This bronze plaque will commemorate the life and continuing influence of Henry Pearson on the Mira Costa Baseball program. Photo courtesy of Thomas Tyrer
Celebrating its rich tradition, the Mira Costa High School baseball program will honor former standout Henry Pearson prior to its annual Alumni Game on Saturday, April 12.
The day’s festivities begin at 1:30 p.m. with a special dedication ceremony for a permanent brass plaque commemorating former Mustang captain Henry Pearson (2000-2002) and his continuing influence on the Mira Costa Baseball program.
The ceremony comes just three days after the five year anniversary when Pearson, Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim pitcher Nick Adenhart and friend Courtney Stewart were tragically killed in an auto accident when a convicted drunk driver ran a red light and hit their vehicle.
Former Mira Costa baseball captain Jon Wilhite, the lone survivor of the crash, was internally decapitated but recovered in what physicians described as a miracle. Wilhite rejoined the Mustange baseball family this year serving as an assistant varsity coach.
The plaque is just one element to ongoing upgrades to the Mira Costa Baseball facility, while new dugouts, signage, custom windscreens and other elements were made possible through the Mira Costa Baseball Boosters and generous contributions from the Pearson-Wilhite charitable fund.
Pearson’s uncle, Peter Matlack, recently donated his time and professional skills to paint the entire grandstand at Carl Osterhaus Field, dugouts and other baseball facilities. The ceremony will include Mira Costa Principal Dr. Ben Dale, head baseball coach Cassidy Olson, Pearson’s family including parents Nigel and Areta Pearson, members of the Wilhite family and Jon Wilhite.
“Henry was a true leader and epitomized what it is the be a Mustang,” Jon Wilhite said. “If we didn’t have a coach around, Henry made sure the players were at the field. The plaque will be a reminder of how we all should go about the things we do in everyday life.”
Jack Webber, center, and current Mira Costa players look to avenge last year’s loss in the Mustang’s annual Alumni Game. Photo by Ray Vidal
Members of Mira Costa’s varsity squad will be looking to avenge last year’s loss when Nick Haley (Class of 2003) hit a walk-off bloop single over a drawn-in infield to give the Alumni a 13-12 victory.
Jon Wilhite and fellow assistant coach Russ Kontos say the Alumni Game one of the most highly anticipated events of the entire Mira Costa Baseball year for many former players.
“Unless you’re one of the very lucky five percent who still get to play into college, that day you can longer play the game you’ve loved your entire life hits you like a brick wall,” Kontos said. “This is a chance to come back for one afternoon and do something more precious than you can imagine.”
After graduating from Mira Costa, Wilhite played catcher for the powerhouse Cal State Fullerton Titans, singling in the 2007 College World Series. He says the Alumni Game is a great opportunity for former Mustangs to ensure the rich traditions and demands of the program aren’t lost on current players.
“The Mustang way is all about having very high standards and holding every teammate accountable,” Wilhite said. “You can’t tolerate people taking shortcuts because, when you do, the game has a way of finding – and then punishing – you every time.”
Playing in the game will be Kontos and fellow varsity assistant coaches John Colin and Sean Isaac, junior varsity assistant coach Christian Carreathers and frosh-soph assistant coach Matt Sugarman.
Other players slated to play on the Alumni team are Ronnie Glunt, Mike Purcell, Wayne Larcom, Danny Rojas, Sean Finnerty, Nick Hailey, Sean Begley and Jeremy Glunt.
Former Mira Costa players wanting to participate in the Alumni Game can contact Olson at 310-871-5997.