league in Home Runs, Runs, RBIs, and Walks. With over 28 years of knowledge, both playing and coaching, he has a passion for developing the next generation of baseball players. Rob is making the cross-country trip thanks to the support of his amazing wife and two incredible daughters and one decent son.

Jason White (Pitching Coach)

Jason White is joining the club as Pitching Coach for the 2024 campaign. Although he is new to the Sock Puppets organization, White is no stranger to collegiate baseball in North Carolina. Accumulating over 275 strikeouts in just over 250 career innings pitched, White pitched for Belmont-Abbey College (graduating with a degree in Business Management) before joining the Duke University Blue Devils in 2023 for his 5th-year (where he also graduated with a Masters in Management Studies). White is a 2x Conference Carolina All-Conference Selection, a 1x ACC Academic All-Conference, and a 2023 Conway Regional Champion.

Torrey Pettiford (Bench Coach) - Pettiford is returning to the Appalachian League for his 3rd Season, first in Burlington. He spent the last two seasons as the Bench Coach for the Danville Otterbots. Prior to that, Pettiford served as an Associate Scout for the Boston Red Sox, KC Royals and presently the Baltimore Orioles. Pettiford has an incredible eye for talent and helped develop players such as DJ Burt, Jo Adell, Bryce Wilson, Xavier Issac, Khalil Watson, and many others. Prior to his scouting career, Pettiford was selected out of UNC-Pembroke in the 13th Rd of the MLB Amateur Draft by the Philadelphia Phillies in 1994. Pettiford is a native of Cedar Grove, NC and spent the majority of his rookie season in the Appalachian League (Martinsville).

Opening Night for the Sock Puppets in Burlington is June 7. Get your tickets here!