Thanks to pitcher Eric Berger, Woodcreek of Roseville is in the spotlight again. Plus, early track bests, national wrestling champions and more from the best prep notes column in the state.

Woodcreek At It Again: Woodcreek High of Roseville got off to a sawdusty start when it opened in 1994, including going 0-47 in its first two seasons of varsity basketball. But lately the Timberwolves have been coming up with one surprise after another. In last year's track & field state meet, Woodcreek's Matt Johnsrud upset the field by winning the 1600 in 4:11.98. Then, this season's boys basketball team came out of nowhere to win the Div. II Northern Regional title and put on a credible performance in the state final against powerhouse Mater Dei. Now, the baseball team is making waves, led by junior pitcher Eric Berger. Last week, he tossed a five-inning two-hitter with 13 strikeouts in a 11-1 win over Natomas of Sacramento. On Monday, March 31, though, he surpassed that with an awesome display of 20 strikeouts in a seven-inning 5-0 win over Roseville. He gave up just two hits in that game which raised his season record to 6-0 and his strikeout total to 87 in 37 innings. Eric's 20 Ks will make it into the state record book and ties the all-time Sac-Joaquin Section mark. It's not the first time somebody struck out 20 in a game this year, though. Ryan Muller from Live Oak of Morgan Hill did it in February.

Serra coach earns 400th win: San Mateo Serra baseball coach Pete Jensen achieved the 400th win of his career and it came in a big game as the Padres won, 4-0, over Mitty of San Jose in a key West Catholic Athletic League game. Jensen sent junior ace Chuck Lofgren to the mound for the matchup and Lofgren came through with a four-hit shutout. The Padres, who improved to 13-1, got all the runs they needed on a two-out, two-run single in the third inning by Mike Palladino.

Under Nine Already: At the Pasadena Games last Saturday, Phillip Reid of Rio Mesa of Oxnard ran the 3200 meters in a national season best 8:58.45. When was the last time a California prep dipped under nine minutes so early in the season? We can't remember one.

Also From the Pasadena Games: Super girls sprinter Allyson Felix of L.A. Baptist raced to marks of 23.21 in the 200 and 52.26 in the 400 despite it only being her first outdoor meet of the season. It certainly looks like this year's race for State Girls Athlete of the Year will come down to Allyson or volleyball-basketball's Noelle Quinn of Torrance Bishop Montgomery.

East Bay Softball Teams Rejoice: You can always tell when coaches are very high on their teams by the schedules they put together. That's why it raised our eyebrows when Freedom of Oakley, the 2002 North Coast Section Class 4A champs, arranged to play nationally-known powerhouse Clovis in a doubleheader this season. Well, that doubleheader was played last Saturday at Freedom, and wouldn't you know it, Freedom swept both games. The Falcons beat the Cougars 1-0 in the first game and 8-0 in the second. We don't know for sure, but we doubt that Clovis ace Jennifer Reynolds pitched that second game. Freedom's wins will help in the ranking of all fellow NCS teams for the rest of the season.

Miranda Rites: The Ferndale softball team swept a doubleheader last week from Del Norte of Crescent City by identical 8-0 scores. Pitching a complete game for Ferndale in the first game was Jackie Miranda and duplicating that in the second game was cousin Haily Miranda. Getting four hits in the first game and two in the second was Felicia Miranda. All three well be back next year, too.

Double Trouble: Rincon Valley Christian of Santa Rosa won both games last week of a softball doubleheader against Kelseyville. In the first game, Kory Briggs pitched a one-hitter and smacked three hits of her own as Rincon won 14-1. The second game was won 1-0 on a one-hitter by sister Krista Briggs. She smacked two hits. Earlier in the week, Kory hurled a five-inning no-hitter in a 17-0 win over Deep Valley Christian of Redwood Valley.

Delmon is now delivering: After missing the first five games of the season with an ankle sprain, Delmon Young is getting back into the groove for the Camarillo High baseball team. Young, featured on the March cover of Student Sports Magazine, had eight RBI in his first three games for the Scorpions. Camarillo got out to an 0-3 start with Young on the shelf, but began this week at 5-3.

Homers Galore: When North of Torrance downed Leuzinger of Lawndale last week in baseball, a total of nine home runs were hit, seven by North. Kyle Pond not only had two of North's, but also batted 4x4 with seven RBI and five runs scored. His other hits were a single and double plus he had two walks. All that added up to an impressive 22 total bases. Also pounding two homers for North was Shaun Keller while the others were by Johnny Silva, Mike Demaria and Bryce Matson. Leuzinger's homers were by David DeLeon and Daniel Galicia. The state record for most home runs in a game by both teams is 12 and for one team is nine. We don't have a category for total bases by one player in a game. Kyle Pond's 22 looks like a good starting point.

Five California Preps Win National Wrestling Titles: Boys and Girls national wrestling championship tournaments were held last weekend. The boys tournament was the 14th and was held in Cleveland, Ohio and was for seniors only. Just two from California won titles, surprise winners Sam Fragoza from Calaveras of San Andreas at 103 pounds and Manuel Rivera from Rosemead at 125. Rivera had finished third at 125 in the California state neet while Fragoza finished just seventh at 112. The girls tounament was the sixth and was held at Lake Orion, Michigan and was open to non-seniors. Three from California won titles, including a second consecutive at 105 pounds for senior Sara Fulp-Allen from Half Moon Bay. The other two were Damaris Barrios from University City of San Diego at 100 and Madeline Briones from San Leandro at 130.

New Deal for Candaele: Carpinteria football coach Coley Candaele is leaving his alma mater for the lure of a new program that eventually will play at the highest level. Candaele, 31, is going to be the first coach at Vista Murrieta of Murrieta, which will open this fall with freshmen and sophomores. Candaele had a 51-24-2 record at Carpinteria and led last year's team to a 14-0 record and the mythical Div. IV state championship.

It's the Speed, Stupid: Anyone wondering why the University of Arizona would give a football scholarship to a back-up running back at his high school needs to look no further than last weekend's Stanford Invitational track meet. Winning the 100 meter-dash in a time of 10.71 seconds was 6-2, 200-pound Chris Henry from Edison of Stockton. Henry backed up San Diego State-bound Lynell Hamilton last fall, but obviously has an intriguing combination of size and speed.

Golden State Preps Top Stories