July 16, 2022
The California Collegiate League Showcase Game Selection Committee has announced the participants for the 2022 CCL Showcase Game presented by the Amateur Baseball Development Group (ABDG):
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Team Designations // MLB – MLB Academy Barons, AS – Arroyo Seco Saints, CON – Conejo Oaks, HLD – Healdsburg Prune Packers, LIN – Lincoln Potters, OCR – Orange County Riptide, SLO – San Luis Obispo Blues, SBF – Santa Barbara Foresters, SOL – Solano Mudcats, SON – Sonoma Stompers, WCC – Walnut Creek Crawdads
LOS ANGELES, CA – The week of July 18 will be a memorable one for baseball fans in Southern California and around the world. For the first time in 42 years, Major League Baseball’s All-Star Game will take place at historic Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles on Tuesday, July 19.
On Wednesday, July 20, some of college baseball’s top players will compete in the California Collegiate League’s premier event—the CCL Showcase Game presented by the Amateur Baseball Development Group (ABDG)—down the 110 Freeway at the MLB Academy in Compton, Calif. Sixty of the CCL’s most outstanding collegiate players from all across the country will display their talents before a national audience on Bally Sports TV. The first pitch is scheduled for 7 p.m. PST. Tickets may be purchased at the gate.
California Collegiate League team managers have submitted their prospect list to the Showcase Game Selection Committee. Final North and South Division rosters will be announced on Saturday, July 16. The head coaches of the game will be decided by the winning percentage based on league wins up to July 15.
Los Angeles Angels radio broadcaster Trent Rush will be working with Denny Hocking, current USA Baseball 18u manager, and reporter Anna Connelly, to cover the CCL Showcase Game live on Bally Sports. Replays of the game will be broadcast regionally in July and August. Check your local listings for viewing instructions.
As part of USA Baseball’s Prospect Development Pipeline (PDP), CCL Showcase Game position players will take part in pre-game workouts at 2:30 p.m. in front of MLB scouts and college coaches. The PDP is a collaborative effort between Major League Baseball and USA Baseball that establishes an official identification and player development pathway for amateur baseball players in the United States.
There is a strong connection between the CCL and the MLB’s 93rd Midsummer Classic. Three CCL alumni – New York Mets left-fielder Jeff McNeil (Santa Barbara Foresters), St. Louis Cardinals reliever Ryan Helsley (Santa Barbara Foresters), and Colorado Rockies first baseman C.J. Cron (San Luis Obispo Blues) – were named to this season’s National League All-Star roster.
The CCL will be represented in the 2022 SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game, which is set to for Saturday, July 16, at Dodger Stadium. Three-time World Series Champion and Conejo Oaks co-founder, Mike Scioscia, will be at the helm of the National League Futures squad, while MLB Academy Barons manager and former MLB player, Kenny Landreaux, will serve on the coaching staff. Former Forester and Oregon Duck, Spencer Steer, now a Minnesota Twins prospect, has been selected to play in the game.
By CCL Reporter, Nicola Iannelli —
Santa Barbara, Calif. is not only home to picturesque white sand beaches, palm trees, and Mediterranean-style stucco buildings that reflect the city’s Spanish colonial heritage, but also to CCL perennial power—the Santa Barbara Foresters.
The Foresters are led by manager Bill Pintard and hold the most titles in the California Collegiate League with 11 under their belt since the league’s founding in 1993. Pintard has been the tenacious leader of this team since 1995 and has developed the Foresters into the organization they are today. Santa Barbara has chalked up over 1,000 victories including nine National Baseball Congress World Series Championships in 2021, 2020, 2018, 2016, 2014, 2012, 2011, 2008, and 2006.
But it was not always that glamorous starting out.
For Pintard, it all started in 1994. When he took over the Foresters with his then assistant Pat Burns, he had the goal to become the leader of a nationally recognized team. To accomplish this, Pintard knew they had to recruit the best players, so they took to the road. Pintard and Burns traveled from San Diego to Sacramento, spending up to 15 days non-stop on the road. The duo talked to coaches at USC, San Diego State, UC San Diego, Palomar Junior College, UCLA, and many more up and down the coast.
Pintard recalls traveling to UC Berkeley where his son was a student. “We slept on his couch for four days because there were a bunch of junior colleges and Stanford University up there,” said Pintard.
Both Pintard and Burns spent countless hours watching practices and inter-squad games scouting for their summer league team. Those long days of travel and patience paid off because Pintard made lifelong connections with many coaches and players. This period also served as the building blocks for what the Foresters are today.
Coaches took note of Pintard’s dedication and persistence. In 1995, one particular coach from Sacramento said, “You’re going to get my best players because anybody that’s going to work that hard and be that dedicated deserves to train my players.”
For 27 years Pintard has instilled into his teams hard work and perseverance.
No challenge is too big for Pintard and his club. Even with the setback of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, the Foresters fought through challenge after challenge. Though collaboration with the CCL, the Foresters put together a COVID-19 protocol that kept players, coaches, and staff members safe during the 2020 summer season. Remarkably, the Foresters had zero positive cases when the disease was at its peak and spreading rampant.
During that time, Pintard and the Foresters were able to accomplish an improbable feat. Santa Barbara was the only team in the league that played a full season of games that included non-league teams and a non-league schedule. Pintard reflected, “[That] was a tremendous achievement because there weren’t many teams playing that year, and we were able to play teams from all over the country, like Texas, and even won the [NBC] national championship that year in 2020.”
The success during the pandemic season carried over into the following year. The CCL resumed competition in 2021, and fans were able to come back and watch collegiate summer games again which made a tremendous difference. Pintard shared that playing without fans in 2020 felt abnormal and different. “There was no interaction before or after the games which was hard to adjust to because when the fans rally with the team, it gets everyone to be a part of the game and creates excitement in the air,” said Pintard.
In 2021, the Foresters won the CCL Southern Division championship highlighted by a 21-game winning streak toward season’s end, despite an initially slow start. Santa Barbara then headed to Wichita, Kan., at the conclusion of the CCL’s regular season for the National Baseball Congress (NBC) World Series. The trip resulted in back-to-back championships just like in 2011 and 2012. According to Pintard, the Foresters became the first team to win multiple back-to-back titles in the history of that tournament. “That was another one of the major highlights of the 2021 season,” said Pintard.
Another bright spot for the Foresters was the Hugs for Cubs, a program that supports children fighting childhood cancers, was back up and running again. Like in year’s past, Pintard arranged for a trip to Angel Stadium. Kids battling cancer were able to take their mind off of their day-in and day-out challenges and enjoy a Major League Baseball game in Orange County.
The 2021 summer season produced many highlights both on and off the field for the Foresters. They’re striving for 2022 to look the same.
By CCL Reporter, Sean Brennan —
Since joining the CCL in 2016, the Healdsburg Prune Packers have posted an impressive record of 191-56. In 2021, the team won their first CCL State Championship. While the Packers have enjoyed immense success during their first five seasons in the CCL, General Manager Joey Gomes does not see winning as his number one priority. Instead, his primary focus is to help his players develop as much as possible during their time in Healdsburg.
And Gomes says that developing players goes hand-in-hand with winning baseball games.
A large component of the Packers’ culture is putting their players first. The team encourages players to continue individualized training routines they bring from their colleges. Every season, Gomes makes it clear the organization’s primary focus is player development.
“When we first meet with the team, we let the players know, ‘We’re here for you; you’re not here for us… Whatever message your staff in the spring was trying to emphasize with you, let us just be an extension of that voice,’” said Gomes.
Gomes’ professional baseball background also shapes his method of developing players. Throughout his career, he noticed that many of the experienced coaches that influenced his coaching style were patient with their teams as long as there was progress. This understanding proved to be an important learning experience for Gomes, as he integrated patience into his own coaching philosophy.
“Over the years, I’ve grown as a coach to allow me to be more patient as long as progress was in the process,” explained Gomes.
The implementation of daily routines is another instrumental part of the Prune Packers’ culture. The team shows up at the field six hours before home games to go through position-specific drills and multiple batting practices. Daily routines like that, according to Gomes, benefit player development and are extremely rewarding when the team reaches the postseason.
“For our program, we do these daily routines to get a little bit better every day. At the end, if we’re fortunate enough, the work culminates in a postseason opportunity,” Gomes said.
Gomes went onto share, “A dividend from this summer-long process, hopefully culminating in a championship, is that the player returns to his school 10% better than last spring.”
Gomes acknowledged that his players will need to work extremely hard during the Packers’ season, as they will play 47 games in about two months. Going through the 10-week grind with a common goal will be extremely helpful in building team chemistry. While Gomes doesn’t think synergy alone wins championships, he says that not having it can be detrimental to a team’s success.
“We’ll say things like, ‘Look, we get that synergy doesn’t win a championship.’ But I remind guys that if you don’t have it, that will be the reason you won’t win one,” said Gomes.
There’s no doubt that the Prune Packers’ approach has resonated well with his players. This summer, 14 players from last season will rejoin the squad, many of whom specifically asked to return to Healdsburg. Gomes is extremely humbled by this, and views it as a testament to the Packers’ winning culture.
In 2022, the Packers will look to defend their CCL title and bring another championship back to Wine Country. Heading into the season, Gomes is most looking forward to meeting the new group and “seeing what they’re made of.”
For Gomes, it’s clear, the biggest victory of this summer will be improving his players as much as possible.
By CCL Reporter, Sean Brennan —
As the Orange County Riptide gear up for the 2022 CCL campaign, General Manager Moe Geoghegan is striving to create an identity for his team. He wants the Riptide to eventually become known as the best summer baseball team on the West Coast.
“Our goal is to be the gold standard, we want to be the top team in the CCL year in and year out. We’re not there yet, but we’re working on it every year to try and make that happen,” said Geoghegan.
One of the most important parts of the Riptide creating its brand will be coaching. During this past offseason, Tim Brown became the organization’s sixth head coach in seven years. However, Geoghegan believes that Brown’s coaching experience and care for his players make him the perfect candidate for a long-term coach.
“I think coach Brown understands players’ needs. I think he’s good at being that father figure, kind of the mature adult in the room,” explained Geoghegan. “He cares about his players…I think players like to play for a coach that actually cares about them.”
Geoghegan understands that keeping a coach with the team for multiple seasons is very important to recruiting. He looks at teams that have been successful in the CCL over the years and says that most of them have had the same coach for at least three years. In addition to helping with recruiting, coaching stability also helps management know what to expect for upcoming seasons.
“It would be nice to know what to anticipate the next year as a general manager, what you’re going to get out of your coaching staff, to have the same guy for a couple years…I’m hoping to have that with Tim,” said Geoghegan.
While coaching will be a vital component of the Riptide establishing its identity, Geoghegan also acknowledged the importance of off-the-field advantages. For example, the Riptide’s location greatly helps with recruiting, as Orange County is a popular area for collegiate baseball players to train during the offseason.
“I think that Orange County is a destination that players like to spend their summer…I’m not going to lie, that helps a lot with recruiting…We get a lot of players that call us and email us because they want to be in Orange County,” Geoghegan said.
Another victory for the Riptide has been improved fan engagement. Last season, the organization began selling alcohol and making food trucks available to fans. This decision, along with the team leaving a positive impression on baseball fans in the area, helped attendance at home games increase by 50% in 2021 despite the Riptide missing the playoffs.
The Riptide will look to returning players, such as outfielder T.C. Simmons (Connecticut) and catcher Blake Penso (UC Irvine), to help the team establish its identity this season. Geoghegan says that all of the players rejoining the team are ‘good foundation guys’ and will be role models for the new faces on the squad.
“These were dudes that were the first guys at the ballpark,” recalled Geoghegan. “Guys that never complained, even in a bad season…that’s important that you have a core of guys like that, that’ll set the standard for the new guys.”
Heading into the 2022 season, the Riptide’s management is optimistic about almost every aspect of the team. Geoghegan hopes that stable coaching, continued off-the-field victories and talented rosters each year will help his organization eventually become the gold standard of Summer League Baseball. And while he is looking into the future, he believes that this season will be the beginning of a new era for the Riptide.
Photo courtesy of Alina Nelson
By CCL Reporter, Nicola Iannelli —
Summertime in Northern California for the Potters’ Baseball Club feels like a family reunion. Not only do the players and coaches anticipate the season, but so does the city of Lincoln and surrounding communities. Fans look forward to coming together each year at McBean Stadium to watch top-notch collegiate summer baseball, their favorite players, and of course, Piper the Mascot.
The Potters exude a sense of a family thanks in large part to their detailed approach to their work and the commitment of their staff members. It’s that positive environment that is created that makes summers so enjoyable. Not only do the players request to come back, but the host families also request to have the players stay with them again.
This upcoming season the Potters are welcoming back several members that starred in the 2021 campaign including CCL Showcase participants Jeffrey David (New Mexico), Quinton Hall, and Mason Holt (Louisiana Monroe).
The bonds made between the players on and off the field are special.
Nolan Murphy, an assistant general manager and Potters alumnus, spoke on his personal experience as a player and member of the team. “To play for The Potters was very eye opening because of the fan base that Lincoln has. Being able to see people in the stands and have a minor league experience at the college level is immaculate,” said Murphy.
The Potters and General Manager, Matt Lundgren, are committed to offering players the best experience and consider their program as “a players’ program.” Lundgren describes how he has his players focus only on baseball and has their meals, travels, and most expenses covered so they can be fully focused on their development. The coaching and managing staff goes above and beyond to make sure every one of their players is taken care of.
Besides there being a close bond between the team and community, there is also a one between head coach Ryan Stevens and the team. Stevens is a decorated member of the baseball community and local to the Rocklin area. He has an impressive baseball career resume but has continued to add to it just this past year when he won his 100th game. Stevens values the relationships that grow from the unique opportunity of being called a coach. Nolan Murphy shared how he keeps in contact throughout the year with Stevens and so do the other players of the team.
Thanks to the Potters Baseball Club, the city of Lincoln and the players have something to look forward to every summer. With the start of the season and summer quickly approaching, the Potters are ready to be back in action and compete for the 2022 CCL State Championship.
Photo courtesy of Sara Nevis
By CCL Reporter, Kathryne Padilla —
Baseball in San Luis Obispo has brought the community together for decades, even dating back to the 1940s when the SLO Blues were created. When baseball was in jeopardy in the central coast of California, it was a no-brainer for Adam Stowe and his parents, Marianne and Keith, to step up and save the day.
Their swift action to take over the Blues was an act to help their community, and one that slowly developed into their entire family having a hand in keeping the organization alive and well.
Back in 2010, previous owner Jim Galusha was looking to sell the Blues. In hopes of saving baseball in San Luis Obispo, Adam was able to bring on three different investors to meet with Galusha. In the end, the investors backed out due to the terms set by Galusha, leaving only two options.
“We were kind of stuck and it was either; the Stowe’s buy the Blues, or the Blues fold,” Adam said.
The decision to take on the ownership of the Blues was not made by Adam alone. His parents, Marianne and Keith, were the key players to preserving the Blues’ future.
“Their decision saved baseball in San Luis Obispo, and there are many people that are very grateful for that,” Adam said.
Dating back to 1946, San Luis Obispo saw the creation of a baseball league following the end of World War II. Baseball filled the downtime soldiers were then experiencing after the war ended. There were enough men who wanted to play ball to create a team in SLO.
This was the start of the Blues, who were formally named the ‘Merchants,’ a name which was then later changed.
“A local sportswriter for the Tribune decided that [Merchants] was a terrible name for a baseball team. Unless anybody objected, he was going to call us the Blues due to our blue lettering and socks,” Adam said. “Hence, the San Luis Obispo Blues.”
From 1946 to the 70s, the Blues were a semi-professional team, and roughly around 1980 turned into a summer collegiate baseball team. The Blues celebrated its 75th-anniversary last year.
There was no intention of the Blues becoming a family-run organization. The Stowe’s looked at taking ownership and building a foundation to bring on other staff members. Adam shared that both his parents had the same mindset when they made the decision.
A small realization came to Marianne Stowe that would reel in her husband, Keith.
“Marianne pointed out, it would be fun, and we’ve only got so many years left in life,” Keith said. “I thought ‘she’s right.’ Money’s not the main concern. It’ll be fun. So, we did.”
Adam and his parents, before ownership, would attend Blues’ games in the summer when Adam would visit them while on break from college. During a visit to North Carolina and a Durham Bulls’ game, both Marianne and Keith recall the key moment that cemented their understanding of their son’s enthusiasm for the game of baseball.
Seeing the Bulls and their entire operation would influence how Adam, as general manager, would mold the Blues.
“We would go to their games and watch the in-between inning events, that kind of thing. We saw a lot of that with the Durham Bulls, and then Adam kind of built on that,” Marianne said.
Marianne and Keith always knew their son was always athletic and interested with the sport of baseball, so it was not surprising to them when he left his athletic department position at a college in Louisiana to become the general manager of the Blues.
Though there are times that Keith teases Adam Stowe on the decision he made, he understands why he did it.
While all of the prior owners of the Blues loved the game of baseball, the Stowe’s realized there needed to be more than the love for the sport to make the organization successful.
“They loved baseball, but they were not necessarily great businesspeople,” Marianne said. “You need to have somebody who’s watching the books.”
Marianne is the current Host family coordinator and her involvement with the Blues came to be seven years ago when Adam asked her to step in on a temporary basis. Keith has been a huge help behind the scenes with fundraising for the non-profit, as well as serving as the team’s unofficial utility man providing help wherever it’s needed. His biggest role has been in coordinating the Blues’ direct mail campaign to recruit sponsors.
“He sent out almost 1,500 targeted packets to local businesses this year; which has directly led to more than $25,000 in new sponsors this season. We’ve actually sold out of much of our available sponsorship inventory,” said Adam.
Even the Blues’ youngest intern is Adam’s 12-year-old daughter, Quinzi, who has attended more than 200 games. She values learning from all the college interns and hopes to learn more about the technology side of game-day operations in the future like working the scoreboard and keeping stats.
“I was born into the family. So, I’m involved with the Blues. I really enjoy it, and I’m glad that is in my life!” Quinzi said.
Thanks to the Stowe’s, the Blues remain an important part of the community and the culture of San Luis Obispo—and it looks like that will be the case for years to come.
By CCL Reporter, Kathryne Padilla —
The new general manager of the Walnut Creek Crawdads, Justin McCray, will be digging deep into his extensive baseball experience with the hopes of adding a minor league atmosphere to the Northern California summer collegiate baseball scene.
McCray first developed his love for baseball through his father, who played college and eventually professional baseball with the Los Angeles Dodgers. McCray viewed himself a lot like his dad, someone who loved the sport so much so that it turned into a career.
Justin McCray would play in the minor leagues for a little over eight years with the Chicago White Sox, Houston Astros, and the Milwaukee Brewers. His passion for the game then led him to become a Major League scout, which he has done for various organizations for 16 years and counting.
Close to 365 days out of the year, McCray would be traveling to various states around the country, but there was something he always missed the most – his family. Ultimately, when the opportunity for him to become the Crawdad’s general manager presented itself, he was more than eager to jump on the offer as it would not only keep him home, but also around the game he loved.
“When scouting full-time, I was gone all the time,” McCray said. “I wanted to keep doing something [that]…is in my blood. This would be an interesting opportunity where I don’t have to be gone.”
While McCray may have a long history in baseball, this will be the first time he is seeing an entirely different side of the sport from a business and logistics perspective. McCray is well-equipped, though, thanks to his experience and relationships with MLB managers to take the Crawdads to new heights. As an ex-player in the minor leagues, that quintessential atmosphere stuck with McCray. That is the environment he wants to create not only for Crawdads players, but also for the fans.
“It’s not just the game,” McCray said. “There’s a little bit of a show too; bringing the fun, bringing the kids…”
With the well-respected Brant Cummings leading the charge on the field as head coach, adding to the Crawdad’s fan experience will be the biggest goal for McCray in Summer 2022. To hit his target, McCray will primarily be focusing on maximizing attendance via promotions and other events.
“Every Saturday and Sunday we have home games, those are going to be our big promotional days,” McCray said.
While determining how to create this environment, McCray looked at other CCL teams he feels already provide this atmosphere. With new ideas spurring in his mind, he is hopeful he will be able to create an exhilarating energy all summer long.
“It’s a show; it’s entertainment, it’s fun, “McCray said. “So that’s the part I’m excited to try and do.”
McCray has a select team to help build his vision, and is hopeful he will be bringing on more staff members before the summer season begins.
Ryan Lovato, Kyle Taylor, Celine DeSaix, Allen DeSaix, and Austin Ota will all hold different responsibilities for the Crawdads. These talented individuals have already set a positive tone with McCray.
“…Especially when you’re young, well-motivated energy is always good,” McCray said.
Not only will McCray be sharing some of his knowledge with his staff this year, he hopes to be an inspiration to his players.
“Hopefully they sit up straighter when I walk into the park, right?,” McCray said with a grin.
McCray also plans to hold a Professional Scouting Day and invite scouts from across the MLB.
In the end, the Crawdads are looking to compete in the CCL and introduce a new fun and family-friendly atmosphere under McCray’s leadership. McCray emphasized, the ultimate goal is then to “win the CCL.”
By CCL Reporter, Kathryne Padilla —
A successful season with the Conejo Oaks doesn’t just lie in the hands of the athletes taking the field or the coaches behind them. Director of Operations, Rebecca Willson holds most of the success of the season on her back and contributes to the growing foundation of genuine relationships within the program.
Willson grew up in a baseball-oriented household where her dad was a coach, and her older brother played the game. At first, growing up she was not too fond of the sport, but it eventually grew on her and even played softball in her childhood.
“I love being around it. Obviously, I’m not coaching, and I don’t want to coach or anything like that. But I love being around baseball, and like the happiness, it brings people just like talking to the fans,” Willson said. “I like just being out there in the atmosphere of it.”
She was first introduced to the Oaks when her older brother was on the coaching staff. He initiated the conversation of Willson helping the team with game-day operations on some occasions if she was able to. Willson has a Bachelor of Arts in Hospitality and was an event planner at the time, which made her a perfect candidate to help with operations.
At first, it started with helping with a few games, and then slowly she began to take on more responsibilities as she continued returning with the team.
“Every summer I kind of just added more things for myself to do. So now I just kind of do a little of everything and try to help coach out as much as possible,” Willson said.
This coming summer will mark her fourth season with the Oaks.
Preparation for the new season doesn’t begin a couple of months before, in fact, Willson feels like she gets a two-week break before having to begin planning and organizing the new season. Her long list of responsibilities includes but are not limited to housing athletes, transportation, providing food, marketing and social media, managing the intern program, ordering uniforms, and overseeing all daily operations.
“Every summer it’s something I love to do … one more thing gets added every summer and I think it’s great. I think more of it is just trying to build our program and make it bigger,” Willson said.
Last season, the COVID-19 pandemic had a significant effect on how operations were run. Willson switched gears relatively quickly and still found housing for athletes. She even made several grocery runs to ensure the players had food but also kept their safety intact.
In her first initial interaction with the players, she is able to get a sense of who the players are as people. “Some of the times I can tell right from the get-go how they’re going to be, or you know how this is going to go if I need to whip any of them into shape,” Willson said with a grin.
The work that Willson does behind the scenes doesn’t go unnoticed. She does whatever it takes to relieve some of the stress for the coaches if needed, but it also contributes to the genuine relationships that the Oaks create with each of their players during the season.
The bond that is created with these athletes is one that Willson and head coach David Soliz have seen is long-term.
“It’s a two-month connection that just seems sometimes when you connect with a player, it’s so much longer than two months. It just feels like you’ve known them for a long time and it’s really cool,” Willson said.
Longtime coach for the Oaks, David Soliz, also feels the same that summers in the California Collegiate League is all about baseball, and so much more.
Soliz shared a moment when he saw Brandon Lewis (UC Irvine, Los Angeles Dodgers), an Oaks’ alumni, while attending an all-star game in Boise, where his brother was managing at the time.
“I see a player standing off and I’m like, is that him? That’s Lew. He’s standing, so I text him and I said something like, ‘make sure you stand up straight,’ and he texts me back, ‘Are you here?” Soliz said.
The following day, Soliz was able to greet Lewis and received a bear hug from the athlete which Soliz shared, “He didn’t have to do that, a couple of years later.”
Moments like the one Soliz experienced are the ones that keep himself and Willson returning.
Owner of the Conejo Oaks, Mike Scioscia, and General Manager, Randy Riley, built a program that revolves around genuine connections which creates such as positive and welcoming atmosphere
The duo has created an environment where athletes are able to not only focus on developing high-level baseball skills but building long-term relationships with all involved in the organization.
Soliz loves that Scioscia is hands-on with the Oaks’ players, coaches, staff, and interns and present during the summer. Scioscia has been at practices and on-field during workouts, but could also be found sitting in the stands at the Oaks’ games.
“He was at every single home game for the early work. He would do his drills, talk to the guys and the players loved it. Sometimes he would go home, change and come back and just watch the game in the stands; that’s how much he cares,” Soliz said.
Riley could also be found at Oaks games. His generosity and love for the organization plays a big part in the success of the Oaks.
“He does what is always best for the league and he’s always done what’s best for the team, and each player. There’s no player that goes without…[Riley]’s there [and] takes care of it,” Soliz said.
It is evident the Oaks has created a solid foundation that has continued to be the basis for the organization and has grown into something larger than life. While there are only two months during the summer season, it seems that the Oaks jam-pack years of relationships that ultimately continue for years to come.
By CCL Reporter, Kathryne Padilla —
In one of the several acres of Solano County, one could find a young Ryan “P” Adams on his home-built diamond perfecting the skills that would lead him to a rewarding baseball career. This journey now finds Adams back in his home county as the head coach for the Solano Mudcats — and it is everything he imagined.
Since he could remember, Adams had a competitive spirit and would describe himself as an adrenaline junkie. Having this in his nature would fuel his passion for baseball and contribute to many rewarding experiences throughout his life.
During his childhood, the support from his family was evident. His father, Gary, spent endless days with Adams taking him to practice after practice and game after game. Gary Adams eventually built a baseball diamond in the family backyard, not only for Adams, but also for the teams he was a part of.
“My dad was a sports enthusiast and he decided ‘Let’s build a field in the backyard,’” Adams said. “Ultimately, we had our travel practice out there … It was unique, the field wasn’t very big, but we got the job done.”
Growing up, Adams credits his mother, Stephanie, for his competitive spirit, and his two older siblings for supporting his love of the game.
“They’ve always been supportive of my endeavors, whatever it is … I always looked at them and admired what they do, and they’ve kind of created a path for me to kind of be my own person,” Adams said.
Adams also found motivation from his extended family when beginning his baseball career. Multiple members reached high levels in their respective sports.
“My uncle … played in the big leagues for several years,” Adams said. “I have cousins that played Division I baseball and I had a cousin who was one of the best wrestlers in the country.”
Though Adams had many role models to look up which contributed to his success, he often experienced the underdog role.
“People often tell me ‘Listen, you know, it’s unlikely that you’re going to make it to the Major Leagues,’ and I knew that it was just something that I was driven by. I was highly motivated,” Adams said.
With people doubting Adams, his passion for baseball grew. He played for two years at Solano College before transferring to San José State University. In his two years at Solano, he was a First-Team, All-Bay Valley Conference selection as a utility player and an All-State selection as a shortstop. In 2006, Solano College inducted Adams into its Hall of Fame.
During his time at San José State, Adams was a key contributor to a Top 25 team. In his senior year, the Spartans came in second in the Western Athletic Conference.
It was his time being coached by Sam Piraro that Adams would take away many of his coaching philosophies and incorporate them into his own life.
“His philosophy was doing whatever it takes, it was more of a defense-oriented [approach] you know … He was kind of old school, but it won games and he was a kind of great mentor and actually I take a lot of what his philosophy was … and use it [now],” Adams said.
Adams did not just stop at collegiate play, his passion led him to opportunities to play in minor leagues. He joined the Solano Steelheads following graduating college which gave him insight into a different form of play. Surrounded by professional athletes intimated the new college graduate, but it was a challenge he would not back away from.
“I started to build confidence … a lot of those guys were in the pro ranks for a long time. So, I kind of picked their ear … and it was a quick learning curve for me,” Adams said.
Adams would play with the Steelheads for one season as they disassembled due to financial complications. However, one more opportunity landed Adams in Kalamazoo, Michigan. While finishing his master’s program, balancing playing time and being homesick, something struck a chord in Adams. The thought of “where is this going to take me” settled in and Adams hung up his cleats.
“My older brother’s a special education teacher out in Pittsburgh, and he’s been doing that and so I said, ‘You know what, I love being around kids,” Adams said.
Adams began teaching and coaching in 2007 at Vanden High School. He holds over 200 wins with the baseball program and coached his team to section runner-up champions in 2015 and 2017.
Adams credits his wife, Marisa, and two children Myles (15) and Ryley (12) for allowing him to share his passion for the game with so many.
His collective experience would contribute to him being the number one candidate to become the head coach of the Solano Mudcats, one of eleven California Collegiate League teams.
Adams is not entirely new to the organization either; he played for the Mudcats when they were a semi-professional team. With the addition of Adams to the Mudcats’ staff, it is evident the competitive atmosphere has been increased due to what he provides as a coach. He wants his incoming student-athletes to view this as an opportunity to grow and improve on their craft, however, he also holds a high expectation for them.
“Here’s an opportunity to compete and so I want players that are just true competitors that are gritty, that will get down in the dirt and will do anything for the best interest of the team,” Adams said.
Adams has set a goal to emphasize on “getting bigger and stronger” through his players hitting the weight room more and focusing on nutrition. He will also be focusing on the mental side of the game.
The Mudcats have also focused on specific areas of recruiting such as bolstering their pitching staff in order to create a well-rounded team.
In the end, the Mudcats will not take any shortcuts this season, and that is something Adams has never believed in.
“My philosophy always has, and always will be, ‘You get what you put into this game. If you respect the game, the game will take care of you,’” Adams said.