From February to May, Thacher baseball players practice and play on a sunny field with the Ojai Valley and its surrounding mountains as a backdrop. So it has been for well over a century. In 1893, the boys of The Thacher School climbed aboard a six-horse stage and took off on a twenty-mile trek to the school’s first interscholastic sporting event—a baseball game at Santa Paula High School. As the stage climbed out of the valley, the boys hopped out and walked up the mountain pass to lighten the load for the horses, and selfless teamwork has remained a hallmark of the baseball program to this day.
Since then, generations of Thacher students have enjoyed the national pastime here on campus and in games throughout Southern California. While the team no longer travels to away games by horse, students and faculty on horseback still frequent our games at Bard Field to root for the home team. Recent baseball teams have given them plenty to root for by building great success upon that century-old foundation of Casa de Piedra baseball with a run of five straight Condor League Championships (2001-5); a trip to the CIF Southern Section Championship (2002); and a full season at the number one spot of the CIF-SS Top Ten Poll (2003). Many players from recent teams have earned All-Ventura County and All-CIF honors, and several have gone on to play baseball at colleges including Trinity, Lewis and Clark, Wesleyan and USC.
Such successes have been enriching and uplifting, but have never been the true focus of the baseball program, which is fully immersed in Thacher’s educational philosophy. Since that first game in 1893, the true benchmarks of success have been grounded in teamwork, sportsmanship, self-improvement, striving together for victories and learning together from defeats. In that respect, every season has its share of growth and achievement.
A Thacher graduate from 2006, Cal received his BA from Davidson College. Following his graduation, he remained at Davidson to manage the Department of Theater Scene Shop. An Ojai native, Cal returned to Thacher to run and maintain the Milligan Center theater, as well as to direct the student staffed tech crew. In addition to his attachment to the Fine Arts Department, he is a Faculty Advisor to the Indoor Committee and a coach for the Varsity Baseball team. Cal lives on campus with his beautiful Mini Cooper Countryman.
A San Francisco native, Coach Gino Pomilia has played both football and baseball on the collegiate level and has over 25 years of coaching experience as both a head football and baseball coach. At the collegiate level he has coached at Sonoma State University and California State University at Northridge. In total, he has contributed to 13 championship baseball teams during his career. He also does “Bird-Dog” scouting for his former high school coach, Gary Hughes, who is currently the director of player personnel for the Boston Red Sox. He is the inventor and patent holder of the Easton “Thunderstick” and has run successful summer baseball camps in Marin County for the past 16 years. Coach Pomilia was the head baseball coach at Redwood High School in Marin County before coming to Southern California nine years ago, where he teaches in the William S. Hart School District. During his time at Redwood he coached Chad Kreuter, a 16-year major leaguer, former coach at USC, and former baseball coach at Thacher, as well as Buddy Biancalana, former starting shortstop for the 1985 World Series Champion Kansas City Royals. Coach Pomilia and his wife Julie have six children, two dogs, and two horses.