Softball All-Area Nominations: The toughest year ever!

NOTE: Baseball nominations thread come Sunday …

Inevitably there’s going to be someone very very good left off this year’s first team. With so many talent in pitching alone, it’s almost impossible to get every deserving player on the team. But we’ll have to make some tough decisions when the time comes, and we’re going to wait until the end of the playoffs to make our picks. But you guys have seen so many games, and it’s no surprise you have your own formed opinions, biased or not. It’s always nice to bounce off ideas to get an idea, but I can’t remember in my nine years picking All-Area teams having this tough a year. I’ve received All-League selections for one league so far, but I’d like to get all of them, so if you have them e-mail them to me, and I promise not to post them until you tell me when to do so. Have at it, but keep it classy. If this turns out of control I’ll just shut off the comment section.

Player of the Year:
Coach of the Year:

FIRST TEAM
Pitchers (2):
Catcher (1):
Infielders (4):
Outfielders (3):
Utility (1):

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Baseball: Monrovia edges La Salle, 2-1, in Division 4, but the big shocker is in Division 2 where Arcadia again is handed a first-round exit, loses 1-0 to Valencia.

It happened last year, and I couldn’t believe it. Six of seven area teams lost in first-round action on the same day, leaving only Alhambra, Maranatha and Pasadena Poly as the lone teams standing. On Thursday, Alhambra, Maranatha and Gabrielino each won their respective first-round games. We’ll cover three games. Our Keith Lair will be at Arcadia, our Nathan Cambridge will cover Pasadena Poly and I’ll be at Monrovia. I urge all coaches/boosters to text me final scores so we can update them, or do it yourself and post scores here.

Also, check this out from Robledo’s blog. Very interesting …

South Hills wins protest — CIF officials denied Montebello’s protest of Thursday’s Division 3 first-round playoff win by South Hills, 3-2. The Oilers argued the Huskies conducted an illegal batting practice before the game. After watching video of the incident provided by Montebello, CIF ruled there was in fact a an illegal batting practice, but it was not enough to warrant a disqualification of South Hills from the playoffs. The rules allow CIF to make a judgment call in situations such as this.

“At the end of the day, nobody is here to penalize kids,” Southern Section Director of Information Thom Simmons said. “Did a penalty occur? Sure. Did a team gain a competitive advantage? No. Did they (South Hills) win on the field? Yes.”

“In the rules, it says a ‘may’ be removed from the playoffs for something like this. Not that they ‘will’ be. The rule allows us that leeway. We don’t think it was worthy of removing a team from the entire playoffs.”

The Huskies knew of the protest before the game and the stress of the situation sent one of the two players involved in the illegal batting practice to the hospital with chest pains, according to a source.

BASEBALL
CIF-SS PLAYOFFS
FIRST ROUND SCORES
DIVISION 2

Valencia 1, Arcadia 0
DIVISION 4
Savanna 5, South Pasadena 0
Oaks Christian 3, Temple City 2
St. Paul 10, La Canada 0 (corrected)
Monrovia 2, La Salle 1
DIVISION 6
Flintridge Prep at Capistrano Valley Christian — Flintridge Prep
Pasadena Poly 12, Nordhoff 2
Rio Hondo Prep at Bloomington Christian — Bloomington Christian

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Baseball: Alhambra, Maranatha, Gabrielino in spotlight


Above: Maranatha hopes to end the season just like it did last year.

There’s little going on in area high school baseball as the CIF-Southern Section playoffs in divisions 3 and 5 begin today at 3:15 p.m. Most of the action comes Friday with divisions 2 and4.

Alhambra, Gabrielino and Maranatha are the lone teams playing today and all are at home. Perhaps more important is they all have serious heat on the mound that could translate to playoff success.

Alhambra (22-4) is the No. 2 seed in Division3 and a six-time defending Almont League champion. With a formidable pitching staff led by Jonathan Beltran and Greg Saldate, the Moors figure this is the year when playoff experience and confidence from a successful regular season will pay off, but they’ll have their hands full when they host La Serna (14-12-1) at Moor Field.

“They look a lot better than 14-12,” Alhambra coach Steve Gewecke said. “They play catch and have some good guys who can swing it. They’re well-coached and their three and four holes are legit.”

La Serna is led by Andrew Rosales, who is batting .543, and Nate Casillas, who is batting .412 with 20 RBIs, two home runs and five doubles.

For Alhambra, it starts on the mound with Beltran, who is 9-1 with a 1.60 ERA. Saldate is 6-1 with a 1.49 ERA in 56 innings. Beltran and Saldate have been productive, but La Serna is not a team to back down from a challenge.

“That program has won for a long time, so those kids are conditioned and expect to win,” Gewecke said. “I don’t think they’re going to be intimidated by us at all, not by our record or our ranking.”

Division 5
Paraclete at Gabrielino:
The Eagles (16-9) once again will rely on sophomore Angel Acosta to lead the way on the mound. He’s 9-4 with a 1.46 ERA and 130 strikeouts. Gabrielino last season was upset in the first round. Paraclete (15-9) features a future Division I pitcher in 6-foot-3 senior Tim Torsney. The Spirits of Lancaster finished second in the Alpha League and beat St. Joseph, 3-2, in a wild-card game Tuesday.

Division 5
Calvary Murrieta vs. Maranatha at Jackie Robinson Field: Calvary Murrieta (12-15) had little trouble against Twentynine Palms in a 8-1 wild-card victory Tuesday. The same, however, can’t be expected when the Warriors visit defending champion Maranatha (17-9) at Jackie Robinson Park. They’ll face the area’s most touted pitcher in Dylan Covey, whose fastball tops out at 96 miles per hour. David McAllister (.425), Mark Jebbia (.400) and Covey (.400) also can be dangerous offensively.

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Softball: Thirteen teams vying to be last one standing

As the Mayfield softball team prepares to host Covina in the first round of the CIF-Southern Section Division 5 playoffs today at 3:15 p.m. at Brookside Park, one can’t help but wonder how this team’s confidence vastly differs from last season.

The biggest difference can be summed up in one word: depth.

The addition of two freshmen – Mireya Hernandez and Jessica Parada – has significantly bolstered the Cubs’ supporting cast and given standout pitcher Katie Clancy some serious talent behind her.

Mayfield (19-5), for good reason, has felt it has a shot at winning since Clancy’s arrival. This season alone, Clancy, a junior, is batting .329 with a team-leading 25 RBIs, but her forte is in the pitcher’s circle.

She’s 18-2 with a 0.83 ERA and a staggering 238 strikeouts. Clancy starts every game and has pitched a complete game in all but one to go along with eight shutouts.

CIF-SS PLAYOFFS
ALL GAMES 3:15 P.M.
FIRST-ROUND
TODAY’S GAMES WITH PREDICTIONS
DIVISION 5
Costa Mesa at San Marino — San Marino
Temple City at West Covina — Temple City
Pasadena Poly at San Dimas — San Dimas
Village Christian at Duarte — Duarte
Keppel at Cerritos Valley Christian — Cerritos Valley Christian
Covina vs. Mayfield at Brookside Park — Mayfield
Sierra Vista at La Canada — La Canada
DIVISION 6
Gabrielino at Marymount — Marymount
Desert Christian at Alverno — Desert Christian
Twentynine Palms at Maranatha — Maranatha
San Gabriel Mission at Ramona Convent — San Gabriel Mission
Marshall at Boron — Boron
Baptist Christian vs. La Salle at LDS — La Salle

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Baseball: Alhambra’s Beltran, Saldate learn how to win

By Miguel A. Melendez, Staff Writer

ALHAMBRA – It’s no coincidence that after joining the Alhambra High School baseball team four years ago Jonathan Beltran’s work ethic, as he put it, “shot up.”

Greg Saldate never was challenged as much as he was over the last three years, and it’s culminated in an outstanding senior season for the Moors’ top two pitchers.

They’ve blossomed over the years and quickly went from primary role players to carrying the team.

Beltran last season was selected co-player of the year in the Almont League and Beltran earned second-team All-CIF honors. This year, they’re a combined 15-2 with 103 strikeouts and have shouldered the responsibility that comes with Alhambra’s rise and fall.

“I tell (Beltran) all the time it’s our team,” Saldate said. “Yes, it is a team sport, but it’s our senior year and we’re numbers one and two, so it’s our responsibility. The team is going to go as far as we carry it.”

Beltran and Saldate hope to bring Alhambra (22-4) some long-overdue credit as the second-seeded Moors begin their quest for a title today at 3:15 p.m. against La Serna in the first round of the CIF-Southern Section Division 3 playoffs at Moor Field.

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