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May 20, 2022

Baseball | Soledad Aztecs head coach wins 250th game

SOLEDAD — Soledad High’s Damien Ryan, who has worked with the school’s baseball program for over a decade, won his 250th game as the varsity head coach.

The Soledad Aztecs came into last week riding a three-game winning streak and atop the Mission Division, looking to add to their win total before playing the most challenging part of their schedule in a few weeks.

This past week the Aztecs had two games with North Monterey County and a Saturday matchup with the Monterey Toreadors.

With North County rebuilding this season, Soledad was able to end both games early due to the 10 Run Rule. Although these weren’t the most competitive games the Aztecs will play all year, they were able to give more game reps to other pitchers and position players that they will need down the stretch.

Soledad pitcher Cristo Barroso now has back-to-back wins on the mound, while Jessie Farfan got two hits against North County.

Going into Saturday’s game with Monterey, if the Aztecs could come away with the win, it would be a resume boost to have wins over two Gabilan Division teams.

Soledad ended up sending their ace to the mound, Eric Segura, who put on a show. Segura struck out 11 in 6.2 innings of work and helped the Aztecs beat Monterey, 3-1.

Soledad Head Coach Damien Ryan (left) talks with Aztecs baseball player Eric Segura, during a recent game. (Jason Gallardo/Staff)

“We’re hitting the ball well,” Ryan said. “We’re hitting the ball hard, and we’re there. I’m pretty excited about that. Definitely, that King City situation woke us up.”

After the win, Segura is now 5-2 with an era under one run.

Going back to Thursday, before the North County game, Coach Ryan had a chance to win his 250th game. According to Ryan, he thought he would get it next year. Little did he know his assistant coach, Robert Ramirez, was tracking his wins.

As former and current players along with friends congratulated him, spectators could see the love and long-lasting effect he has had on them.

“Coach Ryan has helped me grow as a person and pitcher ever since I came to Soledad High School,” Segura said. “He’s taught me my mechanics and he’s the reason they are the way they are today. So thank you to Coach Ryan.”

Ryan, whose confidence is always enough to carry his team, was not surprised he got 250 wins. As he reflects on the years and how he has grown, he is thankful for those moments for the people who have come into his life.

“Embarrassingly, yeah,” Ryan said. “Because I was that cocky and arrogant back then. Looking back on it with a mature mindset, I’m more appreciative. With being a dad, a coach and a husband, a lot of things have happened since that day for me. It’s been a real honor to have a lot of great baseball players to coach.”

Jason Gallardo
Jason Gallardo is the sports reporter for King City Rustler and Salinas Valley Tribune, a unified publication of Greenfield News, Soledad Bee and Gonzales Tribune. He covers high school sports for South Monterey County.

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