Coach steps down

Matt Sorensen is about to wrap up his student teaching at Estancia High.

Next school year, he will not be teaching at the school or coaching its baseball team.

Sorensen informed his baseball players on Thursday that he stepped down as the Eagles' coach after four years, said assistant coach Brian Burgess. He said the decision was an emotional one for the players and staff, but everyone understood why Sorensen made the move.

Burgess said Brea Olinda High offered Sorensen a fulltime history teaching position and the baseball coaching position.

"When a teaching job comes up, you got to take it because there aren't many teaching jobs out there," Burgess said. "We don't have any openings at Estancia."

Estancia's loss is Brea Olinda's gain.

Sorensen turned around the Eagles' program in a short period. He came to Estancia expecting to win, and in his third and fourth seasons, the Eagles certainly won.

Sorensen brought the type of success to the program that it last experienced in the early 1990s. In his first heading coaching stint on varsity, he accomplished quite a bit after struggling in his first two seasons.

This past season, Estancia won its first CIF Southern Section playoff game in 19 years. The Eagles beat host Anaheim, 5-3, in a Division IV wild-card game.

Last season, the Eagles qualified for the playoffs for the first time since 1994. They did it with a bang, claiming the Orange Coast League title, the program's first league crown since 1991.

Under Sorensen's watch, the Eagles went 47-60, 22-29 in league. They improved every year, going winless in league in his debut season, to finishing on top of the league two years later.

Sorensen had big things in store next season for Estancia, which was coming off its second straight winning season.

Last week, while at the All-Sports Cup presentation on campus, he was looking forward to the off-season. Improvements to the field were in the works and some of his players joined his club team, the Irvine Blue Wave, to get better.

The only thing that was missing was a teaching position. Sorensen was hoping a teaching job would open at Estancia because that was the first school that gave the former Cal State Fullerton standout pitcher a chance to lead a program.

One teaching job opened up for Sorensen, but at a different school in Orange County. He jumped at the opportunity and said his goodbyes to the Eagles.

"Matt was an outstanding coach," said Burgess, who has no doubt that Sorensen can turn around a Brea Olinda program that has finished in last place in the Century League the past two seasons.

"He was professional and had that [college] experience to show these guys what it takes to get to a higher level. It's going to be very hard to replace him."

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