• Pete Dalena puts away fungo bat after 19 years as Memorial’s baseball coach
• Dalena won 336 games, two section titles and two Bee Coach of the Year awards
• Ranked among Fresno State’s home run leaders, he played eight professional seasons
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Pete Dalena has resigned as Memorial’s baseball coach after winning 336 games, two Central Section titles and unfailing respect among his peers in a 19-year career.
Panthers Athletic Director Anthony Goston made the announcement late Wednesday, about 3 hours after 13th-seeded Memorial nearly pulled off the stunner of the section’s first round of playoffs — giving up three runs in the bottom of the seventh in a Division I 4-3 loss at No. 4 Tulare Western.
“Hats off to Memorial and Coach Pete Dalena,” Mustangs coach Ken Searcy said. “They’re just a class-act baseball program.”
Memorial assistant Casey Padgett will take over on an interim basis in 2016, Goston said.
“Coach Delena has built one of the best programs in the Valley while consistently competing for championships,” Goston added.
Dalena, a 1978 Memorial graduate, went 336-237-1 with the Panthers, according to section historian Bob Barnett.
He was named Bee Coach of the Year after capturing section titles in 2006 (D-II) and 2001 (Sequoia Division Small Schools).
Dalena ranks among Fresno State’s career home run leaders with 32, slugged left-handed in 1981-82.
He then was selected in the 27th round of the major league amateur draft by the New York Yankees.
Dalena would play eight pro seasons with the Yankees and Cleveland, including a month in the majors with the Indians in 1989.
He was also a hitting instructor for the Montreal Expos before taking over at Memorial.
The Panthers were elevated to D-I in the section’s performance-based alignment system after finishing second in D-II the previous two seasons.