Excel Christian played its first baseball game ever on Friday afternoon at Sierra Lutheran, another small private school located in Carson City.
While it was the start of a new era, it was also the culmination of one. The birth of the Warriors’ baseball program was nearly two years in the making.
“It (playing Friday) was a huge weight lifted off my shoulders as well as the kid’s,” coach Rich Martinez said. “You knew it meant a lot to the program, coming out there, representing the school, and of course our future, what we’re going to do with this.”
The list of chores to start a program from scratch is not a short one. Martinez, who daylights as the school’s campus protection officer, would be the first to tell you.
First, he had to fundraise. He needed money for equipment (bats, gloves, helmets, baseballs, catcher’s gear, uniforms, etc.). Once the money was there, he had to gather support from potential players. He started with 15—the majority of whom are playing the game for the first time.
“Getting the support from the students is huge because they all talk within themselves,” Martinez said.
With enough financial backing and the numbers to field a team, he then had to find a place to play because Excel Christian—located a block east of the McCarran and Baring Boulevard intersection—does not have a baseball field.
While the team does practice in a grass field on the school’s campus (also at Reed’s baseball field), it calls Golden Eagle Regional Park home.
Still unfinished, Martinez had to assemble a staff of assistant coaches who along with himself, would be volunteering their time.
“Assistant coaches are a big deal,” he said. “Otherwise it’s just you coaching 15 kids so you can imagine how much 1-on-1 time you get. It’s very minimal.”
Once all those tasks were crossed off, it was about turning a group of kids who wanted to try baseball into a legitimate team. Only ‘four or five’ of the 15 players had every played the game before.
So Martinez started from scratch. Again.
“You just kind of work with what you got. Mostly, you just start from the beginning again,” said Martinez, who also umpires high school and collegiate baseball.
With an abundance of inexperience, Excel’s first game on Friday afternoon went the way most would likely expect.
“It was brutal,” Martinez said with a laugh.
The Warriors will play 6-8 games this spring as an NIAA independent member and will retain that status in 2017. Starting in 2018, however, Martinez plans for his team to be an NIAA affiliate and play a full league schedule in the Div. IV North – West.
“By the time our third year hits and we’re in league now, we should be ready to compete at the state level,” Marinez said. “That’s my goal and we’re headed that way.”