BASEBALL: Pair builds champions

DeHaan, Garcia led Maranatha to title game.

11096-De Haan.jpgBrain DeHaan
11097-Garcia.jpgKiko Garcia


By Scott Galetti, Staff Writer
PASADENA — When Brian DeHaan left Azusa High School to take over as head coach of Maranatha’s baseball team in 2007, he had a vision to turn the Minutemen into CIF-Southern Section championship contenders.
His first act of the 2007-08 school year was to bring in Kiko Garcia.
The pair came within one out of achieving the team’s goal of winning a title this season as the Minutemen held a one-run lead in the eighth inning before falling to top-seeded San Jacinto 4-3 in the CIF-SS Division VI championship game at UC Riverside.
Just to get there, Maranatha (18-11-1) needed to beat No. 2 Desert Christian of Lancaster 3-2 in 13 innings and overcome a long trip to Bishop to pull out an 11-6 victory over Bishop Union.
Because of their leadership, DeHaan and Garcia have been named the Star-News’ 2008 baseball Co-Coaches of the Year.
“At the beginning of the season, I knew we were young, but we had the potential in Division VI to make that run,” DeHaan said. “But the way that we won those playoff games and the way our kids played in those games, I don’t think you can ever expect that.”
The original plan was to have Garcia, who had previously served as co-head coach at Temple City, take over the reigns as head coach. But when DeHaan found it difficult to step away, he asked if Garcia would be willing to join him as co-coach.
“Six years before, I was over at Temple City doing a co-head coaching deal, so it was nothing new to me, it was more so just getting both of our coaching styles and getting on the same page,” Garcia said. “He has the same passion for the game as I do and maybe likes to do things a little bit differently than I do, but the end result is the same and we seem to do OK with it.”
Added DeHaan: “To have a co-head coach is just a tremendous asset.”
With a young roster, DeHaan and Garcia rode the arm of sophomore pitcher Dylan Covey (8-2 with a 0.68 ERA and 141 strikeouts).
Offensively, the Minutemen were led by Jordan Calloway (.426, 18 RBIs), Covey (.400, three homers, 27 RBIs) and Popham (.400, 22 RBIs).
“When you look at the youth of our team, the reality is a lot of these kids have played together since they were little kids and know and care for each other,” DeHaan said.