Did You Know? Softball State Records

Late Carlmont of Belmont head coach Jim Liggett stands with players sporting t-shirts and with sign celebrating historic 1,000th win, which took place in 2016. Photo: Harold Abend.

Obtained from the only California high school state record files that exist, here’s a collection of some hard-to-believe, fun facts written up in a Did You Know? format. This spring, we’re likely going to spend a lot of the time we usually do on weekly state rankings and other features for baseball and softball updating state records and creating pages on the site for those all-time lists to be more easily available.

Note: We hope you enjoy this free post on CalHiSports.com. All of our actual state record files are for Gold Club members only. You can now sign up for $3.99 per month or $9.99 for three months to see all of our authentic California high school features and lists. Yearly rate of just 6.8 cents per day also can be done. For details, CLICK HERE.

Did You Know?
Carlmont of Belmont has the most all-time wins in softball among all schools in the state.

We’ve actually never included this category in any of our published state record books (last one done was 11 years ago) but since the Scots were coached from 1976 to 2016 by the winningest head coach in state history we’re assuming this record would be theirs. Jim Liggett, a San Mateo County coaching legend, was that head coach and he retired in 2016 with a 1,009-220-4 record. There isn’t even another coach on the all-time state list with 800 or more. Since Liggett retired (he died in 2017 at age 76), Carlmont hasn’t slipped much under current head coach Marco Giuliacci with finishes of 26-3, 23-2 and 17-10. Not including any scores for 2020 (which would count later on), we have the Scots at 1,075-235-4 since 1976. There were some other games prior to that, but we don’t have the scores or any season win-loss totals. A lot of teams in the 1974 to 1975 range, however, didn’t play nearly as many games as teams do today.

Jordan Taylor pitched the Valencia Vikings to a No. 1 national ranking, then went to Michigan and then to the United States national team. Photo: Mark Tennis.

Did You Know?
The state record for the best perfect pitching for one season is a mark of 34-0.

That record was established in 2009 by Jessica Moore of Sutter, a CIF Northern Section all-time great who later went on to star at Oregon. She had broken the previous record of 32-0 set in 2007 by Jordan Taylor of Valencia. The Vikings were the No. 1 team in the state that season and lost their only game in the second game of a doubleheader in which Jordan did not pitch. She later went on to star at Michigan and has been on the U.S. national team. Last season, junior Nicole May from Foothill of Pleasanton joined the all-time state list by finishing 24-0 for her 28-0 squad. For a look at an updated state record category, CLICK HERE.

Did You Know?
There has been a pitcher who once struck out all 27 batters in a nine-inning softball game.

Back in the days before there were girls sports in the CIF, there were nine-inning softball games (just like there were some nine-inning baseball games). There also were reports of girls playing fastpitch softball even in the 1930s and in one such reported contest in 1939, Los Angeles Garfield’s Dolores Frieze faced 27 straight batters in a game against Roosevelt of Los Angeles (the schools are longtime rivals in many sports in East L.A.) and struck out all 27 batters. We still list Frieze as holding a state record for most strikeouts in a perfect game. Her state record for most consecutive strikeouts was tied in 1999 by Katie Layne from Vintage of Napa and then broken in 2001 by Alicia Hollowell of Fairfield.

Did You Know?
The small California town in which scenes from the 1995 movie “Outbreak” were filmed also is home to the school that still holds the state record for longest winning streak.

That town, Ferndale, also happens to be the westernmost school and town in the state (check the map if you don’t believe us). In softball, the Wildcats dominated the small school divisions in the CIF North Coast Section in middle of the 2000s. They were unbeaten in 2003, 2004 and 2005 and shortly before the 2005 season ended they broke the previous state record of 73 straight wins set in 1987 by El Camino Real of Woodland Hills. Ferndale finished 2005 with a 76-game streak, then added two more wins in 2006 until it ended. Since then, the longest winning streak in California has been 46 in a row by Paraclete of Lancaster (2015 to 2017). Foothill of Pleasanton has a current win streak of 32 after 28-0 from last year and 4-0 to start 2020. The movie “Outbreak,” starring Dustin Hoffman, Renee Russo and Cuba Gooding Jr., involved filming in Ferndale for two months. The town was called “Cedar Creek” in the film. For a look at updated state record category for longest winning streaks, CLICK HERE.

Did You Know?
That Lisa Fernandez (Lakewood St. Joseph) is not the only one from California who played on all four U.S. Olympic teams.

Fernandez, still regarded by many as the greatest player ever in softball because she was equally dominant as a pitcher, hitter and fielder, was on the U.S. National teams in the Olympics in 1996, 2000, 2004 and 2008. Those years also constitute the four Olympic Games in which softball was included. The sport was dropped for 2012 and 2016, but will be back for the postponed Olympics in 2021 in Tokyo. Players from California dominated the roster in all four of the previous Olympics for softball, but Fernandez isn’t the only one who was on four of those U.S. teams. Infielder Laura Berg from Santa Fe of Santa Fe Springs also was on all four of those squads. Four others from California high schools were on three of the four U.S. Olympic teams — Crystal Bustos from Canyon of Canyon Country (2000, 2004, 2008); Lori Harrigan from Magnolia of Anaheim (1996, 2000, 2004); Stacey Nuveman from St. Lucy’s of Glendora (2000, 2004, 2008) and Leah O’Brien-Amico from Don Lugo of Chino (1996, 2000, 2004).

Did You Know?
California has no head softball coaches with 800 all-time wins other than all-time leader Jim Liggett of Belmont Carlmont, who has more than 1,000.

It did seem like we were going to get a second one this season with Margaret Neill from Paraclete of Lancaster. She’s been leading the Spirits since 1981 and began the 2020 season with a reported 785 wins. Her squad was only 2-1 at the time of the virus outbreak, but a 15-win season for her certainly looked probable. We already had one coach this year join the 600-win club, which happened for Norco’s Rick Robinson in early March. One coach who may be stuck on 599 for awhile is Westlake Village Oaks Christian’s Pete Ackermann. We had him at 591 to start the season and his team was 8-2 when everything was shut down.

Mark Tennis is the co-founder and publisher of CalHiSports.com. He can be reached at markjtennis@gmail.com. Don’t forget to follow Mark on the Cal-Hi Sports Twitter handle: @CalHiSports

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