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Redwood Bark

Redwood Bark

Redwood Bark

Twelve seniors were presented with awards to recognize their commitment to being outstanding high school athletes (Photo by Zoe Gister).
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Smiling and holding their floats, seniors make the most of their lunch.
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On Tuesday, May 28, after a long Memorial Day Weekend and with only twelve more academic days left of school, leadership kicked off Senior...

Boys’ varsity baseball marks history with first-ever state playoff victory
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Will ParsonsMay 29, 2024

On May 28, the Giants’ varsity baseball team took on the Carmel Padres in the first Norcal state playoff game in the program’s history. The...

Baseball roots reimagined: From players to coaches

Redwood baseball is a program built to win games, award hard work and develop skills that set players up for future success. Coaches Bill Benz, Jim Brown, Billy-Jack Ryan and Mike Firenzi are all Redwood alums who have returned to their alma mater to coach and implement these life lessons among their players. 

The baseball program has produced 17 Marin County Athletic League (MCAL) titles and looks to secure another this year. Junior varsity (JV) head coach Benz grew up playing and winning baseball games with his lifelong friend and varsity head coach, Firenzi.

Varsity Head Coach Mike Firenzi stares seriously at the camera before a game (Redwood Baseball)

“I’ve known Mike since I was in Kindergarten and in 2015 when Mike came back [to Redwood] I followed him,” Benz said.

 Benz also uses the life lessons he learned from his former coach and Redwood legend, Al Endriss. Sadly, Endriss passed away in November of 2023 at the age of ninety-five. Endriss was an influential baseball coach for Redwood and recently had his number 20 retired by the school. 

Benz keeps Endriss’ legacy alive by passing on Endriss’s lessons to his players. 

“Coach Endriss always told us if you’re five minutes early, you’re ten minutes late. He always said work hard, hard work gets rewarded,” Benz said. 

Brown grew up playing with the winning culture here and came back many years later to coach the younger generation. 

“When the JV team was looking for a coach, I stepped up and raised my hand,” Brown said. 

Brown dedicates his time to developing the skills of his players mentally and physically, priding himself in developing life lessons for the players on his team. 

 “I teach my players to take accountability for their actions. When I was here I was taught everything I wear should be on a hanger, my shoes should shine and all that happened here,” Brown said. 

Redwood has produced several Division 1 baseball players, one of them being Benz’s son, who got to play for his dad in 2017. 

Junior Varsity Head Coach Bill Benz smiles for the camera.

Benz, Firenzi and Brown all had the luxury of playing and coaching together here at Redwood in the 1980s and have carried their traditions to the present day. JV assistant coach Ryan played at Redwood in a more recent setting, graduating in 2010.

“The culture hasn’t changed much from when I went here, Redwood plays ‘old school’ baseball… It’s nice to see that there’s been a lot of consistency from a program standpoint, and a lot of the same messaging going from the top down, and bottom-up, ” Ryan said. 

Ryan was able to coach locally at Archie Williams and Terra Linda but has since returned to his alma mater.

“I’ve been very fortunate to have different coaching opportunities, but Redwood is home to me… It’s nice to be back and give back to the school and the community,” Ryan said. 

Baseball at Redwood has carried over generations and so have its life lessons. Redwood develops talent, produces wins, and sets up their players for future success on and off the field. These coaches who previously graduated from Redwood implement the skills and tools they learned here to share with the new generation of Redwood baseball players.

Reece Mori-Prange
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About the Contributors
Reece Mori-Prange
Reece Mori-Prange is a sophomore at Redwood High School and is a Cub Reporter for the Redwood Bark. He enjoys playing baseball, and golfing with friends.
Jack Block
Jack is a sophomore Cub Reporter for the Bark. He enjoys playing baseball, working out and spending time with family and friends.