The Daily Pilot and its affiliated newspapers won seven prizes Monday at the Orange County Press Club's annual awards gala at the Balboa Bay Club & Resort.
Features Editor Michael Miller won first place for Best Arts or Culture Story for "Recalling the 'King of Confrontation,'" a feature about longtime Newport Beach poet Lee Mallory and his friendship with literary icon Charles Bukowski, who died in 1994.
Photographer Scott Smeltzer took the top prize for Best Sports Photo for his image of Little Leaguers playing "three flies up" during the Newport Harbor Baseball Assn.'s opening day at Mariners Park.
Photo editor Don Leach won second place for Best Sports Photo for his image of Newport Harbor High School's Quest Truxton high-fiving the school's football alumni section in the end zone after catching a touchdown pass.
Photographer Kevin Chang took second in Best Feature Photo for a shot of two boys, Matthew Glessing and Jeff Hass, competing in the Regional Junior Lifeguard Championships near the Newport Beach Pier.
Reporters Jill Cowan and Lauren Williams tied for third place for Best Public Affairs or Education Story or Series for a series on motels in Costa Mesa that housed low-income residents and faced safety issues. Williams now writes for the Long Beach Register.
The staff also netted a pair of honorable mentions: Miller for Best Arts/Culture Review for "Tales at the 'Crossroads,'" a piece on a blues concert at the Segerstrom Center for the Arts, and Leach for Best Sports Photo for his Huntington Beach Independent image of surfer Carissa Moore after winning the women's championship final at the US Open of Surfing at the Huntington Beach Pier.
"Orange County is one of the most competitive news markets in the region, and for our peers to say that our work stands out is a great honor," Daily Pilot Editor John Canalis said.
The Pilot and Independent are part of Times Community News, which also publishes the Laguna Beach Coastline Pilot. The newspaper are owned by the Los Angeles Times.