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Thornhill up to bat as varsity baseball coach


Varsity Baseball Coach Jonathan Thornhill brings a youthful enthusiasm to the Paso team

Eager to begin the practice he’d spent the night before to plan, varsity baseball coach Jonathon Thornhill fixed his cap and stepped  into the batting cages. He noticed  junior Seth Maldonado adjusting his batting gloves and helmet as he entered the cage and waved to him. Gathering the team’s attention, he went over the afternoon’s plans, receiving affirming nods from assistant coaches Jacob Olson, Mitchell Simmons and Steve Baumgardner. Once the instructions were finished and baseballs flew across the cages, he was sure that the players’ focus would carry the rest of the practice. 

Coach Jonathon Thornhill.

In the spring season for Bearcat athletics, Coach Thornhill leads the varsity baseball program. The team stands at 8-5 in overall games played and 1-0 in official league matches, currently 2nd behind Righetti HS. Thornhill graduated from Templeton in 2008 and played baseball all through high school. He pitched at Porterville College before beginning his coaching career in 2010.

I’ve played my whole life. I think that’s why I can relate well with the kids from our staff — top to bottom — because I love this game that much,” he stated after a home game 3-1 victory against Mt. Whitney High School on Mar. 8.  

Building a strong team

Thornhill believes that the foundation of a strong relationship between a coach and his players comes from respect and a willingness to listen.  

“Biggest thing for a coach, in order to be successful, I think, is a guy that’s willing to listen to his players. If you have a guy who’s just set on this or that and doesn’t care — the kids aren’t gonna respond well.”

Obstacles in his coaching career

His early passion for coaching baseball led to his first obstacle: age.  

“I’m 28 years old — and started coaching when I was even younger. People are timid; people are like, ‘I don’t know, he’s only a couple years post-graduate.’ But you earn that respect; you show the parents that you’re willing to be respectful and have that communication. Then they’ll buy in and so will everyone else.”  

Words from Lucas Climer, varsity athlete

Senior Lucas Climer, currently in his fourth year of baseball at the high school, spoke on behalf of Thornhill’s coaching style. 

Senior Lucas Climer

He’s a coach that has the right idea and mindset to get the job done. I see us being a very strong team playing for him.“

Thornhill’s biggest goal is to have players who want to be at practice and improve their skills, and he believes that’s what the team has been able to accomplish so far. He commends the team for their work ethic and dedication.  

“All 18 or 19 of them are doing what they’re supposed to. There’s not one guy that’s putting the team on his back. They’re all doing everything to chip in to get to where we’re at right now and they’re holding a 5-game win streak because of that.”  

To strengthen their improvement, he holds the team to a consistent practice schedule year-round. They practice every day during the season and a minimum of 3 days a week in the off-season. His ultimate goal is to lead the team to new heights and take advantage of their progress as a team.

”I’m hoping for a league title and a CIF title,” Thornhill said.

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