Jim Maier, who coached the St. Paul High softball team in the 1980s and 1990s, has been hired to once again coach the Swordsmen, the school has announced.
Maier just finished a 13-year stint at Cal State Dominguez Hills, a solid Division II program. Maier coached the Toros to 460 victories with an overall winning percentage of .627. In 2012, his team was one win away from the College World Series.
Maier guided the Swordsmen to 14 consecutive playoff appearances during his first stint and had a record of 300-78.
El Rancho defeated host Pioneer Valley 1-0 in Tuesday’s CIF-SS Division 3 wild-card softball playoff game. The Dons’ reward is a trip to second-seeded Burbank for a first-round game Thursday.
In other Division 3 games Thursday, Cal High will play host to Paramount, La Serna will be at home to Lancaster, St. Paul will be at Alemany and La Habra will host Arcadia.
In Division 4, Whittier Christian will play at Heritage on Thursday in the first round and Montebello will be at Paraclete in a Division 5 game. Also in Division 5, Schurr will play host to Laguna Beach. And Oxford Academy will be at Cantwell SacredHeart in a Division 6 game.
Teams not making it out of Tuesday’s wild-card round were La Mirada and Santa Fe. La Mirada was walloped by Ayala 13-0 in Division 2 and Downey defeated Santa Fe 11-6 in Division 3.
After a 6-1 victory over visiting Barstow on Tuesday in the CIF-SS Division 4 wild-card round, Cal High was slated to play Friday at La Canada in the first round. But Condors coach Tony Nieto informed this newspaper Wednesday morning that the game has been moved up a day to Thursday. First pitch is 3:15 p.m.
In Friday’s Division 4 games, La Habra will be at La Serna and El Rancho will be at Don Lugo. La Habra defeated North Torrance 9-2 on Tuesday and El Rancho defeated Anaheim 6-2.
Over in Division 2, La Mirada found out it will play host to Damien on Friday in the first round. Damien defeated Oxnard Pacifica 9-2 in a wild-card game Tuesday.
St. Paul, a 14-0 winner over Rancho Alamitos on Tuesday, will play Thursday at Loara in a Division 3 first-round game.
And Whittier Christian will be at Hemet on Thursday in a Division 5 first-round game.
Local teams that didn’t make it out of Tuesday’s wild-card round were Montebello and Cantwell Sacred-Heart. Estancia defeated Montebello 7-1 in a Division 4 game and Lompoc upended Cantwell Sacred-Heart 13-3 in Division 5.
Three Del Rio League boys tennis teams will be toiling in the CIF-SS Division 5 semifinals Wednesday.
Top-seeded La Serna will play host to El Rancho, and No. 2-seeded Santa Fe will be at third-seeded Maranatha.
Both matches are slated for 3 p.m. starts. The winners will square off Friday for the championship at 2 p.m. at The Claremont Club.
Cal High has won eight consecutive games, and 20 out of 21, in softball. That success has Condors longtime coach Jim Kruse thinking his team could make a lengthy post-season run.
“Yes, definitely,” Kruse said Monday. “This is one of the best teams I’ve ever had.”
Cal High (24-4) is co-champion of the Del Rio League, but earned the league’s No. 1 seed because it owned the tiebreaker advantage over La Serna. On Monday, the Condors learned they will play host to Paramount – the second-place team from the San Gabriel Valley League – in a Division 3 first-round game Thursday.
The Condors defeated the Pirates 6-0 in a tournament game on Feb. 23, but Kruse doesn’t put much stock in that.
“The teams have changed,” he said. “I like to think we’ve improved, but I’m sure they have, too.”
Cal High will be without one of its top players in senior Chloe Michery, who sustained a torn ACL in a May 2 game against Santa Fe. She was batting .362. But the Condors have several other frontline players, such as Trisha Trujillo (30 RBIs), Lorren Sharp (.390, 23 RBIs) and Rayleen Pallan (.384).
A total of 10 area teams made the playoffs, and all games begin at 3:15 p.m. unless another time is agreed upon.
La Serna (18-7) will play host to either Lancaster or West Torrance on Thursday in the first round in Division 3. Longtime Lancers coach Ginger Larsin, who last week won her 500th game at La Serna, says the keys to success are easily identified.
“We have to have all three things together – our pitching, our hitting and our defense,” she said. “We have a good team when we play to the best of our ability.”
In Division 3 wild-card games today: Santa Fe (11-10) will be home to Downey (19-10), El Rancho (11-11) will travel to Santa Maria Pioneer Valley (17-8-1) and St. Paul (14-12) will host Fontana (13-10). In a first-round game Thursday, La Habra (20-8) will host either Arcadia or San Gorgonio.
La Mirada (18-11) will play a wild-card home game against Ayala (16-7) today in Division 2. Whittier Christian (12-14) will take on visiting La Quinta Westminster (11-11) in a Division 4 wild-card game.
In Division 5, Montebello (14-11) will be at Paraclete on Thursday in the first round, and Schurr (14-13) will host either Laguna Beach or Woodcrest Christian. Schurr and Montebello are co-champions of the Almont League.