Damien pitcher Matt Amrhein commits to Cal Baptist

Damien High School pitcher Matt Amrhein has committed to NCAA Division II Cal Baptist.

He was the solid No. 2 pitcher for the Spartans behind senior left-hander Nick Lodolo and helped give Damien a formidable 1-2 punch on the mound. He was 6-1 in Baseline League play, helping the Spartans to their first league title since 2004.

He was also considering Cal State Monterey Bay and Colorado at Colorado Springs, both also Division II schools.

He liked the offerings at Cal Baptist and the fact that is was close to home. He also visited Monterey Bay.

“It really felt like home there and I like that my family will be able to come see me play,” said Amrhein, a 6-foot right-hander.

He is the latest local player to join the Riverside-based college. Teammate Harrison Spohn has committed to the school, although he is just a junior. Rancho Cucamonga’s Logan Rinehart has also signed there.

Amrhein was a first team All-Baseline League and second-team All-Inland Valley selection. He was also a second team pick in football, excelling as kicker.




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John Hermosillo named head baseball coach at Diamond Ranch

John Hermosillo has been named baseball coach at Diamond Ranch.

Hermosillo, 37, had served as an assistant coach at Diamond Bar the last four years. Before that he spent three years as head coach at La Puente and spent from 2003 to 2005 as pitching coach at Damien.

He’ll be attempting to revive a program that went 10-17 overall the past season including a 3-12 and last-place showing in the Hacienda League.

“The biggest thing will be establishing a rapport with the kids and generating some enthusiasm and pride,” he said.

Hermosillo is a 1995 graduate of Garey and now works as a teacher in the Pomona Unified School District.

He was a pitcher and first baseman in his playing days which included two years at Imperial Valley Community College, then two years at NCAA Division II Augusta State (Ga.). He was a Division II All-American his senior year.

He is looking forward to the challenge that faces him.

“There is some talent but the team hasn’t been up to par,” he said. “I can’t really say how many games I think we can win but we should be able to compete and that’s the important thing.”

Charter Oak and Walnut tied for first place in the league the past season and usually loom as the top contenders.

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Chino Hills’ Meghan Buzzerio transfers from Arizona to Iowa

Volleyball standout Meghan Buzzerio of Chino Hills is transferring from University of Arizona to Iowa.

Buzzerio, the Inland Valley Player of the Year as a senior at Chino Hills High School in 2014, red-shirted at Arizona last year so she will still have four years of eligibility remaining.

“I really liked the school, it just didn’t work out for me volleyball-wise,” she said. “I thought it was best to go somewhere I’d be part of the bigger picture.”

Buzzerio, a 6-foot-1 outside hitter, had committed to Arizona as a sophomore.  She said the fact that she red-shirted this year did not factor into the decision since most recruits going into major programs end up doing that as well.

She visited Iowa and liked what the school had to offer. The coaching staff there had previously been at Marquette and had tried to recruit Buzzerio to that school in the first place.

Buzzerio is already in Iowa. She had originally planned on taking summer classes but it working out with the team and helping the staff there conduct summer camps.

“I really felt like they had a plan for me,” she said. “They sat down with me and said this is where we see you in two years, in three years and this is how you’re going to get there. ”

Of course going further from home might make it tough since Buzzerio comes from a close-knit family.

“That will be a little tough but we have all talked about it and this is for the best. I’m excited about the opportunity there,” she said.

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Etiwanda’s Tyler Freeman makes prestigious USA 17-under squad

Etiwanda High School’s Tyler Freeman is among the players named to USA Baseball’s 2016 17U National Team Development Program (NTDP).

The team consists of 40 players and 28 alternates and was named after the conclusion of the 17U East and West National Team Championships in Florida and Arizona.

Players will move on to the week-long 2016 17U National Team Development Program to be held in Chicago, Ill., from July 18-22.

The National Team Development Program provides athletes the chance to connect with USA Baseball staff to better prepare for future national team experience. The program includes skill development sessions, off-field education seminars and intrasquad games

Athletes were chosen based on their participation and performance at USA Baseball sanctioned events, including the USA Baseball National Team Championships and the National Team Identification Series (NTIS).

Freeman just rounded out his junior year. The first-team All-Inland Valley selection hit .388 (33 for 85) with 29 runs scored, 17 RBIs, 11 doubles, 3 home runs and 13 stolen bases. He has committed to Texas Christian University.

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Here’s to some senior athletes who provided us with great moments the last four years

It is always fun to look back when a school year is over and reflect on the individuals and teams that made it a memorable run.

So just for fun here are athletes I’ll miss covering next year. Nothing against those not singled out here because I have enjoyed my interactions with all the coaches and athletes in the Inland Valley.

But there are some that have been so successful since their freshman year I have had more dealings with them then most. So here goes.

Damien High's Bryce Peters (#23), right, speeds down court with Rancho Cucamonga High's Daniel Embry (#40) in tow at Damien's La Verne, Calif. campus gym January 12, 2016. (Photo by Leo Jarzomb/San Gabriel Valley Tribune)

Bryce Peters, Damien basketball
He was a key player as a junior in helping the Spartans to a state championship but probably didn’t get the credit he deserved because of the more heralded seniors around him. This year he excelled in a starring role and it was nice to see him flourish in that role. He’s headed to Colorado State.

Rancho Cucamonga Kylie Miller is Inland Valley Daily Bulletin Volleyball Player of Year.

Kylie Miller, Rancho Cucamonga volleyball
She was a four-time first team All-Inland Valley selection and that’s an accolade very few can claim. There are few athlete more humble or soft-spoken but her talent did the talking. The Under Armour All-American is headed to UCLA.

Colony's Josh Thompson (#12) scrambles out of the pocket looking to pass against Kaiser during the first half of Friday's CIF-SS Central Division first round playoff game at Colony High School in Ontario, Ca., November 13, 2015. (Photo by John Valenzuela/ Inland Valley Daily Bulletin)

Josh Thompson, Colony football
Grabbed the starting job early his sophomore year and never gave it up, leading Titans to a CIF title as a junior. Oh, and he did that in the title game after missing a month with a separated shoulder. He is about as tough as they come. I will never forget a Pomona player grabbing him by the face mask with such ferocity it turned the helmet all the way around. He got up without skipping a beat and was ready for the next play. He’s headed to Dixie State.


Upland High School’s Jacob Beltran had a seizure on Wednesday and a 10-hour surgery to resolve a vein issue. He was selected the SoCal Prep Legends Most Inspirational Athlete this month,

Jacob Beltran, Upland baseball
How can you not root for a kid that had brain surgery and went from having to learn to walk again to returning to the playing field in seven months. We have all heard the tragic stories of athletes who collapsed on the playing field and didn’t make it. So it is nice to have a happy ending. He’s probably headed to a community college, since he missed is entire junior season.

Michael Dean

Mikey Dean, Chaffey football/track
Who doesn’t love Mikey Dean? Guys that small shouldn’t be able to do what he does both on the football field and the track. Rushing for a ton of yardage is one thing. But taking up a new track event – long jump – this year and then placing at state in California which has so many elite athletes. Well, that pretty much says it all. He is headed to Idaho State where he’ll compete in both sports.


Chino Hills’ Lonzo Ball (#2), drives to the basket against Immanuel High School during the frist half of Friday’s CIF-SS Open Division State Playoff game at Chin Hills High Schoolin Chino Hills , Ca, Friday, March 11, 2016. (Photo by John Valenzuela/Inland Valley Daily Bulletin)

Lonzo Ball, Chino Hills basketball
There isn’t much to say that hasn’t already been said. I have been covering high school sports for 30 or so years (yes I am aging myself) but I have never enjoyed watching a player or a team as much as I did the Ball and the Huskies. The last thing I remember close was seeing Deion Sanders in high school in my Florida tenure. I definitely don’t remember the last time i saw an athlete with such a complete skill set at such a young age. Can’t wait to see Lonzo doing his thing at Pauley Pavilion for the UCLA Bruins.

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Local athletic directors among those honored by CIF

The CIF Southern Section has started a program to honor athletic directors at its member high schools for the 2015-2016 school year.

Recipients were chosen based on criteria set out a year ago:

Here is the list of those honored with locals denoted in bold. They are in alphabetical order by school:

Arlington – Maurizio Dubuisson
Bishop Montgomery – Eric Wood
Burroughs (Ridgecrest) – Robert Campbell
Cajon – Rich Imbriani
Calabasas – Cpry Chandler
Cate – Wade Ransom
Centennial (Corona) – Bill Gunn
Chino Hills – Phil Garcia
Corona del Mar – Don Grable
Crespi – Russell White
Damien – Jeff Grant
Don Bosco Tech – Chris Shockley
Edison – Rich Boyce
El Rancho – Ray Elliott
Excelsior Charter – Jennifer Evans
Fountain Valley – Steve Eggert
Gladstone – Chuck Shore
Glendora – Rod Tilton
Godinez – Lisa Treen
Huntington Beach – Melissa Vandenbosch
Irvine – John Phillips
Jurupa Hills – Kristen Braun
Jurupa Valley – Mark Gard
La Puente – Jim Lane
La Sierra – Norman Diaz
Leuzinger – Marlon Mendez
Los Osos – Tom Martinez
Marina – Michelle Spencer
Marlborough – David Colicutt
Monrovia – Randy Bell
North (Riverside) – Michael Breyer
Oak Hills – Darren Goodman
Oxnard – Rick Garcia
Paloma Valley – Michael Pfeiffer
Poly (Riverside) – James Vaughan
Ramona – John Tibbets
Redlands – Pat Hafley
Rubidoux – Ed Luna
San Dimas – Nicki Bonomo
St. Anthony – Brian Walsh
Thousand Oaks – Gary Wallin
Trinity Classical – Matthew Dixon
Villa Park – Tom Fox

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Cal State San Bernardino’s William Oulette signs with Blue Jays

William Ouellette

Right-hander William Ouellette earned his shot at playing professional baseball this spring with a solid effort as Cal State San Bernardino’s closer.

It paid off as he signed with the Toronto Blue Jays as a free agent. He has reported to the Blue Jays’ Gulf Coast League affiliate based in Dunedin, Fla.

Ouellette was 2-0 with a 2.50 ERA in 18 innings and 14 games for the Coyotes, who reached the CCAA Tournament for the first time in four seasons this spring. He had six saves, finishing fifth in the CCAA in that category,

Ouellette, a product of Corona Centennial who also attended Citrus College, earned All-CCAA and All-West Region honors at shortstop for the Coyotes in 2014.

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Softball’s Snow sisters of Chino Hills headed to Auburn

Chino Hills High School senior softball player Tannon Snow, 17, has been selected as the 2015 Inland Valley Daily Bulletin Softball Player of the Year. June 11, 2015 (Will Lester/Inland Valley Daily Bulletin)

The Snow sisters are taking their talents to the Southeastern Conference – Auburn to be exact.

Tannon, who set a state records for home runs and RBI both in a single season season and a career at Chino Hills, just rounded out her freshman season at the University of Washington while younger sister Taylon just finished her junior year at Chino Hills High School.

Tannon did get a release from Washington earlier this month so she will be eligible to play next year for the Tigers. She was appreciative of the fact that school granted her one. That isn’t always the case for high-profile players that end up finding out their first choice wasn’t the right fit.

If she had transferred to a school in the Pace-12 she would have had to sit out the season.

Chino Hills sophomore softball player Taylon Snow, 15. June 11, 2015 (Will Lester/Inland Valley Daily Bulletin)

“There were a lot of factors and it all just added up. It wasn’t a good fit,” she said. “I just wasn’t happy and couldn’t see staying there another three years.”

Snow had originally committed to Arizona State but that coaching staff left before she actually signed there and she ended up at Washington. That former coaching staff from Arizona State is now at Auburn so when she had to look elsewhere that was a natural selection.

Once she was granted the release she was able to seek out other options.

“They told me when they first recruited me they were always going to want me,” Snow said of the coaching staff at Auburn,

Of course the sisters wanted to go to the same school. The path for Taylon wasn’t quite so complicated since she had not yet signed.

The girls visited Auburn last week and felt like it was the right decision.

“It’s a real college town and they are very passionate about their sports,” Taylon said. “We really liked everything about it and we can’t wait to play there.”

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Carter shortstop Marcos Castanon commits to UC Riverside


Junior infielder of Marcos Castanon of Carter High School has committed to UC Riverside.

Castanon was named most valuable player in the Citrus Belt League this season, helping the Lions (21-7) to a share of the league title. He batted .416 with 19 runs scored, 20 RBI, 14 doubles 2 triples and a home run.

That was the only offer he had but felt good enough about the school he didn’t want to wait to see what else might come along in the coming school year.


“If that really feels like the right place to be why wait for something else?” he said. “I like what they are building there and there are a lot of Inland Empire guys there.  I love the school and the program.”

Castanon said the fact that former major league pitcher Troy Percival, himself an Inland Empire product, is heading the program was a definite factor. But he also singled out assistant Bryson LeBlanc who had been recruiting him since his freshman year.

“It isn’t just Percival, I really like the whole coaching staff,” he said.

Percival took over the program in late July of 2014. The Highlanders were 15-40 overall and 4-20 in Big West play in his first year, although he got the job late and had little chance to recruit.

UCR made great strides last season, finishing 26-29 overall and 12-12 in conference.

“I am looking forward to being part of program that is really building for the future,” he said.

Castanon plans to major in kinesiology.




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Stephen Gilling to replace Steve Baik at Chino Hills

There isn’t much more the Chino Hills boys basketball team could have done last year. The Huskies were 35-0, won league, state, regional and national championships. Perhaps win by a bigger margin. But the Huskies are going to try.

Stephen Gilling was named head coach today, replacing Steve Baik who served as head coach the last six years.

It was a good choice. Gilling is from the area, having graduated from nearby Ayala in 2005 where he excelled under then coach Tom Gregory.

He has also been on staff for the last two years so he knows the personnel and the style of play that has been the Huskies trademark. The school would have been stupid to look outside for a successor,

Gilling won’t be looking to put his own stamp on the program, He’ll go with what has worked. Chino Hills will run the same entertaining, up-tempo offense that made them a phenomenon across the country.

“If it’s working you don’t go out and change anything,” he said. “You can always be stronger, bigger, better. We’re going to go out and try and do it even better than we did last year.”

Indeed there will be pressure to repeat. The Huskies only graduated one player, although that player is Lonzo Ball, the straw that stirred the drink, so to speak.

The other two Ball brothers – senior LiAngelo and sophomore LaMelo will be back, as will be senior Eli Scott and sophomore Onyeka Okongwu who rounded out the starting lineup. All have multiple Division I offers with both the other Balls having committed to UCLA.

Nothing short of another title is expected.

The Huskies scored 100 points or more 18 times, tying a state record. That was a particularly impressive number given the caliber of competition the Huskies faced.
They won every playoff game by 20 points or more with no outcome more convincing than a 48-point win over national power Mater Dei which had been ranked as high as sixth nationally.

“We have the same expectations,” Gilling said. “That’s what we’re out there working hard toward. The guys are getting better.”

Gilling played guard for two years at Colorado State, then moved on to Long Beach State where he spent three years, the first as a red-shirt,

He is on the Chino Hills campus as an aide and was the person Baik endorsed as his successor.

“I’m excited about the opportunity and we’re looking forward to picking up where we left off last year,” he said.

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