CCS baseball: Paly nabs top seed, prompting debate

Ryan Sambel and his Serra teammates have been seeded No. 4 in the CCS playoffs.

Ryan Sambel and his Serra teammates have been seeded No. 4 in the CCS playoffs.

By John Murphy

The Central Coast Section baseball playoff seedings came out Sunday and at least one coach wasn’t that enthused by the process.

“I think the overall format needs to be adjusted,” said Craig Giannino whose Serra High team finished 24-5-1 and won a WCAL co-title and league playoff title but was only seeded fourth. “I think they have to look at teams not playing the toughest schedules being rewarded. Our team is excited to play (in the playoffs) but from the outside looking in, I don’t think anyone understands this system or gets it. It doesn’t make a lot of sense.”

Sequoia coach Corey Uhalde, whose team is seeded No. 7 in Division I, was more forgiving.

“It’s an objective way of looking at things and hopefully it will shake out the right way,” Uhalde said of the process. “I know the WCAL is a good level of play but they’re an A league like a lot of other leagues. In the Open Division you have 16 good teams and anyone can beat anyone else on a given day which we’ve seen in the past. I don’t want to say anyone is right or wrong (on the issue).”

No. 1 Open seed Palo Alto has its own problems. Yeah, it’s top dog as far as seedings, but must play a formidable team in Valley Christian of the WCAL in its opener. The Warriors are only the No. 16 seed.

In other opening-round Open games involving top seeds, No. 3 Santa Teresa will host No. 14 Terra Nova, No. 2 Palma will host No. 15 Archbishop Mitty and No. 5 St. Francis will host St. Francis CCC of Watsonville, the program that knocked off Mitty last season.
Giannino said he does not make up his schedule with seedings in mind.

“At the end of the day our kids know who played the best possible schedule and that it’s about competing year in and year out and not about points,” said Giannino, whose team beat St. Francis in two of three games this season and downed Palo Alto as well (though not in one of its final 22 games which are the games that are counted for seeding purposes).
In Division I, Leland is seeded No. 1 and will host No. 16 Oak Grove on Wednesday.
The D-II top seed is Carmel which will host No. 16 St. Lawrence, also on Wednesday.

All second-round games in all divisions are Saturday.


Games are at 4 p.m. Wednesday 

11 Bellarmine at 6 Westmont, 14 Terra Nova at 3 Santa Teresa, 10 Los Gatos at 7 San Benito, 15 Archbishop Mitty at 2 Palma, 12 St. Francis CCC at St. Francis, 13 San Lorenzo Valley at 4 Serra, 9 Carlmont at 8 North Salinas, 16 Valley Christiain at 1 Palo Alto.
11 Milpitas at 6 Christopher, 14 Gilroy at 3 Los Altos, 10 Leigh at 7 Sequoia, 15 Mountain View at 2 Willow Glen, 12 San Mateo at 18 Monta Vista, 13 Lincoln at 4 Wilcox, 9 Branham at 8 Woodside, 16. Oak Grove at 1 Leland.
11 Pacific Grove at 6 Sacred Heart Cathedral, 14 Soquel at 3 Menlo, 10 King’s Academy at 7 Burlingame, 15 Capuchino at 2 Aptos, 12 Soledad at 5 Hillsdale, 13 Monterey at 4 Sacred Heart Prep, 9 Monte Vista Christian at 8 Gunderson, 16 St. Lawrence at 1 Carmel.

Harrison is new Woodside boys’ hoops coach

Woodside High will have a new boys' hoops coach in 2016-2017.

Woodside High will have a new boys’ hoops coach in 2016-2017.

By John Murphy 

Roddy Harrison is the new Woodside High boys’ basketball coach.

Harrison played at Menlo-Atherton and then suffered an injury while playing at UC Davis that ended his career.

Said Woodside athletic director Chuck Velschow via release: “In 2014 he was fortunate enough to join the Woodside Wildcats as the head junior varsity coach, where he implemented his philosophy of maintaining great man defense and team rebounding, taking high percentage shots, and developing excellent character in his players both on and off the court.”


Baldwin is new Leigh boys’ basketball coach



By John Murphy 

Todd Baldwin has been named the boys’ basketball coach at Leigh High. He moves up to varsity after three years as the frosh-soph coach. Baldwin’s teams have gone a combined 46-30 during that time, including a 22-2 record last season (14-0 in the BVAL-Mt. Hamilton).

Baldwin formerly was the freshman head coach and a varsity assistant at Valley Christian, where he is also the P.A. announcer. He has also been an underclassmen coach at Los Gatos.

Baldwin is the Director of Operations at Valley Christian.

Alayoubi is new Leigh girls’ basketball coach


By John Murphy 

Sami Alayoubi is the new girls basketball coach at Leigh High. He is also a 2005 graduate of Leigh.

Alayoubi played three years on varsity at Leigh, helping his team to a No. 7 state ranking in its division. He was named league scholar-athlete before attending San Jose State.

Alayoubi last season led Prospect to a 20-6 record and the BVAL-Mt. Hamilton title. Before his two-year stint at Prospect, he coached one year of JV girls hoops at Branham and two years of JV boys at Leigh.

Schindler is new Sacred Heart Cathedral wrestling coach

SHC will have a new wrestling coach for the 2016-2017 season.

SHC will have a new wrestling coach for the 2016-2017 season.

By John Murphy 

Jack Schindler is the new wrestling coach at Sacred Heart Cathedral. Schindler is an SHC grad.

Schindler also is the strength and conditioning coach at the school and is the defensive coordinator for the freshman football team.

SHC went 2-4 in the West Catholic Athletic League in wrestling in 2015-2016.


Carlmont victory gives Hillsdale a leg up

Jim Liggett and Carlmont took down host Half Moon Bay on Thursday. -- Photo by John Murphy

Jim Liggett and Carlmont took down host Half Moon Bay on Thursday. — Photo by John Murphy

By John Murphy 

Hillsdale High’s softball team got a little help from its Alameda de las Pulgas neighbor Carlmont to at least temporarily take control of the PAL-Bay softball race.

The Scots rallied to defeat Half Moon Bay 4-2 on Thursday to put Hillsdale one game up in the loss column ahead of the Cougars and Carlmont in the league race.

“We just didn’t freak out (after falling behind) and just kept doing what we do, which is swinging the bats and hitting the ball,” said Carlmont pitcher Mailey McLemore. “We were getting key hits in key situations.”

Trailing 2-0 in the top of the fourth inning, Carlmont scored three times on RBI singles by McLemore, Michaela Spielman and Kate Berce.

Half Moon Bay put the potential tying run on first base in the seventh inning, but McLemore, the daughter of former San Francisco 49er Dana McLemore, retired the next three batters.

“We dug ourselves a hole, but we bounced back,” said Carlmont coach Jim Liggett who is in his final season as the Scots’ mentor and won his 1000th game earlier this season. “We played well – we got two double plays which is something you don’t see too often in high school softball, especially 6-4-3 or 4-6-3 double plays.”

Half Moon Bay took a two-run lead in the first inning on Riley Donovan’s two-run single to left field.

The Cougars (18-4, 9-3) have lost three consecutive games and are now looking up at Hillsdale (16-7, 9-2) in the standings) and are even with Carlmont (21-3, 9-3).

“We’re getting better,” Half Moon Bay coach Claire Rietmann-Grout said of her team’s recent struggles. “We’re showing energy and getting better at-bats. They were just getting the clutch hits and we weren’t.”

McLemore (7-0) struck out one and allowed four hits and seems fully recovered from a quadriceps injury that kept her out two weeks.


Livermore looking for girls’ basketball coach

By John Murphy 

Livermore High is seeking a new girls basketball coach, said athletic director James Petersdorf.

George Molina was the Livemore coach for one season, compiling a 12-15 overall record, 4-10 in league.

Petersdorf said the school has decided to “go in a different direction.” Added the AD: “It’s wasn’t the perfect fit.”

Asked what he would be seeking in a new coach, Petersdorf said: “Someone to build the program – we have a nice core group of players, mostly sophomores and juniors, and we’d like to get someone who is going to stay for 4-5 years and put some time and effort in.”

Cristiano is new San Ramon Valley girls’ hoops coach

San Ramon Valley benchBy John Murphy

John Cristiano is the new girls’ basketball coach at San Ramon Valley High, said Wolves’ athletic director John Raynor.

“John brings a wealth of experience and expertise to our  basketball program,” Raynor said. “John’s skill set includes: great knowledge, superb passion for guiding students, experience in coaching high school and a sincere interest to provide a safe, fun, developmental, and positive experience for our all our basketball team members and stakeholders. We are excited to have John Cristiano join our Athletic Department team.”

Raynor will not be the AD during Cristiano’s tenure. Raynor, as previously published, is stepping down as AD after this school year.


Foothill’s Brown, Loyola’s Blake win top awards

Leland's James Kelbert was a section winner.

Leland’s James Kelbert was a section winner.

By John Murphy 

Foothill High’s Sophia Brown and Loyola’s Los Angeles’ Kelly Blake have been picked as the 2016 CIF-State Athlete of the Year. Twenty section winners overall were honored.

“The students of California and our CIF scholar-athletes continue to confirm for all of us involved in education-based athletics that the future is bright,” CIF Executive Director Roger L. Blake said via release.  “There were an exceptional group of nominees this year and I want to congratulate all of them and thank them for their contributions to their local school community.”

Blake and Brown were picked from a pool of 400 candidates representing 1,578 schools state-wide. The State Capitol and Senate and Assembly Floor will honor the duo May 26 in Sacramento. They will each also receive a $5,000 scholarship award.

Brown has been a four-year member of the basketball and lacrosse teams. She was team captains of both teams as a senior. She has earned a National Merit Scholar Commendation, as well as an AP Scholar with distinction recognition. She is also ASB president, as well as previously serving as a class president. She is also a six-year member of the National Charity League, as well as a youth member of the Pleasanton Parks and Recreation Committee. She has received senior level Silver and Gold Torch Awards from the Girl Scouts of America and is active in the community.

“Now, as the end of my high school career approaches, I learned through retrospect that my proudest accomplishments were achieved by emulating those more successful than I,” Brown said via release. “Thanks to those preceding me, I pushed myself to realize my potential and now it is my turn to inspire those following me. It is, and always has been, my ultimate goal to better myself in order to inspire others to do the same.”

Blake has been a football player at Loyola. He has also been a National Merit Scholar as well as an AP Scholar with distinction. He’s been involved in numerous extra-curricular activities and does community service. He has earned Loyola’s President Volunteer Service Award twice.


Central Section
Zachary Acenio, Monache High School

Ashton Peckinpah, Redwood High School


Central Coast Section
James Kelbert, Leland High School

Carina Burdick, Los Altos High School
Los Angeles City Section
Luis Palmero Marquez, Los Angeles Academy of Arts & Enterprise

Delaney Arth, Palisades Charter High School
North Coast Section
Alexander Kelly, Acalanes High School

Hannah Flynn, Middletown High School

Northern Section
Ben Harper, Trinity High School

Megan Gallion, Fall River High School

Oakland Section
Zachary Katzman, Skyline High School

Susana Alcata, Castlemont High School

Sac-Joaquin Section
Brody Pearman, Union Mine High School

Anna Medema, Mariposa County High

San Diego Section
Cameron Burnett, Francis Parker High School

Porter Verfurth, Westview High School

San Francisco Section
Thomas White, Lowell High School

Kristen Leung, Lowell High School

Southern Section
Kyle Trieu, Walnut High School

Lindsay Masukawa, Cypress High School





DeLuca accepts Valley Christian-San Jose basketball job

Valley Christian will have a new basketball coach in 2016-2017.

Valley Christian will have a new basketball coach in 2016-2017.

By John Murphy 

Mark DeLuca, who led Berkeley High to its first state boys basketball title game since 1924, is the new Valley Christian-San Jose coach, DeLuca said late Monday afternoon.

“I’ve accepted it and I’m excited about the opportunity,” DeLuca, 47, said. “I’m leaving Berkeley after coaching in the state title game but I’ll be on campus in a supportive environment. There were some schools calling and recruiting me, but this is the best fit – it has incredible facilities and administration and is a faith-based school and the opportunity to coach in the WCAL is just to great to pass up.”

DeLuca is replacing Ryan Cooper at Valley Christian. Cooper is now the coach at Willow Glen.

DeLuca said the chance to be on campus at Valley Christian was key. ‘

“I was in my third year at Berkeley of being off campus and it puts you at a disadvantage because you show up and things have happened and you have no control over them,” he said of his decision to resign from Berkeley at season’s end.

Berkeley’s record during the DeLuca era was a combined 67-25.

Asked what style of play he favors, DeLuca said: “I like to get up and down (the court) and shoot threes and attack the glass, but it starts and ends with on-ball defensive pressure and taking charges (on defense).”

Since getting the word he is in at Valley Christian, DeLuca said friends have asked them how he will feel coaching in the West Catholic Athletic, one of the best and most intense leagues in the state.

“I told them that I coached in a league with Frank LaPorte and Mike Phelps and another one with Frank Allocco, so I’m up for the challenge and I’m looking forward to it.”

DeLuca is from Indianspolis and played college football and minor league baseball. He currently lives in El Sobrante and is the Director of Student Life for El Sobrante Christian School.

Before arriving at Berkeley, he coached for two seasons at DeAnza and 12 at Pinole Valley. His teams made the North Coast Section playoffs in 13 of those 14 seasons before he coached the Yellow Jackets.

The Yellow Jackets’ post-season run this past season was historic.

Berkeley beat No. 2 seed Jesuit-Carmichael in the CIF-State Northern California regionals, defeated No. 3 seed Monte Vista and No. 5 seed Menlo-Atherton to win the NorCal Regional title. It then fell to SoCal champ Crespi-Encino 68-53 in the state title game.

Berkeley also reached the NorCal regional semifinals in 2014-2015 under DeLuca and made the NCS Division I playoffs in 2013-2014.