Altavista Combined School hired a new varsity baseball coach last week.
Kieth Pieper has worked with ACS’s baseball team for a total of three years, first as assistant JV coach for one year and then as assistant varsity coach for the last two years. He was recently chosen by Athletic Director Mark McPherson to be the team’s new head coach. In the long term Pieper said he wants to work towards building a stronger program.
“We think he is going to be a good person to get our baseball program to another level,” McPherson said about hiring Pieper.
Ultimately Pieper said he wants to focus on teaching his players respect for everyone from umpires to the younger players looking up to them.
“One of the things I say to the guys a lot is, I want you to be great baseball players, but I want you to be better men,” Pieper said.
McPherson likewise said the program will have a focus on building character.
“We want to stress a lot of things about character development and accountability,” McPherson said.
Pieper currently works for The Standard Insurance in Altavista, and went to high school in Gretna where he played baseball. He also coached a 13-year-old team in the Forest Youth Athletic Association, eventually taking them to the Dixie Youth Baseball World Series.
“I think that the ultimate goal is to build a program that can win consistently,” Pieper said. “And have guys that have a passion for baseball.”
Pieper said he thinks interest in baseball in Altavista has increased during the last few years with the help of the Motley Dixie Youth baseball and softball programs. Pieper said he hopes to see the trend continue.
“In my opinion, baseball is the best game out there,” Pieper said. “There's not one single play that a guy can take off. Every single play, you're involved, and you have a job.”
According to the Virginia High School League schedule, current plans are for Virginia high school baseball to start practice on April 12 and for games to start on April 26.