Cal State San Bernardino pitcher Matt LeVert lands contract

Matt LeVert

Senior right-hander Matt LeVert woke up Wednesday morning to the most important phone call of his life.

LeVert, who spent all four seasons of college baseball at Cal State San Bernardino, has agreed to a free-agent minor league contract with the Tampa Bay Rays.

He reports to the Rays’ Gulf Coast League affiliate in Port Charlotte, Fla., on Sunday.

“When I heard who was on the phone and what it was about, I woke up pretty quickly,’’ he said. “He asked me if I was interested and in shape and ready to go. Right after I said, ‘Yes’, he told me I had a contract.’’

The Gulf Coast League plays a 60-game schedule that begins Monday through late August.  Teams are comprised mainly of players drafted in this month’s entry draft and free agents.

LeVert led the Coyotes in saves (three) this past season and ended his career with eight.


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Cody Ponce officially signs with the Milwaukee Brewers organization

Courtesy of Dave Coggins

Courtesy of Dave Coggins

Cody Ponce of Cal Poly Pomona has officially signed with the Milwaukee Brewers organization.
Ponce was taken in the second round of the 2015 MLB Draft out of Cal Poly Pomona.

He will begin his professional career as a member of the Helena Brewers, which is a rookie affiliate of the Brewers.

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USA Women’s Volleyball team to play China at Cal State San Bernardino

Big time volleyball comes to Coussoulis Arena at Cal State San Bernardino at 7 p.m. Friday. The women’s national teams from China and the United States square off in the final match of the USA Volleyball Cup.

The United States team, coached by Karch Kiraly, is the top-ranked team in the world while Chino is currently No. 3.

If the previous matches are any indication, Inland Empire volleyball enthusiasts will be in for quite a show. The teams played on Tuesday in front of 3,600 spectators at UC Irvine and it was China prevailing 3-2, winning the decisive fifth set 17-15.

This will be the fourth and final match of the series. The teams started the series in Hawaii, splitting two matches with each country getting a 3-0 sweep.

“We have reached out to USA volleyball to try and get events here before and this is the first time we were able to work something out,” Cal State San Bernardino coach Kim Cherniss said. “This is as big as the Olympic basketball team or hockey team and it’s the year before the Olympics. It is exciting to have an event of this caliber here.”

The event was the idea of Craig Thompson, CEO of Mindspring Sport who took the idea to Kiraly. Both thought some sort of international competition would help grow the sport but also help serve as tune-ups for the respective national teams.

“This is great competition and gives the coach a chance to experiment with a lineup without worrying about it winning or losing a major international event like the Olympics,” Thompson said. “It’s also great way to get our sport out there and have our target audience get a close-up look at our Olympic athletes.”

This is the third year of the USA Volleyball Cup with the USA playing Japan in the first in 2013 and Brazil last year.

Earlier this month the USA Team held a scrimmage at Rancho Cucamonga High School that drew almost 3,000. Thompson is hoping that same kind of crowd shows up for the final showdown against China.

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