UPDATE: St. Pius X-St. Matthias Academy has issued a statement in response to this story. The statement is posted in its entirety at the end of this article.
DOWNEY – New St. Pius X-St. Matthias Academy varsity baseball coach Richard Rios is asking for the help of the community to help support a refurbished, quality baseball field for his team.
Rios, fresh out of college and only 23, is currently in his first year as head coach for the high school baseball team, which is coming off an abysmal season last year in which they failed to win a single game.
According to Rios, he feels the current state of the team’s home field is a significant reason for the team’s misfortune.
“This is the second season that they’re having a baseball team since it became this school,” said Rios, referring to the still relatively new merger of St. Pius X and St. Mathias High Schools. “There used to be a rich history in terms of athletics, both with St. Pius X and St. Mathias. We just want to bring that back… This is essentially our biggest problem – when it became an all-girls school they made the baseball field into a softball field…it’s become an issue because it’s a difficult task. Building a baseball field encompasses a lot of things…”
Rios says that he has the full support of the school, however to this point he and his assistant coaches have been doing a lot of the work on their own.
“We have a pretty limited amount of equipment that we have. In terms of tractors, we don’t have anything like that; we don’t have any big machinery,” said Rios. “I’ve basically been using a lawnmower and whatever small tractor we have.”
One of the team’s freshman players has started a GoFundMe page in order to try and fundraise for the renovation. However, not a single donation has been made nearly a month after its creation.
“This school’s only been around since 2013, so financially it’s tough,” said Rios. “We’re trying to figure out a way to make it affordable, but at the same time we want to make it a quality field. We don’t just want to just build something ramshack style. We want to do our best, but it’s also a financial issue.”
Rios says the team would need to raise anywhere around $50,000 to $60,000 to build what they need, and practicing elsewhere in the meantime is just not a beneficial option.
For now, Rios’s team continues to practice on a field that is worse for wear, and not built for them – seemingly doomed to repeat another losing season.
“Realistically, if change doesn’t happen soon, it’s gonna be a bad season, essentially,” said Rios. “…Some of [the kids] are from the inner city, and other kids have never been coached or never had any type of guidance and that’s why I want to help build this baseball program – is to help give back to those kids that need the guidance.
But I can’t do it unless I get this field right.”
STATEMENT FROM ST. PIUS X-ST. MATTHIAS ACADEMY:
St. Pius X-St. Matthias Academy (PMA) would like to address some statements that appear in the Downey Patriot on September 20, 2016 regarding the school’s baseball program:
The article entitled: "At St. Pius-Matthias, baseball players struggling to perform on a converted softball diamond," while attempting to garner support for our baseball field renovations, also included some statements that were not entirely accurate.
In the short 3 year history since the establishment of St. Pius X-St. Matthias Academy as a coed school, our board, staff, and parents have worked extremely hard at ensuring that all students are afforded a quality Catholic high school experience. As we continue to expand programs each year, the school has made a commitment to planning for future growth that is implemented both thoughtfully, strategically and in the student’s best interest. One area of growth is in Athletic offerings, including Baseball.
As a result of our continued growth, there is much excitement in expanding our programming that resulted in one of our young athletes acting out of their own accord to establish a Go Fund Me Page to assist with funding the baseball field renovations. Click here for GoFundMe Link The account has now been turned over and is being managed by the school.
While we are a school that serves a population in which 69% of students meet federal poverty levels and provide tuition support to 85% of students in need, in order to strategically grow and strengthen the baseball program, the school allocated funds from its operating budget to cover most of the field renovation expenses and is in the process of finalizing the proposed bid for renovations to begin in the next few weeks.
Unfortunately, the article in the Downey Patriot made a few statements that did not reflect the sentiments or message that head Coach, Richard Rios wished to convey. These statements include:
■ “Realistically, if change doesn’t happen soon, it’s gonna be a bad season, essentially,” said Rios.
■ For now, Rios’s team continues to practice on a field that is worse for wear, and not built for them – seemingly doomed to repeat another losing season.
■ According to Rios, he feels the current state of the team’s home field is a significant reason for the team’s misfortune.
Our head baseball coach, Richard Rios, and his assistant coaches are all passionate about serving youth through baseball as they all played together in college and funded their own college education through the opportunities afforded by the sport. The two assistant coaches are currently volunteering their time because they believe in our student athletes and the potential for building a dynamic baseball program and the opportunities it can offer for the students of PMA.
Coach Rios remains committed to serving our student and athletes and believes in the values offered by athletic programs. While we appreciate the heartfelt effort to garner support for our students and programs we offer, we do want to clarify the school’s position and ensure that every effort is made to clear up any misperceptions. At the same time, we welcome any support that you may be able to offer that will help us in manifesting the values of a Catholic education and specifically the efforts of building our baseball program. Further inquiries can be directed to Athletic Director, Chris Morrison at firstname.lastname@example.org