One led a baseball program to the first Central Section title in school history, and the other led his school to its first title since he was a student.
Rick Sawyer of Highland and Jeff Wedel at Wasco both achieved storybook endings this season.
They are the BVarsity Baseball Co-Coaches of the Year.
Wedel was a senior at Wasco the last time the Tigers won a baseball section title in 1990. He coached them to a comeback 5-4 victory in the Division IV title game against Firebaugh.
In his final year before retiring as a coach, Sawyer led Highland to the best season in school history and the program’s first title, beating Porterville 8-5 in the D-III title game at Rawhide Ballpark in Visalia.
Wedel felt the support of the whole town of Wasco as his team ended the season with 25 straight wins.
“The community has really rallied around these guys,” Wedel said.
Wasco trailed Firebaugh by three runs with two outs in the top of the seventh inning when Lalo Barraza’s hit a game-winning three-run double.
“I called them the cardiac kids. They never gave up,” Wedel said.
Highland’s past two seasons have been the best in the Scots’ 47-year history.
Highland’s record for wins in a season has been reset each of the past three years under Sawyer: From 19 in 2015 to 20 a year ago to a sterling 27-3 record this season.
“This is good for Highland, because it’s not considered a baseball school,” Sawyer said. “It’s good for our program. I am very proud of this team. They did a heck of a job.”
— TREVOR HORN