By Ray Hamill — Monday was an historic day for St. Bernard’s baseball and for head coach Matt Tomlin.
A 7-6 win over Alpha Charter in the first-ever CIF NorCal Division-3 baseball championship game gave Tomlin a remarkable triple crown of double-championships that will be tough to match.
Over the last seven years, the St. Bernard’s coaching legend has led the Crusaders to a North Coast Section and NorCal double in girls basketball, football and now baseball.
And afterwards, Tomlin paid tribute to his father Al for the influence he had on his baseball coaching career.
“It feels great,” said a delighted Tomlin, who also has won two state championships in football. “I always want to give a lot of credit to my dad when it comes to my baseball career. I learned more about baseball from him than anyone.”
And it wasn’t just what the elder Tomlin taught his son about the game, but also the baseball culture he brought him up in.
Tomlin also credited his time with the Humboldt Crabs for having a lifelong influence on his baseball career.
The coaching legend spent seven seasons as a bat boy with the longtime local club before playing four summers with the team.
Interestingly, he coached against another former Humboldt Crabs player — Alpha Charter head coach Harvey Hargrove — in Monday’s game.
Tomlin’s triple crown of NCS and NorCal titles will go down as one of the all-time great coaching achievements in St. Bernard’s and H-DNL sports history.
But the longtime coach says that much of his success is down to his assistant coaches.
“It’s a simple philosophy for me,” he said. “I just try to surround myself with best assistant coaches, because no one can do it on their own. I’m just so proud of those guys. It was a great team effort.”
Tomlin admits getting bumped up three divisions for the NorCals was a tough decision to take for his team, but he feels his players responded in the best way possible.
“Man, you’ve just got to give it up to those kids,” he said. “They beat three powerhouse programs and it just says so much about the kids and our (principal) Paul Shanahan and the teachers and staff at the school. Today signified what ‘One Family’ means.”