Mari Erin Roth
Gavin Gutierrez, age 12, plays for the Chico Eastside major’s team the White Sox. Gutierrez was invited to practice with the Volcanoes by Chester High School head baseball coach Mike Klimek the week of March 18. George Wellman is the assistant head coach for the Vols and Gavin is the grandson of coach George and his wife Michele Wellman. Gavin was visiting his grandparents during spring break.
Gavin received pointers on fielding and hitting from the Volcano ballplayers, along with encouragement for the young player’s practice efforts. Several players thanked the pre-teen for his great attitude and in the end he was presented with a keepsake to help him remember the week of training: a new baseball signed by the Volcano team.
During batting practice Coach Klimek put Gavin in the lineup to take some swings. At bat Gavin hit a single, advanced from 1st base to 3rd on the next batter, and was driven home by a hit from Volcano senior pitcher Juan Flores. Running 90′ base paths was a workout for the youngster as Gavin normally plays on 60′ paths with the Chico White Sox. The Chester Vols rooted him on as he crossed home plate as he scored a run for his batting practice group.
It was a “great warm and sunny day of practice for the Vols, the players showing leadership and sportsmanship coaching the younger Gavin, allowing him to feel wanted and supported all along the way,” said proud grandpa and coach Wellman. “My heart was full, this is a great day for baseball, a day I’ll cherish for eternity. Thank you Coach Klimek and to all the CHS players for embracing Gavin and letting him be a part of the team this beautiful day.”