More Baseball Coaches of the Year

In addition to overall State Coach of the Year Jared Halpert of Harvard-Westlake, we have additional state coaching honors for the 2021 season going to Daniel Maye from Royal of Simi Valley (medium schools) and Eric Lay (small schools). We swear that the rhyming of their names wasn’t realized until the last one was picked, but it sure gave us a laugh on that day.


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Royal’s Daniel Maye displays plaque signifying his induction into the California Baseball Coaches Association Hall of Fame. Photo:

Daniel Maye (Royal, Simi Valley)

It wasn’t a perfect ending for Coach Maye’s team as the Highlanders were upset in the CIF Southern California Division 4 regional final, 5-4, by Ridgeview of Bakersfield. But his 33rd season will be hard to beat as Royal won the school’s first-ever CIF Southern Section crown with a 3-2 triumph over Rancho Cucamonga in the D4 title game.

Maye won the 500th game of his career in 2019. Doing the math since that day, including Royal’s 24-6 record for this season that earned the team a final No. 31 overall state ranking (No. 2 in state D3), shows him now with 531.

This is the first time that the State Medium Schools Coach of the Year is from Ventura County. The small and medium school categories were started in 1998.

Maye, who has been honored over the years as a coach of the year by the L.A. Times, L.A. Daily News and Ventura Star, received perhaps his greatest honor just two weeks ago when he was inducted into the California Baseball Coaches Association Hall of Fame. He went in alongside Norco’s Gary Purcell and Vince Brown for his years at Foothill (Tustin). Brown is now serving as an athletic director at Orange Lutheran.

“This season was a great milestone with this group of young men that achieved what no other baseball team in the history of the school accomplished,” Maye wrote in a tweet about his induction. “I want to thank the 500-plus players that I have had the pleasure of coaching. I also want to thank all of the coaches over the past 32 years, my colleagues that nominated me, and those who worked hard every day sharing their love of baseball.”

One of the top players in this year’s team was senior Troy May, just named to the All-CIFSS D4 team. Troy is not Coach Maye’s son (which we have written incorrectly at least once). In 2016, Trent Maye (who is Coach Maye’s son) played at Royal and graduated from the school. Senior Riley Feigenbaum was named player of the year for that All-CIFSS division while sophomore Trevor Hansen also was first team along with May.

Last 11 State Medium Schools Coaches of the Year: 2020 – No selection (pandemic); 2019 – Pat Fuentes (Los Banos); 2018 – Ken Arnerich (Alameda); 2017 – Rich Henning (Christian Brothers, Sacramento); 2016 – Jeff Baumback (Redondo Union, Redondo Beach); 2015 – Mike Mitchell (El Cajon Christian); 2014 – Ollie Turner (Torrance); 2013 – Wilmer Aaron (Gardena Serra); 2012 – Steve Vickery (Lakeside El Capitan); 2011 – Gary Remiker (San Diego Cathedral Catholic); 2010 – Rich Sciutto (Burlingame); 2009 – Bob Anderson (Lake Shasta Central Valley).

Eric Lay (Colusa)

We recently caught up with longtime friend and colleague Kevin Askeland of MaxPreps and as the defacto historian of the CIF Northern Section we had to ask him what he thought of this year’s 27-1 squad at Colusa, which ended No. 1 in the final Cal-Hi Sports D5 state rankings and was considered the top overall baseball team in the section.

“They do have probably the best coach in the section with Eric Lay along with Jeff Ingles of Winters,” Askeland said. “Those guys are real good.”

Now, Lay joins Ingles as a State Small Schools Coach of the Year. The Winters skipper won his 600th game in the shortened 2020 season and was the honoree for 2003. Lay, who began his baseball coaching career 12 years later, should approach the 500 mark for him after next season.

Lay’s team had a 287-43 scoring edge this year and posted wins over teams from the CIF North Coast Section as well as Pleasant Valley of Chico in its own section. Pleasant Valley, the perennial winner in the largest division in the Northern Section, ended 19-1 and didn’t lose another game.

One of the RedHawks’ leading players was junior Ethan Lay, Eric’s son. Ethan went 8-0 on the mound with a 0.32 ERA and he hit .400 with 32 RBI. Senior Drew Bradbury went 11-1 with a 0.89 ERA and he batted .356 with 31 RBI. The team’s leading hitter was junior Emanuel Frias, who
batted .458 with six homers and 46 RBI.

Enjoying that kind of a dominating season hadn’t been done before at Colusa, but Lay as a coach had a team even more dominating in 2011 at Maxwell (just 11 miles from Colusa by distance but closer to 20 driving on state route 20 and then northbound on I-5). That Maxwell team went 30-0 and set numerous state records.

After 11 seasons at Maxwell, where Lay had a coaching record of 263-46, he moved to Colusa where he also became athletic director for the 2012-13 school year. Since then, the RedHawks have posted a 183-55-2 record. This includes 6-0 for the pandemic season of 2020 plus 27-5 and 25-7 in Lay’s first two seasons. All of his teams at Colusa have won 20 games or more except one and that team won 19. At the beginning of the 2022 season, we have Lay with an overall record of 446-101-2.

It’s a family affair at Colusa for Lay also because his brother, Jamie, has been coaching the softball team. One of the players on that team was sophomore Avery Lay, Jamie’s daughter and Eric’s niece. It’s safe to say that Jamie isn’t going to match his brother’s win total any time soon, but then again not many baseball coaches or softball coaches anywhere will be doing that.

Last 11 State Small Schools Coaches of the Year: 2020 – No selection (pandemic); 2019 – Greg Mugg (Sunnyvale The King’s Academy); 2018 – Mack Paciorek (Pasadena Poly); 2017 – Jim Cleveland (San Lorenzo Redwood Christian); 2016 – Troy Ghisetti (Arcata); 2015 – Nelson Randolph (Sacramento Capital Christian); 2014 – Jay Preuss (Kerman); 2013 – Gil Ruiz (Pacific Grove); 2012 – Greg Largent (Escalon); 2011 – Craig Schoof (Atherton Menlo School); 2010 – Glen Prater (Riverside Woodcrest Christian); 2009 – Brad Gunter (Roseville Valley Christian).

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