Hedman, Holmes start pro careers at Lowell (Mass.)

Pomona-Pitzer baseball player Drew Hedman and Chaffey College product Willie Holmes have both signed with the Boston Red Sox and are beginning their minor league career with that organization’s Short-A affiliate the Lowell Spinners of the New York Penn League.

The Spinners open the season on Friday against Vermont.

Holmes, an outfielder, was drafted in the 14th round and chose to sign rather than attend Cal Baptist for his junior season.

Hedman, who plays first base, was drafted in the 50th round of the free agent draft last week. He put up some eye-popping numbers his senior season with the Sagehens and even earned Division III Player of the Year honors yet wasn’t selected until the last moment.

College seniors typically don’t go until later because they don’t have any leverage when it comes to negotiations. It also goes to show how hard it can be to get noticed at a smaller school. The small park likely worked against him too since some might tend to think his power numbers were inflated by playing in a smaller venue.

Those that saw Hedman play on a regular basis know most of the balls he hit out would have been out of most college parks.

But he did get picked and that’s all that matters. The rest is up to him.

SBVC soccer player headed to Nebraska

Redshirt sophomore midfielder Megan Dias of San Bernardino Valley College has signed with Division II Wayne State College in Nebraska.

Dias, out of Colony High School, is SBVC all-time scoring leader. In two seasons she amassed 24 goals and 11 assists.

Wayne State competes in the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference and is coached by Molly Graham who will be entering her first year.

Citrus swimmer off to Concordia

Two time All-American and reigning WSC Male Swimmer of the Year, Weston Locatell, has signed on to continue his college career at NAIA member Concordia University Irvine.

“Concordia is a newer swim program, and everything I’ve heard about the program I like. It’s a great opportunity to be a part of a growing and nationally competitive team,” Locatell said. “[Citrus Head] Coach [Tim] Kyle has helped me get better in the best way possible these past few years. The competition at the State level has helped push me.”

Locatell helped the Fighting Owls to their best conference finish in 12 years this past season, as he paced Citrus for a second place finish at the WSC Championships. Locatell swept all three of his events at the WSC Championships and finished 2nd at the State Championships in the 200 Butterfly. Locatell was also named Citrus College Male Athlete of the Year two weeks ago.

“With hard work and dedication to the sport, Weston has managed to set his name alongside the best of the best in Citrus History. Now he has set his sights even higher with Concordia University in mind,” said Citrus College Head Swim Coach Tim Kyle. “Only great things will come to an individual like Weston,m who has such passion to excel. Look for Weston to leave a huge impression at the NAIA level of swimming in the near future.”

Locatell will join an emerging program at Concordia. This past year, the Eagles placed third at the NAIA Championships in St. Peters, Missouri.

UCR’s Martinez is national runner-up

UC Riverside junior Brenda Martinez finished second in the 1,500 meters at the NCAA national championships at the University of Arkansas on Saturday.It was by far the best finish for a Highlander athlete since the transition to Division II.

It was her second All-American honor in track. She also earned honors in the indoor season.

Martinez, of Rancho Cucamonga, finished in 4:13.97 which was second to only senior Susan Kuijken of Florida State who posted a winning time of 4:13.05.

Martinez was third but used a strong sprint down the homestretch to move up a spot.

CBS aired the meet Saturday morning but showed just the last few seconds of the race and the camera was fixed on the winner..

The eight points scored by Martinez for her team put the Highlanders tied for 36th with her as the lone competitor.

Former Cal State pitcher in trouble

Former Cal State San Bernardino pitcher Michael Rocco is in trouble with the law.

Rocco and another pitcher in the Angels organization, Matthew Oye, were arrrested early Tuesday morning after a fight outside a bar in Tempe, Ariz. The two have been at the Angels extended spring training complex in that city.

According to the Arizona Republic Rocco, who is from PalmDesert, is being charged with assault while Oye is being charged with aggravated assault. Witnesses saw the two men kicking and hitting a man who was lying on the ground and Oye allegedly struck the victim with a metal pipe. The two fled the scene on foot but were later apprehended.

Rocco, 23, spent two years in the White Sox organization, then toiled in independent ball before being signed by the Angels last month.

Indy pickups usually don’t rank real high on the totem pole and a brush up like this will do nothing to help his standing with the club. Yes you’re innocent until proven guilty, but he might be running out of chances.

Preseason rankings not warranted

The University of Redlands football team is ranked No. 22 in Sporting News’ Division III preseason football poll. It’s a nice pat on the back for coach Mike Maynard’s team which traditionally challenges for the SCIAC title.

And yes the Bulldogs should be pretty good, especially if quarterback Dan Selway comes back nicely from the broken foot that kept him out of seven games last year.

But a preseason football ranking in June! Is that really necessary? I don’t think so.
In late August . . . maybe.

Who knows which players are going to show up. Sure there doesn’t seem to be a lot of transferring of players from one Division III school to another. But it’s a little early to be able to tell what kind of recruiting class anybody has. And who knows what injuries are going to occur before the first game.

Coyotes sign two soccer stars

Cal State San Bernardino’s new head women’s soccer coach Travis Clarke won’t arrive until July 1, but he already has two Inland Empire area recruits who have signed national letters of intent to play for the Coyotes this fall.

Ariel Hernandez, an one-time all-CIF Division 5 player from Beaumont High School, and Jordan Cleary, a three-year team MVP and two-year first-team all-Baseline League player from Alta Loma High School, will begin pre-season drills at CSUSB in August.

Both players were recruited by former CSUSB coach Diego Bocanegra before he left for an assistant coaching position at Cal State Fullerton and both played for Bocanegra’s club teams associated with the Arsenal FC of Alta Loma.

Hernandez is a midfielder who earned first-team all-league honors as well as league MVP honors at Beaumont HS playing for Cougars coach Robert Sherwood. She played midfield and forward for the Arsenal UG-18 team.

She helped her team to an 18-7-1 record in 2008-09 and finished second in the Mountain Pass League with an 11-2-1 record. The team advanced to the second round of the Southern Section playoffs before losing to Ontario Christian.

Cleary is a center midfielder who was the runnerup for Baseline League MVP honors and her team’s offensive MVP as well as the Coach’s Award recipient. She spent one year at Los Osos High School before transferring to Alta Loma where she played for former CSUSB soccer player and graduate Amy Raymond.

Alta Loma finished third in the Baseline League with a 4-5-1 record and posted a 14-10-4 overall record, then lost in the first round of the Southern Section Division I playoffs to Murrieta Valley.

She played center-mid for the Arsenal FC G91 team that won a League Cup championship in 2008.


Bulldogs get preseason ranking

The University of Redlands football team landed at No. 22 on Sporting News magazine’s Division III Preseason Top 25. The Bulldogs are the only team from the Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC) included on the poll.

Redlands excitedly returns the 2007 SCIAC Offensive Player of the Year in senior quarterback Dan Selway (Villa Park, CA), who sat out much of last season with an injury.

In addition, the Redlands defense strives to remain stingy against the run and repeat its nationally ranked numbers. The team ranked first among Division III in tackles for a loss (11.1 TFL/game) and rushing defense (58.33 yards/game). In addition, the Bulldogs finished first in the nation in net punting with a 37.42 average. With 28 sacks for 182 yards, the Maroon and Gray boasted the fourth-best total in this category.

The Bulldogs kick off the 2009 season at home on September 12 with a 5 p.m. contest against East Texas Baptist University in the teams’ first meeting.

Martinez off and running at nationals

UC Riverside’s Brenda Martinez got off to a good start at the NCAA Division I nationals in Fayetteville, Ark. on Thursday.

The junior from Rancho Cucamonga competed in the third of three heats in the 1,500 meters and turned in a winning time of 4:16.67. The final will be Saturday at 11:09 a.m. and can be watched via the NCAA website.

This is the second trip to an NCAA Final for the local producr who placed 14th in the a year ago.

Big Bear native Chad Hall, running in his first-ever NCAA Championship event, finished fifth in his heat of the 1,500 with a time of 3:46.68, missing out on one of the 12 spots in Saturday’s final by 4.59.

Seven UCR players go in draft

Day 3 of the Major League Baseball Amateur Draft is in the books and seven Highlanders, including six members of the pitching staff, were selected – Joseph Kelly (above), Paul Applebee, Matt Montgomery, Paul Bargas, Carl Uhl, Tommy Mackoul and Ryan Platt.

The St. Louis Cardinals selected Kelly in the third round Tuesday evening. The junior from Corona, CA is the Highlanders career saves record holder having eclipsed the mark of Scott Tebbets late in the 2009 season finishing with a total of 24. His 12 saves this year were the second most in the history of the program.

Baseball America named Kelly to the Preseason All-American Third Team in 2009, and as a freshman, Kelly was named a Freshman All-American by Collegiate Baseball and Ping!, a Second Team All-American by Rivals.com and Big West Conference Freshman Pitcher of the Year and First Team All-Conference. He also played for the USA National Team in the summer of 2007.

Two Highlanders were selected in the 10th round on Thursday as the Washington Nationals picked junior starting pitcher Paul Applebee and the Florida Marlins snagged senior starter Matthew Montgomery. Applebee was UC Riverside’s top pitcher in 2009 posting a 10-2 mark with an earned run average of 3.74. The Upland, CA native struck out 63 batters and walked just 20 in 89.0 innings in earning Second-Team All-Big West honors.

Montgomery was the Highlanders’ Friday night starter for most of the season before an injury forced him out of the rotation. The junior from Sun City, CA finished the year with a 2-2 mark and a 4.55 ERA. He struck out 18 and walked 8 in 31.2 innings.

The Colorado Rockies chose pitcher Paul Bargas in the 13th round of the draft. The Riverside junior had a 5-3 record in 2009 and an ERA of 4.44. He walked just nine hitters in 75.0 innings.

Center fielder Carl Uhl became the first UCR position player selected in the draft when the Philadelphia Phillies took him with an 18th round pick. Uhl finished his Highlanders career as the teams Division-I era leader in runs scored and earned All-Big West Second-Team honors in 2009 after pacing UC Riverside in hits, runs scored, doubles, triples and steals while finishing second in OPS and on base percentage and tying for second on the squad in homers.

The Minnesota Twins took freshman Tommy Mackoul in the 20th round, and the Milwaukee Brewers chose senior Ryan Platt in the 27th. Mackoul redshirted the 2008 season for the Highlanders and made two appearances in 2009. Platt went 4-0 on the year leading the team with 67 strikeouts in 65.0 innings pitched while posting a 4.15 ERA.