Mike Bolyog is entitled to the last laugh--regardless of how Oak Park High fares in today's Southern Section 1-A Division baseball final against Cerritos Valley Christian at Cal State Fullerton.
Three years ago, Bolyog was fired as baseball coach at Villanova Prep after leading the Wildcats to the Small Schools semifinal. School administrators cited philosophical differences in giving Bolyog the ax.
This season, Bolyog has been resurrected as a coach in his first year at Oak Park, leading the Eagles to their first baseball championship game in the school's 12-year history. Oak Park (16-9) had not won a playoff game before this season.
"Every time we take the field, we make history," Bolyog said. "It feels nice to get to the final. It's nice to be somewhere where you are valued and appreciated."
Oak Park, which finished third in the Tri-Valley League, has played aggressively. The Eagles have racked up a school-record 105 stolen bases.
Brothers Kevin and Eric Pryor, Oak Park's second baseman and shortstop, lead the team with 22 and 21 stolen bases. Catcher Damin Sterling has 18.
Senior right-hander Jeff Gibbons (11-1) is expected to start for Oak Park. Cerritos Valley Christian advanced to the final with a 3-2 victory over Beaumont. Game time is 4:30 p.m.