Ariola’s background is deeply rooted in Davis.
California transplant at age 12, Ariola played basketball and baseball (under legendary HOF
coach Ralph Rago) at Davis High (Class of 1980) and one year at UC Davis under Phil Swimley
(another legendary coach).
1996, he took over the Davis High baseball program after coaching the JV team for several years.
During that time, he’s posted a career
record, while winning three Sac-Joaquin Section Division I titles in 2000 and 2004 (when Rago
served as assistant coach), and this year.
Blue Devils charged through the 2014 Sac-Joaquin Division I North playoffs, interrupted only by
a loss to Elk Grove, and they stormed back in the following game to take the “City
Championship.” The following weekend Davis went down to Stokcton’s Klein Family Field and took
two out of three from St. Mary’s of Stockton to claim the school’s third section title under
could argue, this year’s Davis Blue Devils team included a bunch of over-achievers. The nucleus
has been playing together since Davis Little League, when as 9-10 year old All-Stars they won
the state of California. Says Ariola, “They play together as a group. Great team players.
They’re committed to the program, including our summer and fall programs. They have some talents
and always come out and play hard.”
what typifies the Davis program and Ariola quickly ticks off three factors: “Number one,
pitchers throw strikes. Play team defense. And we fight and compete at the plate. I only want
the toughest, most competitive kids to step in the batter’s box.”
John Ariola with Davis head coach and his father,
Davis, Ariola concedes, is not your typical community and in many ways that benefits
the baseball program. “We have lots of community support, a strong Little League program. And we
have only one high school, so we pretty much get everyone in the community.”
This season has been an especially poignant one for the head coach, who says goodbye to son John
Ariola, who completed his third year on the Blue Devils varsity and heads off to American River
College next year.
not before helping out Dad with the Davis’ summer program. The fruit doesn’t fall far from the
the Ariola tree is firmly rooted in Davis.