May 6, 2009

Shawn Jansen: Golden Valley baseball, a father-and-sons operation

How many Solises does it take to coach a baseball team?

Insert your own punchline here.

Go to any Golden Valley baseball game this year and you'll see a dugout full of Solises.

It starts with the head coach, Scott Solis. He's the serious Solis. He oversees everything that is Golden Valley baseball.

Solis teamed with Scott Hague as co-head coaches to lead Golden Valley to the playoffs the past two seasons.

Hague wanted to be able to watch his son, Jason, play his last year at Merced College and his daughter, Ali, play her last year of softball at Golden Valley.

"Scott felt bad if he had to take off to watch Jason play," Solis said. "He's a great dad. So he's helping out with the freshmen team when he can.

"I think he's been to all but two of Merced College's games this year."

In need of help, who better to turn to than family?

Scott's father, Dick, and younger brother, Michael, joined Scott and pitching coach Tim Arnsberg in the dugout.

The Solis boys have had a blast and have helped Golden Valley move within one win of a third straight playoff berth.

Golden Valley (7-3 Central California Conference) will host Merced (5-5 CCC) tonight at 7 p.m. at Merced College.

"It's been absolutely great," said Dick, who still makes great time from the dugout to his first- base coaching box at the age of 63.

"I really enjoy it. It's really cool to sit back and watch the way Scott and Michael interact with the kids.

"All three of us have three different personalities and it's fun to watch."

What a treat for a family who bleeds baseball.

Dick is the laid back one.

He signed with the Philadelphia Phillies just before his sophomore year at Santa Clara University in 1965.

He played for a couple years in their organization as an outfielder before coming back to Merced.

"Getting a chance to coach with my dad is something I never thought I'd get a chance to do," Michael said.

"From T-ball to my last year of competitive baseball, when I was about 13 or 14 years old, my coaches were always my dad and (Merced College coach) Chris Pedretti."

Michael played at Golden Valley, Merced College and finished up at San Francisco State.

Being the youngest, he's the Solis who relates with what the high school players are going through.

He wears the same clothes. He listens to the same music.

It's wasn't too long ago that he was in their same shoes.

"I lighten the mood," Michael said.

The time out on the baseball field this year has brought him closer to his older brother.

The two didn't spend a lot of time together growing up. The big reason is the 19-year age difference. Michael was just a little kid when Scott was playing baseball at Merced College.

"Don't tell him I said this, but he's old enough to be my dad," Michael said.

Baseball was already one of the favorite topics of conversation whenever the Solis family got together.

Now it's Golden Valley baseball that dominates the dinner conversation.

Who's hot?

How can they tweak the lineup?

Who should get more innings on the mound?

"There's been a lot of times when we're talking on the weekend at my dad's house, where Scott's wife (Leslie) and my mom (Corky) will leave the room," Michael said.

"They've already had to hear about Cougar baseball all week."

The Solis boys hope those Golden Valley baseball conversations continue in the playoffs.

Shawn Jansen is a Sun-Star sports reporter. He can be reached at 385-2462 or via e-mail at

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