David Quiroga should be used to being recognized via his affiliation with Waite High School.
As a junior in 2002, the then-catcher was named All-City League after helping coach Danny Clayton’s Indians knock off St. John’s Jesuit for the league championship. He earned CL Co-Player of the Year honors as a senior in 2003.
Quiroga just finished his fifth season as Waite’s varsity baseball coach, and he’s got the Indians on the right track. That’s not him saying it but the rest of the CL coaches, who voted Quiroga as this year’s CL Coach of the Year.
The Indians finished 9-16 and 7-4 in the league and made the CL final four tournament before losing to Bowsher, 5-2. Waite finished 6-18 (6-4 CL) a year ago with a junior-dominated lineup.
“It was nice to know that other people are seeing all the time I was putting in — enough for my girlfriend to be mad at me,” Quiroga said of winning the award. “I was a little shocked, humbled, surprised. It was definitely a nice honor from my fellow coaches.”
The Indians were close in a few of their losses, including losses to Start, which beat Bowsher for the league title, and Three Rivers Athletic Conference runner-up St. Francis de Sales. Waite beat Bowsher, 5-4, during the regular season.
“St. Francis was probably one of the top three games we played this year,” Quiroga said of the 5-3 loss. “We lost to Bowsher in the final-four game, 5-2, and we were up 2-1 going into the sixth.”
Quiroga said he found out he’d won the coach of the year award during a league meeting at the end of the season. The last Waite coach to earn that honor was Clayton in 2002.
“I just think (the coaches) saw we actually worked and there was time being put in,” Quiroga said. “We just worked hard and busted out butts. I was hoping for more wins, obviously, and it seemed like (the players) did, too. I always hope for more. I was happy with the nine (wins), which was two more than the previous year. We put in a good season.”
The Indians had one first-team All-CL selection in senior utility player Tony Smith, who will play football at Ohio Northern University this fall.
Smith, who also made first team all-district, batted a team-high .362 with 26 runs, 15 RBI, two doubles and one home run, the only one Waite hit in 2014. Smith, a four-year varsity letterman, got the pitching decision in the Indians’ win over Bowsher, and he also played catcher and shortstop this spring.
“Every year he seemed to learn something new,” Quiroga said. “He constantly improved his game and worked hard at it. He was also a varsity football player and he’s a real good kid.”
Waite’s second team All-CL selections were senior second baseman/pitcher Josh Smenner, senior first baseman/pitcher Joe Fix III, junior first baseman/catcher Nick Jensen and sophomore outfielder/pitcher Brandon Wagner. The Indians graduate eight seniors off this year’s team.
“We have a lot of work to do,” Quiroga said. “We’ll have a lot of inexperience next season using a lot of the young jayvee kids.”