Truckee baseball coach Mike Ellis would have had a tough time holding back a smile.
Ellis, who died from a heart condition midway through the season, was named Northern Division I-A Coach of the Year in a unanimous vote by the league’s coaches.
“Mike was a big part of our league for many years, and with his passing, honoring him was something that we wanted to do as coaches,” said Fallon coach Lester de Braga. “It was unanimous.”
South Tahoe coach Starbuck Teevan, whose Vikings played a doubleheader at Truckee the day of Ellis’ death, said he initially nominated the longtime Truckee coach for the award.
“I said I know we have a lot of good coaches in this league who are deserving, but I propose that we vote Mike Ellis as Coach of the Year. He was a great coach,” Teevan said. “First and foremost, he was able to get the most out of his players. He was able to not only teach them a good brand of baseball — a hard-nosed brand of baseball, the same as we like to play — they all respected him fully and they all played their hearts out for him.”
Ellis was proud of his young group of Wolverines, who were in a rebuilding year following six consecutive seasons playing into the state championship tournament. The Wolverines won the state title in 2012.
“He was the type of coach that, anytime we faced them, we knew his teams were going to be scrappy,” de Braga said. “They were always a team that would never give up. That’s something that I think is a great tribute to him, just his desire and ability to get his kids to fight until the end.”
While Ellis would have appreciated receiving the award, he would have been more pleased about his players’ honors, led by senior pitcher Riley Guiragossian’s second-team All-League selection.
In addition to Guiragossian, junior first baseman Cameron Hollabaugh, junior second baseman Gavin Broad, and sophomore third baseman and pitcher Brad VanSchoonhoven received honorable mention recognition.
“We’re just really young. But we’re going to be good in the future,” Ellis said at the start of the season.
Northern Division I-A All-League
MVP: Tyler Bagby, Fallon
Coach of the Year: Mike Ellis, Truckee
Catcher: Jack Phillips, Sr., Dayton
Infield: Dominic Diana, Sr., South Tahoe
Infield: Chad Schumacher, Sr., Elko
Infield: Lane Newman, Sr., Spring Creek
Infield: Cody Long, Sr., Fallon
Outfield: Jacob Conklin, Jr., Elko
Outfield: Calvin Connors, Sr., Lowry
Outfield: Dalton Frank, Jr., Fallon
Utility/DH: Kolby Eymann, Jr., South Tahoe
Pitcher: Derek Ridgway, Sr., Elko
Pitcher: Kevin Montgomery, Jr., Fernley
Pitcher: Zack Zeiler, Sr., Spring Creek
Catcher: Zephan Zeiler, Sr., Spring Creek
Infield: Joe Pyle, Jr., Fallon
Infield: Gavin Henderson, Jr., Fernley
Infield: Cole Hummel, Sr., Dayton
Infield: Brandon Okuma, Sr., Lowry
Outfield: Austin Garrick, Jr., Sparks
Outfield: Michael Smith, Jr., Spring Creek
Outfield: Dakota Lynch, Jr., South Tahoe
Utility/DH: Tanner Lecumberry, Sr., Lowry
Pitcher: Kyle Whitted, So., Elko
Pitcher: Tristen Salazar, Sr., Elko
Pitcher: Riley Guiragossian, Sr., Truckee
Honorable mention (Truckee only)
Cameron Hollabaugh, Jr., Truckee
Gavin Broad, Jr., Truckee
Brad VanSchoonhoven, So., Truckee