Clovis High baseball coach James Patrick will retire after 2019 season
After an upset-filled first week of the Central Section baseball and softball playoffs, one possibility stands out:
Clovis High baseball coach James Patrick has a shot at his 10th section championship in his last season with the Cougars.
Patrick announced that he’s retiring after 34 seasons as a coach. His record is 754-272-3 in two seasons at San Joaquin Memorial (1983-1984) and 32 at Clovis (1988-2019), according to Central Section historian Bob Barnett.
His sixth-seeded Cougars beat No. 11 Stockdale 3-2 and No. 3 Clovis North 5-2 last week to earn a date Wednesday at No. 2 San Luis Obispo.
Buchanan tumbles twice
The other big news from last week: The top-seeded Buchanan baseball and softball teams both lost.
The Bears softball team beat TRAC rival Central 4-0 but then lost to unseeded Paso Robles 3-2 on Thursday. Buchanan was trying for its third section championship appearance in four years. (The Bears won it in 2016 and were runners-up in 2018.)
The Bears baseball team won its playoff opener, beating Paso Robles 5-0, then bowed out in the quarterfinals with a 1-0 loss to No. 8-seeded Frontier.
That ended a remarkable run of nine straight years reaching at least the section semifinals, including four championships. This season the Bears were without the coach who led that run: Tom Donald stepped away from the program in February.
Clovis is the last Tri-River Athletic Conference team standing in either baseball or softball. Besides Clovis North and Buchanan, other TRAC baseball teams to fall were Clovis West in the quarterfinals and Buchanan, Clovis East and Central in the first round.
In softball, No. 5 Bullard beat No. 4 Clovis and No. 7 Atascadero beat No. 2 Clovis North. Clovis West bowed out in the first round and Clovis East didn’t go to playoffs.
Nineteen teams seeded below No. 8 are still alive in the section baseball and softball playoffs. The wildest swing is in baseball D-III where No. 10 Nipomo, No. 12 Atascadero and No. 16 Templeton are in the semifinals.
Championships in six divisions (12 games total) are set for Friday and Saturday at Fresno State, with the D-I softball final Friday night at Margie Wright Diamond and the D-I baseball final Saturday night at Beiden Field.
The upset storyline continued in boys volleyball, where No. 3 seed Clovis beat No. 4 Clovis East in last week’s section final. Those teams advanced with semifinal upsets over No. 2 Sanger and No. 1 Clovis North, respectively.
Clovis and Clovis East earned home dates Tuesday night in the Northern California Regionals. Clovis is the No. 4 seed in Division I and plays No. 5 Granite Bay; Clovis East is top-seeded in D-II and plays No. 8 El Camino-Sacramento. Also in D-II, section D-II champion Madera South is the No. 5 seed and plays at Monte Vista-Danville.
Clovis was the NorCal D-I runner-up last year after winning the SoCal D-II title in 2017. Boys volleyball does not have a state championship.