Edgewood’s Mike Pill set the standard, but Bonita’s Garza and Sierra Vista’s Novelo still rolling along with undefeated records

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.”

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  • SGV alumni

    Fred were you not around at the beginning of this decade??? Adam Simon(Bishop Amat Lancer 2002)went 13-0 on the mound with a 1.36 ERA and 104 strikeouts in 77 innings. Simon also was Amats leading hitter for average at .530 with 25 RBI.

  • FredJ

    If that’s a fact it’s not listed in the CIF-SS record books. In any case, Pill’s 14-0 is the SGV record for most wins in an undefeated season. Wasn’t comparing these guys to others that came close.

  • Dan

    I gotta go with Fred on this one, 33 consecutive wins with a career ERA of 0.50 is pretty amazing, who comes close to that?

  • NV Follower

    I believe Aaorn Elias went 12-0 in 2008 and CIF-SS DIV Player of the Year…

  • just sayin’

    guys – can we not read? Fred said “the San Gabriel Valley record for MOST wins in a PERFECT season”

    12 & 13 are NOT more than 14

  • Pill fan

    Not only was Mike Pill a tremendous pitcher/baseball player is also an outstanding husband and father, both of his sons are top notch people. He raised them to play the game the right way and to be responsible student/athletes. Don’t forget that not only were Brett and Tyler were both MVP’s of the league, they were also academic all leaguers. His and his wife’s beliefs in faith, family and academics should be the model for all parents to follow. It was never just about athletics with the Pill family, or shopping around for another school, or self promotion, or about other horror stories you hear about all the time now a days. The Pill family truly “got it”. It’s good to see his name amd accomplishments mentioned here, just thought I’d give you a little extra info of what kind of person he is too!

  • major splinters from sittin the bench all these years

    You say the truth mike pill(was and is still a gentleman and has a lovely wife and two very good sons) was one of a kind under the watchful eye of then coach Carl Major and his mentor Mike Lassalette….they put edgewood high school on the map with players of the caliber of the Reonickes. However, we are still taking SGV records and where pitching is concerned….lest we not forget two Bishop Amat greats….Frank O’Conner 38 wins in two and 1/2 seasons against only 3 losses and Steve Frausto 5 no hitters in two season…4 in his senior season.

  • FYI

    The Pill pitchers sound like a result of the Pill family. Did not know, but great to hear of the parents positive influence on their boys. What a great story and whole new reason for us all to pull for their continuing success. Regarding these records, and as pointed out SV Coach Stevens, 10 wins is a great season. Records are funny sometimes; of course, GARZA & NOVELO are having great seasons but they WOULD be the first to tell you that they owe much of that “undefeated” thing to their teammates & coaches. Dominant pitchers can give up runs on errors, and still take the loss. Keeping talented young men focused on each pitch takes good coaches. I’m sure the PILL family, including my new hero MIKE PILL, would agree that the stats & records are great, but it takes a team to win a game. That’s why the measure of a pitcher must be .era, K’s, opp. BA & other such stats, not merely “wins”. But 33 wins in a row? 0.50 ERA? I wish I could have seen Mike Pill pitch. Great story.

  • Dan

    Reguarding Frank O Conner,
    38 wins in two and a half seasons is impressive,
    great to hear about such players in the SGV, but although he had 38 wins the question remains, did he have 33 in a row because thats the record Fred is talking about, and combined with a 0.50 era, it’s hard to imagine some one topping that.