By Fred J. Robledo, Staff Writer
Former Edgewood High School great Mike Pill, the father of Covina High graduates Tyler and Brett Pill, who are starring for Cal State Fullerton and the Triple-A Fresno Grizzlies, respectively, is arguably the greatest high school pitcher in the history of the San Gabriel Valley. Mike Pill holds the San Gabriel Valley record for most wins in a perfect season, and he did it twice, going 14-0 in 1976 and ’77 to lead Edgewood to back-to-back CIF-Southern Section titles. In fact, Pill still holds the CIF-SS record for consecutive wins, winning 33 straight from 1974-77, and he did it with a career ERA of 0.50. (To continue click thread)
Bonita junior Justin Garza (9-0) and Sierra Vista senior Elias Novelo (8-0) are both undefeated with two weeks left of league action before getting ready for the playoffs.
Garza has the best opportunity to match Pill, he has at least two starts left in league, and the Bearcats are ranked No. 1 in Division 3. Garza could potentially pick up three wins in the playoffs if Bonita advances to the title game like last year.
Novelo could have as many as three starts for Sierra Vista prior to the playoffs. The Dons are 16-3 overall but still not ranked in Division 5.
It’s a daunting task, but the fact two pitchers in the same year have an opportunity to be within reach of Pill is a surprise to Sierra Vista coach Brett Stevens, who remembers watching Pill in high school.
“Pill was phenomenal and untouchable, you won’t see anyone do it the way he did it,” Stevens said. “The most wins I can remember anyone having here is 10, it’s just so rare.
“Pill pitched when guys started both games in the same week. There was no limitations in terms of how many innings a pitcher could throw. You could throw 14 innings in a week.
“You also could have a pitcher throw every game in the playoffs, that’s how it was. It’s pretty amazing if you think about it. That’s why I always felt some of the (pitching) records from back then are untouchable.”
The top ten CIF records for wins in a season all came prior to 1988. Antelope Valley’s Dan Tippitt holds the section record for most wins in a season with 18, which he set in 1971.
That’s why Stevens said anytime a pitcher gets 10 wins, it’s special.
“It is when you think of the limitations of today, and coaches being very careful with pitch counts,” Stevens said. “What’s unique in Elias’ case is all of his wins have been as a starter, nothing’s been easy.
“I haven’t seen Garza pitch, but I’ve heard great things about him. But I bet if you ask them (Bonita) they will tell you the same thing, although our pitchers have been great, they don’t do it without your defense playing great and having run support. Those are important factors too, and a reason we’re both having pretty good years.”