May 30, 2024

OC Sports Zone: Community First

Westminster baseball coach Craig Jones resigns after two seasons; assistants to lead team

Westminster head baseball coach Craig Jones resigned this week. (Photo courtesy Westminster baseball)

Westminster High School baseball coach Craig Jones, who was trying to build a winning program, said Wednesday he resigned effective this week for personal reasons after two seasons, including last year’s shortened season.

 “I informed Westminster that I had been fighting a decision within myself with heavy heart that I was going to resign due to personal and business related matters off the field,” Jones said in an Email to OC Sports Zone.

“I was given time off by Westminster and officially resigned May 11, 2021.  It was the toughest decision I have ever had to make because I loved each and everyone of my players and miss them so much.  They were the hardest working, respectful players a coach could wish for.”

Jones did not coach the Lions Tuesday in a Golden West League game against Segerstrom. Segerstrom defeated Westminster (2-15 overall, 2-3 in league) 8-2.

“Craig Jones has decided to resign as the head baseball coach at Westminster High School, effective immediately, due to personal circumstance and responsibilities,” Westminster High Athletic Director Kyle Gorham said Thursday.

“We appreciate all of the hard work and dedication Coach Jones has put into our program over the past two years and we wish him success in the future. For the remainder of the season, Coach Christian Bedolla and Coach Pancho Avalos will assume coaching responsibilities for the varsity team.”

The coaches will be assisted by JV coach Chad Gorsage and Gorham, the athletic director added.

Bedolla was a standout player on last year’s Westminster team and has been the third base coach this year. Bedolla was a two-time All-Golden West League player for the Lions.

Jones had led a fund-raising charge last July to refurbish the Westminster High on-campus field. Jones said he was proud of what his squad accomplished, including a 7-5 record last season, which was shortened by the coronavirus pandemic.

Jones said it was the first winning season in almost a decade for the program.

Jones said in an interview in September, the seniors, “changed the culture of Westminster High School baseball. Four seniors are going on to play at JC’s.”

The seniors were Bedolla, Anthony Morales, Matt Malloy, Brando Monroy, Fernando Jara, Gus Haro, Joe Bill, Moon Luna and Ish Molina.

Jones was previously the pitching coach at Westminster. He was hired in August of 2018 and arranged for a 32-game fall and winter schedule.

“So we were ready on opening day 2020 and started with a 4-0 record after defeating league rival Segerstrom Feb 17, 1-0; the first time Westminster had beaten Segerstrom in years,” Jones said.

This year, the Lions were winless in a 12-game nonleague schedule against other Huntington Beach Unified School District teams, a schedule designed due to travel restrictions from the coronavirus pandemic. Westminster played Huntington Beach tough before losing 4-2.

But the schedule seemed to prepare Westminster for league play. The Lions opened up with a victory.

“When we started the Golden West League April 28 vs Katella we won (3-2) on a walk-off, then we beat them in 10 innings at Katella April 30,” Jones said. “So we were 2-0 going into Godinez at home where we lost on a play at home plate in the bottom of the seventh inning.”

Jones praised the effort of his players on and off the field.

“We had a 100 percent graduation rate on the 2020 seniors and I expect the same this year,” Jones said. “They have grown and understand nothing is handed to them, they must outwork others and deal with the adversity of life.

“I want to give a tremendous thank you to the support and opportunity given to me by Westminster Principal Amy Sabol, Assistant Principal of Athletics Matt White and of course my Athletic Director Kyle Gorham who are the best people any one could hope for. I put 140 percent effort into my job and loved every second. Part of my heart will always bleed red and black for Westminster High School and the baseball program and all our parents and supporters.  I thank and appreciate everyone of you.”

—Tim Burt, OC Sports Zone; timburt@ocsportszone.com