It was baseball that Bob Freschi played in high school and through college.
It was baseball that he coached for 15 years at Napa Valley College.
He misses the daily routine and rhythm that comes with the game, but these days he has a whole new challenge: leading the NVC men’s golf team as head coach.
Freschi stepped down as the head baseball coach after last year’s season. He took over as the golf coach for the women’s and men’s teams, which both play in the Big 8 Conference. He replaces Jim Wiechers, a former PGA Tour player who was an NCAA All-American at Santa Clara University. Wiechers had a successful amateur career and played the PGA Tour for 13 years, qualifying for the U.S. Open four times. Wiechers, who is in the Santa Clara Athletic Hall of Fame, runs the fall program for the NVC men’s team.
“I implemented our Storm system into golf here and the guys bought into it and we’ve improved every week for the last six weeks,” Freschi said Wednesday before a Big 8 Conference North Division tournament, the Napa Ford Lincoln Classic, at Chardonnay Golf Club.
“It’s been a wonderful transition,” said Freschi. “It’s all about student athletes. It’s a wonderful group of six men. I’m proud of the guys. It’s been a fun ride.”
Napa Valley shot 412 and finished in fifth place out of five teams Wednesday.
Jarrett Hill and Joe Lopez led the Storm, each shooting 78. Levi Olsen shot 80, Bryan Egbert had an 83 and Tom Salsman had a 93. Iman Sahota had a non-scoring 100.
Folsom Lake won with a team score of 381. The medalist was Max Morris from Santa Rosa with a 69.
The Storm came in third with a 397 total in Monday’s tournament at Windsor Golf Club. Hill led NVC with a 70 and was followed by Lopez (76), Egbert (77), Olsen (81) and Sahota (93). Salsman had a non-scoring 94.
Folsom Lake won with a team score of 377. The medalist was Mason Troike from Folsom Lake with a 69.
“We’ve improved every tournament,” said Egbert, a sophomore and the only returner from last year’s season. “It was a great pick-up for the golf team with (Freschi) coming over from baseball. He’s awesome.”
Hill, Lopez and Olsen have each qualified for the California Community College Athletic Association Northern California Regional Championships on May 8 at The Reserve at Spanos Park Golf Course in Stockton. It’s 36 holes for both team and individual competition.
Freschi grew up in Pacifica playing golf. He made a decision later on to play just baseball.
He was All-North Peninsula League as a shortstop at Terra Nova High School-Pacifica. He was All-Coast Conference for two years at Skyline College-San Bruno before going on to the University of San Francisco on a baseball scholarship, where he as an All-West Coast Conference player as a third baseman.
He was the most outstanding sophomore athlete at Skyline and was also an assistant coach at Skyline for a year. He received his masters in P.E. from Western Michigan University, where he was also a graduate assistant coach for two years.
Freschi was the top assistant at Canada College-Redwood City for five years and as the hitting coach, worked with some successful teams there.
Freschi also has international baseball experience, having coached the Slovakian national team, in conjunction with Major League Baseball International, for two years during the European Championships in 1994 and ’96.
“I decided I was a little bit better in baseball, so I decided to play baseball as a spring sport,” he said. “But I’ve been playing (golf) recreationally ever since, for a long, long time. I love the game of golf and play as much as I can.”
During his years working at California Golf Club, a private club in South San Francisco, Freschi learned about the game.
“That’s when I really learned a lot about the golf swing and understanding the game,” he said.
The Storm system that Freschi has implemented focuses on the mental side of the game, being smart and aware of things when it comes to course management, the risk-reward factors that are involved in the game, and the short game.
“It’s all part of our Storm system, being able to respect one another,” said Freschi. “We say it’s a privilege playing collegiate golf. They understand how fortunate they are to be playing college golf.
“We’ve created a good, fun environment and we have competitive drills and competition in our practice setting. We laugh and have a good time, but we also work hard.
“If you’re not mentally prepared, this game can beat you up. You’ve got to be mentally tough to play this game, especially at this level.”
Hill, a 2016 Vacaville High School graduate and a two-time Monticello Empire League Most Valuable Player, is enjoying his freshman year of golf with the Storm.
“I’m definitely playing with more confidence,” said Hill, a four-time All-MEL player. “Just playing good golf definitely helps the confidence level. It was a little rocky at the first, but it’s coming around, right at the right time, so that’s good.
“We have a great time. We don’t always play the best, but that’s golf.”
Olsen, a 2015 Napa High graduate who was a two-year All-MEL player, said Freschi has helped him with the mental side of the game.
“He’s really helped me on that, just believing in myself and just taking one shot at a time,” said Olsen, who is a freshman. “I feel like I’ve gotten a lot better.
“We’re playing good golf. I only knew a few of these guys coming into the year, but they’re all my really good friends now. The guys are awesome. We get along really well. It’s a lot of fun.”
Lopez, a 2011 Vacaville High graduate, spent the last few years working fulltime at Paradise Valley Golf Course. He worked in the cart barn and golf shop. As a freshman, he’s enjoying the challenges that come with being a fulltime student and playing on the golf team.
“I wanted to take a step forward in life,” said Lopez, who was an All-MEL player. “It’s been fun. I’m glad I did it. I’ve met a lot of new friends.
“We have a really good time every time we go out and play. I definitely love the grind of it – every day, practicing, working on the game, getting better. You have your ups and downs. But that’s the game of golf.”
Egbert is a 2015 Napa High graduate and was a two-time All-MEL player for the Indians.
Sahota, a sophomore, is a 2011 Fairfield High graduate who played for the Storm during the 2015 season.
Salsman is a 2015 Napa High graduate who took a year off from basketball after playing for coach Steve Ball at NVC last year. He plans to play basketball next year.
“I’ve always loved to play golf. I decided to come out for the team. There was a spot for me, and I’ve enjoyed it,” said Salsman.
“It’s a nice break from the physical aspect of basketball. Getting out on the golf course is a nice change.”