COS baseball coach gets to rare honor with 700th win

Long-time baseball coach Jody Allen earned his 700th win was only the 14th coach to do it in California’s community college sports

VISALIA – College of the Sequoias’ baseball coach Jody Allen earned career win No. 700 on March 17, becoming just the 14th coach in California community college history to do so.

“I’m very grateful and I’m proud of what we’ve been able to accomplish here,” said Allen, who is now 701-477-4 in his 29th season at Sequoias. 

Allen was honored for the achievement before the Giants’ 5-3 home win over Reedley on March 19, during a ceremony arranged by 24-year team photographer and record keeper Bob Craine. With his family, players, assistant coaches and program supporters gathered around home plate, Craine presented Allen with a custom imprinted bat commemorating the milestone, while his players displayed a sign congratulating Allen on his 700th win.

“I’ve got respect for not only the coach that he is, but more so the man that he is,” said Bo Champlin, a former assistant coach under Allen from 2013-14 who was in attendance for the ceremony. “The longevity reflects on him as a person. Jody gets that, yeah, you are coaching these kids baseball, but you’re also coaching them how to become young men. He holds the kids accountable. Accountable in the classroom, and not a lot of coaches do that anymore. They talk the talk but they don’t all walk the walk.”

A team captain at Fresno State in 1986 for legendary former Bulldogs coach Bob Bennett, Allen launched his community college coaching career as an assistant to Jack Hacker at the then Kings River Community College in 1987. After three seasons in Reedley, Allen came to Sequoias in 1990 as an assistant to Al Branco.

Since being named Sequoias’ head coach in 1994, Allen has directed the Giants to five conference titles, seven seasons of at least 30 wins, 14 playoff appearances and two trips to the state final four.

“I just think COS has been a great place to work. I’ve had a lot of really good support over the years, especially where we’re at now with the administration and what they are doing,” Allen said.

Allen credits his players’ hard work–on the field and academically–for his success.

The Giants gave Allen win No. 700 with a gritty 8-6 victory at Reedley on March 17 that snapped a three-game losing skid.

Sequoias took the lead and gave it up four times before Jackson Brooks (Exeter High) hit a two-out triple that brought home Jimmy Wallace (Showlow, Ariz.) and Tyler Kiggens (Washington Union-Easton) with the go-ahead runs in the top of the ninth inning. J.T. Friesen (Immanuel-Reedley) pitched a scoreless bottom of the ninth to close it out.

The Giants (15-11 overall, 7-5 Central Valley Conference) made it two straight victories by following Allen’s 700th celebration with a 5-3 win over Reedley on March 19.

Sequoias led 3-0 through six innings–getting a scoreless four-inning start from Tyce Ochs (Golden West)—before Reedley rallied for three runs in the top of the seventh.

But Brooks coaxed a bases-loaded walk and Lee Trevino (Redwood) followed with a sacrifice fly as the Giants re-took the lead in the bottom of the seventh.

Rider Hartman (El Diamante) pitched a 1-2-3 eighth inning and Friesen did the same in the ninth—both aided by double-play grounders—to help Sequoias hold on. Hartman earned his first win of the season while Friesen notched his sixth save.

“It was a huge week for us,” Allen said. “We’re going to try and get some momentum and get this thing rolling.”

The Giants will be idle for a total of 10 days before resuming conference play at 2 p.m. March 29 against visiting West Hills-Coalinga (9-15, 4-6). 

“The program has been established by great baseball people,” Allen said. “And I just feel fortunate that I got to come in and be that next step. And you know, there will be somebody after me, and hopefully they take it and do a great job.”

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