Coming off the spring break, two of the hottest hurlers on the West Coast are high school softball pitchers Lisa Bautista of Banning and Stephanie Skegas of North Torrance, who are serving up a lot of Easter goose eggs between them.
Through the first half of Ocean League play, Skegas, a junior, has pitched six straight shutouts and eight for the season, including a no-hitter over Beverly Hills. North has a 5-0 record in the league, all Skegas shutouts.
Bautista, the standout of the area's city teams, had eight no-hitters after last week.
When the two went head-to-head, the game (predictably) went extra innings, with Skegas winning, 1-0. The 11-inning game featured 22 strikeouts by Skegas, who also leads North in runs batted in with 14.
North gets back to league play this week with Skegas facing Torrance in a home-and-home series that could decide the league title. Skegas beat the Tartars' standout, Joan Ybarra, 1-0, the last time they played, with both girls hurling one-hitters.
Bautista and Banning open Harbor League play Monday at San Pedro.
Tim Green, the former Aviation High quarterback who guided USC to a Rose Bowl victory in January, happily posed for pictures and signed autographs at a recent local gathering, his wonderful brashness in mid-season form.
Green, who made a name for himself as the nation's leading passer at El Camino College, had a tougher struggle at USC but had a successful senior year and became something of a media darling for his from-the-hip quotes. He has an agent and hopes to be selected in the National Football League's May draft. Asked what he would do if not drafted, Green said he would still try for an NFL team. "I think I can play there," he said with a grin.
Don't let the palm trees and ocean breeze fool you; Loyola Marymount is hot property in the basketball community, at least if interest in the basketball coaching vacancy was any indicator.
School administrators say that before hiring Jim Lynam, Loyola President Rev. James N. Loughran contacted many of the top coaches in the country for recommendations, getting calls from dozens, including Bob Knight and Dean Smith.
While the job was open, Loyola sports information director Barry Zepel says, inquiries were coming from all corners including Lexington, Ky., where the national championship game was held and the job was apparently a topic of conversation.
Catcher-turned-outfielder Brad Bierley, who has never been a noted power hitter either at Rolling Hills High or in three years at Pepperdine, has broken the Pepperdine home run record for a season with 13 and still has a month to go. The 6-2, 190-pound Palos Verdes Peninsula resident hit four homers last year in more than 200 at-bats while hitting .284.
Bierley's booming bat has helped lead Pepperdine to first place atop the West Coast Athletic Conference and a No. 8 national ranking with a 30-7 record.