Mendocino College Eagles Baseball Thriving Under California Warriors Alums

The Mendocino College Eagles Baseball Program has taken off this season under new Head Coach Conor Bird and Assistant Coach Ryan Burke, both of whom have strong ties to the California Warriors and First Base Foundation. Conor Bird served as a California Warriors Coach for a couple seasons, and was the pitching coach and Interim Head Coach for the College of Marin Mariners for 9 years before moving on to Mendocino College. Ryan Burke played for the Warriors for 6 years in high school and college, joined as a coach in summer 2015, and was named Director of Baseball Operations in the summer of 2016. At Mendocino, Burke serves as the Hitting Coach, works with the infielders, and is the program’s Recruiting Coordinator.

Expectations were low for the new coaching staff in their first year, but the new coaches have been able to shatter those expectations and turn the program into a contender in their first year. Taking over a 7-win team from the previous year with only 7 returning players on the roster was tough, but a new influx of talent and a new culture have the program on the brink of their first playoff appearance in many years.

Mendocino surpassed last year’s win total of 7 before conference play even began, as the Eagles went 11-7-1 in non-conference play. The Eagles have also enjoyed a 7-game win streak during the season, and the most recent CCCBCA Northern California rankings have the Eagles at #15, which is the highest they have been ranked in 20+ years. Currently, the Eagles are 14-11-1.

One of the biggest changes the new coaching staff has made is a new offensive approach that is generating a lot of runs. The Eagles are near the top of their conference in almost all offensive categories, and have already scored more runs in their first 26 games (154), than they scored in all of last season (132). They have also already hit 12 home runs and have 136 RBI’s compared to 2 and 118 in the previous season.

Congrats to Conor and Ryan, we love seeing California Warriors out in the world doing great things in baseball!

California Warriors Alumni Players of the Week: Christian Merriwether & Charley Moore

College of Marin Freshman, Christian Merriwether, helped his team take 2 of 3 in last week’s series against Napa Valley College, going 4 for 12 with 6 RBI, 2 Runs, a HR and a Triple. The center fielder from Castro Valley HS has scored 19 Runs and driven in 17 RBI over 72 AB so far this season, and has flashed some speed with 3 Triples. Up next for CW Hitter of the Week Merriwether and the COM Mariners are the Mendocino College Eagles, where California Warriors Director of Baseball Operations Ryan Burke is an assistant coach.

This week’s California Warriors Pitcher of the Week is University HS standout, Charley Moore. Moore tossed two complete games – one against Marin Academy and one against Lick Wilmerding. In the complete game shutout against Marin Academy, Charley struck out 5 and only gave up 2 hits, and over the course of the week he collected 2 Wins, 7 K’s, and only gave up 1 Earned Run. On the season, Moore is sporting a dominant 1.15 ERA, and we look forward to watching his season unfold!

California Warriors Alumni Players of the Week: Henrik Reinertsen & Marcus Chiu

Henrik Reinertsen, our high school California Warriors Alumni Player of the Week, took the reins in a matchup against Novato HS, leading his Branson Bulls to a 1-0 victory by tossing a complete-game shutout. Branson’s sole run came in the 1st Inning, but that was all the run support Reinertsen – featured here in the Marin IJ – needed as he collected 8 K’s on his way to bringing home the Win.

The collegiate California Warriors Alumni Player of the Week is Marcus Chiu, who played a big role in helping College of Marin sweep Yuba College in a 3-game series over the weekend. Over the series, Chiu went 6 for 14 (good for a .429 AVG), scored 2 Runs, drove in 4 RBI, mashed a HR, and even stole a base to help the Mariners complete the sweep. Marcus, who has also coached for the California Warriors, is having a dominant season at the plate so far for COM, hitting .360 AVG / .453 OBP / .690 SLG across 100 AB while collecting 27 Runs, 30 RBI, 9 HR, and 5 SB.

California Warriors Pro Alumni Update: Lucas Erceg

The Milwaukee Brewers gave California Warriors alum Lucas Erceg a shot to prove himself this spring, bringing him along to big-league camp as a non-roster invitee. True to form, Erceg is off to a blistering start, turning heads with stellar performances one after the other and solidifying his spot as the 7th ranked prospect in the Brewers system.

Lucas showed he can swing it in clutch situations during a matchup against the Cincinnati Reds, when he stepped up to the plate in the bottom of the 9th with the scored tied 2-2 and knocked a walkoff Single into right field. A few games later, Erceg really made his presence felt when the Brewers leveled Cleveland by a score of 14-4; Lucas accounted for 5 of those Runs, when he launched a 6th Inning Grand Slam onto the roof in right field and followed that up with a solo shot in the 8th.

Over 20 AB this spring, Erceg is batting a scorching-hot .450/.500/.1300 with 5 Runs, 7 RBI, and 2 HR. We’re looking forward watching Lucas’ career unfold, and wish him the best of luck!

California Warriors Alumni Player of the Week: Nick Roth

Drake HS Senior and California Warriors alum, Nick Roth, had a monster day for the Pirates in their matchup against the Marin Catholic Wildcats. Hitting out of the cleanup spot, Roth also was Drake’s starting pitcher, leading his team to a 4-1 victory over MC on both sides of the ball.

On the mound, Nick dominated the Wildcats lineup, tossing a complete game in which he struck out 11 batters while giving up only 1 BB and 1 Run. Not to be overshadowed by his own pitching performance, Roth had a day at the plate too, going 4 for 4 with a Run scored.

Roth’s performance against MC is an indication of how well his season has gone thus far. On the hill, he is 3-0 over 17 IP with a stellar 1.06 ERA and 24 K’s, holding opposing batters to a meager .136 AVG. At the dish, he is hitting .471 over 17 AB’s with 4 Runs, 6 RBI, a Double and a Triple. Congratulations to Nick, and good luck the rest of the season!

California Warriors Pro Alumni Update: O’Koyea Dickson

Coming off a dominant 2016 season playing for the Los Angeles Dodgers AAA affiliate Oklahoma City Dodgers, California Warriors Alum O’Koyea Dickson has once again been invited to the Los Angeles Dodgers Spring Training as a non-roster invitee. Dickson roped a Single and scored a Run in his first appearance of the spring against the Brewers, and continued his trend of lighting up pitchers with a 2-Run Home Run against the Rockies two days later.

O’Koyea – now 2 for 5 on the spring with 3 Runs, 2 RBI, and 1 HR – is knocking on the big league door after racking up a .328/.398/.596 triple-slash over 329 AB’s last season to go along with 63 Runs, 64 RBI, and 18 HR. The long-time California Warriors player and coach has little left to prove at the AAA level, we’re excited to see what’s next for the California Warriors Alum slugger!

Black History Month – Dusty Baker

From his playing days as a star outfielder for the Braves, Dodgers, Giants, and A’s to his time as the manger of the Giants, Cubs, Reds, and Nationals, Dusty Baker’s career spans over 40 years of service time in the big leagues. It all began when he was drafted by the Atlanta Braves out of high school in 1967, making his MLB debut one year later in 1968 (incidentally in that season, he was on deck when Hank Aaron hit the home run that moved him past Babe Ruth on the all-time list). From that early debut at age 19, he went on to collect some serious accolades – he was a 2x All-Star, World Series Champion, Gold Glove Winner, and 2x Silver Slugger, finishing his career with a .278 AVG, 242 HR, and 1013 RBI.

Still an active manager with the Washington Nationals, Dusty ranks 16th all-time in Wins by a manager with a career record of 1766-1571, and will look to jump up that list a couple spaces this season. Over his storied career as a manager, he has also gathered a long list of accolades for himself – he won the NL Manager of the Year 3 times, managed the 2003 NL All Star Team, won 103 games with the Giants in 1993, and has appeared in 7 playoffs and in 1 World Series as a manager.

“I don’t know why I do stuff sometimes. Sometimes I go by the numbers. Sometimes I go on what I feel. Sometimes I go on what I hope.”

Dusty Baker

In addition to Baker’s extensive production on the field and in the dugout, he is also on the board of the Positive Coaching Alliance, a national non-profit organization with the mission to transform the culture of youth sports so that youth athletes can have a positive, character-building experience, and is the godfather of First Base Foundation & California Warriors Founder, Noah Jackson.

California Warriors Alumni Player of the Week: Max Gamboa

Facing off against a tough Texas A&M (ranked #20) lineup, California Warriors alum Max Gamboa brought his A-game to deliver a Win for the Pepperdine Waves. The Junior RHP from Tam High tossed 6.2 Innings of 1-Run ball during which he collected 10 K’s and only allowed 2 BB’s and 5 Hits.

The Win was Gamboa’s first of the season, and the appearance leaves him with an impressive 14/3 K/BB ratio over 10.2 IP. His strong showing against the formidable opponent, Texas A&M, is a sign of good things to come for the California Warriors alum, and we look forward to watching the rest of his season unfold!

California Warriors Alumni Player of the Week: Dominic Burke

Dominic Burke, a long-time California Warrior and current College of Marin Mariner, takes home this week’s California Warriors Alumni Player of the Week Award with a solid performance in three games against Diablo Valley, Hartnell, and Folsom Lake.

Over the week, the Freshman out of San Marin HS went 4-14 with 2 Runs scored, 1 RBI, a Double, a Walk, and a Stolen Base. The highlight of the week for Burke came in the top of the 11th inning against the Diablo Valley Vikings – with the score tied at 4, Dominic led off the inning with a Double, eventually scoring the go-ahead and game-winning run on a base knock by fellow California Warriors Alum, Marcus Chiu.

Burke has been doing well for himself and for his team this season as the leadoff hitter and starting third baseman – he has put together a .350/.458/.400 triple slash so far over 40 AB’s, and leads the team with 3 SB as well. Congratulations to Dominic, and best of luck on the rest of your season!

Black History Month – Dave Stewart

Known for his prolific career on the mound where he won three championships, tossed a nasty forkball, and intimidated countless batters with his infamous death stare, Dave Stewart is an all-around baseball guy whose career in the sport has flourished far past his days of toeing the rubber.

A native of Oakland, California, Stewart turned down a stack of college scholarships to play football in favor of joining the Los Angeles Dodgers farm system, who selected him in the 16th round of the 1975 MLB Draft. He eventually made his debut with the Dodgers in 1978, marking the start of a playing career that would last until 1995. Over that span, Stewart collected a hefty bunch of accolades, including 3 World Series Championships, a World Series MVP, Roberto Clemente Award, a no-hitter, and 4 seasons in a row with the Oakland Athletics in which he won 20 games.

During his years as a player, Stewart took the field for the Los Angeles Dodgers, the Texas Rangers, the Philadelphia Phillies, the Oakland Athletics (two stints), and the Toronto Blue Jays, and amassed a 168-129 record to go along with a whopping 1741 K’s. While many would be content to call it a day after racking up numbers like that, Stewart has continued to thrive on the business end of the baseball world – in addition to his years spent as a pitching coach for various MLB teams, Stewart started a sports agency that brokered high-profile deals with players like Matt Kemp and Eric Chavez, while also serving as an assistant GM in several organizations before eventually claiming the GM job with the Arizona Diamondbacks from 2014-2016.