It’s unusual but not unprecedented for a high school to have co-coaches in a sport. At Crossroads this baseball season, Pat Armstrong joined Matt Amido, and the Roadrunners reversed two losing seasons with a winning one that included a second place league finish and two playoff victories.
After Crossroads was eliminated in the third round, 8-7 at Santa Paula, Athletic Director Chuck Ice declared the concept a success.
“They brought out the best qualities in each other and we’d like to do it again,” said Ice. “I’ve received permission to have co-coaches for baseball again next season and I’m hopeful both men will return.”
Armstrong had been moved up to the varsity from the junior varsity, along with volunteer assistant coach Jeff Wells.
“I would have been satisfied to be called the assistant coach,” said Armstrong. “A title isn’t important to me. My motivation is winning.”
But as the season developed the co-coaches saw they each had strengths that blended well.
“Matt took charge of the hitting and our hitters really improved,” said Armstrong. “I was more likely to take some chances in our approach and that worked out well.”
The highlight was scoring 15 runs in a second round playoff win over Cornerstone Christian, the division’s No. 1 seed.
Then Crossroads traveled to Santa Paula for the next game, fell behind 6-1, rallied to take a 7-6 lead but lost when the home team, cheered on by a crowd of 600, scored the game’s final two runs.
During Crossroads’ comeback, senior Jason Schneider, who had an arm injury during the season, pitched well in relief.
“It was a wild game,” said Armstrong. Here are some things that happened. A catcher threw his glove at the ball. A batter walked when there was a runner on first. The runner jogged to second, but the first base umpire ruled the batter had swung and struck out. Then the runner who was jogging was tagged out.
“In addition, their right field fence was only 240 feet away, so any ball hit over the fence was a double unless it crossed a far away telephone pole. The right fielders played in close and we lost a hit when the right fielder fielded a ball and threw the runner out at first.”
However, the playoff experience, including the adventure at Santa Paula, was valuable to a Crossroads team which figures to be strong again next season.
“The experience was golden,” said Armstrong.