OVERALL TOP 10
1. Buchanan 18-2
2. Frontier 14-5
3. Centennial 14-2
4. Clovis 16-4
5. Clovis West 14-5
6. Central 13-5
7. Clovis North 12-8
8. Mt. Whitney 9-10
9. Fresno 15-3
10. Madera 13-6
D-I: 1. Buchanan; 2. Centennial; 3. Clovis
D-II: 1. Frontier; 2. Clovis North; 3. Mt. Whitney
D-III: 1. Fresno; 2. Hanford West (15-7); 3. Garces (15-5)
D-IV: 1. Kerman (12-4); 2. Bakersfield Christian (14-4); 3. Fowler (15-5)
D-V: 1. Corcoran (9-6); 2. Caruthers (10-3); 3. Immanuel (11-6)
D-VI: 1. Mendota (10-6); 2. Farmersville (5-4); 3. McFarland (5-7)
A familiar face has returned to Central Section baseball, even if it's one somewhat obscured on the Valley's west side. "I've always wanted to coach; it was a lifelong dream," says Alan Clark, who not only has resumed his career at Caruthers, he has the Blue Raiders pressing for a top seed in the Division V playoffs. Success is no stranger to Clark, who, at 23 years old and in his first year as a high school head coach in 1991, led Tranquillity past Shafter 6-2 for the section Sequoia Division title. That closed a 21-5 season for the Tigers. Clark then went to Washington, where he assisted Mike Haney to another Sequoia Division crown in 1992, when the Panthers defeated Selma 2-0 to complete a 19-5 season. Clark was head coach at Kerman from 1993-97, winning four league titles and reaching the section semifinals twice, and at Mendota from 1998-2000. He's been a special-education teacher at Caruthers for five years, but didn't return to coaching until this season, when he replaced Brandon Ward. "I enjoy kids and being a positive individual around them," Clark says.
Paul "Archie" Hodsdon, the West Hills College coach who died at age 58 April 1 after suffering a stroke, was remembered in a moment of silence Sunday night at the annual coaches dinner that precedes the Fresno Easter Baseball Classic. Hodsdon, who once coached regular Classic entrant Hanford, was usually present at the function, which on Sunday drew 170 people to Pardini's.
While pitching depth is tapped severely in Easter tournaments that typically call for teams to play at least four games, coaches are increasingly conscious of specific matchups that can have playoff seeding repercussions. An example: Aces Jimmy Brager (5-1) of Madera and Blayne Ontiveros (8-0) of Frontier will collide today at 1 p.m. at Clovis West in the Fresno Easter Classic in a game that surely will be reviewed by section commissioner Jim Crichlow and his seeding committee for Division II. The division has four teams ranked in The Bee's overall Top 10 in No. 2 and defending champion Frontier, No. 7 Clovis North, No. 8 Mt. Whitney and No. 10 Madera.
Buchanan and Clovis will step right back into the Tri-River Athletic Conference fire after the Easter break. The Bears and Cougars, atop the league standings at 8-1 and 6-3, will play 6:30 p.m. games next week on Tuesday and Friday, first at Clovis, then at Buchanan.
Check out Andy Boogaard's analysis throughout the baseball season at fresnobeehive.com/sportsbuzz/