A GRAND SLAM
LEGACY John Diatte (‘84) is not in his office. Minutes before a scheduled interview, the Valley Christian baseball coach ditches his desk for a brisk walk around the warning track of the Warrior baseball stadium.
Brisk might be an understatement: he’s down the third-base line and back to the dugout in a flash. Entering his 33rd year in charge of VCHS baseball and his 37th year at the school overall, the man a former assistant describes as “full-throttle” shows little sign of easing up. And why should he? In June, the Warriors won their fourth consecutive CCS championship, becoming only the second program ever to accomplish that feat and the first to do so under a single head coach. “Certainly, we’re very proud of the recent success,” Diatte confirms. “But I’m just as happy about the process that got us there: the players buying in, their willingness to work hard and embrace our Warrior baseball culture.” The specifics of that culture are laid out in a sevenitem list that Diatte prints out and distributes; at the very top, number one is “A desire to serve God and others!” “I’m very blessed that Valley Christian allows me to preach Jesus while preaching baseball,” Diatte says. “In a lot of ways, we use the church as a model for building our program. These guys are part of something more important than themselves. They play different roles and are all key pieces of this body.” Under Diatte’s tutelage, Valley Christian Schools’ has sent six alumni to the Major League ranks. Thirteen former Warriors currently play collegiately. Eddie Park is one of those thirteen; he graduated from VCHS in 2020 and is now an outfielder at Stanford. “Coach always wants the best out of his players, and I think that’s what helps many guys prepare for college baseball, or for anything else beyond baseball,” Park explains. “He’s tough on us during practices especially so that the actual game could slow down. It’s his passion that really makes him special.”