Coach Brett Ladd and Junior Giants player Asher East were recognized at a recent Giants game

PASO ROBLES — In August, a Paso Robles coach and player were awarded the Junior Giants Willie Mac Award and recognized at a recent San Francisco Giants baseball game at Oracle Park.

PRPD Jr Giants Contributed 1
Asher East, 5, a Paso Robles Junior Giants player, won the Junior Giants Willie Mac Award and was recognized at a recent San Francisco Giants game at Oracle Park. Contributed Photo

The Junior Giants League is sponsored by the Giants Community Fund (GCF) and presented by the Paso Robles PAL. Their goal with Junior Giants is to develop a further relationship with the youth in the community and provide a free baseball and softball league so all kids can play without having to worry about any additional expenses.

Five-year-old Asher East and his coach Brett Ladd were nominated and won the 2022 Willie Mac Award.


According to the Giants MLB website, the award is named “in honor of Giants Hall of Famer Willie McCovey, this award is the Junior Giants version of the annual award given to a Giants player by his teammates. The Junior Giants Willie Mac Award will go to one outstanding Junior Giants player and coach/team parent that best represents their league, as chosen by their league commissioner.”

Junior Giants Willie Mac recipients must show confidence, integrity, leadership, and teamwork both on and off the field. Nominees are recognized at Oracle Park during a Giants game and invited to a special luncheon at the end of the season.

“It was a privilege to get that [award],” said Ladd, who has been a baseball and Giants fan his entire life.

He added, “Our team had so much fun playing and growing together as a team. I was flattered to even be mentioned as a nominee for the Willie Mac Award.”

This summer was Ladd’s first time coaching the Junior Giants team in Paso Robles. He and his family moved to Paso Robles earlier this year from Santa Cruz, where he coached baseball for many years.

PRPD School Resource Officer Alexandria Ellis told Paso Robles Press, “Coach Brett Ladd went above and beyond his duties as a [volunteer] coach, and I appreciated his proactive efforts to help the kids.”

Ladd said he knew about the award and its meaning but never expected to be nominated for it.

“I was super stoked,” he said. “Because I know what that means, that’s an important pick, so I was excited.” 

Unfortunately, Ladd was unable to attend the game with East, but was happy to see East go with his parents.

“Asher East was also nominated for his willingness to learn and team player mentality,” said Ellis. “The Willie Mac winners displayed confidence, integrity, leadership, and teamwork through the season.”

Ladd enjoyed coaching Asher, saying “He was that kid who never said ‘I know,’ he would say ‘OK’ — he was really coachable that way.” 

It is safe to say Ladd looks forward to coaching Junior Giants next year, “I love being out there with the kids,” he said. “There’s nothing better.”