Coach Cardinal Ate His Just Dessert--Before 400th Win at Channel Islands

After 24 years and 399 victories, Channel Islands High baseball Coach Don Cardinal figured he could have his cake and eat it too. At least that’s what he did this past week.

Cardinal, 58, earned his 400th victory Saturday when Channel Islands defeated Ventura, 7-1, in a nonleague game at Channel Islands. Angel Aragon (4-0) struck out eight in four innings and combined with Tajah Merrill to limit Ventura to two hits. Channel Islands is 7-1.

But an honorary cake that Cardinal’s son Mike had purchased March 22 was but icing on the veteran coach’s lips by Saturday.

The cake was bought last Saturday before a nonleague game against Hueneme, but the Vikings spoiled the party with a 4-3 win.


Thus, the cake went into a refrigerator at Cardinal’s home and remained there while rain forced the postponement of Channel Islands’ games in the Gladstone tournament until Thursday.

Finally, after the Raiders’ game against Hesperia was rained out with Channel Islands leading, 3-0, in the third inning, Cardinal could wait no longer.

“We took it out of the ice box and ate it,” Cardinal said with a chuckle. “It wasn’t really the 400th win, but we pretended it was. Heck, I couldn’t wait any longer.”

Cardinal’s record on the field is 400-209-4. His record in the kitchen: 0-1.


“I just told my kids that I’m dedicating one win to the 400 kids who have played for me,” he said. “A lot of kids have made it happen, so they should share in it.”