Clovis News: Sports

Bears' Donald honored by Cal-Hi

Buchanan High's Tom Donald is Cal-Hi Sports Baseball Coach of the Year.

In his 12th season, Donald guided the Bears to a third Central Section title, capped by a 7-5 upset of then-No. 8 nationally ranked Clovis West.

Buchanan (29-5) finished No. 3 in Cal-Hi's final state rankings and rated No. 20 nationally by Baseball America.

"The biggest thing this team did was gain confidence along the year," said Donald, named state Coach of the Year for the first time in his career. "And as the confidence grew, as a unit, they realized they could play with anybody on any day."

The Bears finished on a nine-game winning streak, including a 10-6 victory against Central in the second round of the Division I playoffs with Donald absent from the Buchanan dugout.

Donald missed that game to travel to St. Petersburg, Fla., and watch his son, Jason, make his major league debut as a member of the Cleveland Indians against Tampa Bay.

Tom Donald then immediately returned to California to rejoin the Bears for their postseason march.

Buchanan got past Centennial 7-6 in eight innings in a semifinal. Then the Bears stunned a Clovis West team that had set a school record by going 29-3 and also had defeated Buchanan three teams during the regular season.

"These were great kids, great teammates," said Donald, who also won section titles in 2005 and 2006. "No one player had to carry the team. I'm never going to forget this season or the run this team made."