Melendez: Team bonding ignites title run for Arcadia


This column appeared on Page C3 in the Star-News sports section on Friday, May 15

Oh, how fitting.

It was just a few months ago when the Arcadia High School baseball team took a bonding trip down to San Onofre State Beach on the grounds of Camp Pendleton.

There, the Apaches were met by Technical Sgt. Michael Muller of the Air Force, Gunnery Sgt. Brian Vargyas of the Marine Corps and Sgt. Nathan Glaw and Sgt. Brian Brimager.

Arcadia spent a weekend there.

The purpose? To bond and learn about accountability.

The Apaches left the camp with a new understanding and admiration for the men and women in the Armed Forces.

Almost as importantly, they learned a lot about themselves outside the realm of baseball.
When the Apaches host Crescenta Valley tonight at 7, Sgt. Vargyas will toss out the first pitch alongside Arcadia legendary coach John Meiers who devoted more than two decades as the Apaches coach.

Arcadia clinched at least a share of the Pacific League title for the first time in six years after Tuesday’s 5-1 win over Pasadena, but can clinch outright with a win tonight.
Surely, the Apaches will draw inspiration from the men who helped them learn to bond, among other things.

“Our season concluded with a Pacific League title but it began with a team-unity trip to Camp Pendleton,” Arcadia assistant coach Valentin Lopez said.

Continue reading “Melendez: Team bonding ignites title run for Arcadia” »

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Maranatha has reason to celebrate, wins titles

Going on hour No. 12 for the day. Not quite running on fumes (yet) so I thought I’d bring a brief recap of Thursday’s thrilling game at Downey before I leave the office.

Maranatha blew a five run lead in the sixth and came back in the eighth to win, 15-14, over Calvary Chapel to clinch a third straight Alpha League championship. Cory Popham held an, 8-5, lead in the sixth, and as Minutemen coach Brian DeHaan said, Maranatha (21-5, 10-2) tried to give it away. The Minutemen gave up eight runs in the sixth to go down, 11-8. In the top of the seventh, Dylan Covey led off with a base hit, Popham came up with a base hit, too, and Jordan Calloway’s double scored Covey and Popham to make it, 11-10. In the eighth, Danny Beckwith led off with a base hit and Matt Chavez also got on base. Covey hit a three-run home run to help Maranatha retake the lead, 14-11. Calloway later scored on Schafer Chulay’s base hit to make it, 15-11. But Calvary Chapel (17-6, 9-3) wouldn’t go away. They scored three more runs before Covey struck out three to record the win. The bats came alive for Maranatha tonight. Chulay went 3-for-4, Covey went 3-for-5 with two home runs and Beckwith went 3-for-5 as well. “We gave them a lot of outs in the eighth,” DeHaan said. It’s unclear where Maranatha will finish in the final CIF-Southern Section Division V Coaches’ Top 10 poll. San Jacinto likely will finish on top after finishing the season with a 23-0 record. Marantha seems to have a nemesis in every sport, from football (St. Margaret’s) to baseball (San Jacinto). They beat Maranatha two seasons ago, 5-2, in the second round of the playoffs and won again last year, 3-2, in eight innings in the Division VI championship game. Despite moving up a division, DeHaan feels the Minutemen are contenders again. “I think we’re peaking at the right time. You plan your season and you hope as you end the season you peak, and for us to win three games last week and to have to win two this week and to win in the fashion that we did was just amazing. We hope to ride ride that momentum in the playoffs.” Maranatha ends the regular-season on a five-game winning streak that included a 12-2 drubbing over Calvary Chapel on Tuesday night at Jackie Robinson Stadium. Maranatha will probably be seeded three but DeHaan is hoping for a No. 2 seed. If he gets his wish, the Minutemen will play against a team that will have to advance out of the wild-card round. You can bet DeHaan & Co. will be at that game.

On a related note, the Maranatha boys and girls swimming teams are bringing home CIF titles. Here’s an early excerpt of what’s coming in Friday’s pages:

It takes more than club swimmers to win CIF-Southern Section championships.

Sure, those swimmers garner the big points in the big meets, but it’s the part-time swimmers who must come through in the clutch to win CIF-SS titles.

The Maranatha High School club swimmers did what they were supposed to do in the Division IV finals on Thursday evening at Mt. SAC, but it was the Minutemen’s lesser-known swimmers, providing key swims in the relay races, who provided the the program, in its fifth year, with its first CIF-SS title.

The Maranatha girls opened the meet with a win in the 200 medley relay and finished the meet with a win in the 400 freestyle relay. Club swimmer Isabella Schamber, a freshman, won the 200 individual medley in 2:11.04 and took second in the 100 breaststroke in 1:07.98.

Maranatha’s Jonathan Masehi-Lano won the 100 breast in 59.13 and also took second in the 200 IM in 1:57.91.


PREP SWIMMING: Maranatha swimmers come up big (Star-News)

PREP SWIMMING: La Caada’s Geyer wrapping up stellar career (Star-News)

PREP SWIMMING: La Caada’s Geyer wins fourth consecutive Div. II title (L.A. Daily News)

PREP SWIMMING: La Caada boys seek a fast finish in Div. II (L.A. Daily News)

PREP SWIMMING: Mt. SAC fills in as host for CIF meet (San Gabriel Valley Tribune)

PREP SWIMMING: Shields breaks national record (Orange County Register)

VIDEO: CIF-SS Division I Boys Finals preview (Orange County Register)

VIDEO: CIF-SS Division I Girls Finals preview (Orange County Register)

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Baseball: Gabrielino rides frehsman pitcher Angel Acosta to win, 5-1, and claim Mission Valley League title; Monrovia clinches RHL with 12-1 win over South Pas; San Marino beats La Caada, 8-2, settles for second

Above: Freshman Angel Acosta kept his emotions in check throughout the game, but there was no stopping him after the final out was recorded.


RELATED LINK: Acosta paces Gabrielino in title clincher

Just got back from a hot day of watching some good baseball in San Gabriel for the South El Monte-Gabrielino showdown. There was a lot of hype surrounding freshman sensation Angel Acosta, and he didn’t disappoint. He struck out 13 batters, allowed just one run on nine hits and went the distance to lead Gabrielino to a 5-1 win to help the Eagles win their third straight Mission Valley League title. Acosta helped his own cause in the fifth with a two-RBI double to score Rong Huang and Brendan Campbell to make it, 2-1. Acosta, the team’s leading-hitter, finished the game going 2-for-3. Gabrielino coach Joe Laski in his six years at Gabrielino has never started a freshman, but this season he’s starting two. Campbell is also a freshman starting at shortstop. He went 3-for-3 today. Both teams recorded nine hits but Acosta proved to be too much, getting ahead of hitters on seemingly everyone who stepped up to the plate. A wild pitch in the sixth helped Keith Clapp score from third, but it was Matt Lok who kept things alive in that inning for Gabrielino. He took seven pitches and on the eighth pitch got an RBI single that scored Huang to give the Eagles a 4-1 lead. Talking to South El Monte coach Gilbert Adame after the game and he said he’s seen some great pitchers in his time, including Rey Aguilar who pitched at South El Monte and earned All-MVL honors for four seasons. Against Gabrielino his senior season, Adame struck out 35 batters and allowed one hit in two games vs. Gabrielino. Surely, they were happy to see him graduate. He went on to play in the Braves organization and retired from Triple A ball in the Angels organization. Adame also added that Acosta is as good as this kid “Carranza” who pitched for Mountain View and graduated “five or six years ago,” according to Adame. Carranza, too, was a four-time All-Mission Valley League honoree.

By the way, here’s what Robledo had on his blog earlier today:

Mission Valley League baseball title: What’s better than a win-or-go-home championship game at the end of the season. South El Monte (11-6, 10-4) is at Gabrielino (13-11, 10-4) for all the marbles. South won the first meeting 9-4, then Gabrielino came back and won the second game 9-4, too. Anything can happen, there is no dominant pitcher, which makes this wild race to the finish even better. I bet the South takes it, 8-6.

No dominant pitcher? I think Robledo has been drinking too much Kool-Aid. I gotta stop spotting him drinks …

After the game I got on Huntington Drive and cruised on over to San Marino High since it was on my way back to the office. Almost everyone was gone and ran into a few parents. The entire team was still there hanging out in the dugout. Chris Warren allowed two runs in the first but settled down, pitching a complete game to lead the Titans to an 8-2 win over La Caada. The game was tied, 2-2, through five innings before San Marino erupted for six runs in the sixth. San Marino finishes in second place after learning that Monrovia scored nine runs in the first en route to a 12-1 win over South Pasadena. The Wildcats clinched their fourth straight Rio Hondo League title. And so after the dust settles we still don’t know if La Caada will get into the playoffs. Not sure what the loss means for the Spartans but this one was tough because they end the season on a losing note, and who knows how CIF will look upon that. Too bad if La Caada doesn’t get invited to the Big Show.

RELATED LINK: South Pasadena stumbles, loses 12-1

Time to start writing my gamer and finish my column. If you have any questions I’ll be here at the office a couple more hours. Feel free to drop a line.

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Football: Temple City dropped SG, not La Salle. My bad.

Note: Writing in today’s paper that Temple City dropped La Salle from its schedule was a typo on my part. I must have had La Salle on my mind yesterday (baseball, calling coach Peterson, etc.) and it just slipped. Temple City dropped San Gabriel, not La Salle. Thanks to those who pointed it out to me and left comments and messages on my inbox and voicemail. On another note, I had no idea how much I missed covering high school football. It surprised the heck out of me. With baseball/softball playoffs underway (along with swimming, tennis and track) it’s almost impossible to write 2-3 stories a day plus cover the blog AND be on top of spring ball. Bare with me a little and I’ll bring you guys some more football news as I get to talking with more coaches. I put in a call to Monrovia, La Salle, Muir and Pasadena. The Arcadia-TC story hopefully got the ball rolling

They’re calling it the “Brawl for The Mall.”

It doesn’t exactly scream crosstown rivalry per se, but for now it’ll suffice.

Temple City High School dropped San Gabriel from its football schedule this season and will instead play Arcadia in Week 3.

This series is not new, though its seemingly long absence sure makes it feel that way.

“I’ve been here 14 years now, so when I was here that was always a big rivalry game,” Apaches coach Jon Dimalante said. “It took a little rest because it got out of hand.”

Dimalante will stick to his true colors as an Apache but still will be somewhat at a crossroads being that he lives in Temple City.

“It’ll be exciting for both programs,” he said. “When we’re not playing against them I wish them success.”

On one end of the field will be Dimalante, a veteran in the coaching ranks, well-known and highly respected by his colleagues.

On the other side of the field will be Rams coach Anthony White, who is in his first job as a head coach.

Continue reading “Football: Temple City dropped SG, not La Salle. My bad.” »

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Swimming: All CIF Prelims and Finals moved to Mt. SAC

Due to continuing problems at the Belmont Plaza pool’s pump system, the remaining CIF-Southern Section prelims and finals have been moved to Mt. SAC.

Event and race times are still the same and are as follows:

Division III Prelims – Today, competition starting at 10 a.m.
Division IV Finals – Today, competition starting at 6 p.m.
Division II Prelims – Friday, competition starting at 10 a.m.
Division I Finals – Friday, competition starting at 6 p.m.
Division III Finals – Saturday, competition starting at 10 a.m.
Division II Finals – Saturday, competition starting at 4 p.m.


PREP SWIMMING: Maranatha favorites in D4 swimming finals

PREP SWIMMING: Pasadena Poly’s Saeta not feeling the pressure

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