Former Farmersville High School baseball coach Brian Archuleta will be making his debut as the head coach at Sierra Pacific today.
And the team he’s going up against? That would be Farmersville.
Archuleta and the Sierra Pacific Golden Bears will play their season opener at 3:30 p.m. today in Farmersville.
“It is going to be emotional for me and the staff,” Archuleta said. “We built that program up and to be coaching against the kids that I was just coaching less than a year ago, it will be emotional. But once that first pitch happens, it is just another team that we’re playing against.”
Following the 2012 season, Archuleta and Farmersville parted ways after six years.
This was after a season in which the Aztecs posted a 12-11 record, which was just the program’s second winning season ever.
Archuleta led the Aztecs to the Central Section Division VI championship in 2010 and posted a 58-80-2 record overall during his tenure.
After parting ways with Farmersville, Archuleta hoped he would get another chance to be the varsity coach at another program.
He just didn’t think it would be this soon. He originally discussed the opportunity to be an assistant coach at Woodlake, but could not pass up the opportunity to coach at Sierra Pacific.
Sierra Pacific is a fairly new high school in Hanford. Last season, the baseball team posted an 18-9 record and reached the Central Section Division VI championship game, losing to Mendota 11-5.
None of the players on Sierra Pacific’s roster last year were seniors, which means everybody should be back and the Golden Bears should be considered favorites to win the Division VI title and a threat to dethrone Corcoran as East Sequoia League champions.
“The expectations are high with this team, which puts pressure on the coaching staff,” Archuleta said. “The whole team is returning. As coaches it is our job not to mess it up. They have the talent and ability to get there, we just have to point them in the right direction.”
Farmersville hired John Alves to replace Archuleta. It is the first varsity head-coaching job for the Golden West graduate.
“I come from the Golden West program where the whole high school is based around baseball,” Alves said. “I’m trying to get the players to care about the game like that. The past six weeks have been tremendous.”
The Aztecs already have three games under the belt, going 1-2. They lost to Strathmore 1-0, defeated Robert F. Kennedy 17-0 and lost to Immanuel 9-2.
Alves said he understands there will be added emotion to today’s game from his players, but he wants them to just focus on playing baseball.
“When I came in and got the job, my intention was to make it a day by day process about getting better and better,” Alves said. “That process has worked out well. A lot of the guys have changed their attitudes and just want to get better. About this game? They’re excited. I think they are more than prepared to have a good game against them.”
Sierra Pacific and Farmersville better get used to playing against each other soon. They’re scheduled to see each other at the Woodlake Tournament, and they’re both in Division VI.
“Sierra Pacific is another Division VI opponent,” Alves said. “I imagine we’ll see them again. This is the first step in the right direction.”
Golden West wins title
Maybe it was the wake-up call the Trailblazers needed.
After a three-game stretch in which Golden West scored 43 runs, the Trailblazers found themselves on the wrong end of a 5-3 decision against Kingsburg last week.
But the Trailblazers still reached the Central Valley Diamond Classic championship game, and they took advantage of the opportunity by beating Fowler 8-3 on Saturday to win the title.
“They started to play flat about halfway through the Yosemite game,” Golden West coach Bob Verissimo said. “They played that way in the Kingsburg game, but they responded against Fowler. It woke them up. You realize you’re good, but you still have a lot of room for improvement. That’s what that loss taught them.”
Golden West led Yosemite 10-0 after the first inning, but won 13-7.
Then it lost to Kingsburg the very next day.
After one day off, Golden West returned to the diamond and turned things around.
Thomas Dunehew led the way in the championship game, going 2-for-2 at the plate with a double and two RBIs. He also picked up the win on the mound, going 5 1-3 innings. He gave up just two hits and struck out five.
The offense took care of the rest.
Tyler Morgan went 1-for-2 with a triple and two RBIs, Troy Stainbrook went 2-for-3 with a triple and three RBIs, and Tanner Cook and Mitch Morris each added a pair of hits.
The Trailblazers improved to 7-2 on the season, which is a far cry from the 0-6 start it had last year playing in the Clovis Coca Cola Classic.
Verissimo said making the change to the Central Valley Diamond Classic has been a huge confidence boost to his team.
“It was a great experience,” he said. “There’s only so many moral victories you can have before teenagers look at their record and get frustrated. We had a good tournament and we learned how to win games, which I think is huge in high school.”
Hawks spreading their wings
One of the big questions the Mission Oak Hawks were facing heading into the 2013 season was would they be able to find a No. 2 starter behind ace Austin Garcia.
If Saturday’s performance by junior Lucas Hugie is any indication of what’s to come then it appears as if the Hawks may have found the guy they are looking for.
Hugie pitched eight shut out innings and the Hawks defeated Dinuba 1-0 in nine innings at the Central Valley Diamond Classic.
Garcia came on in the ninth to pitch a scoreless frame and pick up the victory.
But it was Hugie who did all the heavy lifting. He gave up just four hits and struck out seven in his eight innings of work.
Dinuba stayed with Hugie and the Hawks pitch for pitch. But in the ninth inning, Justin Gomez delivered the game-winning hit, scoring Alex Pena to seal the victory.
The Hawks improved to 4-3-1 on the season as they prepare for a nonleague game against Mt. Whitney at 4 p.m. today.
Dinuba will look for a measure of revenge on Thursday. The Emperors play at Mission Oak at 4:30 p.m. in a nonleague game.
The Hawks already have a pair of resume-building performances this season as they look to be a force in the Central Section Division IV bracket.
They have a 4-2 win over Golden West (Division III), tied Lemoore (Division III) 4-4, beat Yosemite (Division III) 2-1, beat Corcoran (Division IV) 11-2 and defeated the Emperors (Division III) 1-0.
Mission Oak can still do a lot to boost its resume early in the season as it has nonleague games against Mt. Whitney (Division II), El Diamante (Division I) and Hanford (Division II) before it opens league play at Monache April 2.