Perfect is perfect no matter the opponent

The comment on the blog from “Anonymous” that Gabriel Encinas’ perfect game last week was against a JV team was a typical cheap shot.
Actually, it was against a program that admittedly is struggling this season but still shows up and plays as best it can.
A perfect game is a perfect game and deserving of acknowledgement no matter the opponent.
If nothing else, it means he did not walk a batter, and with the fluctuating and often “creative” strike zones of today’s umpires, that in itself is an accomplishment.

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Big wins for Santa Fe, El Rancho in DRL race

The Del Rio League baseball race tightened a notch as Santa Fe and El Rancho, seemingly destined to battle for third place, stepped up with victories over DRL leaders La Serna and California.
Santa Fe rode the pitching of senior Michael Muniz and sophomore Marcos Casillas, and home runs from junior Chris Esparza and senior Javier Saenz to a 5-1 win over La Serna.
El Rancho downed Callifornia, 5-2, behind the 6-hit pitching of Joey Moran and Esteban Soto and three runs batted in by Marcus Aldecoa.
La Serna and California still share the league lead with 7-2 marks. Santa Fe improved to 5-4 in third place, and El Rancho is 4-5 in fourth.
Whittier, a 6-0 winner over Pioneer Friday, is 3-6 and Pioneer dropped to 1-9.

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Good reading here, worth considering

Jim Brownfield, who built one of the CIF’s most successfull coaching careers over a span of 40 years, was interviewed recently by Jim McConnell for his “Then and Now” column. It ran in Tuesday’s editions, and included Brownfield’s “Ten Commandments of Coaching,” which he stressed were developed as much for living life as well as coaching.
They’re worth repeating here:

1. Safety First, Last and Always. “The worst thing a coach can do isn’t to lose. It is not being attentive to the things that can prevent injuries. That’s why I made this commandment No. 1. You have to take care of your kids. Injuries happen, but you can do a lot to minimize them.”

2. Just Do The Right Thing. “You need to know the rules, and obey them. Once you start trying to cut corners, to cheat even a little bit, your players know it immediately. And you lose their respect. Once that’s gone, you’ve lost their attention.”

3. Teach Life Skills. “I had winning teams and was lucky enough to have some great athletes. But nothing makes me prouder than to know my players went on to have productive lives. You coach football, or basketball, or track but you also can do so much more. Nothing is more gratifying than to have a positive impact on a kid’s life.”

4. Know Your Clientele. “You should never expect more out of an athlete than they are capable of giving. This is especially true of young athletes. Coaches have to know their players’ strengths, and weaknesses. It’s just unfair to the kid not to.”

5. Their Bodies Are Their Temples. “This is where proper training and conditioning come in. Other teams may have had better athletes, but I never wanted a team of mine to lose because of lack of proper conditioning. And that includes making sure your athletes understand the dangers of substance abuse.”

6. Good Coaching is Good Teaching. “What works in a classroom will work on the football field. A great coach is always first and foremost a great educator.”

7. Be A Student of the Game. “You should always be learning. Attend clinics. Talk to other coaches. Watch game film. If you aren’t really interested in the sport you’re coaching, how in the world can you expect your athletes to be interested?”

8. Plan Ahead. “Sounds simple, but I am always amazed at how many in coaching and teaching are so disorganized. You have to have a plan. You should never be surprised or caught off-guard.”

9. Develop Your People Skills. “Hey, you’re not coaching donkeys, you’re coaching human beings. You need to learn how to communicate. You need to keep your commitments. Treat your players right and they will do right by you.”

10. Be a Pro. “You’re getting paid, act like it. Strive to better yourself. You want to get paid more? Better yourself first.”

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Oilers’ football participation on the upswing

A brief chat Wednesday morning with Montebello football coach Pete Gonzalez finds the Oilers’ program in good order and progressing according to plan. Gonzalez said there
are 180 athletes at the varsity and junior varsity levels participating – 95 in the football class and another 85 who are competing in spring sports or did not play last year and are trying out. Gonzalez said they are adhering to the program’s mandatory four-days of lifting and mandatory study halls, the same programs he pushed when he was at St. Paul. Grade checks also are mandatory and must show a maintenance or improvement.
And the beat goes on.

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Area teams lacking in CIF-SS weekly polls

This week’s CIF Southern Section weekly top 10 polls don’t give area teams much respect.
La Serna (Division III) and La Habra (Division IV) are the only two locals mentioned in baseball, and they’re among “other” teams receiving votes.
In softball, three teams are recognized. Whittier Christian tops the short list at No. 2 in Division V. La Mirada is No. 10 in division II and Cantwell Sacred Heart shares No. 10 in Division IV.
In boys tennis, La Serna remains at No. 3 in Division V, and Montebello’s boys volleyball team is among others receiving votes in Diviison IV.

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Random thoughts … and babblings …

La Habra multi-sport athlete Jordan Sachs forsakes baseball for a part in a school play but keeps his hand in athletics by calmly clearing 6 feet, 6 inches — that’s one inch higher than he is tall — in last week’s track meet. Rumor has it he barely missed at 6-8. Is Westmont College paying attention? …

Is any local baseball or softball team going to step up and establish itself as the area’s dominant program? Several teams have shown momentary promise, but nearly all have stumbled and lack the necessary consistency. La Mirada softball, bidding to make it nine consecutive Suburban League championships on coach Rich Trujillo’s watch, is fresh from an impressive performance in the prestigious tournament in Arroyo Grande, where the Matadores were 3-1, the loss a 3-1 decision to Royal in the championship game. La Mirada (13-3 overall, 4-0 in league) faces a major challenge this week with back to back games against Mayfair, also 4-0 in league. They share second ;place behind Norwalk (6-0). ….

For a moment or two, it looked like the Dodgers had signed themselves a $25 million singles hitter. …

Just before Pete Gonzalez was unceremoniously “terminated” from his position as St. Paul’s head football coach, there was an unconfirmed report that Gabe Encinas, after sitting out this past season, planned to play football for the Swordsmen this fall. Nothing further on the subject has been heard, other than he might be waiting until the baseball season is over to make his decision. The fact he might be considering it is exciting. Yes, yes, the general consensus among the local “experts” is that baseball is his future, and the possibility of injury, but wouldn’t it be great to watch his considerable talents at tight end or wide receiver, or even quarterback one more season before he moves on? No offense intended to any of the returnees at any of those positions. …

It’s about time to start considering candidates for the Daily News boy and girl Athlete of the Year. Last year’s honorees were La Habra’s Petey Puga and La Serna’s Lee Lopez, …

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St. Paul Baseball Tournament schedule

Saturday’s first-round games
(As provided by tournament administrators)

At St. Paul High School
11 a.m. -
Norwalk vs. St. Paul
3:30 p.m. - St. Francis vs. Westlake
At Blair Field (Long Beach)
11 a.m. -
Long Beach Jordan vs. St. John Bosco
At John Glenn High School
12-30 p.m. –
Oak Park vs. John Glenn
3:30 p.m. – La Mirada vs. Gabrielino
At Hueneme High School
2 p.m. -
Hueneme vs. Lompoc Cabrillo
At Los Altos High School
12-30 p.m. -
Irvine University vs. Bellflower
3:30 p.m. – Los Altos vs. Simi Valley

AA Division
At Cerritos High School
9:30 a.m. -
Cerritos vs. Bishop; Montgomery
12;30 p.m. – Aguinas vs. Cathedral
At Grace Brethren High School
3:15 p..m. -
St. Monica vs. Grace Brethren
At Whittier Christian High School
9:30 a.m. -
Whittier Christian vs. Calvary Chapel Murrieta
12:30 p.m. – Ontario Christian vs. Downey Calvary Chapel
At Cantwell Sacred Heart High School
9:30 a.m. –
Santa Paul vs. Cantwell Sacred Heart
12-30 p.m. - St. Bernard vs. La Salle

A Division
At St. Anthony High School
9:30 a.m. -
St. Anthony vs. Muir
12:30 p.m. - Windward vs. Riverside Christian
3:30 p.m. – Firebaugh vs. Arrowhead Christian

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Just thinking …

Should the NBA be allowed to draft or sign basketball players right out of high school?

Is the so-called “one-and-done” rule sufficient to ensure experience and maturity enough for college sophomores to declare for the NBA draft?

Should the NFL wait one more year before drafting college football players?

Should a college recruit be allowed out of his letter of intent commitment if the head coach who recruited him to that school leaves to take a position at another school?

Opinions, preferably short and to the point, not only welcomed but encouraged.

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