La Jolla High baseball to play first game at PETCO Park

By Ashley Mackin

The boys of La Jolla High’s Vikings baseball team will be hitting the field at 1 p.m. Friday, April 19 against Point Loma High School — oh, and the field will be the San Diego Padres’ PETCO Park.

In a partnership between San Diego CIF and the Padres, 12 San Diego teams will play on the major league diamond (where a Babe Ruth “Called Shot” pose is all but guaranteed).

“It’s a real generous gesture on the part of the Padres to reach out to local high school athletes and athletic departments and give them a chance to play on a Major League Baseball diamond,” said San Diego CIF representative Jim Esterbrooks. “I know the Padres have had a very strong community orientation for decades now, and this is a reflection of that. They really want to reach out to the community,”

As an added incentive, those who buy a $10 ticket to the La Jolla High game will receive a free ticket to the Padres vs. Arizona Diamondbacks game on May 3 at 7:10 p.m. To purchase tickets, contact Howard Frank at or (619) 857-1317 or (619) 574- 1888. Checks can also be made out to Howard Frank and mailed to 136 Redwood St., San Diego, CA 92103.

Selected on a rotating schedule, the teams will play in accordance with their regular schedule, so if they weren’t playing at PETCO, they would still play these games at those times.

“We’re trying to touch all parts of the county and ensure that we’re not having repeat school until everybody’s had a shot,” Esterbrooks said.

This will be the first time the Vikings were in the rotation, because La Jolla High and Point Loma High are the last two schools that haven’t had a chance to play.

Coach Gary Frank joked that while knowing a school wouldn’t play twice until everyone has played once, he was still doubtful about the trip to PETCO Park.

“I was very relieved when they gave us the call this year,” Frank said, adding that his team was ecstatic. “It’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for 99.99 percent of high school athletes to get to play on a big league field.”

Frank said the Vikings team this year is marked with strong defense, solid pitching, and “quite a few guys that can handle the bat pretty well.”

Despite the location, the Vikings are treating this like any other game, and Coach Frank expects them to work hard, be prepared and run everything out to the best of their abilities. “San Diego County is known across the country for the level of baseball that’s played here, so you’re going to see great baseball,” by going to the event, Esterbrooks said. “It’s a chance to support great kids and coaches. If we get people in the stands, that makes it work for the Padres (to continue doing this). They’re really being generous here, but it’s easier for them to be generous if people come out and support the event.”

Three of the six games will be on April 19 and the other three on April 20.

Here is the schedule for the two days of game play:

• April 19:

1 p.m. - La Jolla vs. Point Loma

4 p.m. - Escondido vs. Mission Hills

7 p.m. - Valhalla vs. West Hills

• April 20:

10 a.m. - Del Norte vs. Oceanside

1 p.m. - Guajome Park vs. Julian

4 p.m. - Scripps Ranch vs. Patrick Henry