PREP NOTES WITH A TWIST

Baseball team wins section title despite losing 22-7 in playoff game, softball player continues to play strongly after being injured while eating dinner, our picks of athletes we'd like to see do well at the state track meet and more from the best prep notes column in the state.

•ROUTED BUT STILL THE CHAMPS: When can a baseball team lose a section playoff game 22-7 and still win the section championship? When it's double elimination. After losing to Armijo of Fairfield 22-7, Elk Grove came back through the losers bracket to defeat Armijo 6-5 and 6-1 in the Sac-Joaquin Section Division I semifinals. Then last week, Thundering Herd topped Lincoln of Stockton 7-3 and 5-4 in eight innings to win the title. Pitcher David Hernandez kept the hard-hitting Trojans off-balance in the first game and came on in the second game to pick up the save. Lincoln had the tying run thrown out at third base, which sparked a wild celebration by Elk Grove. In the fall, Lincoln lost in the Sac-Joaquin Section Div. I football final to Jesuit of C armichael.

•AMAZING MARIAN: How close did Winters come to moving up to No. 1 this week in the state in Division IV? Marian Catholic of San Diego trailed Horizon of San Diego 6-2 in the San Diego Section Division IV second round with two outs i n the bottom of the seventh. Alas, for Winters, Marian scored six runs to pull out an 8-6 victory. The comeback was even better than that sounds. On a 3-2 pitch with the bases loaded and two out, Marian's Raymond Lopez smacked a grand slam homer to tie it up. Then after a walk, Marian's Xchelt Palafox won it by hitting a two-run homer. What was it Yogi Berra once said?

•UNBEATEN IN SOFTBALL: Ferndale ended its season at 25-0 after winning the North Coast Section Class B title with a 7-2 champi onship game win over Rincon Valley Christian of Santa Rosa and is now the top ranked Division V team in the state. In the final, sophomore Laci Cook batted 3-for-4 with a homer, a triple and four RBI. Sophomore Haily Miranda had a no-hitter for six innings and struck out 12. The Wildcats, coached by Tom Jorgensen, benefited from the new Class B Division in which Division V teams St. Vincent of Petaluma and Berean Christian of Walnut Creek remained in Class A. But Ferndale was a very good team and won all games decisively. They'll also be even better next year as only one starter is a senior. The last softball team to go undefeated was East Nicolaus of the Northern Section in 2001, also in Division V, also with a 25-0 record and also No. 1 in the state in Division V. With pitching standout Megan Galloway coming back to St. Vincent, maybe there's a chance Ferndale and St. Vincent can match up next year.

•32 GAMES, 32 GAMES WITH A HIT: Joe Spiers from Arrowhead Christian Academy of Redlands had two hits in his team's loss to La Salle of Pasadena earlier this week in the CIF Southern Section Division V semifinals. That means Spiers had at least one hit in every one of his team's 32 games for the season. Eric Maddy of the L.A. Times also confirms that Spiers will be taking a 32-game hitting streak into next season. Spiers ended the regular season in 2002 with a 10-game hitting streak while playing for Temecula Valley, but he was hitless in a playoff loss to Fountain Valley.

•WHAT A WAY TO GET INJURED: Lauren Nydam, the dominant pitcher from Village Christian of Sun Valley, missed the first portion of the season after getting hurt in one of most bizarre ways we've ever heard of. Nydam, who bounced back nicely and had led Village Chris tian into this week's CIFSS Div. V semifinals, was at a restaurant in Menlo Park following a recruiting trip to Stanford just before the start of the season when an out-of-control car careened into the building. It smacked through the wall and glass right where Nydam was munching on her meal. She was not injured seriously, but had enough cuts and bruises that doctors advised her to not use her arm at all for six weeks.

•STATE MEET ROLL CALL: They may not run the fastest or jump the farthest, b ut here's our picks of the most interesting athletes who will be competing in this weekend's CIF state track meet at Cerritos College.
DeAna Carson (Vista Del Lago, Murrieta Valley) -- This school just opened and has only fielded varsity teams in a handful of sports. Carson is just a freshman, but she's been over 19 feet in the long jump. Some schools have to wait a long time before getting a state meet placer. Vista Del Lago might get one in record time.
Chris Henry (Edison, Stockton) -- Chris almost injured himself seriously when he tumbled off an off-road vehicle just days before the Sac-Joaquin Section finals. He still qualified for the state meet in both the 100 and 200 and if he's back to full strength he could be a placer or better in the 100. In Chris's opening heat, it's also interesting to note that running right next to each other in lane 2 and lane 3 will be the two all-state running backs from the 2002 football season, Helix's Reggie Bush and De La Salle's Maurice Drew.
Ruth Graham (Gunn, Palo Alto) -- She's among those to watch in the 3200. We were very impressed how she bounced back in the fall from a very poor showing at the state cross country meet and wound up among the best at the national championshi ps.
Yong-Sung Leal (Arroyo, San Lorenzo) -- The state champ in the boys 3200 from two years ago recently got married. It was an arranged pairing for religious reasons.
Alexarae Toeaina (Pittsburg) -- In the last two springs, Alexarae's older brothers have been discovered at the Nike Football Training Camp as top-notch college recruits. This spring, Alexarae, just a sophomore, has made a name for herself as a discus thrower. She comes to the state meet with a top mark of 149-2 and should medal if she gets close to that length this week.

•SF UNIVERSITY'S WOMAN OF ALL SEASONS: Carey Myslewski from University of San Francisco is graduating with a whopping 14 varsity letters, but it's the unique combination of sports she's lettered in that really grabbed our attention. Myslewski was a member of the CIF Div. V state champion volleyball team, played on the basketball team that was good enough in one game to beat eventual CIF Div. V state champ Convent of the Sacred Heart, and as a freshman and sophomore earned varsity letters in both badminton and baseball. Yes, there are a handful of girls who play baseball each spring in California, usually from small schools that don't field a softball team.

NAME GAME: Competing in this weekend's state track meet for Edison High of Fresno will be sophomore hurdler Sirena Williams. We didn't see if there's a Venus Williams entered.

RECOVERING: Mitty of San Jose baseball coach Bill Hutton wasn't able to see either of his team's two Central Coast Section Div. I playoff wins last week as he was in the hospital awaiting heart surgery to fix a heart valve infection problem. Hutton thought he had a cold that wouldn't go away and then more pain developed before he finally w ent to the doctor. Hutton helped fill out lineup cards from his hospital bed with assistant coach Tony Limoges before each game. Mitty beat season-long state-ranked Serra of San Mateo in the semis and downed defending champ Wilcox in the final. We sure hope Hutton, also the school's athletic director and a longtime supporter of our efforts, gets well soon. a


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