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!