As the start of Valley Oak League play approaches for the Oakdale High School baseball teams, the program welcomed in a new coach for the freshman program. A familiar face on the sidelines on Friday nights for the junior varsity football team, Coach Joey Machado has now taken over the reins as head coach of the Mustangs freshman baseball club.
“Coach Nate Gregory approached me about wanting to become the freshman head coach. I was extremely honored to be approached with the offer,” Machado recalled. “Right when I was asked I immediately accepted. I have always wanted to coach since I was in middle school, so right when I was done with college, I knew I wanted to come back to Oakdale and coach.”
Machado graduated from OHS in 2010.
He brings experience to the program, being a former four-year catcher for the Mustangs during his high school days. He brought along a veteran coaching staff that includes Chris Lawrence, Matt Candelario and Matt Miranda.
“Chris Lawrence works with the outfielders. I have known Lawrence for three years now and he is a great role model and does a great job with communicating with the players when necessary,” Machado said. “Matt Candelario works with the infielders. This is my first year meeting and working with him, but he has done a great job so far. He has experience in coaching baseball which is great because he understands the game and has had experience in teaching the game as well. Matt Miranda has a great amount of coaching experience. He is the junior varsity head football coach and used to coach OHS baseball for five years. He helps out with our pitchers.”
Like the young players themselves, there is a learning curve for Machado as well.
“Coaching freshmen is very unique and interesting so far. The biggest challenge would be maturing and explaining the importance of the ability to trust the process,” the coach said of working with his young players. “Many of them know how to play the game of baseball, but my job is to prepare them for Coach Chris Henry at the junior varsity level, then after that for Coach Gregory at the varsity level. It is a process.”
As with all adventures, Machado added, there are some obstacles but the team and coaches are working to overcome them as they navigate this first season together. One of the other challenges of coaching is feeling out the expectations for the team.
“My expectations for my team this year are for them to witness the importance of hard work and how to respond to adversity appropriately. By doing so will not only help them within the chalked lines, but with life as well,” Machado said. “Most importantly I want them to enjoy the journey and to truly feel blessed to play and represent a great high school and community.”
Other coaches within the OHS baseball program have also had an impact on the new frosh coach.
“I have gotten advice over the years from some of the coaches, first and foremost is Coach Gregory. He was my assistant coach and we have continued the same relationship from high school until now. I want to thank him for this opportunity,” noted Machado. “Coach Hondo Arpoika was my varsity coach and I admired the way he approached the game of baseball and how he did not settle for mediocre, but perfection. Lastly would be the late Coach Mark Dickens. He was my head coach my freshman year. He was a close friend to my family and I idolized his mannerism in coaching. That is why I think it is very ironic and special that I was given the opportunity to become the freshman head coach.”