James Patrick tied Mike Noakes as the winningest baseball coaches in Central Section history Friday night, when Clovis defeated Clovis West 3-1 in a Tri-River Athletic Conference game at Lloyd Merriman Field.
When his achievement was announced soon after the final pitch of Cougars reliever Blake Sodersten, Patrick tipped his hat to a standing ovation, pointed to his players, and that was it, the coach left humbled.
“I told the kids after the game I’m a little embarrassed by this attention,” he said. “As a coach, I’ve never thrown a ball, hit a ball or fielded a ball; I’ve just been able to witness a lot of great players do those things and it’s been my privilege to be a part of it.”
Patrick, 708-242-3 in two years at Memorial and 30 at Clovis, will remain at home to play Clovis East on Tuesday at 6:30 p.m.
Noakes went 708-261-7 in 26 years at Bullard and six at Central, according to section historian Bob Barnett. He retired after the 2002 season.
Patrick’s record tie came against his oldest son, Golden Eagles coach Kevin Patrick, as the Cougars – ranked 10th in the state by Cal-Hi Sports – improved to 13-2-1 overall and 4-1 in the TRAC.
Patrick win No. 706 came March 21, 2-1 in nine innings, against his youngest son, Clovis North coach Chris Patrick.
On Friday, Cougars senior left-hander Darby Tatum gave up three hits and one run in six innings while improving to 7-1.
“To be the winning pitcher for this is pretty cool,” said the younger brother of The Bee’s 2014 Player of the Year McCarthy Tatum. “Everyone was aware to win this game or it was going to be awkward. Looking back in 20 years, I’ll be able to say I was the winning pitcher.”
Sodersten gave up a leadoff single to Evan Rocha in the seventh inning before recording three straight outs to earn the save.
Clovis West’s Nick Falco, a senior right-hander, countered with a four-hitter for the Eagles (8-5-1, 2-3).
Clovis took a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the second on singles by Chet Allison and Clayton Alexander, Jay Massey’s opposite-field RBI double to right and Darrien Miller’s RBI groundout.