By Ray Hamill — With baseball set to return to the North Coast in the coming weeks, South Fork High School has named Chris Contreras as the Cubs new head coach.
Conteras has been an assistant with the team since 2018 and takes over from long-time head coach Corky Coffelt.
And he takes over a program with plenty of recent success, including back-to-back trips to the North Coast Section Division 6 championship game in each of the past two seasons and a section crown in 2018.
“I love baseball,” said Contreras, a long-time resident in the area after moving up from SoCal in the early 2000s. “I grew up playing baseball. I played baseball all through high school, so I’m looking forward to it.”
Contreras knows the players well too, having not just served as an assistant coach under Coffelt but also coaching many of them in the Little League ranks.
“I’ve coached a lot of these kids since Little League, so I’m very familiar with the kids,” he said.
Contreras’ two sons — senior Crue and freshman Broc — are both members of the team, although the new coach admits he’s not sure at this stage just who else will be on hand after the COVID shutdown and the uncertainty still surrounding when the season will take place.
He is, however, hoping to take advantage of a talented crop of senior athletes at the school this year, depending on what other sports may be played at the same time as baseball.
“I’m hoping we get some of the better athletes here that have not been playing baseball,” he said. “Players like Alex Harding and Cameron Messenger.”
The new coach is also hoping to see talented all-around athletes like Sean Hassall-Hoss and Graham McConnell back from the 2019 team.
This season, of course, will be different because of the pandemic, with an all-local schedule and most likely only games against Little 4 opponents.
But the new coach is just glad his players will get the opportunity to play, and is looking forward to the challenge of matching up against loaded Ferndale and St. Bernard’s squads, including Crusaders pitcher Nick Dugan, the top-ranked junior prospect in all of California.
“My whole thing is trying to get the players’ fundamentals down and hopefully things will work out when it comes to game time,” Contreras said.
The senior class, which includes Crue Contreras, Hassall-Hoss and McConnell, all have plenty of baseball experience after their big NCS campaigns the past two seasons.
The H-DNL had been discussing beginning the baseball season on March 20 and running to April 27, but that could very well change with the news today that football and all outdoor sports have been cleared by state health officials to begin play on Feb. 26.
The H-DNL will meet next week to discuss the options.
Contreras is also the South Fork girls varsity basketball coach.