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Christian coach nears milestone for career wins

04/18/2013, 10:30pm PDT
By Bill Dickens, Special to the U-T

Mike Mitchell doesn’t like to talk about himself. He’s the epitome of humble.

Mike Mitchell's teams have won three San Diego Section titles during 18 years coaching baseball at Christian.

— Mike Mitchell doesn’t like to talk about himself. He’s the epitome of humble and is as modest as they come.

Mitchell is in his 22nd year of coaching high school baseball — the last 18 at Christian High. During that stretch his teams have posted 397 wins, including Thursday’s 8-3 Central League victory over visiting Clairemont.

“I had no idea that he was that close to 400,” said four-year varsity catcher A.J. Gregorovic. “He is such a low-key guy that stuff like that never comes up. He’s such a class act and a guy who wants the best for you.”

Gregorovic was 4-for-4 with a home run, a double and four RBIs against the Chieftains.

“The most awesome thing about Coach Mitchell is he lets you do your own thing. He’s not a tyrant. I love coming to practice almost as much as playing in the games,” Gregorovic said.

When informed that he was only three wins away from his next milestone, Mitchell shrugged his shoulders and said, “What do you want to write about me for? I don’t play.

“Honestly, I heard that I was close, but I had no idea how close because I don’t keep track of stuff like that. It’s just a number, which is a byproduct of all the good players and assistant coaches I’ve had.”

Stephen Johnston, another four-year senior starter who pitches, catches and plays shortstop, is a champion of the Mitchell fan club.

“The main thing is he keeps it light and it’s always fun to be out here,” Johnston said.

Mitchell, whose team is 14-6 this season, said he cannot recall his first victory, which would have been at Coronado High, where he coached the Islanders for four seasons.

“I do remember my 300th win, which was five or six years ago,” he said. “We got behind Brawley 6-0 in the first inning and came back to win 7-6 when my son Brian laid down a perfect squeeze bunt.”

After playing for his father, Brian Mitchell completed his collegiate career at The Master’s College in Santa Clarita.

“When I played for my dad there was no special treatment for me or any of his players. I have the best memories of playing here and made a lot of lifelong friends. I attribute a lot of that to my father,” said Brian, who is now Christian’s third base coach.

“I think coaching for my dad is even more fun than playing for him.”

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