A familiar name within Colusa County’s baseball programs, Sonny Badaluco is hanging up his hat to pursue a new career.
Badaluco has been coaching baseball since 2006 for the Channel Cats. Channel Cats is a 17 and under summer baseball team that gives players an opportunity to participate against other teams from all over Northern California and sometimes even farther.
The Cats were started in the summer of 2005 by Jason Hofhenke and Cecil Felkins. Kids from Colusa, Maxwell, Gridley, Willows, Lindhurst, Wheatland, and River Valley have participated in the program.
“I figured out from an early age that I wasn’t the best athlete, but loved sports and always wanted to be involved and compete,” Baduluco said. “Eric Lay was the biggest influence when it came to my coaching career.”
Lay suggested Baduluco for the coaching position for the Cats in 2006.
“He taught me everything I know about coaching and teaching,” Badaluco said. “I tried to emulate him everyday as a coach and teacher. He’s been one of the biggest influences in my life and I’ll always be indebted to him for that.”
But the Channel Cats is not the only coaching position Badaluco has held. In 2008, he was welcomed as part of the coaching staff for Maxwell High School, where he stayed until 2012.
In 2013, Badaluco followed Coach Lay to Colusa High School to help him build their baseball program, as the RedHawks junior varsity coach. Badaluco led the team to an 8-1 record that year. Soon following in 2015, Badaluco was hired as the RedHawks varsity football coach.
“Coach Badaluco was just an awesome person to be around,” said former RedHawks athlete Conner Saso. “Whether he taught or coached me, he was always someone that you wanted to make proud.”
Later in the 2015 school year, Badaluco was hired by the Colusa County Office of Education and served as a paraeducator. Along with coaching baseball, football, and aiding students, staff, and teachers at Colusa High, Badaluco also dedicated seven years of employment to Granzella’s.
“Sonny is a great, one-of-kind, friend and co-worker,” said Granzella’s employee Tori Bill. “I feel honored to not only have worked beside him, but call him a friend as well.”
In just a few short weeks, Badaluco will move to Seattle, Wash. to pursue a career in the tech industry.
“I’ve loved every minute I have spent coaching here in Colusa County,” Badaluco said. “There is no singular moment I can single out, but my favorite thing that I will miss the most is running into former players and parents and having them express how much fun they had in our program and how it helped them grow both as a player and a person.”
After 14 summers helping some of the best young players in the area, Badaluco says good-bye.
“The friendships I have crafted with great coaches like Eric Lay, Russ Gardner, Marty Remmers, and Rick Giovanonni is the most important thing I will take away from my coaching experiences,” he added. ■