Shane Hilstrom, the recently hired head baseball coach at Eastmark High School, is ready and eager to build the school’s baseball programs from the ground up. Having stepped away from coaching for several years to build his home inspection business, the time away has reenergized his passion for the game.
On June 1, he opened up summer camp for small groups of players. The camp is following social distancing guidelines set forth by the Queen Creek Unified School District and national health experts. He’s preparing the players for next spring, which will be the program’s first full season competing at the varsity level as last season was cut short due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Eastmark High School, located in the Eastmark master-planned community near Cadence at Gateway, at Ray and Ellsworth Roads, opened in July 2019. Hilstrom applied for the coaching position shortly after it opened.
“I’ve been in a situation like that before where I’ve been at a new school,” Hilstrom said in an interview with the East Valley Tribune. “I just thought, ‘heck, this is a good opportunity.’ At least in my situation, sometimes you do things when they feel right. This one just felt like a good fit if I were to get it.”
Hilstrom, a graduate of Tempe High School, began his coaching career in 1991. He returned to Tempe High School as coach of the junior varsity team, after his own baseball career. He has coached at McClintock High, Scottsdale Community College, Chandler-Gilbert Community College, Higley High and Perry High School, where he led the Pumas to a 112-88 overall record and a trip to the 5A state title game in 2011.
Hard work and determination are the goals he sets forth for all of his players.
“It might sound cliché, but I just want my kids to work hard every single day,” Hilstrom said. “Giving your best effort everyday has always kind of been my motto.
“I don’t get caught up in wins and losses. I don’t think that’s much different than any other coaches and there are so many good ones in Arizona.”