Battle Ground keeps baseball coach Hayes

School, coach looking ahead after controversy

By Paul Valencia, Columbian high school sports reporter

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Billy Hayes will be retained as Battle Ground’s baseball coach, in part because he took full responsibility for his actions that cost his program.

The school’s baseball program was hit with sanctions by the Class 4A Greater St. Helens League after Hayes deliberately gave an ineligible player a plate appearance toward the end of this past season.

The Tigers have been banned from postseason play in 2012 and are on probation for the next two seasons.

The situation left Hayes’ future with the program in question, but Karla Kalian, the school’s athletic director, confirmed Tuesday that Hayes will be coaching the Tigers next spring.

“Billy does care about the kids. That’s obvious. I believe he realizes he made a big mistake. He’s sincere about it,” Kalian said. “We’re looking ahead.”

Hayes said he is looking forward to next spring.

He said it has been stressful, but he called the end result “very flattering,” noting the support he received from the community as well as the administration at Battle Ground.

“Ultimately, they had the final choice. Hopefully I’ll show them they made the right choice,” Hayes said. “The way to do that is put my heart and soul into the kids and the program. That’s business as usual for me.”

Hayes specifically thanked Kalian for continued support. He said he knows it was not an easy decision for her to make.

“It was all put in her lap, and I have a lot of respect for her,” Hayes.

Hayes confirmed with The Columbian last month that he did, in fact, violate the rules.

“I made the decision, and I’m accountable for it,” Hayes said then. “I don’t have any finger to point at anyone. I made the decision.”

Numerous commentators online showed support for Hayes.

He said he received well-wishes from several in the baseball community.

Kalian acknowledged there was a lot of community support for Hayes.

“I am pretty confident that (the infraction) won’t happen again,” Kalian said. “I think Billy learned a lot, as well as our whole coaching staff. Not just baseball, but the rest of the (athletic) program. You have to think before you make a decision. The decision can have greater consequences than you may think.”

Hayes promised he will not repeat the same mistake.

“Will not happen again,” he said.

Hayes has been Battle Ground’s coach since 2005.