Assistant replaces Mike McGaha, who resigned last month

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FARMINGTON — Piedra Vista High School officials didn’t have to look far to find the school's next head baseball coach, as assistant coach Jeff Kiraly will take the reins for the Panthers.

Kiraly, who has been with PV for the past two years, replaces skipper Mike McGaha, who stepped down last month after nine seasons at the helm.

“Jeff brings a lot of baseball knowledge and experience to the job,” Farmington Municipal School District athletic director Frank Whalen said today, adding Kiraly's familiarity with the program is helpful.

Kiraly said he wants his players to be more aggressive about making contact at the plate and when running the bases.

“We’re going to try to hit to the gaps,” Kiraly said, adding PV won’t bunt as often as it has in the past.

Kiraly also said he wants to continue building a deeper pitching rotation, one that features three to five reliable arms, which PV did this past season.

Kiraly said that will help limit the stress on pitchers during early-season tournaments, such as the Coach Bob Invitational tournament PV competed in back in mid-March, as well as situations when the Panthers have to play several district games in a week.

“I’m not going to ruin a kid’s arm to get a win,” Kiraly said, adding the staff will be fresh and ready to go for state.

Kiraly will inherit a team with four state titles and two state runner-up finishes since 2010.

“I expect to keep that (level of success) going. The program’s been very successful, and I hope to keep it that way,” Kiraly said.

Matt Hollinshead covers sports for the Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4577.

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