High School Sports

Central Section baseball championships are on the move. What coaches are saying

A rainbow is displayed over Beiden Field, the site of the 2019 Central Section baseball championships.
A rainbow is displayed over Beiden Field, the site of the 2019 Central Section baseball championships. ezamora@fresnobee.com

The Central Section baseball championships are headed to Fresno State’s Pete Beiden Field at Bob Bennett Stadium.

Since 2014, the championships have been held at Rawhide Ballpark in Visalia. Not this year.

They’ll be played May 17-18 at Fresno State, and Fresno-area coaches are elated.

“I am sure it will be as thrilling for the teams that make it that far,” Clovis coach James Patrick said. “For us in the north part of the Valley, it will be a great convenience for students, parents and fans.”

San Joaquin Memorial coach J.D. Salles echoed what Patrick said.

“Whoever is lucky enough to make the championship game will get to play at a top-notch facility,” Salles said. “There is a rich tradition of baseball success at that stadium.”

Fresno coach Jason Papi is thrilled to have the title games at Fresno State.

“It is very exciting and a long time coming,” he said. “It is going to be a great atmosphere and the crowd will be electric. It will be a great two days of baseball.”

The move to Fresno State happened because this year’s California League schedule calls for the Visalia Rawhide to play a home series May 17-18.

Fresno State is scheduled to play at UNLV that weekend, leaving Beiden Field available to host the event that features six division championship games, two on Friday and four on Saturday.

There is still a possibility the section championships could return to Rawhide Ballpark next season, section commissioner Jim Crichlow said.

The baseball championships will go on at the same time as the section softball championships, which take place across Cedar Avenue at Margie Wright Diamond.

Easter tournaments

Spring break means it’s time for Easter baseball and softball tournaments.

The 49th Fresno Easter Classic baseball tournament begin Monday at seven venues and ends Wednesday.

Other tournaments of note:

Baseball – Fowler Easter Classic (Saturday, Monday-Tuesday), Ron Robinson Tournament at Woodlake (Saturday, Monday-Wednesday), 63rd Selma Greater Kiwanis Tournament at Selma and Immanuel (Monday-Wednesday).

Softball – Easter Classic at Buchanan (Saturday, Monday), Tulare Union Classic (Saturday, Monday-Tuesday), Fowler Easter Classic (Saturday, Monday-Tuesday)

Baseball and softball are not the only sports going on during spring break. The Sanger Easter Track and Field Classic will be at Tom Flores Stadium on Tuesday.

Sanger Hall of Fame

Sanger High will hold its Hall of Fame enshrinement banquet in May.

The 1950 baseball team, Ron Blackwood, Dave Dodson, Willie Garcia, Cole Herron, Chuck Shidan, Roy Tanimoto, Ted Torosian, Chris Wallin and Cindy Weibert will be inducted on May 4 at the community center.

Sanger held its inaugural event in 2018, highlighted by the induction of former NFL coach Tom Flores.

The banquet will begin at 5:30 p.m.

More Hall of Fame

Bullard High boys volleyball coach Roy Verduzco is one of four inductees for the 62nd California Coaches Association Hall of Fame.

Other inductees: former Clovis West boys water polo coach Stephen Mosher, Central Section track and field historian Ron Blackwood (Ed Stelow Media Award), Central Section historian Bob Barnett (Distinguished Service Award) and former longtime Clovis High athletic director Dave Bens (Dan Fukushima Lifetime Achievement Award).

The Hall of Fame will take place on June 15 at Pardini’s. The banquet will begin at 6 p.m.

Anthony Galaviz writes about sports for The Fresno Bee. He covers the Oakland Raiders, high schools, boxing, MMA and junior colleges. He’s been with The Bee since 1997 and attended Fresno City College before graduating from Fresno State with a major in journalism and a minor in criminology.