| February 18, 2022
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.
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