When thinking about Yosemite High Baseball ... hard work, dedication and perseverance comes to mind. The D-IV school, with about 700 students, has enjoyed much success despite a relatively smaller pool of athletes.
Despite being considered a “smaller school” YHS has always ‘played up’ to the competition. Over the years the team has produced nine professional athletes including two-time MLB All-Star Ted Lilly and countless college players.
So when Bob Siebenberg recently accepted the head coaching job at YHS he knew there would be big shoes to fill.
Siebenberg becomes only the fourth coach in YHS Baseball history replacing long-time head coach John McMillen who announced his retirement in September. But Siebenberg himself is no stranger to baseball.
Growing up in Glendale, Siebenberg found success early as a D-II high school all-league second baseman for the Glendale Dynamiters of the highly competitive Foothill League, playing against top notch schools such as John Muir, Pasadena High, and Burbank High.
Coaching for the first time in 1987, after moving from Los Angeles to Oakhurst, Siebenberg began his coaching experience with two years of Little League and then took on a Senior Little League team for three years. He began coaching the Yosemite JV baseball team as an assistant in 1989, with head Coach Damon Gilliland where he stayed until 1992. Three years later, at the request of then Athletic Director Steve Raupp, Siebenberg became the head JV coach from 1995 to 1997 working with Dan Roberts and George McWherter until 2005.
Now, the first time varsity coach said he is confident in his skills as a coach and brings with him ‘renewed enthusiasm.’
Despite Siebenberg’s confidence, he comes to the program amidst one of its most turbulent and uncertain times. With enrollment down, and the draw of Minarets, Yosemite has seen the talent pool shrink dramatically leaving coaches in other sports wondering “what happened to all the athletes.” Siebenberg says “We have the athletes. We just have to get them to participate.”
Even with difficult obstacles Siebenberg maintains his poise and plans to return the once dominate program to the top of the North Sequoia League.
“These young men up here are ready to go,” said Siebenberg. “We are lucky to have the caliber of athletes we do. The number of players coming out this year is up from past seasons.”
Siebenberg says his goals for this year are simple: “Have fun and compete.”
“I am hear for the kids and to make sure Yosemite High School maintains is prestige as being a competitive team while maintaining its character, respect and love for the game,” Siebenberg explained.
The Badgers will have that chance behind a well-developed returning class featuring three 2014 All-League returners, including senior pitcher/shortstop Joey Woolsey (1st Team All-League and the NSL’s top pitcher).
Woolsey joins the baseball team after a devastating shoulder injury during a pre-season football scrimmage required surgery.
“Joey took a season ending hit in football, and has worked hard though his therapy to get ready for baseball and right now his throwing is light,” Siebenberg said. “We’ll bring him along slow and keep a careful eye on him, but he’s determined to have a good season.”
Other returning players include senior Evan Diehl, last year’s starting catcher and the teams leading RBI contributor - senior Tyler McIntyre - junior Jarret Barrone - third baseman Tristen Eames (last year’s NSL Outstanding Underclassman of the Year) - and junior left fielder Dylan Rounsivill.
The team has added two transfer students to the team from Southern California and the Bay Area. Siebenberg hopes these athletes will have an immediate impact on the team as well as bring some different perspectives from outside the Mountain Area.
“We’re just getting our first look at the incoming players, and most of these kids can really play. They’ve had excellent coaching through our summer traveling team - The Colts. We’re very pleased,” Siebenberg said.
Coming off a 9-20 season (6-9 NSL), the team will rely heavily on the strength of their pitching in order to generate the wins necessary to recapture the NSL title which has not graced the campus since the 2004-05 season.
But according to Siebenberg there is more to coaching than just winning as he hopes to set an example that can be modeled for future generations.
“I want to work with these young men on how to handle the ups and downs of life and how you have to work hard and pay attention to achieve what you want whether it’s a championship or a job. To stay positive and work with each other. If they can achieve these things, they will have a season they can be proud of,” Siebenberg said.
Sophomore Brian Woolsey said his is excited to have Siebenberg as head coach and believes he will bring a revitalization to the team.
“I feel Coach Siebenberg will help the team get to the next level,” Brian said. “He helped us last year so the transition has been smooth.”
Siebenberg is proud to have the full support and backing of the parents and administrators, and hopes to gain more support along the way through booster events and participation in fundraisers that are vital to the success of the program.
“There is an excellent fan base for support and great parental involvement that helps to make each season special,” Siebenberg said. “Our booster club is invaluable with their help and participation in the program.”
The Badgers opened the season Feb. 24, with a 4-0 win over Fowler, followed by a 8-5 defeat to Kingsbrug. Yosemite then defeated Mission Oak High School of Tulare, 11-5 on Feb. 28.
The team plays at home at 3:30 p.m. against Reedley March 5. League play starts at Liberty High on March 13. The Badgers will host Kerman at 4 p.m., March 17