Cajon, one of the more successful and stable athletic programs in San Bernardino County, has had to hire three new head coaches in recent months.
Two down, one to go.
Cajon hired Robert Grande, an assistant last year, as its new head baseball coach. Grande replaces Jon Austin, who stepped down after after 16 seasons and a 259-165 record. Athletic Director Rich Imbriani had indicated after Austin resigned that there were several candidates already on the coaching staff.
Previously, Imbriani hired John Anderson to replace John Chamberlain to coach water polo, after Chamberlain left Cajon to take the athletic director job at Indian Springs, Anderson’s former job. Anderson previously coached water polo at Arroyo Valley.
One position remains open: softball, after Jerry Tivey resigned after the season to pursue other interests.
“I’m still taking applications,” Imbriani said.
Two former Yucaipa High teammates, Taijuan Walker and Matt Davidson will be teammates again, albeit for one day as they were both named to the U.S. squad for the Futures Game on July 14 in New York, a minor-league precursor to MLB’s all-star game.
Walker a 2010 Yucaipa grad and Davidson, a 2009 Yucaipa grad, are two hot prospects in baseball.
Walker, 20, who is ranked as the No. 5 overall prospect by MLB.com, just made his debut for the Seattle Mariners’ Triple-A Tacoma affiliate on Tuesday, and he pitched six innings, allowing three hits, no runs, two walks and struck out four and earned the win vs. Fresno. Prior to the promotion, he was 4-7 with a 2.46 ERA and 96 strikeouts in 84 innings with Double-A Jackson. Walker was also selected for the Futures Game last year and pitched one shutout inning in relief in the U.S.’s 17-5 win over the World team.
Davidson, 22, is a third baseman with the Arizona Diamondbacks’ Triple-A Reno affiliate. There, he is batting .301 with 10 home runs, 46 RBIs, and a respectable 14 errors in 73 games at third base so far. This is Davidson’s first Futures Game selection.
Yes, many of those baseball players who were drafted earlier this month have already started their pro careers, including Redlands High’s Jacob Nottingham, the all-Sun catcher this year who was drafted in the sixth round by the Houston Astros.
Nottingham has started his career with the Astros’ rookie-level Gulf Coast League affiliate in Florida. His career has started a little bit slowly, but that’s understandable, especially for high school hitters going from metal to wood bats. Through his first four games through Tuesday, Nottingham is 1 for 11 with one RBI, three walks and six strikeouts.
In the four games, he has appeared twice as a designated hitter and twice as a catcher. Perhaps his most impressive statistics have come in his limited playing time as a catcher. In the two games, he has thrown out two of three baserunners trying to steal, has no errors or passed balls. Many scouts will say that the best players won’t let struggles in one area (offense or defense) affect the other. So far, it appears Nottingham hasn’t.