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The Times' baseball coach of the year: Frank Medina of Bell

Fiery and passionate like the football coach he used to be, Frank Medina of Bell High refused to let his young team of mostly freshmen, sophomores and juniors fear anything.

The Eagles won 19 of their last 20 games to win their first City Section Open Division championship with a 4-1 win over defending champion Birmingham at Dodger Stadium.

Medina has been selected The Times' baseball coach of the year for 2024.

Read more: The Times' All-Star baseball and softball coverage

"He's so tough on us," sophomore pitcher Jayden Rojas said. "We all thank him. He built us to grind."

Bell played great defense, gave up only one run in three playoff victories and never cracked under pressure.

Medina kept challenging his players to strive for more. After winning the Eastern League title, he made sure they believed a trip to Dodger Stadium was possible, and Bell's path included wins over Sylmar, Granada Hills and Birmingham, all top programs from the San Fernando Valley.

The bus ride home from Dodger Stadium explained the significance of the victory.

"Cars were passing by and honking horns," Rojas said. "When we got to Bell, there was a bunch of people with phones out yelling, 'Champs!'"

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This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.