Palo Verde fires baseball coach Fiddler with playoffs looming

Palo Verde third-year baseball coach Kevin Fiddler said Tuesday he was fired during an afternoon meeting with school administrators and will not coach the team for the remainder of the season.

Palo Verde (10-17, 2-5 Southwest League) finishes the regular season Wednesday when it hosts Shadow Ridge at 3:30 p.m. The Panthers are assured of the Southwest League’s No. 4 seed for the Division I Sunset Region tournament that opens next week regardless of the outcome.

“As of 2 p.m., I was called into the athletic office and just informed that I would be relieved of my coaching duties, that the administration had decided they wanted to take that program in a different direction,” Fiddler said. “They thanked me for my time and wished me well.”

Fiddler led the Panthers to their first postseason berth since 2010 last season. But Palo Verde never finished better than .500 under Fiddler, and its best finish in league was fourth place.

In two-plus seasons under Fiddler, Palo Verde went 35-53.

“You never like to not finish something you started,” Fiddler said. “I’m a dreamer. … Sometimes I’ve got to live with my head in the clouds about the potential at Palo, and I was really excited to get the opportunity to do it. You know, it just didn’t work out.”

Palo Verde athletic director Darwin Rost did not return a voice mail seeking comment, and it is not known who will coach the Panthers on Wednesday and during the playoffs.

Palo Verde was Fiddler’s first head-coaching job.

“My players, they’re my family. That’s probably the hardest thing about this,” Fiddler said. “But I’m thankful for the opportunity.”