San Mateo coach reaches career high 

Pete Jensen, Serra High School’s varsity baseball coach, entered an elite club of local coaches Friday with his 500th career win after his Padres beat St. Francis 5-0.

"It feels tremendous," said a calm and collected Jensen, who downplayed the significance of the career highlight. "[The win] puts us on track to win the whole thing."

The 57-year-old’s name will now be mentioned alongside Peninsula high school coaching greats Bob Brian of South San Francisco High School and Chris Bradford of St. Francis in Mountain View, said Russ Bertetta, director of development and alumni relations at Serra. Brian’s South City Warriors were rated the top team in the nation in 1971, while Bradford completed his coaching career in 2004 with 634 wins.

"It’s well deserved, he has a great record," said Dick Roza, grandfather of Serra’s winning pitcher, Ryan Allgrove, who pitched a complete-game shutout.

When asked about his coach’s looming milestone, Allgrove, a junior right-hander, said he wasn’t thinking about the pressure before the game and added, "I thrive on the pressure."

Jensen, who coached former major-leaguer Gregg Jefferies at Serra, downplayed the highlight Friday and instead turned his attention on his players, commending them and his past players for all the wins during his 21-year varsity coaching career.

"Five hundred wins just means I’m getting old," Jensen said.

The winner of a World Series ring with the 1989 Giants — for whom he worked as a scout at the time — Jensen remembered that his most memorable moments came five years before, in 1984, when his team won both the West Catholic Athletic League and the Central Coast Section. In the middle of it all, his twin daughters were born, Jensen said.

"It takes a long time to win this many games and these days there aren’t that many guys who are committed to be successful for that many years," Bertetta said.

Even more than win number 500, he’s proud of his career .750 winning percentage.

"It’s very tough to win 23 games a year when you play in one of the toughest leagues like we do," Jensen said.

What’s more, winning that many games during a 14-game league regular season depends on Serra — the alma mater of Giants slugger Barry Bonds — regularly reaching the postseason, Bertetta said.

The Padres, 16-4 this season, have won the WCAL nine times under his watch, claimed CCS championships three times and been unofficially named (there is no state championship) the No. 1 team in California in 1991 and 1998 by Cal-Hi Sports, Jensen said.

Pete jensen

Serra High School baseball coach

Age: 57

Residence: San Mateo

Tenure as varsity baseball coach: 21 years

2007 team record: 16-4 (6-2 West Catholic Athletic League)

Overall won-loss record: 500-163 (5 ties)

WCAL won-loss record: 217-81 (1 tie)

Accomplishments:

» 16-4 (6-2 WCAL) record

This season:

» 9 West Catholic Athletic League championships

» 3 Central Coast Section championships

Major-leaguers produced by Serra: Norm Angelini, Barry Bonds, Scott Chiamparino, Tim Cullen, Jim Fregosi, Danny Frisella, Randy Gomez, Gregg Jefferies, Joe Kmak, Dan Serafini

- Source: Serra High School

ecarpenter@examiner.com

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