Going unbeaten in baseball, softball

Jenessa Ullegue takes a big swing for Buena of Ventura during 2017 Thousand Oaks tourney. Bulldogs finished 27-0-1. Photo: Marvin Jimenez/SoCalSidelines.com.

Earlier this week, two softball teams and one baseball team both lost in CIF sectional semifinal playoff games to end all three bids for those teams to finish undefeated for the 2018 season. Templeton and Carnegie Schools of Riverside were the softball teams to fall while in baseball it was St. Vincent de Paul of Petaluma. Templeton fell 8-3 to J.W. North of Riverside in the CIF Southern Section Division V playoffs while Carnegie lost 5-2 to Mary Star of San Pedro in CIFSS D6. St. Vincent lost 12-5 to Athenian of Danville in the CIF North Coast Section D5 semifinals. Here’s some notes gleaned from the Cal-Hi Sports State Record Book about going unbeaten in both of those sports.

1. The last team to go undefeated in softball was Buena of Ventura at 27-0-1 just from last season. We also had one in softball from 2016 with Paraclete of Lancaster at 28-0 and in 2014 it was Amador Valley of Pleasanton at 27-0. Another recent softball unbeaten team was College Prep of Oakland at 22-0 in 2010. College Prep is from the same small school league as Athenian, which is the school that spoiled it for St. Vincent de Paul this week.

2. It’s been harder for California baseball teams to wind up perfect than in softball. There have only been two so far in this decade of the 2010s. The first was Maxwell from the CIF Northern Section which set all kinds of state records as well when it went 30-0 in 2011. The second was Pacific Grove of the CIF Central Coast Section. We were there to see the Breakers win their section title to complete their quest by winning the 2013 CCS D2 championship. They ended 31-0. The most amazing storyline of that team was that the head coach, Gil Ruiz, was once the coach at a different school that was winless for one season (0-28).

3. Last year, there was an NCS baseball team that went one round later than St. Vincent de Paul before it lost its first and only game of the season. Those section title game losses in which a team was unbeaten going in have to be even more hard to take. In last year’s example, it was Miramonte of Orinda losing to Drake of San Anselmo in the NCS D3 final. The Matadors were 26-0 coming in. We’ll always remember the 1984 team at Notre Dame of Sherman Oaks with future MLB pitcher Jack McDowell, which was No. 1 in the nation, No. 1 by everybody, at 27-0 but was upset in the CIFSS D1 playoffs.

4. The best record for an undefeated baseball team in the state remains 35-0 for Chatsworth of the CIF L.A. City Section in 2004. Many also regard the Chancellors of that season, with head coach Tom Muesborn and top players Jason Dominguez, Mike Moustakas and Matt Dominguez, as one of the greatest teams in state history. Another favorite was St. Joseph of Santa Maria at 29-0 in 1997. The head coach of that team, Dave Brunell, is the father of former longtime NFL QB Mark Brunell.

5. For softball, the 2009 team at Archbishop Mitty of San Jose, led by pitcher-slugger Keilani Ricketts and recently selected for the No. 1 position in our feature on the State’s All-Time Top 25 Greatest Teams, also is still tied for the state record in the category of best record by an unbeaten softball team. The Monarchs finished 32-0 and tied the record of 32-0 set in 1985 by Ocean View of Huntington Beach. Last year’s team at Norco was 33-0 before it lost to Los Alamitos in the CIFSS D1 championship.

6. Finally, for this topic, always have to include the amazing accomplishment of Linden for finishing unbeaten in baseball and softball in the same season. That was in 2005 and although the girls had a tie it’s still the only time any school has ever done that. Baseball coach Bob Amerman and softball coach Mark Miller are lifelong friends who are now still coaching on the assistant level in football at Lincoln of Stockton.

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