A gaggle of Honkers at All Seasons
Jim Stassi needed only to come to All Seasons RV Stadium this weekend to have reason to be proud of his Yuba City High baseball program.
“For me, as far as my overall goal as a high school coach, I try to prepare kids to have success at the next level, whatever that level happens to be,” Stassi said.
Four former Honkers took the field Friday and Saturday in the two-game series between the Yuba-Sutter Gold Sox and the Humboldt Crabs, two top level summertime collegiate teams in the West.
“I think their history speaks for itself,” Yuba-Sutter manager Brad Peek said of the Humbolt Crabs organization, which has a 62-year history in Arcata.
Ryan Zaft, a 2002 graduate, and 2004 alumni Matt Suleski and Alberto Rolon play for the Gold Sox, and 2005 graduate Richard Cates plays for the Crabs.
“It shows how good (the Yuba City program) is,” said Zaft, who had a standout year for Tim Gloyd at Yuba College this spring. Suleski also played at Yuba. “That's why I was always telling Gloyd, ‘we need to get more Yuba City guys.'”
Cates, two years behind Zaft, never faced him in any high school games or even practices, but on Saturday was 1-for-4 with an RBI-double. He also reached on an error.
“It's a blast,” Cates said. “It's a dream; I'm just living a dream.”
About facing his friend, Cates said before the series, “There'll probably be a little talking between us out there. But it's always friendly, especially when you're playing you're friends.”
“Those two still stay in touch,” Jim Stassi said. “I think there's some friendly jabbing going on there.”
Cates pounded out a school-record 47 hits in his senior season at Yuba City. He only held that record for one season though - freshman Max Stassi collected 51 this spring.
Rolon only played one year for the Honkers, on the same team as Suleski.
“It's really rewarding to see all four of those guys having success in the game,” Stassi said.
“In part, that's how I gauge the success of the program, by how well guys do beyond the high school level.”
Appeal-Democrat reporter Nathan D. Collier can be reached at 749-4714.