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HIGH SCHOOL ATHLETE OF THE WEEK

Wolf a Perfect Example of the Retiring Sort

June 02, 1993|JASON H. REID | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Randy Wolf is not one to boast.

Actually, the El Camino Real High junior left-hander is downright humble.

So when Wolf followed a no-hitter in his previous start with a perfect game in the City Section 4-A Division baseball quarterfinals against Banning on Thursday, he directed the spotlight at his teammates.

Sure, the back-to-back performances were worthy of some chest pounding. However, in keeping with his character, Wolf declined to sing his own praises.

Others felt no such restrictions.

"It was amazing," Conquistadore Coach Mike Maio said. "What he did sure as hell has nothing to do with coaching. God gave him the talent. All I try to do is not mess him up."

Said teammate Dan Cey: "Randy is one of the coolest guys around. He just blocks everything out. It was incredible."

Indeed.

The 16-year-old Wolf is the 22nd pitcher in state history to throw consecutive no-hitters, according to Mark Tennis of Cal-Hi Sports. Mike Bradley of Ft. Bragg High threw consecutive perfect games last season.

Wolf threw the first no-hitter in the 24-year history of El Camino Real on May 18, beating Taft in a West Valley League finale. He struck out 14 in defeating the Toreadors, 3-0.

He had nine strikeouts last week in defeating Banning, 5-0. Wolf threw 76 pitches, 59 for strikes. The Pilots managed to hit only three balls out of the infield.

In addition, Wolf pitched a one-hitter earlier this season.

"Obviously, we couldn't do much against him," Banning Coach Syl Saavedra said. "He was the best we've seen all season."

The perfect game was the first in City playoff history, according to Buddy Dyer, an adviser at the Amateur Athletics Foundation and a longtime area high school sports observer.

Former Cleveland High standout and current major league star Bret Saberhagen threw a no-hitter in a 13-0 win over Palisades in the 1982 City 4-A championship game at Dodger Stadium. One Palisades player reached base on an error.

True to form, Wolf downplayed his accomplishment.

"None of this stuff happens if my teammates don't make the plays," Wolf said. "I can't figure it out. I just got really lucky the past few weeks, I guess."

Guess again.

Skill too played a big part.

Entering Tuesday's start against Monroe in the City 4-A semifinals, Wolf had not allowed a hit in 15 1/3 innings. He blanked Monroe, 6-0, on three hits, sending El Camino Real into the final Thursday at Dodger Stadium.

Wolf, who was named state player of the week by Cal-Hi Sports, stretched his string of scoreless innings to 25, having last given up a run in the third inning against Chatsworth on May 11. He is 11-1 with a 1.08 earned-run average and nine complete games. In 77 2/3 innings, he has yielded 37 hits, and he has 116 strikeouts and 37 walks.

Not bad for a guy whose high school career consists of 12 starts.

Despite recognizing Wolf's talent, Maio wanted to bring him along slowly. Wolf, who batted .368 during the regular season, has been a fixture in right field since his freshman year but did not pitch until this season.

Maio followed the same path with former Conquistadore standout Ryan McGuire. McGuire is now a star infielder-pitcher at UCLA.

"I knew he could pitch all along but I didn't want to rush him in there," Maio said of Wolf.

"Maybe we could have won a few more games over the years if I pitched him sooner. I think it worked out, though."

Banning pitcher Mario Soto agrees. Soto was on the losing end of Wolf's perfect game. The Pilot right-hander was in awe of his counterpart.

"He has great control, a great fastball and a great curve," Soto said. "He is the best guy I've thrown against and he's only a junior. He's got a lot to look forward to."

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