Baseball Northwest is Jeff McKay’s brain-child. As a Major League Baseball Scout, Jeff saw the lack of showcase opportunities for high school players in the Northwest. He strongly desired to bring all the best athletes together to compete against each other in front of college coaches and professional scouts. From that desire, Baseball Northwest and the Northwest Championships were born.
Jeff was the sole owner and Director of Operations of Baseball Northwest from its creation in 1995 until 2014. At that time, he passed the torch and many of the daily responsibilities on to his son-in-law Josh Warner. Jeff still remains on staff at Baseball Northwest as an evaluator and mentor.
Jeff was a professional scout for more than 25 years beginning in 1982 within the Pittsburgh Pirates organization, before concluding in 2008 as a scout for the Chicago White Sox. He spent most of his professional scouting career with the Kansas City Royals (1990-2006) as a Northwest Area Scout, West Coast Crosschecker, or National Crosschecker.
Before scouting, Jeff coached at both the professional and collegiate level in the Northwest League, as the pitching coach for the Boise Bucks, the pitching coach for the Salem Angels, and a hitting coach for the Eugene Emeralds. Jeff also served as an assistant coach to Mel Krause at the University of Oregon in 1979 and 1980.
As a player, Jeff played one year at Treasure Valley Community College before signing with the San Francisco Giants. From 1972-75, he played for five different teams within the San Francisco Giants organization.
Jeff McKay became the head coach of the Corban University baseball team in 2010. During his time at the helm of the Warriors, he guided Corban to back-to-back 29-plus win seasons and in 2014, the team finished tied for third in the conference standings, ultimately taking third in the conference tournament – the highest finish in program history. Jeff is currently the most winningest coach in Corban’s baseball history with 162 wins.
Jeff graduated from the University of Oregon with a Bachelor of Science degree in physical education. He and his wife, Jodi, have two children – Annie Warner, of Salem, OR and Torie Grubb, of Conrad, MT – and 4 grandsons!
Director of Operations
Josh Warner worked for Baseball Northwest under his father-in-law Jeff McKay, beginning in the summer of 2010 after graduating from Corban University with a degree in Business Management and Accounting. Josh quickly learned the ropes and took over as Director of Operations in 2014. Josh has a strong passion to help young men find the right fit for playing baseball past high school and this passion comes out as he directs Baseball Northwest.
While working for Baseball Northwest, Josh also coached for Corban University from 2010-2015. He was a hitting instructor and the primary outfield coach for the Warriors, coaching for the team for which he started in the outfield from 2007-2010.
Warner now serves as the Associate Scout for the Kansas City Royals and helps facilitate the Royal’s Area Code events.
Warner married Annie McKay in 2011 and the couple currently resides in Salem. They are avid sports fans and love to spend time together with their two sons and daughter cheering on the Kansas City Royals, the Seattle Mariners, and the Seattle Seahawks. They also enjoy traveling to the Seattle area and Montana to see family.
Caleb Virtue serves as Baseball Northwest’s Tournament Director, with his primary focus on helping players get involved in our tournament and showcase opportunities. Caleb joined our staff as Josh’s right-hand man in 2014.
Caleb Virtue played at Corban University from 2009-2013. He graduated in 2013 with a degree in Secondary Education and served as a graduate assistant for the Corban baseball team during the 2014 and 2015 season while he earned a Masters in Education. In the summer of 2015, Caleb helped coach the summer team at his alma mater Union High School. In 2015, Caleb was named the Pitching Coach for Corban University.
Caleb married Jessica Bruggeman in 2016 and the couple currently resides in Salem, OR. The two enjoy hiking and watching the Seattle Seahawks and Seattle Mariners.
Annie Warner (formerly McKay) grew up attending Baseball Northwest tryout camps with her dad Jeff, not knowing one day she would marry one of those baseball players and help him run the business! Annie serves as Assistant Tournament Director aiding primarily in the event-planning aspects of the business. She also serves as Baseball Northwest’s accountant.
Annie graduated from Corban University in 2011 with a degree in Business Management and Accounting. She earned her CPA license in 2013 while working in public accounting. Now, when she isn’t helping Josh with the business, she spends most of her time with her 2 sons and daughter. Josh and Annie love spending time together cheering on their favorite sports teams and taking their kids on fun adventures. Annie also does some wedding coordinating on the side and thoroughly enjoys that job as well.
Assistant Tournament Director/Coach
Ethan Bragg joined the Baseball Northwest staff in the summer of 2018. His main focus with Baseball Northwest is assisting families with player registration. Ethan attended Jerome HS (ID) and went through Baseball Northwest as a player, including attending several PECs and the Northwest Championships. He then played for Chemeketa Community College from 2014-2016 before transferring to Corban University in the fall of 2016 to finish his career with the Warriors. He graduated with a BA in Business: Sports and Recreation Management and will pursue his Masters while coaching at Corban in the upcoming 2019-2020 season. Ethan currently resides in Salem, OR and enjoys hiking and watching the Kansas City Royals.
Media & Marketing Director
Jarett Thoren joined the Baseball Northwest staff as the Marketing Director in May of 2020.
He also serves as the Director of Athletic Communications for Corban University, where he manages the No. 8-ranked website in the NAIA. Prior to that role, he served as the Director of Baseball Operations for the school.
In addition to his experience at Corban, Thoren has also served as the Media and Communications Coordinator for the Cascade Collegiate Conference (CCC), overseeing the conference’s written, visual, and social media.
Before his work in marketing and administration, Thoren enjoyed a successful playing career as a member of the Corban University baseball team, where he served as an infielder and closer. He currently ranks in the top ten in program history in single-season ERA, single-season saves, and career saves. He is also currently the only member of the program to ever garner CoSIDA Academic All-American accolades.
A native of Boise, Idaho, Thoren now resides in Salem, Ore. with his wife Dani. In his free time, he enjoys outdoor recreation and watching the Boston Red Sox play.
Nate helped Jeff McKay and Baseball Northwest run camps and fall baseball leagues beginning in 2002, but took on a more substantial role in 2015 as an evaluator for Baseball Northwest. He helped facilitate many of the Prospect Evaluation Camps around the Northwest and coaches at the Northwest Championships.
Coach Pratt spent 10 years as head coach for Chemeketa Community College in Salem, Oregon, where he currently teaches in the Health and Human Performance Department.
He previously spent three years as the assistant head coach and recruiting coordinator at Western Oregon University. During his tenure at WOU the Wolves won three consecutive league titles and placed third in the West Regional Tournament in 2006. Prior to his stint at WOU, Coach Pratt spent three years as the associate head coach at Lane Community College. During his years there, Lane won two conference titles and won the NWAACC championship in 2004. Pratt has also coached the Bend Elks of the WCCBL and the Bi-Mart Challengers of Eugene.
Pratt coached 5 players who eventually played in the Big Leagues.
Pratt spent his college years at Lane CC then St. Martin’s University. Pratt graduated with a bachelor’s degree in social studies in 2002 and his master’s degree in health education from WOU. Pratt is married and has a son and daughter.
Coach/Prospect Evaluation Camp Specialist
Daniel Freiburger joined the Baseball Northwest staff in the spring of 2020. A graduate of Minico High School (ID) with many academic and athletic accolades. He was named the Great Basin Conference Player of the Year in 2014 and participated in the BBNW Northwest Championships throughout his high school career. Daniel went on to play four years at Corban University from 2015-2019 graduating with a bachelor’s degree in Accounting. He is currently a graduate assistant at Corban pursuing a Master’s in Business Intelligence and Analytics while coaching in the 2020 season. He currently resides in Salem, OR and enjoys working out, watching and playing sports, and traveling.
Prospect Evaluation Camp Specialist
Justin Tow joined the Baseball Northwest staff in the Spring of 2020. A graduate of Sweet Home High School (OR), he acclaimed All-Conference and All-State honors for baseball and decided to join the Corban Warriors baseball team. He joins the staff as a senior studying mathematics at Corban University. In his fourth and final year at Corban, he remains a member of the Corban baseball team as he seeks to graduate in the Spring of 2020. With his free time, he enjoys hunting, fishing, traveling, and playing and watching sports.
Jack Russell has been around Baseball Northwest since the beginning, helping Jeff coach at the very first Northwest Championships in 1998. Today, he still coaches at the Northwest Championships while also helping at our Prospect Evaluation Camps each summer.
Jack pitched at the College of Southern Idaho in 1988-89 and for the University of Oregon club team in 1991-92 and graduated in 1994 with a degree in Recreational Management, Tourism and Design.
Jack has coached at various high schools in Oregon for over 14 years including Sheldon H.S., Roosevelt H.S., and Jesuit H.S. He has also coached various American Legion teams including the Eugene Challengers, St. John’s, East Portland, and NW Star Academy.
He has been a private baseball trainer in the Vancouver area since 2006, currently Jack coaches with Premier Baseball Club – Vancouver, and trains at The Lumber Yard – Vancouver.
Jack lives in Camas, WA and has been married to his wife Nicole for 15 years. They have a 13 year old daughter Madilyn. Jack loves photography, fly fishing, golf, and traveling.