PBR Colorado All-Colorado Team: Coach of the Year


Neil Devlin and PBR Staff

 

He was born here, moved and was raised in a place you may not have heard of (Neosho, Mo., population a little more than 12,000), went to college in Louisiana and worked for a major-league baseball team on the west coast.

So what brought Ron Quintana back to Colorado?

“A gut feeling,” he said recently. A lot of his family is here “and it was great. I’ve got my wife, two kids and I’m coaching.”

Coaching? In his eighth season in command of Mountain Vista in Highlands Ranch, Quintana oversaw one of the better seasons in Class 5A baseball in years.

Look at what the Golden Eagles accomplished in 2018:

--- They had a 26-1 record that included a perfect regular season (19-0) and a 21-game winning streak.

--- They won the Continental League that clearly has taken over as the state’s top loop. In fact, all 11 members made the state playoffs. And the Golden Eagles swept through at 10-0 in the south-suburban group.

--- Mountain Vista owned a composite 244-82 scoring advantage, batted .361 as a team and belted 108 extra-base hits, including a whopping 43 home runs.

--- And after opening the double-elimination Championship Series with a stunning 8-1 setback to Arapahoe, the Golden Eagles won consecutive one-run decisions, then nabbed three more victories for their first state championship.

“When we lost,” Quintana said, “obviously, we hadn’t done it and we didn’t know how to act. It was one of those games when we didn’t show up and Arapahoe played well. No excuses.”

As well, Quintana said, “we never really talked about (going undefeated). The kids never really felt any pressure and I didn’t want them to. We just kept playing as a group. They all loved playing and playing together. (The loss) was just one of those things that happened and it could have been worse timing, it could have come the weekend before (in districts, which would have meant elimination).”

The important thing, he said, was “we went back and talked that it was a good thing we got to play (the next day). And I didn’t want to sit around, so we called a team meeting.”

And Quintana and his coaches took their players bowling. Hey, the game involved strikes …

“It was fun and we kind of relaxed,” Quintana said.

And the rest is history – Mountain Vista earned its first title, the team had a cumulative grade-point average of 3.75 and the whispers went away. The Golden Eagles also made their first final and had been in five of the past six final fours.

“It was starting to get to the point that they were saying Mountain Vista couldn’t win the big one,” Quintana said.

And, sure, he knows Highlands Ranch, ever-growing since the 1980s, is a small town, “a bubble” as he called it.

But the former three sporter at Neosho High, baseballer at Northwestern State in Natchitoches, La., and assistant strength and conditioning coach with the Los Angeles Dodgers who now is involved with security at Mountain Vista, can live with it. Plus, he’ll lose only four starters for the 2019 season, so the expectations will be there again. Can you say repeat?

Plus, keep in mind, baseball-crazed Highlands Ranch doesn’t seem to be ready to move on to another favorite sport any time soon. Sam Ireland, Drew Stahl, Grant Magill and the boys will be back.

Only now are Quintana and the Golden Eagles diving deep into what they accomplished. Quintana said he has eyed “about 10 polls and we were fifth in baseball America, third in MaxPreps and 10th in USA Today ... it’s fun to represent Colorado.”

And they’ll undoubtedly be No. 1 when we near next season.

He’s OK with it.

“It will be fun,” he said.