BELLARMINE-JEFFERSON HIGH -- Walking onto the field at Brace Canyon
Park, Bellarmine-Jefferson High Coach Hector Perez usually greets his
players and talks a little baseball before practice starts.
But when the coach passes Bryan and Fabio Vargas, he often isn't
even acknowledged by either brother.
"Sometimes, they won't even say hi to me," Perez. "Most of the
time, they don't talk at all."
It's not that the Vargas' are rude, the two actually like Perez.
However, they are so painfully shy that it's rare for the players to
say much of anything to coaches and players during practices and
"You have to realize, this is just the way they are," Perez said.
"It's not that they're trying to be mean to people, they just prefer
to be quiet. We don't get mad at them because they don't talk, we
just let them be themselves. We have kind of gotten used to it."
Opponents this season have gotten a taste of the Vargas' silent
but deadly treatment. Both pitchers, Bryan -- a senior -- and Fabio
-- a junior -- have successfully quieted every team they have faced
With a combined 5-0 record and 0.68 earned-run average in league,
Bryan (3-0) and Fabio (2-0) have led a Bell-Jeff resurgence that has
caught much of the Santa Fe League off guard. In their five starts,
all have been complete-game victories and three have been shutouts.
Successfully combining power and finesse on the mound, the
right-handers use good ball movement and an intimidating
three-quarters side-arm delivery to baffle batters.
The pair has been able to improve and grow under the watchful eye
of Bell-Jeff pitching Coach Rod Arancibia.
"Rod has done a great job, by himself, with the pitchers," Perez
said. "Pitching is not my thing, and I leave all that up to him."
"Fabio pitches a little slower than I do," Bryan said. "But he has
better movement and a better curveball than I do. He actually taught
me how to throw a good curveball."
In his three wins, Bryan has logged 17 innings, has a 0.67 ERA,
allowed six runs (one earned), eight hits, struck out 24 and walked
six. For Fabio, his 10 innings has yielded two runs (one earned),
five hits, a 0.70 ERA and he has struck out nine and walked three.
"The great thing about the both of them is that they have great
movement on their pitches," Perez said. "They really fool a lot of
The Guard brother combo has helped Bell-Jeff to one of its best
league showings in more than 10 years. Although the team took its
lumps during nonleague play -- going 0-6, the Guards have thrived in
league and are in second place with a 5-1 record. Three of the five
wins have been 10-run mercy-rule results.
Bell-Jeff's lone league loss was a 9-1 setback to host Pasadena La
Salle -- ranked No. 2 in CIF Southern Section Division V.
With just two league games remaining, the Guards have a chance to
erase years of futility within the program. Barring a complete
collapse, the Guards will make the playoffs for the first time since
However, more importantly, Bell-Jeff is in the running for its
first league championship since a Hal Krug-coached team accomplished
the feat in 1979. But to do so, the Guards will have to defeat La
Salle at 5:30 p.m. on May 13 at Brace Canyon Park.
Last season, Bell-Jeff went 2-8 in league.
The Guards' success is remarkable taking into consideration Perez
often starts four freshmen and has two sophomores who regularly
Deflecting the credit from himself and his brother, Fabio said the
Guard defense deserves a lot of credit for keeping the team in games.
"The defense has been really great this year," he said. "It's a
lot better than last year."
Although he will lose Bryan to graduation, with Fabio and all the
freshmen and sophomores back, Perez said the future looks bright for
the Bell-Jeff program.
"The players, especially the younger players, have really started
to believe in the system and what we've been trying to teach them,"
"It's just great to see the kids out their giving it their all and
being successful. That's what it's all about."
A lot of that success has been built on the arms of with Bryan and
Fabio Vargas, whose silence has been golden for Bell-Jeff.