San Diego baseball coaches piling up wins

Mission Bay's Pugh and Rancho Bernardo's Blaylock moving up on all-time section list. Check this story as well for some sad news from Irvine High, a world record by a California swimmer and which teams are looking good for a high state ranking next week in softball.

Mission Bay of San Diego coach Dennis Pugh became the third coach in CIF San Diego Section history to reach the 500-win mark. The Buccaneers beat Hoover (San Diego) 11-3 on March 22 to give Pugh win No. 500, against 165 losses in 23 seasons.

One of the two coaches ahead of Pugh on the section win list is Sam Blalock of Rancho Bernardo. Blalock picked up his 549th win - breaking the section record held by former University of San Diego High coach Dick Serrano - when the Broncos blanked Chaparral of Temecula, 7-0 on Monday. After Monday's win, Blalock's 27-year career record stood at 549-199.

Rancho Bernardo is also making a case to be No. 1 in next week's first regular season state rankings. The Broncos (10-0) won the Hilltop-Lolita Tournament the week before last and recorded back-to-back no-hitters last week. On March 18, sophomore right-hander Brandon Burke fanned 10 and walked three in an 11-0 win over Fallbrook. Two days later, senior southpaw Cole Hamels combined with junior righty Brent Lysander in a 10-0 win over Valley Center. Hamels pitched five perfect innings with 10 strikeouts.

The Broncos also are doing it at the plate - Scott Robinson hit seven home runs in seven games during one stretch, and the team slugged five home runs in a 15-run first inning in a 30-2 win over Ramona last Friday. Twice this season, they've had eight round-trippers in a game, and through last week, they had hit 31 on the season. Jake Blalock entered this week with a team-high eight home runs.

Chatsworth also is in line to be No. 1 in the state in baseball. Pitcher Joe Guntz improved his season record to 3-0 last week and ran his career mark to an impressive 28-0 after the Chancellors defeated Granada Hills, 10-4. Chatsworth improved to 9-0 after that win and was the top team in Southern California by the L.A. Times.

In a matchup early this week involving the No. 2 and No. 3 ranked teams by the Los Angeles Times, it was No. 3 Bishop Amat taking down No. 2 Mater Dei, 5-2. Adam Simon pitched a complete game and struck out 13. He also only gave up four hits. Jordan Swayden led the Amat offense by hitting a double and a single. The Lancers improved to 9-2, while the Monarchs fell to 12-2.

Despite losing two tough games in extra innings to start the week at the Fresno Easter Classic, Woodland should be regarded as the top baseball team so far in the Sacramento area. The Wolves won a key Delta League game last week, 3-2, over Elk Grove and headed to Fresno with a perfect 10-0 record. Elk Grove was the preseason top-ranked team in the area.

Preseason ranked Chaminade of West Hills hasn't fallen, either. Pitcher Bobby Paschal improved his record to 4-0 on the season last week, with a nifty four-hitter, including 15 strikeouts, as Chaminade defeated Alemany 6-1.

Two horrible stories top this week's roundup of other spring sports.

First, in Lake Forest, promising sophomore athlete Bobby Hatfield of Irvine High was killed on Saturday in a one-car accident. Hatfield started on the varsity football team last fall as a 10th grader and finished with second-team all-league honors. The Orange County Register also reported that he had two interceptions that were returned for touchdowns. Hatfield also was a varsity competitor already this school year in soccer and track.

Second, imagine this happening to someone on your baseball team: You slide into second base at a tourney and you suffer an injury. You go to the hospital and doctors discover something else. You have leukemia.

That's what happened earlier this week to senior outfielder Ryan Alexander from Centennial High of Bakersfield. According to the Bakersfield Californian, Alexander was playing at the Las Vegas Durango Easter Tournament and he was diagnosed by doctors at Sunset Hospital. More tests will be done to determine Alexander's prognosis for the rest of the season and beyond. He was hitting .550 at the time of the injury with 23 runs scored and six doubles.

Switching gears, California swimming sensation Aaron Piersol of Newport Beach set a world record in the 200-meter backstroke last week at the Phillips 66 Spring Nationals in Minneapolis, Minn. Piersol, a silver medalist at the Summer Olympics in 2000 in Sydney, swam to a new world mark of 1:55.15. He is a senior at Newport Harbor High and will swim in college for the University of Texas.

Despite dropping a game at the Arizona Tournament of Champions, Foothill of Tustin still looks like a good bet to be No. 1 in next week's first regular season softball rankings. The Knights won last week, 2-0, over Rosary of Fullerton to improve to 10-1. Two of those wins were over Clovis, which won the Arizona TOC.

Jamee Juarez struck out 15 batters to lead Wilson of Hacienda Heights past Temple City last week. The win put the Highlanders' record at 13-0 for the season and keeps them as a lock to be at least among the top five in the next state rankings.

The Carlmont of Belmont softball team has started out 12-1. The Scots won last week, 5-0, over Capuchino of San Bruno as Monique Castillo pitched the shutout and Kelly Comstock had three hits.

From the high jump pit, it was interesting to see that Corona Centennial's Lance Soderberg cleared 6-9 last week. Soderberg just completed his senior season in basketball and has only been competing in the high jump for four weeks. His previous best in the event was 6-4. The senior standout also has a best of 50.8 in the 400 meters, so it looks like Centennial coach John Schmickrath spotted something and may in the midst of developing a phenom. Note: Student Sports national baseball editor Murray Evans contributed to this story.

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