40 Years of Toros Shining on the Diamondcsudhbulletin November 24, 2020 0 COMMENTS
With the Toros in 2010, Pillar set an NCAA Division II record with a 54-game consecutive hitting streak. He has played in the Major Leagues since 2013. Photo by CSUDH Athletics.
By Carina Noyola, Staff Reporter
Nearing the end of the university’s commemoration of 40 years that CSUDH has been part of the California Collegiate Athletic Association, the Bulletin turns its focus on the combined 78 years that Toro baseball and softball have called the CCAA home.
Unlike the men’s and women’s soccer programs, which we profiled two weeks ago, which have both claimed national championships, the Toro roundballers haven’t achieved that illustrious honor.
But with 34 All-Americans and six conference titles between them, they still command a moderate level of success in the NCAA’s second division in Southern California.
Since its initial year in the CCAA in 1982, the softball team has appeared in the National Collegiate Athletic Association Regionals nine times, and has had a top three CCAA finish in 15 of their seasons.
The Toros made a quick impression in their first two years in the CCAA. The Rob Quarry-coached team finished second and first in the conference, and appeared in the NCAA regionals the second year. The Toros made another NCAA Regional appearance in 1989 but it wasn’t until the arrival of Jim Maier that CSUDH became a perennial postseason team.
Maier, whose first year was 2001, led the Toros to the regionals five times in six years beginning in 2003, and claimed the team’s second conference championship in 2005. He capped off his first stint as coach with another conference championship in 2012 and led the team to super regional appearances in that year and 2013.
Maier was also named coach of the year in the 2005 and 2012 seasons. All-Americans he coached included pitcher Stephanie Guerra (formerly Jimenez, 2013) and first baseman Adriana Sanchez (2013), Eight Toro softballers have been named All-Americans.
After Maier’s departure in 2013, the Toros struggled through five losing seasons, but they rebounded upon his return in 2019, finishing 27-19. Through 24 games in 2020, the team was 16-8 before the season’s cancellation due to the coronavirus.
“We are still in the process and will always be in the process of building a stronger softball program with a commitment of developing people, as well as a strong winning tradition,” Maier said in his open letter on the Toros Athletics website.
The Toro baseball team’s first competitive season was 1973. They played in the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics and were champions three of their first four years. They began play in the CCAA in 1983, and earned two NCAA appearances in their first four seasons, including making the NCAA Division II College World Series in 1987 under coach Andy Lopez.
The main throughline of the baseball program has been George Wing, who coached the team from 1989-2006, and returned for one year in 2015, leading the team to one of its seven postseason berths.
The Toros have produced 26 All-Americans, 53 have been drafted by Major League Baseball teams, and seven have scaled the loftiest peak, making it to the majors, including pitcher Eric Plunk, who played 14 years and pitched in three World Series, Craig Grebeck, who played 13 years, and Kevin Pillar.