Peninsula baseball mourns loss of Coach ‘Dozer’
by Randy Angel
Peninsula High School was hit hard when former Panther player and current freshman baseball coach Brett Mendoza passed away, six days following a traffic accident.
Mendoza, 31, suffered traumatic head injuries during the March 4 accident. His wife, Savannah, escaped serious injury during the accident, which occurred on the border of Redondo Beach and Hermosa Beach. The couple resided in Redondo Beach.
During his senior year at Peninsula in 2005, Mendoza led the Bay League with a .485 batting average. He was a four-year letterman and two-year captain for Coach Dennis Gonzalves and a three-time All-Bay League selection
Following high school, Mendoza played baseball for Loyola Marymount University and then was asked to help the Peninsula program by varsity head coach Brian Bowles.
“He was tough on our kids. He challenged them to work hard and do better, but he was also like a big brother to them,” Bowles said in a Daily Breeze interview.
Mendoza began as an assistant coach for the Panther freshman team in 2016, and became an assistant varsity coach last season.
He served as the freshman head coach this year and also coached middle school players.
A GoFundME page set up for Mendoza’s family has surpassed the goal of $15,000.
In addition to his wife, Mendoza is survived by his parents, Martha and Rudy Mendoza, and sister, Lauren.
A memorial service was held Thursday, March 22 at St. John Fisher Catholic Church in Rancho Palos Verdes. The Peninsula High baseball team is also planning a ceremony to retire Mendoza’s No. 7 jersey.