The best season in a quarter century resulted from the Vanguard University baseball program making great strides in 2010. This season, third-year coach Ralph Grajeda wants his Lions to walk the walk of a perennial postseason contender.
"The group we had last year was very competitive and very driven," said Grajeda, whose team started 15-1 on the way to a 34-20 finish that included a school-record 22 wins in the Golden State Athletic Conference. Vanguard advanced to the NAIA Tournament for the first time since 1985, an occurrence Grajeda hopes can become a yearly ritual.
"We mapped out what we wanted to accomplish last year and we did it," Grajeda said. "Everybody bought in and it was gigantic. Probably nobody believed we would do what we did last season except our kids, because there was no body of work behind it.
"The kids who have returned understand what we need to do to be in the postseason and the kids we have recruited come from programs where they won and that helps when you're trying to change the culture of a program," Grajeda said. "Now that we're where we want to be, those strides are going to be tougher to get — inch-by-inch."