BREAKING NEWS: La Salle’s Forillo throws a no-hitter

La Salle’s Allie Forillo flirted with a perfect game until the seventh inning. That’s when St. Monica’s Jackie Dansky, the penultimate batter and a substitute in the game, drew a walk to end Forillo’s bid for perfection. She got the next batter to pop up, ending the game and giving the Lancers a dominating 9-0 win over St. Monica in the Camino Real League opener Thursday afternoon at Latter Day Saints Church in Pasadena. It’s really been two great days of softball for me. First, I got to see Arcadia and Maranatha battle in an intense nonleague game Wednesday, and now La Salle. I asked Forillo how important was it for the Lancers to make a statement in the league opener. “It was really important because we wanted to show how good we really are,” she said. “We had redemption on our mind because of the way we played in the Duarte Tournament.” Forillo struck out 15 batters. She also went 2 for 4 with two RBIs to help her cause. La Salle takes part in the High Desert Tournament beginning tomorrow. They’ll spend the night and play a doubleheader Saturday before coming back that night, and return again Monday to finish the tournament. I’ll be off Friday and through the weekend. (I’m running on fumes after covering Pasadena boys basketball throughout the playoffs; covered their last four games in seven days and traveled over 700 miles in that run. It was fun, but also exhausting). I’ll post some threads Friday and Sunday to let you guys have at it, and we’ll get right back into it in full strength next week when Keith Lair also returns.

THURSDAY’S BOX SCORE
Camino Real League
La Salle 9, St. Monica 0

St. Monica 000 000 0 — 0 0 3
La Salle 103 203 X — 9 11 0

Alex Wolansky and Alex Villa; Allie Forillo and Stephanie Ferri
3B: Katie Smither (LS); 2B: Colleen McWilliams (LS); RBI: McWilliams (LS) 3.
Records: St. Monica 4-1, 0-1; La Salle 3-2, 1-0

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Baseball: Pitcher in coma after getting hit in the head

A Northern California high school pitcher is in a medically-induced coma after getting hit in the head by a line drive. The incident is re-igniting the call to ban metal bats in youth baseball.
(Video from The Associated Press).

The Monterey Herald is reporting that pitcher Gunnar Sandberg was taken to the emergency room at the hospital where he was assessed overnight, and was put in a temporary coma last week because of swelling of the brain. He underwent several CT scans before medical personnel determined the course of action.

The Marin Independent Journal also has a story on its Website.

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Baseball: Let’s clear up what happened in Elks Tourny

There’s been a lot of “he said, she said” as to why Arcadia and Monrovia didn’t play in the third-place game of the Elks Tournament. I wondered about it, too, and thought if they played it would have made for a really good game. It didn’t happen, and there is a reason to it. Arcadia expressed interest in moving the time to 3 p.m. at Monrovia. The Wildcats declined. Arcadia suggested moving it to 7 p.m. at Arcadia. The Wildcats declined. “We had some kids who were going to take the SATs,” Arcadia coach Nick Lemas said. “I wanted to play the best team out there, and Monrovia was the best team available. But we weren’t able to get our whole team. What’s the point if I don’t have my guys. I don’t think the kids should have been punished for taking the SATs.” Jeff Kim and Haram Park were two of the kids taking the SATs that morning, and Kim was salted to pitch in the third-place game. “I think the fans and kids would have enjoyed it,” Lemas said. “We got Pasadena Poly, who is a quality opponent, so it all worked out.” Monrovia also had some kids taking the SATs, but despite that there was no sense in moving the time of the game for a few players, given the schedule is made out since November and game officials are told ahead of time the final Saturday games are played at 11 a.m. “If you have a team like St. Francis or Arcadia or somebody else that can play at night, they ask us if we can move it and if the officials say yes, then they can move the game,” Monrovia co-head coach Brad Blackmore said. “Once Arcadia lost and we lost, we’re playing (Arcadia) at our place at 11 a.m.” So, because Monrovia is one of three host teams (Temple City and Alhambra are the others) the game is at Monrovia at 11 a.m. by default. There’s no budging there. Monrovia felt it didn’t have to move the game, no less its site. Both coaches agreed that at this point if they couldn’t come up with a resolution, then both teams would play teams that were available for their schedules. Monrovia played and beat Western Christian and Arcadia played and beat Pasadena Poly. Both teams got their fifth game in and worked their pitchers before the start of league. Monrovia opens Friday at home against South Pas. Arcadia opens on the 23rd at Hoover.

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Baseball: La Salle in St. Patty’s spirit, gives valiant effort

CLICK HERE FOR A PHOTO GALLERY OF WEDNESDAY’S LA SALLE-BISHOP AMAT GAME

By Fred J. Robledo, Staff Writer

LA PUENTE — Forgive La Salle High School baseball coach Harry Agajanian for being so blunt, but he acknowledged competing with Bishop Amat for several innings before falling, 8-3, in Wednesday’s Del Rey League opener was somewhat of a moral victory.

Just last week Bishop Amat (5-1, 1-0) advanced to the championship game of the prestigious Newport Elks tournament, where it lost to Orange Lutheran after four impressive wins that earned the Lancers a brief stay atop MaxPreps’ state poll.

“I’m proud of our guys,” Agajanian said. “They were on the road against a team that could potentially beat us up pretty good, but we hung in there and battled. We weren’t afraid to go pitch to pitch with those guys.

“This wasn’t a loss to us. This was a competitive fight and another step in our journey.”

With firepower such as catcher Jerry McClanahan, shortstop Rio Ruiz and outfielders Jay Anderson and Jordan McCraney, Amat unleashed a new weapon for opponents to think about in the form of junior Sebi Zavala, who was 3 for 3 with a double, single and two-run triple in the fourth inning. Last week Zavala hit three homers in a 7-2 win over Mater Dei.

Bishop Amat jumped to a 2-0 lead in first inning after Anderson led off with a triple to center. He was doubled home by Joe Eusebio, who advanced to third on a wild pitch and scored on McClanahan’s ground out.

It stayed that way until the fourth inning when Zavala tripled in two runs and scored on Jonathan Velasquez’s squeeze to make it 5-0.

“That triple to lead off the first was a catchable ball, our center fielder just misplayed it,” Agajanian said. “If we had kept the first inning to 0-0 it might have changed the complexity of the game.

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Football: You gotta love Mid-Valley Div. adding Almont

Click here for the division realignments for all sports starting in the fall

The Mid-Valley Division already is fun with the Rio Hondo League and Valle Vista’s battling it out for a spot in the finals, but now we get the likes of Alhambra and San Gabriel from the Almont and Maranatha out of the Olympic League. The new division realignments are good news for our side of town, but not so much for the guys over on the East. The move to send Charter Oak, South Hills and Damien was so bad that our Freddie Robledo was compelled to say as much to CIF asst. commissioner Rob Wigod in a heated debate over the phone on Monday. But what does this mean for the Mid Valley? Alhambra, San Gabriel, Schurr and Montebello get a chance to compete in a division they belong, but we’ll still have a San Dimas-Monrovia reunion come December.

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Baseball: Hawaii’s Kalani High enjoys trip to the WSGV

CLICK HERE FOR A PHOTO GALLERY OF TUESDAY’S KALANI-ALHAMBRA BASEBALL GAME

Alhambra played host to Hawaii’s Kalani High in a doubleheader on Tuesday. It was the first time Alhambra played an out-of-state game at Moor Field, and from the looks of it, it was quite the experience for Kalani. They went to Magic Mountain, toured Dodger Stadium and took a stroll down the Hollywood Walk of Fame. And no trip to California is validated until you try In-N-Out burgers and a little taste of The Hat. Kalani will play at Monrovia this afternoon before playing Beverly Hills and then heading off to Las Vegas for the culmination of their six-game trip. Our Nathan Cambridge covered the games and our Keith Birmingham was there to shoot the action.

ALHAMBRA — The Kalani Falcons crossed the ocean from their home in Honolulu, Hawaii, to start their weeklong, six-game mainland baseball swing with a Tuesday doubleheader against Alhambra at Moor Field.

“I think it’s a great experience for the kids. Our seniors, we wanted to get them some mainland exposure in case they go to college,” Kalani coach Shannon Hirai said. “It’s a chance for most of these guys to experience a college road trip. I wanted to try to give them that opportunity.”

Alhambra (6-1) swept both games, winning in convincing fashion 11-3 and 12-2, with the second game called after five innings.

“We started some other guys in the first game to give them a shot to start and in the next game we (went) with the guys that have been starting,” Alhambra coach Steve Gewecke said. “Obviously we are playing to win just like they are.”

Over the last 10 years coach Shannon Hirai has been taking the Falcons to the mainland to play and gain experience and exposure for potential college playing opportunities. On a trip years ago Shane Komime had a breakout game that led to a scholarship from Nebraska.

“These trips have kind of given opportunities to further playing baseball,” Hirai said.
This year’s trip is focused on the importance of education in achieving goals on and off the field, something critical to Kalani gaining approval from the local school system for the excursion. This past weekend included a visit to Cal State Northridge, where the Hawaiians met with the coaches and players, including former teammate Ridge Carpenter.

“You have to prepare yourself for college and the things that go into it, like your study habits,” senior starting catcher Kiel Odo said of the lessons he learned from the Northridge visit. “You’ve got to get those things down. Just working hard at baseball and being a good student.”

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Baseball: St. Francis rises to the top, ready for Mission

1. St. Francis (5-0) – You can’t get any better than starting the season with five straight wins. What proved more impressive is the manner in which the Knights went about their 5-0 start. For the second time in three years, St. Francis wins the Arcadia Elks Tournament. In that span, the Knights have gone an incredible 14-1, the lone loss coming to Temple City last year to finish in third place. Nevertheless, St. Francis will either enjoy its rise to the top for the long term or fall if it’s exposed against Saugus in Wednesday’s doubleheader. We’ll know more then. But for now, you can’t overlook St. Francis’ prowess, led by Ethan Bramschreiber and AJ Burglund.

2. Alhambra (4-1) — The Moors are off to a solid start. Clearly, Alhambra coach Steve Gewecke thought the Moors should have and could have played better against St. Francis in the Elks finale, but the season’s early and Gewecke will use the exhibition series against Kalani to see who will play what and where when Almont League action opens Friday at Bell Gardens. Jonathan Beltran played just as we expected, as has Greg Saldate and Vailele Peko.

3. Monrovia (4-1) — The Wildcats finished third in the Elks Tournament. I know there’s some controversy surrounding that placement given the way things ended with Monrovia and Arcadia, but the Wildcats showed why they’re poised to win their fifth straight Rio Hondo League title. I think the only concern with Monrovia is the pitching depth. They have power from 1-7, but pitching is key when getting to the playoffs.

4. Arcadia (4-1) — The Apaches had a solid win over Pasadena Poly and takes on Northview this week before opening Pacific League action against Hoover next week. It would have been absolutely awesome to see Arcadia and Monrovia battle it out. How this game never came about is beyond me. I’m disappointed as I’m sure the fans from both fan bases are as well. By the way, Haram Park’s come out of nowhere, hasn’t he? He’s lighting it up so far for the Apaches, leading the team in batting average (.571), on base percentage (.700), slugging percentage (1,143), and home runs (2).

5. Maranatha (1-4) — When Maranatha had a stellar appearance in the Southern California Invitational last year, I bumped the Minutemen higher in the rankings. With Dylan Covey intact and seven of nine starters returning, it seemed like Maranatha would do as good, if not, better than last year’s performance in the SoCal Invite. The Minutemen finished 1-4, and the argument could be made that they played against top Division I teams, but simply playing in them sometimes isn’t enough, especially this year when expectations seem just as high, if not higher than last year. Having said that, Maranatha playing against the big boys will only prove helpful in the long run, and I certainly wouldn’t be surprised again if I find myself covering Maranatha the last few weeks of the baseball season. It’s time for Maranatha to play in the Elks Tournament. It’s time for us to see how they measure against our top teams. It won’t be a downgrade going from the SoCal Invite to the Elks because the competition level in the Elks still is much higher than that of the Alpha League and Division V. If nothing else, Maranatha gets a chance to quiet its critics. Or not. Until then, it’s all debate.

6. Pasadena Poly (3-2) — The Panthers got off to a solid start, but we’ll get a great chance on Wednesday to see how they fare against higher quality teams. Pasadena Poly hosts La Canada on Wednesday.

7. Temple City (2-3) — The Rams gave up 23 runs against quality teams (Arcadia, Beverly Hills, La Salle). Seems like Temple City still is looking for its identity. They’ll get a confidence-boosting win against Blair when they open Rio Hondo League action on Friday. But then again, Blair is 2-0 in the season and seems to be confident heading into league play, so you never know.

8. Pasadena (4-1) — Mike Parisi is doing a fantastic job with the Bulldogs. Losing their best player (Nathan Bernstein) last year and Pasadena’s off to a hot start. Its lone loss comes to St. Francis, and that loss only came at 6-3. This time last year, Pasadena was 2-2-1 heading into Pacific League play.

9. La Salle (3-2) — How the Lancers lost to Western Christian 13-9 is still puzzling, but since that loss La Salle has rebounded nicely with wins over Duarte (I know) and Temple City.

10. South Pasadena (4-1) — Tony Veiller is batting .615 and has two home runs already. It’s easy to see how the Tigers can contend for a, dare I say, shot at the Rio Hondo League title. That may be putting it over the top, but it looks like the Tigers have playoff-bound written all over them. Veiller is 2-0 on the mound with a team-leading nine strikeouts.

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Softball: La Caada sits atop the new top 10 rankings

1. La Caada (4-0) — How could you not justify the Spartans atop the rankings? Great pitching (O’Leary/Cox) and great offensive production (Edwards) easily makes them the area’s dominant team in the area. There are some questions about La Caada’s youth, but at this junction (so early in the season) it is my belief that we got our answer of which area team will dominate, and the Spartans did exactly that in the Duarte Tournament. Anna Edwards was fun to watch last year, but you look at what she did in the Duarte Tournament regardless of opponent, and you have to be taken aback at her heavy swing. She went 9-for-11 with 13 RBIs, three home runs and seven runs scored.

2. San Gabriel Mission (3-0) — We didn’t have the Pioneers in our top 10 preseason rankings, but you can’t ignore what they’ve done in three games, allowing just four runs. San Gabriel on Tuesday beat Maranatha, 3-2. Nicole Holguin had six strikeouts, two walks and pitched 6 2/3 innings. She gave up a two-run double in the top of the 7th inning. She struck out the next better looking.

3. La Salle (2-2) — The Lancers had a shaky start to the season. The 6-2 loss to L.A. Marshall is a quality loss. La Salle went on to beat Flintridge Prep 26-0 (what is this, football?) and lost to South Hills 6-4 before beating Marshall Fundamental 6-4. It’s not exactly the kind of results we were anticipating, but to the Lancers’ defense this still is a very early season.

4. Marnatha (1-1) — The Minutemen will get a chance to bounce back early when they host Arcadia on Wednesday. Maranatha also lost to L.A. Marshall, and got a win over a weak Banning team. There still is some concern in the pitching and fielding department.

5. Monrovia (4-1) — The Wildcats have two shutouts so far this season. If their pitching comes together we could see the darkhorse in the Rio Hondo League. We’ll know a lot more after Monrovia opens the season against South Pasadena.

6. Temple City (2-2) — It’s too early to tell where Temple City is. The Rams beat South Pasadena and Arcadia, solid wins by all accounts. The loss to Arroyo is an iffy loss and losing 4-1 to Schurr might explain why we’re high on Temple City.

7. South Pasadena (2-2) — The young Tigers squad still is finding their form. It can be their strong suit and just as well can be their weakness. South Pasadena plays Schurr today and opens the season against Monrovia on Friday.

8. San Marino (1-1) — Word from some coaches and parents in the know say Michelle Floyd, a 6-foot-3 freshman, is the real deal. The Titans lost only 1-0 to L.A. Marshall, beat Alhambra 10-3 on Monday and currently are playing in the Lincoln Tournament.

9. Mayfield (2-1) — With Katie Clancy in the circle the Cubs always have a chance at a W. The rest is where we may have some questions. We may get some answers when Mayfield plays Maranatha, South Pasadena and Flintridge Sacred Heart.

10. Arcadia (3-3) — The Apaches visit Maranatha on Wednesday. There’s a lot of potential on this Arcadia tea, but errors prove to be too much to recover from and limited hitting will slow down Arcadia.

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Football: Muir’s Victor Wright receives letterman jacket

About five months ago, I wrote a story about Victor Wright, a former Muir frosh/soph football player who in 1976 suffered a devastating injury that paralyzed him from the neck down. Former coaches interviewed for the story said that if not for the injury, Wright could have been a star on the varsity football team. Wright never went on to play football again, thus never receiving a varsity letter, no less a letterman jacket. Wright was honored with an honorary varsity letter during a Muir home football game last season, but he didn’t have a letterman jacket. Wright said he might keep his varsity letter in a closet with the rest of his junior high letters because he didn’t have a letterman jacket. “When I was playing I had intended to get a jacket,” Wright said at the time. Muir football coach Ken Howard was on a mission. “I’m sure we can do some fundraising and get a jacket for the young man,” said Howard. “He deserves it.” Readers poured in with their support, and I’m happy to report that Victor Wright last weekend received his letterman jacket. David Rutherford, membership chairperson for the John Muir High School Alumni Association, e-mailed photos and a press release.

VICTOR WRIGHT RECEIVES LETTERMAN JACKET

Hall-of-Fame alumnus Victor Wright today was presented with a custom letterman jacket, paid for by his Muir High classmates and Pasadena Star-News readers who responded to an article indicating he had no such jacket to adorn his recently acquired honorary varsity football letter. Wright, who suffered a spinal injury as a sophomore during a game in 1976, has been paralyzed from the neck down for more than 33 years. He was
presented with an honorary varsity letter at a Nov. 16, 2009 halftime ceremony at Muir’s Walton Field during a game against Arcadia High, which the 0-5 Mustangs won, 27-7.

The Star-News ran an article the next day, which revealed Wright had earned two other football letters at Muir and was a five-sport letterman at Eliot Middle School (football, baseball, track, gymnastics and volleyball). However, Wright admitted he had no jacket for the letters, which were in a bedroom dresser drawer.

An outpouring of support followed, as a half dozen readers sent in checks to the newspaper made out to Wright, totaling $205. Victor’s classmates, who held their 30-year reunion last November – which he attended – picked up the remaining cost of customizing the $373 jacket with a portion of the proceeds from their weekend activities.

Also discovered in Wright’s drawer was another honorary varsity letter given to Wright in 1977 at a varsity football team awards banquet, attended by the late former University of Michigan Head Coach Bo Schembechler The Wolverines were in town for the 1978 Rose Bowl game. Schembechler heard about Wright’s story and came to the banquet at Brookside Golf Club to present him with a helmet and football, which still hang on his bedroom wall.

Wright, who turns 49 next month, graduated on schedule with his class
in 1979. Ten years later, he became one of the first quadriplegics to earn a college degree, through a program for students with disabilities at Los Angeles City College. He went on to co-found the non-profit organization Family of Friends International (www.familyoffriendsinternational.org), which provides relief to victims of natural disasters. For these efforts, Wright was elected to the John Muir High School Alumni Hall of Fame in 2007.

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Baseball: Alhambra to host team from Hawaii today

Alhambra High School baseball coach Steve Gewecke has spent the last five summers coaching the Hawaii Collegiate Baseball League.

In his time there, Gewecke struck up a friendship with Shannon Hirai, the head baseball coach at Kalani High in Honolulu. Hirai joined Gewecke’s staff three years ago, and there was talk about Hirai bringing his high school baseball team to the mainland. Hirai’s team came to the states three years ago and took part in a tournament in Las Vegas.

This week, Hirai’s team is back in the states, and Gewecke wanted to give the squad a true local experience during its weeklong stay.

Gewecke met the team at LAX on Saturday morning at 6. That day, the Kalani baseball team and its staff went to Magic Mountain and visited a former teammate of theirs playing at Cal State Northridge.

Of course, no trip to California is complete without a stop at In-N-Out, a tour of Dodger Stadium and the Hollywood Walk of Fame, all this before Kalani and Alhambra square off in a doubleheader today at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. at Moor Field.

The more competitive game should be the second one, in which Gewecke said he’ll spread the pitching, at-bats and playing time around. When the game ends, 55 cheeseburgers from The Hat in Alhambra will be waiting for both teams. Corky Conzonire, a 1960 Alhambra graduate, is the owner and gladly stepped in to help.

“I’m trying to be a good host,” quipped Gewecke.

“We wanted this to be a really good experience for them.”

Gewecke sees some similarities between Kalani and Alhambra.

“They have a lot of the same kind of guys as us,” Gewecke said. “They play a lot of hit-and-run, they’re aggressive.”

The plan to bring Kalani has been in the works for two years. Kalani will also play against Monrovia on Wednesday and Beverly Hills on Thursday before heading to Vegas for two more games before heading home.

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