More Baseball Coaches of the Year

In addition to General State Coach of the Year Benji Medure of Huntington Beach, we have other State Coach honors for the 2022 season heading to Tony Nieto of Tesoro de Las Flores (middle schools) and Kurt Takahashi of Bradshaw Christian of Sacramento (small schools).


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Tesoro head coach Tony Nieto welcomes Jackson Freeman shortly after the Titans won the CIF SoCal D4 title. Photo: Fernando M. Donado / For OC Sports Zone.

Tony Nieto (Tesoro, Las Flores)

It is one of those selections in which the coach enjoyed great success at a previous school before going to a new one and continuing to shine.

For Nieto, he’s only been at Tesoro for two seasons, but before that he won 265 games in 16 years at California of Whittier. The Condors also won seven league titles in those seasons and appeared in the CIF South Section qualifiers 13 times. He was also the Whittier Daily News Coach of the Year twice. There was a two-year gap between the years Tony left California and went to Tesoro. It was then that he was a pitching coach for two years at Capistrano Valley.

Nieto coached first at the collegiate level for two years at Loyola Marymount (2000 and 2001) after his playing career ended. He was a four-year varsity player at USC (1991-94) and played two years in the minor leagues for the Cincinnati Reds organization.

This year’s team in Tesoro captured the CIF Southern California D3 title with a 6-4 win over Fullerton. Two weeks earlier, the Titans also defeated Fullerton, 3-0, to claim the school’s first-ever CIFSS crown. They capped off a 28-8 season and were named the D3 State Team of the Year.

Nieto is the first head coach from an Orange County high school to be middle school coach of the year since 1999, when the winner was John Emme of Corona del Mar (Newport Beach). Coach Emme tragically passed away last year (2021) after injuries he sustained while cycling. He had retired from baseball coaching in 2019.

The final 12 State Middle School Coaches of the Year: 2021 – Daniel Maye (Simi Valley Royal); 2020 – No selection (pandemic); 2019 – Pat Fuentes (Los Banos); 2018 – Ken Arnerich (Alameda); 2017 – Rich Henning (Christian Brothers, Sacramento); 2016 – Jeff Baumback (Redondo Beach Redondo Union); 2015 – Mike Mitchell (El Cajon Christian); 2014 – Ollie Turner (Torrance); 2013 – Wilmer Aaron (Gardena Serra); 2012 – Steve Vickery (Lakeside El Capitan); 2011 – Gary Remiker (San Diego Cathedral Catholic); 2010 – Rich Sciutto (Burlingame); 2009 – Bob Anderson (Central Lake Shasta Valley).

Bradshaw Christian Head Coach Kurt Takahashi receives the Section title banner from CIF Sac-Joaquin Section Commissioner Mike Garrison. Photo: Ray Iaea / Citizen of Elk Grove.

Kurt Takahashi (Bradshaw Christian, Sacramento)

Well, there’s one way to get a state coaching honor and that’s to guide your team to victory in a championship game against the team coached by the person who won it. last year.

It was only a minor game, of course, for Bradshaw Christian winning the CIF NorCal D4 Championship with a 9-0 victory over Colusa. The RedHawks were the top seed and were trying to move from their historic 33-0 start to an even more historic 34-0 finish. This didn’t happen as Takahashi and young Pride (with many sophomores and freshmen starting out) got their own historic victory.

“This is the first NorCal championship (in any sport) in school history,” Takahashi said in an interview with the Elk Grove Citizen. “We beat a good team at Colusa. Our boys showed up and played very well (Saturday). »

Colusa head coach Eric Lay was the 2021 Small State Schools Coach of the Year when his team finished with a 27-1 record. Takahashi’s team in 2022 finished 26-4 and was No. 2 in the final D4 state standings (behind Estancia de Costa Mesa 31-4).

Baseball has been a big part of Takahashi’s life since he was young. He grew up in Porterville and played at Fresno City College. He was selected in the 1995 MLB Draft by the San Francisco Giants as a pitcher and was in the minor leagues for three seasons. Takahashi’s pitching experience may be one of the reasons Bradshaw Christian rookie David Wiser was able to score a shutout in the regional final. Overall, the team’s pitchers have allowed just four runs in seven CIF Sac-Joaquin and CIF NorCal Division playoff games.

Takahashi, who has been at Bradshaw Christian since 2017 and is also the school’s athletic director, has been the first Sac-Joaquin Section Small Schools Coach of the Year since 2015, when Nelson Randolph of Capital Christian (Sacramento) was the winner.

The final 12 Small State School Coaches of the Year: 2021 – Eric Lay (Colusa); 2020 – No selection (pandemic); 2019 – Greg Mugg (Sunnyvale The King’s Academy); 2018 – Mack Paciorek (Pasadena Poly); 2017 – Jim Cleveland (San Lorenzo Redwood Christian); 2016 – Troy Ghisetti (Arcata); 2015 – Nelson Randolph (Sacramento Capital Christian); 2014 – Jay Preuss (Kerman); 2013 – Gil Ruiz (Pacific Grove); 2012 – Greg Largent (Escalon); 2011 – Craig Schoof (Atherton Menlo School); 2010 – Glen Prater (Riverside Woodcrest Christian); 2009 – Brad Gunter (Roseville Valley Christian).

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