Redlands baseball team headed to Texas

The University of Redlands baseball team is headed to McMurry University in Abilene, Tex. for the NCAA Division III West Regional. It will be the first playoff appearance for the Bulldogs since 2006.

Redlands (29-11) will open tournament play at 5 p.m. on Wednesday against Trinity (Tex.).

Redlands, Concordia (Tex.), Linfield (Ore.), and Trinity all garnered automatic qualification to the NCAA tournament by winning their conference titles or tournaments. At-large qualifiers Texas-Tyler and Chapman round out the six-team field.

“We’re excited and we’re ready to go,” Bulldogs coach Scott Laverty said. “This regional is going to have five of the top 15 teams in the country so who ever gets out of here is going to feel pretty good about their chances at nationals.”

Laverty said senior Derek Johnson (12-2, 2.45), who leads all Division III in wins, will be his stater in the opener with sophomore Kyle Hart (9-2, 3.74) going in the second game.

Catching up on Friday’s college playoff action

It’s that time of year when teams are battling for survival. A whole host of local teams were in action on Friday. Oh where to start . . .

The toughest loss of the day was that by the University of Redlands softball team which lost to host Texas-Tyler in a 15-inning extravanganza. The Bulldogs were on the brink of defeat until Sarah Beeman knocked in two runs with a double in the seventh and Redlands led 5-4.

Not so fast. Tyler then scored one. On they went.

In the ninth Lizett Casillas hit a grand slam home run, 9-5 visitors lead. Home team answeres with four. On they went.

Tyler eventually won it in the 15th on a solo home run. The Bulldogs played the equivalent of two games and must somehow find the energy to play a morning elimination game on Saturday.

It wasn’t good news for the other local team playing there. Claremont-Mudd-Scripps lost to Louisiana College 8-3 and are one loss from being done.

 On a brighter note, the Cal State San Bernardino softball team picked up a huge win in its regional playoff opener, upending defending national champion Hawaii Pacific 3-2 in eight innings behind the pitching of senior Cassidy Lee.

In baseball, Cal Poly Pomona remained alive, turning back Sonoma State 11-4 behind the hitting machine that is Travis Taijeron. The Broncos are in the loser’s bracket playing Chico State in an elimination game.

In golf Claremont-Mudd-Scripps’ Tain Lee finished second in the national championship tournament in Greensboro, N.C. He was ninth as a freshman and won it last year as a sophomore. That’s quite a resume already.

University of Redlands was 10th, making its sixth top 10 finish in right years. University of La Verne was 15th.


Cal State softball team gets regional bid

The Cal State San Bernardino softball team is back in the NCAA playoffs for the only the second time and the first since 2008.

The seventh-seeded Coyotes (32-22) are headed to Kaneohe, Hawaii and will open play Friday against second-seeded and defending national champion Hawaii Pacific (37-10).

There will be two four-team double-elimination West Regionals, one hosted by Hawaii Pacific and the other by Chico State. The teams that emerge from each of those competitions will square off in a best-of-three series.

“We’re excited,” Coyotes coach Tacy Duncan <NO1>name is right <NO>said. “Our conference is very tough, so we feel like that has really prepared us for the postseason.”

The Coyotes played the Sea Warriors, winners of the Pacific West Conference, on April 2 in a tournament on a neutral field and Hawaii Pacific emerged with an 8-6 win. Having seen the opponent is reason for Duncan to be optimistic.

“We played them in a close game and we didn’t even use our best pitcher,” Duncan said while referring to senior Cassidy Lee. “She has been pitching great and we’re confident with her out there.”

Cal State, led by All-CCAA selections Priscilla Curiel, Jacquelyn Holtzclaw, Jamie Leffingwell and Brittney Butler, is one of four teams from the CCAA to advance.

Sonoma State (36-20) is in the same bracket with the Coyotes and will face Dixie State (33-12) while Chico State (29-17) and UC San Diego (36-13) will compete at Chico. Western Washington (36-14) and Central Washington (33-14) round out the field at Chico.

The only other time the Coyotes competed in the regional they went 2-2 in the tournament held at Humboldt State.


Cal Poly player in the running for national award

Travis Taijeron of the Cal Poly Pomona baseball team was named by the College Baseball Lineup as a semifinalist for the 2011 Division II Tino Martinez Award. The honor will be presented to the most outstanding player in D-II college baseball.

The annual honor is named after the former University of Tampa Spartan, United States Olympian, first round draft pick and MLB All-Star, Tino Martinez.

Taijeron leads the California Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA) in homeruns with 14, which puts him 18th nationally. In leading the Broncos to the conference tournament, which will be held in Stockton, Calif., this week, the senior outfielder hit .459 in the final month of the regular season.

The San Diego native is a three-time CCAA Player of the Week and his 30 career homeruns ranks second all-time in the CPP record books.

The 47 semi-finalists for the Tino Martinez Award represent 41 different schools from across the nation. Each of the eight geographic regions are represented, with a minimum of five players selected from each area.

Five players comprise the semifinalists from the Atlantic, East and West Regions, six student-athletes make up the list from the Midwest and Central, and six players have been included from the South, South Central and Southeast.

The finalists are scheduled to be named on Thursday, May 19. The winner will be announced after the conclusion of the DII Baseball Championship held in Cary, N.C., from May 28 to June 4.


Cal Poly Pomona pitcher honored

Cal Poly Pomona right-hander Erick Ruvalcaba has been named the Wilson/California Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA) Pitcher of the Week for the week of May 2 to May 9,

Ruvalcaba, a junior from Whittier, turned in a big-time effort in Friday’s series opener against Cal State L.A. With the Broncos seeking a win to enhance their chances of earning a CCAA Tournament berth, Ruvalcaba hurled a complete-game three-hit shutout against the Golden Eagles.

In nine innings of work, Ruvalcaba walked two and struck two as he pitched the Broncos to a 6-0 victory that helped CPP earn a series split and a CCAA Tournament berth.

Cal Poly Pomona, seeded fourth in the CCAA Tournament, will face No. 1 seed UC San Diego Thursday at 3 p.m. The double-elimination tournament runs Thursday through Saturday at the University of the Pacific’s Klein Family Field in Stockton.


Wilson/CCAA Pitcher of the Week

Jan. 31 – Feb. 6: Branden Petrangelo (San Francisco State);

Feb. 7-13: Daniel Simmons (UC San Diego);

Feb. 14-20: Tim Shibuya (UC San Diego);

Feb. 21-27: Scott Tully (Cal State Monterey Bay);

Feb. 28 – Mar. 6: Gabriel Asakura (Cal State L.A.);

Mar. 7-13: Nick Rodarte (Cal State L.A.);

Mar. 14-20: Aaron Appino (Cal State Monterey Bay);

Mar. 21-27: Andrew Stueve (Cal State Stanislaus);

Mar. 28 – Apr. 3: Vinny Pacchetti (Cal State Stanislaus);

Apr. 4-10: Gabriel Asakura (Cal State L.A.);

Apr. 11-17: Guido Knudson (UC San Diego);

Apr. 18-24: Aaron Brooks (Cal State San Bernardino);

Apr. 25-May 1: AJ Comaskey (San Francisco State);

May 2-9: Erick Ruvalcaba (Cal Poly Pomona).

Chaffey stunned in playoff opener

The Chaffey College baseball team headed into the playoffs for the eighth straight year in better position than it has ever been in before. The Panthers were seeded No. 2 and were taking on a No. 15 Southwestern squad which was third in its conference and had to win a play-in game on Tuesday just to get a chance to face the Panthers.

And Chaffey had won 17 of its previous 19 games so it had been playing well.

But it was the Jaguars pulling off the upset 8-5 in the opener of a best-of-three series at Chaffey. The Panthers didn’t play poorly but the visitors played slightly better.

Game two is at 11 a.m. today with a deciding game to follow if necessary.

So it’s gut-check time for the Panthers.Even in winning efforts they have made things look difficult this season. Now their backs are really to the wall.

There is something about not getting over the hump at this school. It has happened in a lot of sports. But in the case of softball, that team typically just gets in and draws a No. 1 seed so it isn’t supposed to win.

The men’s basketball team has had some tough first round foes though it got over the hump this year.

We’ll find out what the Panthers are made of today..


Damien High product wins Big West honor

Sophomore Matt Whitehouse of UC Irvine was named the Big West Pitcher of the Week after a career outing Sunday to clinch a series win for the Anteaters.
Whitehouse, a Diamond Bar resident who graduated form Damien High School, hurled eight outstanding innings of three-hit ball in UC Irvine’s 7-0 shutout of Cal State Bakersfield in the rubber game of the series. 

 He set career highs for innings pitched and strikeouts with seven and did not allow a walk in a 106-pitch effort. 

 The Roadrunners had scored a combined 11 runs in the previous two games before Whitehouse stifled their offense.  He lowered his ERA to 1.54 and remained undefeated at 3-0 in five starts. 

 In 16 appearances, Whitehouse has limited the opposition to a .175 batting average. Whitehouse’s Sunday win marks the second time the lefty’s performance on the mound clinched a series win for the ‘Eaters.
The Big West honor is the first for Whitehouse and fourth for the Anteaters this season. 

Barstow player decides on Fresno State

Barstow College basketball standout Daquan Brown is headed to Fresno State. Brown was an All-Foothill Conference selection, averaging 11.7 points and 9.8 rebounds in helping the Vikings to their first playoff berth.

Brown, 21, also visited San Jose State, Pepperdine and Boise State before settling on the Bulldogs. He admits he liked Pepperdine but living in that area was going to be a little too costly. San Jose State seemed like an option since he has a teammate going there but it rained his entire visit.

“I took that as a sign,” he said.

“Fresno State just seemed like the best place for me,” he said.

Brown, who plans to major in criminology, had originally signed with Oklahoma State out of high school but didn’t get through the academnic clearinghouse. He ended up at Barstow through the college’s assistant coach Kenneth Roy who knew him from the AAU circuit.

“I thought my basketball career was over so it’s nice to be going on to a Division I school,” he said. “Everything worked out in th end.”

Brown’s decision gives the Vikings two Division I players. Earlier guard La Vanne Pennington decided on San Jose State. Give coach Reggie Howard credit for reviving a program that had been in the tank and moving quality players on to the next level as well.