Victor Valley duo announces plans

Two baseball standouts from Victor Valley College have decided their next move.

Sophomore shortstop and pitcher Blane Lloyd (Granite Hills HS) is headed to Division II Cal State Dominguez Hills while freshman outfielder Derek Richie (Silverado HS) is headed to La Sierra.

Both were second-team All-Foothill Conference selections the past season.
Rams coach Bob Smith said Richie is also considering playing basketball.

The duo helped the Rams improve over the past season, going from three wins in 2007 to 10 this season. 

Citrus basketball players decide future

Three more members of the state championship basketball team from
Citrus College have decided on four-year colleges, bringing the Owls
total of players moving on to eight.

The trio recently deciding includes Ayala graduate Jeremy Smith,
Virgil Buensuceso and Montclair High product Nate Richardson. Smith
will attend Division II West Georgia while Buensuceso is headed to
Division II Brigham Young-Hawaii and Richardson to NAIA Rocky
Mountain College.

Smith played just one year at Citrus after transferring from Sonoma
State. He averaged 5.3 points but started the team’s last 15 games
and was noted as its defensive stopper.

Richardson averaged 4.4 points for the Owls, who went 35-1 and
routinely used 14 players.

Those three follow earlier signees Buchi Awaji (Kansas State), A.J.
Gasporra (Texas-San Antonio), Ralph Monday (Northeastern Oklahoma),
Darren Moore (UC Irvine) and Richard Frohlich (Texas-San Antonio).

Wetzel, Bulldogs win another

The surprising Fresno State Bulldogs rolled on in the College World Series at Rosenblatt Stadium in Omaha, edging North Carolina 5-3 Tuesday.

Don Lugo alum Erik Wetzel was a big contributor, going 3-for-5, highlighted by a run-scoring single in the eighth inning. The junior second baseman also stole a base.

Fresno next plays on Thursday against the winner of Wednesday’s loser’ bracket game between No. 1 Miami (Fla.) and Stanford.

Clark, Tigers come back yet again

The College Baseball World Series usually provides some dramatic moments. This year it should be no surprise that Louisiana State has provided the most thrilling finish thus far.

The Tigers have a whopping 30 come from behind victories this season, the most recent coming Monday when they pushed across four runs in the ninth to defeat Rice 6-5 in an elimination game at Omaha’s Rosenblatt Stadium.

The big blow in the uprising was a three-run double off the wall by Blake Dean.

Etiwanda graduate Matt Clark went 0-for-3 in the contest but did slug his 27th home run of the season Sunday in an 8-4 loss to North Carolina that put the Tigers in the loser’s bracket. He had been tied for first with Georgia’s Gordon Beckham, whose team is still alive in the tournament too.

Fresno State, which includes local product Erik Wetzel, is playing right now. He is off to a good start with a double in his first plate appearance against North Carolina in a winner’s bracket game. Fresno is the lowest seeded team to ever make the eight-team field.

And Stanford, with Norco’s Toby Gerhart, is also still alive. So it has been a good event thus far for the Inland Empire reps.

SBVC soccer player moves on

San Bernardino Valley College soccer standout Gemma Gastro (Yucaipa HS) is headed to La Sierra University on an academic scholarship.

She is two-time All-Foothill Conference selection with three goals and six assists in her career. She spent 2006 as a midfielder but anchored the defense the past season, helping the Wolverines to their first playoff win in school history.

She is the third player from the team to move on to a four-year college following Kalee Lopez (Grambling) and Megan Dias (Cal State Los Angeles).

Gerhart off to a good start at College World Series

Norco High product Toby Gerhart is off to a good start at the College Baseball World Series at Rosenblatt Stadium in Omaha.

Gerhart and the Stanford Cardinal opened play with a 16-5 win over Florida State Saturday afternoon. He went 3-4 with a home run and scored three runs.

The game was not as easy as the scored indicates. It was tied 5-all heading into the ninth when Stanford erupted for 11 runs in the top of the ninth. Gerhart hit twice in the inning, singling his first time up and walking what seemed like an hour later.

The inning could have been even bigger if one can believe that. After Gerhart singled and to put runners on first and second with no outs, the next Cardinal lined a ball down the rightfield line that kicked up chalk, only to be ruled foul by the umpire.

Maybe it was poetic justice. But FSU shortstop Tony Delmonica, who was drafted by the Dodgers, booted what should have been a double play ball seconds later. He had another error later in the inning to compound the problem for the Seminoles.

Hopefully the locals will keep up the good work today as Etiwanda graduate Matt Clark and the LSU Tigers play today – as does Don Lugo product Erik Wetzel and the Fresno State Bulldogs.

Two familiar faces come up just short at nationals

Two athletes with local ties came up short in their quests for titles at the NCAA Division I track and field championships at Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa.

UC Riverside sophomore Brenda Martinez finished 14th in the 1,500 meters on Saturday with a time of 4:24.99. She was as close as fourth place through the first two laps but couldn’t stay with the lead group of runners that pulled away from the pack.

Martinez, a graduate of Rancho Cucamonga High School, is just the third athlete from the school to qualify for the meet since it moved to the division I level.

The event was won by Hannah England of Florida State with a meet record 4:06.19.

USC red-shirt junior Corey White, a transfer from the University of Redlands who won the Division III national title in 2006, ended up second in the javelin with a best throw of 255 feet, two inches.

He was the first Trojan to place at the NCAA Championships in the javelin since Nils Fearnley also placed second in 1995. White’s throw was the farthest ever by a Trojan in the javelin competition at the NCAA finals, topping Jan Sikorsky’s mark of 249-4 set in 1962.

Broncos assistant takes job at CS Fullerton

The Cal State Fullerton volleyball team announced Tuesday that Vinh Nguyen has been hired as an assistant coach replacing Traci Dahl who vacated her spot to become head coach at Indiana State.

Nguyen comes to Fullerton with an extensive coaching resume that dates back more than 20 years. For the past 12 season, Nguyen, has been an assistant coach at Cal Poly Pomona where he helped Head Coach Rosie Wegrich lift the Broncos to six seasons with at least 18 wins and a program-best 24-3 mark in 2005. That same year, Pomona won its first California Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA) championship since 1990.

Nguyen was the Broncos summer camp director for the past nine years and taught as a kinesiology professor on campus as well.

In 2007, Nguyen was hired by the USA Men’s National Team as an assistant coach to help the team prepare for its run at World League, Pan-Am Cup, Americas Cup and Norceca Cup championships, which resulted in two gold medals, a silver and a bronze.

Prior to his work at Cal Poly Pomona, Nguyen coached at five Southern California high schools (Hoover, San Gabriel, Arcadia, Alhambra and La Habra) and worked with the San Gabriel, Magnum and Power Volleyball Clubs.

In 1996, Nguyen co-founded the Top Gun Volleyball Club, one of Southern California’s most respected youth volleyball programs which has trained more than 800 athletes since its inception.

In 2005, under the guidance of USA Volleyball, Nguyen was named head coach and led the Southern California Youth National Team to a sixth-place finish in the USA High Performance Championships in Austin, Texas. A year later, his Top Gun 18 Red club team won a gold medal at the USA Junior Olympic Invitational in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Nguyen played at Mt. San Antonio College and Long Beach City College before transferring into the Big West Conference with Long Beach State. He finished his schooling and graduated from Cal Poly Pomona in 2000 with a degree in kinesiology.

Locals get ready for College World Series

Three local players will be competing on teams in the College Baseball World Series which starts Saturday at Rosenblatt Stadium in Omaha, Neb..

Leading the way is junior first baseman Matt Clark, a graduate of Etiwanda High School and Riverside Community College who stars for Louisiana State (48-17). He hit .347 with 55 runs, 17 doubles, 26 home runs and 61 RBI. That home run total ties him for first
nationally. He also has a .781 slugging percentage and a .996 fielding percentage with just two errors in 472 chances.

He was drafted by the San Diego Padres in the 12th round but has to wait until after his college career is through to sign.

Junior Erik Wetzel, out of Don Lugo High school, headlines the effort of the Fresno State Bulldogs (42-29), who upset Arizona State in Super Regional play. He is batting .361 with 90 runs, 18 doubles, six home runs and 36 RBI and has a .496 slugging percentage and a .996 fielding percentage.

He too was drafted – by the Colorado Rockies in the 13th round.

Norco High alum Toby Gerhart has seen more limited action at Stanford. He is hitting .234, having played in 52 games, 25 as a starter. He has 24 runs scored, 19 RBI and six home runs.

Opening round games on will pit Miami against Georgia, LSU
against North Carolina, Stanford against Florida State and Fresno
State against Rice.

Stay tuned!

Former Redlands athlete starring on the track at USC

USC junior Corey White was named the United States Track and
Field/Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) West Region Male
Field Athlete of the Year on Monday.

White, who will be competing this week as one of the favorites in the
javelin at the NCAA Track and Field Championships held in Des Moines,
Iowa, had an outstanding first season for the Trojans.

After transferring from the University of Redlands and redshirting
last season, White immediately made an impact on the USC program by
recording the third-farthest throw in school history in his first
competition as a Trojan and then the second-farthest throw at the
Trojan Invitational on March 22.

He then set the school javelin record with a throw of 256-10 (78.29m)
in winning the title at the 2008 Texas Relays, more than 12 feet
farther than Nils Fearnley’s USC record set in 1995. White then
bettered that mark with a throw of 267-10 (81.65m) to win the javelin
at Mt. SAC on April 20.

So far this posteason, White has won the javelin competition at the
Pac-10 Championships with a throw of 241-8 (73.66m) and at the NCAA
West Regional with a throw of 241-11 (73.73m), a new West Regional
Record.