Along with Yucaipa High School athletes Sydnee Huff and Tyson Heaton, Thunderbirds baseball pitching coach Kevin Halamicek was recognized at the 55th Ken Hubbs Awards held May 20 at Grand Terrace High School. Huff and Heaton were Yucaipa’s 2019 nominees for the Hubbs Award presented annually to one outstanding prep girl and boy athlete in the greater San Bernardino region. An estimated crowd of 350 attended the event.
Ken Hubbs was the 1962 National League Rookie of the Year. He set a number of records while playing three years for the Chicago Cubs after graduating from Colton High School in 1959. He died in a plane crash in 1963 at the age of 22. Hubbs was widely respected on-and-off the field.
Halamicek was the 1994 Hubbs Award nominee from Big Bear High School after leading the Bears to its only CIF baseball title in school history. Like Heaton, both were winning pitchers in Southern Section championship games. Halamicek was a two-time Division-5 player of the year. Heaton, a two-time state player of the year, will pitch and hit on scholarship at Brigham Young University. Halamicek pitched on scholarship for Cal State Dominquez Hills and quickly became its number one starter. He was named Male Scholar Athlete of the Year and all-West Region.
It’s still to be determined about a Heaton pro career but Halamicek was drafted by the Florida Marlins in 2001. He played two years in the Marlins organization before a sore arm ended his career. Likewise, Heaton shattered a number of school records and is one of the most decorated athletes in school history. He had the good fortune to play for current Yucaipa High School coach Ralph Grajeda and retired hall-of-fame coach Jeff Stout.
Halamicek says he has a different perspective when looking back at the Hubbs Award nomination.
“It’s a substantial award but at 17, I did not understand its depth. I do now,” explained Halamicek. “I don’t remember it being such a big event, probably back then it was held in a conference room. I’m impressed with its longevity.” Halamicek was joined as a 1994 Hubbs nominee by Yucaipa High School hall-of-fame member Corky Miller.
In any other year it would have been possible for Heaton to win the overall Hubbs Award, however the football resume of 2019 overall winner Jayden Daniels of Cajon High School was just overwhelming.
Similarly, Sydnee Huff was up against the strong resume of Hubbs Award overall winner Alycia Flores, a softball player from Grand Terrace High School. Huff’s academic achievements alone were enough to put her in contention. Her 4.34 GPA ranked 23rd among this year’s Yucaipa High School graduation class of 577 students and she earned a scholarship to Stanford University where she will play softball. Huff was twice named among the nation’s top-100 softball players. By leading Yucaipa to three Citrus Belt League titles, she was picked all-league first team three times and twice selected first team all-CIF.
Yucaipa High School athletic director Matt Carpenter wrote in Huff’s resume about her service to school and community. She co-founded the “You Got a Friend in Me Club,” devoted to making sure that no student on campus is alone without friends.