Opening Day for the Napa Valley Baseball Club is on Sunday, Feb. 17, when one of its two seventh- and eighth- grade teams faces the American Canyon Rebels in a doubleheader at the Veterans Home of California in Yountville.
Games are scheduled starting at 9:30 a.m. and noon.
The NVBC will have two teams, led by managers Mike O’Dell and Bob Freschi, that will each play in the 13-14 year-old age group. The teams have players who are in the seventh and eighth grade, that have aged out of Little League baseball.
Freschi’s team opens the 2019 season with the two games against American Canyon at Cleve Borman Field. Freschi was the head baseball coach at Napa Valley College for 15 years. He as an All-West Coast Conference player as a third baseman at the University of San Francisco and twice received All-Coast Conference honors at Skyline College-San Bruno. He was a graduate assistant coach for two years at Western Michigan University and was the top assistant at Canada College-Redwood City for five years.
Freschi stepped down as the Storm’s head coach after the 2016 season. He is now in his third year as the golf coach for the NVC women’s and men’s teams.
The NVBC’s two teams in the 13-14 division will each play in two different leagues, hosted by the Fairfield Expos Baseball Association and Athletic Edge of Petaluma.
Manager Billy Smith will lead the NVBC’s 17-and-under Junior American Legion team, which begins the preseason schedule in mid-May. Napa Valley will play in the Area 1 Southern Division with Fairfield, Petaluma, Ukiah, Walnut Creek, Sebastopol and Pleasant Hill.
Manager Jason Schnaible will lead the club’s 19-and-under Senior American Legion team, which opens the preseason on May 18 against the host Fairfield Expos at Laurel Creek.
Napa begins its home season on May 19 with a doubleheader against Fairfield at Borman Field.
The 19’s team will play in Area 1 of the Southern Division, joining Fairfield, Petaluma, Yolo Post 77, Ukiah, Yuba and Pleasant Hill.
The top teams in Senior American Legion qualify for the Area 1 playoffs July 19-22 at Clark Field in Woodland.
The Area 1 champion advances to the State American Legion Championships, which for the 47th consecutive year will be played at Borman Field July 26-29.
Eight state champions will continue the summer season at the Western Regional Championships at Laurel Creek Fairfield.
Napa’s senior 19’s team qualified for the Area 1 playoffs in Chico last year, losing to Petaluma, the eventual state champion.
“Our club, and players, are very fortunate of the additions of managers Bob Freschi, and the return of Billy Smith to our program, to go along Jason Schnaible and Mike O’Dell,” Matt Leachman, president of the Napa Valley Baseball Club, wrote in an email.
“What a coaching lineup,” said Leachman.
The NVBC’s 17U Junior American Legion team won Southern Division championships the last two years, and both went on to play in the state tournament in Yountville. Both teams lost in the semifinals.
Last year’s Junior American Legion 17’s team , which went 28-4 with an appearance in the finals of the Fourth of July 19U Joe DiMaggio Tournament, was led by coaches Jason Schnaible, JD Whipple, Jim Campbell, Sean Rody and Ryan Cole.
The 17U team is a combined 57-7 in league play the last two years.
The Junior American Legion State Championships are July 19-22 at Borman Field.
Last year’s Senior American Legion 19U team went 23-13 overall and 12-6 in the Southern Division of Area 1. Leachman and Scott Ghisletta were the coaches for the team, which beat Yolo Post 77, 12-2, to reach the finals of the Father’s Day Chico Tournament.
Napa also had wins over Humboldt and Merced during a July 4th tournament in Fairfield.
Last year’s team consisted of Jake Rasmusen, Louis Arata, Omar Gonzalez, Luke Leachman, Eli Wood, Andrew Raymond, Ronny Porter, Andrew Wheeler, Caleb Jeske, Colton Maher, Cole Ridling, Max Phipps, Devon Cockrell, Brandon Herter, Trent Maher, Beau Hudgens, Charles Gravett, Troy Ghisletta, Zack Materne and Harrison Kohagura.
High school players from Napa, Vintage, Justin-Siena and St. Helena are eligible to play on the NVBC junior and senior teams, according to American Legion rules.
“Napa Valley Baseball Club best years are right in front of us with a talented focused crop of players and veteran seasoned coaches to lead them,” Leachman wrote.
“We’ll be in the mix for state championships, representing Napa Valley and the Veterans Home of California, I’m convinced.”
The NVBC conducts tryouts for its seventh and eighth grade teams.
Players receive invitations to play on the other teams.
Adam Farb and ‘The League’
For the eighth year, the Napa Valley Baseball Club will host Adam Farb and “The League,” a four-team tournament at Borman Field, April 13 and 14.
Sixty of the top eighth-grade players in Northern California, as determined through USA Baseball’s National Team Identification Series, will take part.
NVBC alumni who have participated include Jared Horn, Jake MacNichols, Jake Rasmusen, Jason Brandow, Max Phipps, Eli Wood and Davide Migotto.
Snack bar opens Feb. 17
The Napa Valley Baseball Club’s snack bar will be open Sunday, Feb 17 for Opening Day of the season.
Items include barbecue tri tip, cheeseburgers, hot dogs, chicken Caesar salads, beer and wine.
Sharon Leachman, Matt Leachman’s wife, has headed up the snack bar for the past five seasons.