Yuma Desert Rats Are Proud to Announce Their Manager and Coach

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Thursday, December 13th 2012
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MISSION VIEJO, Calif., Dec. 13, 2012 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Embark Holdings, Inc. (OTC Markets:GFMD), the parent company to American West Baseball League (a Professional Minor Baseball League), is pleased to announce the Yuma Desert Rats new Manager and Coach.

The Yuma Desert Rats have named Hal Lanier to be their team manager. Hal is no stranger to professional baseball. He first made it to the Major Leagues in 1964 with the San Francisco Giants where he was an infielder until 1971. He played for the New York Yankees in 1971 and 1972. From 1976-1980 he was a minor league manager with the St. Louis Cardinals. While managing in the minor leagues, Hal was named the Sporting News Manager of the Year in 1977, 1978 and 1980. His teams also were the Western Carolina League Champions in 1977, Florida State League Champions in 1978 and American Association League Champions in 1980. After 1980, he was promoted to the St. Louis Cardinals big league club where he was the third base coach from 1981-1985 and won the World Series in 1982. From 1986-1988 Hal was the Major League manager of the Houston Astros and in 1986 was named the Major League Manager of the Year as well as being named Manager of the Year by the Associated Press, UPI, Sporting News and the Baseball Writers Association of America. From 1990-1991 Hal served as the Bench Coach for the Philadelphia Phillies big league club.

After a stint away from the field, Hal returned to professional baseball and began his independent managing career. From 1996-2005 he managed the Winnipeg Goldeyes of the Northern League where he took his team to the Northern League Championship series five times. In 2006 and 2007 he was the manager of the Joliet Jackhammers of the Northern League. In 2008 and 2009 Hal was the manager of the Sussex Skyhawks in the CAN/AM League winning the league championship in 2008 and was also named Manager of the Year. In 2010 and 2011 Hal moved to the Frontier League where he was the first ever manager of the Normal Cornbelters.

The Yuma Desert Rats are extremely proud and excited to have named Hal Lanier as their first ever manager. He has a wealth of knowledge and experience to share with our organization. He is a great person with tremendous integrity who is looking forward to the opportunity to become involved and become a part of the Yuma community.

The Desert Rats also agreed to terms with Hitting/Infield coach Jake Thrower. Jake, who is Yuma born and bred, attended the University of Arizona and then signed a professional baseball contract with the San Diego Padres. He played professional baseball for nine seasons, seven at the A-AA level with the Padres, Montreal Expos, Anaheim Angels and Cleveland Indians. Over his career he played in 759 games, had 2,679 at-bats, had 741 hits, 174 doubles, 35 home runs, 318 RBI's and batting .277 while playing 2B, SS and 3rd base. Jake brings a lot to the table. Not only does he have a lot of professional experience to share with the Desert Rats but he is a local Yuma product and we are proud to have him on board.

On December 12, 2012, the Yuma Desert Rats agreed to terms with LHP James Kuzniak who is from Yuma. Kuzniak is currently a middle school physical education teacher and an assistant baseball coach at Gila Ridge High School in Yuma. On December 2, 2012, the Yuma Desert Rats signed their first three players to contracts: RHP James Bierlein, LHP Zack Williams and OF/LHP Aaron Gates at the first ever American West Baseball League Tryouts in Tucson, Arizona.

Yuma Desert Rats logo has been designed, approved and will be unveiled soon. Along with the release of the logo, the team's website is currently under development and will be launched shortly.

About American West Baseball League (AWBL)

American West Baseball League was formed in 2012 and will play its inaugural season in 2013. The league was founded by Michael Cummings, after acquiring 2 teams which played in another league that ceased operations 30 days after the acquisitions.

Cummings, a Southern California native, decided to create a new league that would support the team members and their organizations, provide an opportunity that ball players would be looked at by scouts and other leagues, all the while providing Fun Friendly, Family Entertainment. AWBL will operate in cities not served by Major or Minor League Baseball teams and is an Independent Minor Baseball League. Though not part of the official minor league system, its level of play is considered to be comparable to A-AA level.

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