FRESNO — Before Fresno City College opened its 2020 baseball season, the Rams held a moment of silence for former assistant coach Sam Flores.
“It’s a struggle for all of us,” said head coach Ron Scott. “Because you’re faced with the realities of death.”
In early September, the program was shaken by news the popular 41-year-old assistant had died from a sudden brain aneurysm.
“We were all hanging out, talking, texting, everything,” said sophomore pitcher Mikell Chavez. “And then, the next thing you know, he’s getting rushed to the hospital, and it was just rough.”
“I cried a little bit, because it was just so sudden,” said sophomore shortstop Tony Noriega. “You hate when things are so sudden. You’re not prepared. You don’t know what to do.”
Sammy was an assistant at City for four years, and in that short time, his impact on the program can’t be overstated.
“He literally, did everything for the team,” said Noriega.
“If something broke, he fixed it,” said Scott. “I tried to fix something the other day, and I think I broke it worse.”
A former head baseball coach at Hoover High, “Flo” seemed to know everybody in the Central Valley baseball world, and made initial recruiting contact with most of the current Fresno City roster, a roster stocked with players from the Valley — like Chavez, a former Clovis North Bronco.
“Out of high school, (I) didn’t really have much,” said Chavez. “He kind of gave me an opportunity to come in, and show what I got.”
Sam will be remembered throughout the season by the Rams.
The program has dedicated their season to him, and dedicated a portion of their left field wall to his memory.
Their practice shirts honor him as well, and “Flo-9” is stitched into the back of their baseball caps.
“There’s no way we can’t think of him,” said Scott, about the ways the team is remembering him. “And even without all those things, I would think of him every day we walk out here.”
Sam is survived by his wife Andrea, his daughter Claire, and his young son Cal.
Here is a link to a gofundme page created in Sam’s honor.