Moreno Valley baseball success helps bolster coach during battle with cancer – Press Enterprise
MORENO VALLEY — Brad Allcock lay in bed at Loma Linda University Medical Center the morning his Moreno Valley baseball team was scheduled to host Savanna in a Division 5 South Section playoff opener of the CIF.
Allcock suffered severe abdominal pain in January, about a month before the start of the season. It appeared to be appendicitis, but Allcock received shocking news shortly after waking up from the appendectomy.
Doctors discovered a tumor in the appendix and Allcock was diagnosed with stage III-B colon cancer. About 25% of his large intestine was removed, along with 14 lymph nodes that were also infected.
Allcock, 38, began chemotherapy treatments in March, about a month into the baseball season. He had side effects from his second session and was hospitalized for a week as his liver enzymes were above normal and his blood platelet count fell from 160 to 2. A clot formed near his gallbladder .
The Moreno Valley baseball team was set to play its first postseason game without its coach in the dugout. But Allcock was released around noon that day and went to the baseball field.
“Baseball has been therapeutic throughout this time,” said Allcock, who has been with the program for 15 years, 12 of them as a head coach. “When I’m home, especially after treatment, I usually hang out by the toilet and want to sleep 24/7. But when I’m out here with the team, these guys are so full of energy and life, and baseball has just been an escape for me during a very difficult time.
The players were ready to play but received an extra boost when their coach entered the pitch.
“Just seeing his face made everyone’s day and made it a little bit easier to go out there and win that day,” senior pitcher Frank Camarillo said. “He fights every day just to be here with us, so we’re going to fight just as hard every time we train and play… We really want to win this one for him.”
Moreno Valley (25-3) is having one of the best seasons in program history and is the No. 1 seed in the Division 5 playoffs. Vikings host Viewpoint (17-7) in the quarterfinals Friday afternoon.
It was a turnaround season for the program, which went 8-16 last year and missed the playoffs.
“I think we were a divided team last season. Everybody was doing their own thing there,” said senior center fielder Aidan Magana. “We’re all on the same page and just having fun when we play.”
Allcock is also Moreno Valley’s athletic director and has been able to pursue those duties, often while working from home. Allcock said the school administration, led by Principal Philip Peeples, was supportive regardless of the circumstances. Allcock also credited his assistant athletic director Jennifer Strawn.
“I may not be able to be there in person as much right now, but everyone at our school has been phenomenal,” Allcock said. “I couldn’t do all of this without the support of so many people here.”
Allcock also thanked his coaching staff — Justin Brown, Adrien Garibay, JR Harry and former MLB pitcher Kevin Olsen — for taking the reins on the field whenever he can’t be there himself. .
Moreno Valley made consecutive Finals appearances in the Division 6 playoffs in 2016 and 2017. Allcock believes this year’s side have what it takes to finally break through and win a Division title for the first time.
“We were a surprise runner-up in other years, but it started a new culture here,” Allcock said. “In years past, the goal was to win the league and see what would happen in the playoffs. With this team, they set out to win the CIF from the start. And they walk on n’ any terrain believing they are good enough to do it.