OAKHURST – Bob Siebenberg says he campaigned with enthusiasm for the position of Head Coach for Yosemite High School baseball. Now, he looks forward to getting back on the field and down to business.
“We have a hard core crew of kids who want to do well and are ready to go to work,” he says.
“My predecessor left the program in great shape. Plans are to build the interest and participation in the program and bring it back to being a force to be reckoned with.”
No stranger to YHS baseball, Siebenberg was around in the 1990s during what is considered to be among the Badgers’ glory days when the team was, as Coach says, a force to be reckoned with.
Siebenberg and his family first moved to Oakhurst from southern California in 1986, and then as it is today, baseball was not just a sport but a way of life for those who chose to play. Before high school coaching came around, there was little league.
“When my son, Jesse was 11 he tried out for Little League. At that time the tryouts took about 15 minutes because there were only about 12 kids trying out. The league was combining the Bass Lake team and the Ahwahnee team into one and they needed a coach. The local attorney and fine fellow Jim Watkins was also a recent Los Angeles transplant and we volunteered to coach the team together. I found it was the perfect way to integrate into the community.”
It wasn’t too long before Siebenberg was recruited into high school sports.
“My good friend Terry Flanagan asked me to become his JV assistant in 1988-89. After his departure I stayed on and eventually became the JV head coach at a time when kids like Ted Lilly, Cory Miller, Jay Spurgeon, Pat Flanagan and many other very good players were starting to come through. Too many to mention. My son Jesse was part of this group and still remains friends with them all to this day.” Siebenberg’s daughter Victoria came through YHS a few years later, playing soccer and golf.
Meanwhile, Varsity Head Coach George McWherter invited Siebenberg to join McWherter and Dan Roberts as a Varsity Assistant at YHS.
“During these years we all worked hard to build the program and had a tremendous run of success. Right behind that original group of athletes we had Dayton and Daniel Buller come through as well as Eric Stolpe and Jason Martina.” The list of notable players is a long one, and Siebenberg goes on naming more.
“Jake Burns and Derek O’Reilly,” he continues. “Blaine Alberta and Kenny Conley. Bobby Denson and Ryan Olsen.” Siebenberg says there are really too many to mention, but is confident the great players know who they are.
“Through these years we sent nine players from YHS to the pros, several more to Division 1 and many more to JCs.”
Returning to the field last year as a coach for the first time since 2004, Siebenberg was surprised to find out that some of the current Badger baseball team were unfamiliar with the school’s stellar sporting past and players.
“I learned last year that these kids know very little about the history and legacy of the program. It’s important they know whose shoulders they are standing on.”
Siebenberg has strong hopes for the future of YHS baseball, many of them rooted in his determined lifelong passion for the game.
“I love how it is played, I love the tempo. It is very nuanced, and there is a great deal to know.”
Much of what he knows will soon be imparted to kids on the team. He’s been learning about the game his whole life. California-born Siebenberg comes from what you could call a baseball family.
“My dad volunteered to be one of the first Little League coaches around1955 in Glendale, California. My brothers played and when I was old enough so did I. I played through High School, but pursued a career in music post graduation.”
Now, while optimistic for the future, Siebenberg is also realistic about what has to be done to elevate the program.
“They need to do the work and there are no shortcuts. I know we have some great athletes now. They just need to be focused up and believe they can compete. I believe they can.”
Coach Siebenberg invites the community to come out soon and watch the kids play.
“We have a beautiful facility, among the best anywhere, in a beautiful setting and it’s baseball,” he says. “The games start at the end of February and run thru the middle of May.”
BASEBALL CANDIDATES: The YHS Baseball Coaching Staff has announced a Parent-Student meeting set for Monday, Jan. 12 at the school in Mr. Noble’s room at 7 p.m. Coach Siebenberg and Coach Derickson will discuss the upcoming season and families will have the opportunity to ask questions.
“We look forward to having a great season and it will begin on this night,” say Baseball Coaching Staff and organizers.
Forms are available to be signed by both student and parent for eligibility to begin pre-season participation on January 19, 2015.