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Opportunity knocks for Wildcats coach

By: Cecil Conley, Sports Editor
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Whitney High School’s baseball players rarely know what Rob Dorchak will do next. In his first season as the Wildcats coach, Dorchak could flash a sign for a real steal or bogus bunt at any time. Dorchak keeps his own players guessing as much as the opponents. The Wildcats do not have the luxury of anticipating his next move, so that means they have to stay on their toes at all times. “There’s a lot of signs and a lot for them to remember,” Dorchak said. “We have a lot of bright kids.” The Wildcats also have quite a few young players. With just four seniors on his 17-player roster, Dorchak is building for the 2012 season with the 10 juniors and three sophomores who will return. One of those sophomores is already proving his varsity value. Josh Robinson shut out El Camino for five innings in Whitney’s 4-1 victory last Thursday after being tagged for one run in the first. “He could have folded, but he responded,” Dorchak said of Robinson. “He goes out there and competes. He finds a way to get things done.” The Wildcats slipped to 7-4 in the Capital Athletic League and 12-8 overall with a 4-3 loss to Cordova in eight innings Tuesday. The Wildcats and Lancers will meet again today at Cordova. Dorchak also did not fold after losing his teaching job at Inderkum High in Sacramento last June. After finding one at Whitney, he offered to lend then-coach Bret Hunter a hand with the team. “I thought I’d be an assistant or coach a lower level group,” said Dorchak, who was also the baseball coach at Inderkum after holding the same position during his days at North Hollywood High. His time at North Hollywood explains why the Wildcats will occasionally wear camouflage jerseys. A few of Dorchak’s former players at North Hollywood are serving overseas with the military. Dorchak has taken photos of his players in their camouflage jerseys and sent them to his former players. “We want to let them know we’re thinking of them,” he said. “There is a realization for the kids that there are bigger things in life. What we’re doing is very small.” Opportunity knocked for Dorchak when Hunter stepped down. The 33-year-old Dorchak was given the varsity team and considered himself fortunate, especially with Hunter leaving the program in good shape. “I got real lucky,” he said. “This is a real good group of kids. I couldn’t have asked for a better situation.” Dorchak can only hope his luck continues. He has no idea whether he will be teaching at Whitney in the fall. As much as he enjoys being a baseball coach, he is a teacher first and foremost. With school budgets as they are these days, he could be looking for work again. “I’m not sure what’s going to happen. There’s a lot of things I don’t have control over,” he said. “I knew that going in. I understand the situation. There’s no such thing as a secure job. It’s the nature of the business. “I’m looking at it as a long-term thing. I expect to be here for a while.”