Tehachapi's Online Community News & Entertainment Guide

Warrior baseball is back, and so is Guy Dees

Xs and Arrows

Tehachapi High School baseball is one of the sports taking the field of competition this spring as part of a modified attempt at bringing back prep competition.

Still limited, thanks to the Kern High School District's refusal to allow Tehachapi to compete against their normal league counterparts as the result of a short-sighted nonsensical approach from KHSD that bans competition outside of the district. Please note that Tehachapi; they want our involvement during the good times but when we actually need the Kern High School District, they turned their backs on our kids. I believe we owe them nothing moving forward.

As a result, the Tehachapi Unified School District and a few other districts around the county have come up with an alternate plan for competition thanks to the cooperative spirit of places like Wasco, Delano, McFarland, Taft and yes, even rival Garces Memorial. That plan consists of an unofficial "league" if you will, which allows each competing sport five home games and five road games this season. Certainly, fewer games than normal but it is better than nothing at this point.

Baseball joins softball, soccer, swimming, golf and tennis as competitors in 2021, a year after most of those seasons were either wiped out completely or delayed. When baseball does take the field this week, they will have a new but familiar face as their head coach. Guy Dees, a Tehachapi alum, returns home to coach the Warriors after a decorated career at places like Garces and Paraclete. After graduating THS in 1985 and a stint as an assistant coach, he built an impressive career as a skipper posting a 330-196-3 career record in 14 seasons as a head coach, 12 at Garces and two at Paraclete. There are also four CIF Championships to his credit, and a 2012 All-Area Baseball Coach of the Year award to bring to Tehachapi, as well.

"It's my hometown; as a graduate and former player, and then as an assistant coach this is a full-circle kind of thing," Dees said.

Dees serves as the Information and Communications Technology instructor at Tehachapi High School and now he leads the Warriors, a year after the season was cut short just a few games into the schedule due to COVID-19. The Warriors are back on the diamond with their limited schedule. This creates a challenge for a new head coach seeking to build a program.

"The primary goal is to establish a mindset with our players that we represent our community, school, student body, baseball program and teammates before ourselves," Dees said. "We want to do so in a way that will promote a sense of pride and respect."

There is certainly a different feel for Dees who comes from two private school jobs where finances were not an issue. Rebuilding the Tehachapi program after most of the 2020 season was wiped out, partnered with the inability to fundraise over the last year, has put the Warriors in a tough spot before the first pitch is thrown. Even scratching together enough uniforms to outfit his team has been a challenge. He is relying on the Warrior Booster Club to assist and has turned to local experts to get his long-neglected baseball field at the corner of Anita and Snyder back into playing shape.

"My experience in high school baseball has taught me that building a winner may not always be done with the most gifted or talented players, but it most often involves developing players that grind daily to become the best team that earn the title of winner," he said.

For now, the focus is on competing and improving in 2021 with an eye on a more normal season in 2022 and the focus of building the program into something the community can be proud to cheer for once again. Certainly, just having the Warriors back on the diamond is a positive first step in both returning to normal and returning to the championship conversation.

Corey Costelloe has covered NCAA, professional and local sports for more than 20 years as a reporter and broadcaster. He can be reached at [email protected]. Read more content at http://www.CostelloeMedia.com.