Coach Neils Ludlow of El Camino Real High planned to drop the bombshell before the start of the City Section Championship final next week.
Carson foiled those plans.
After watching his Conquistadores lose to Carson, 1-0, in a City Championship semifinal game Tuesday at South Gate Park, Ludlow told his players he had just coached his last softball game.
"I think the time is right," said Ludlow, who is 310-57 in 16 seasons at El Camino Real. "It's time for someone else to enjoy all these wonderful things and wonderful experiences."
Ludlow is something of an icon in City Section history. He guided El Camino Real to an unprecedented 10 section titles and two runner-up finishes.
"This decision was made long before the season started," Ludlow said.
Ludlow, with 15 league titles to his credit, will continue to teach at El Camino Real but wanted to spend more time with his 15 grandchildren.
"It's heartbreaking," junior catcher Christina Enea said. "I thought I'd get to play with him all four years."
All but two players from a 22-5-1 team are expected to return next season. Still, Ludlow believes the timing is perfect for him to say goodbye.
"I never wanted people to say I left when the cupboard was bare," he said.
Ludlow expects Lori Chandler, girls' basketball coach, to take over the softball program.