Baseball: Freak play gives Monrovia win over Rams.

By Miguel A. Melendez, Staff Writer

MONROVIA – It wasn’t bizarre baseball.

It was Temple City-Monrovia baseball.

A game that perhaps should be remembered for its magnificent pitching duel that needed 11 innings to complete instead will be remembered for a foul ball that wasn’t.

Jairo Jiorge connected on a high chopper off home plate and saw the ball settle on the chalk, giving Nick Bueno just enough time to score from third and give the host Wildcats a dramatic 2-1 Rio Hondo League victory Tuesday afternoon.

“Well, to be honest with you after 29 years it’s a Monrovia-Temple City game,” a relieved Monrovia co-head coach Dave Moore said. “We knew going in that they have a very good pitching staff and they have arms that we all know about and we know that it’s just a matter of scrapping and doing what you can do.”

Temple City catcher Jonah Jarrard, on instruction from Rams coach Barry Bacon, jumped out of his catching stance and stood watch, only to see the ball die down on the chalk before it being called fair.

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Baseball: Apache Invitational set to start this weekend

Pool A:
Arcadia, Monrovia, Nogales, West Covina.
Pool B: Glendora, Temple City, San Dimas, Bonita.
All games on Giambrone Field at Arcadia High

Saturday’s games
West Covina vs. Monrovia, 10 a.m.
Bonita vs. Temple City, 1 p.m.
San Dimas vs. Glendora, 4 p.m.
Nogales vs. Arcadia, 7 p.m.

April 4
Glendora vs. Bonita, 10 a.m.
Temple City vs. San Dimas, 1 p.m.
Monrovia vs. Nogales, 4 p.m.
West Covina vs. Arcadia, 7 p.m.

April 5
San Dimas vs. Bonita, 10 a.m.
Glendora vs. Temple City, 1 p.m.
West Covina vs. Nogales, 4 p.m.
Monrovia vs. Arcadia, 7 p.m.

April 6
Pool A No. 4 vs. Pool B No. 4, 10 a.m.
Pool A No. 3 vs. Pool B No. 3, 1 p.m.
Pool A No. 2 vs. Pool B No. 2, 4 p.m.
Pool A No. 1 vs. Pool B No. 1, 7 p.m.

Finals decided by:
1. Best won/lost in pool
2. Head to head
3. Least runs allowed
4. Least hits allowed
5. Coin toss

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Baseball: Blair drops varsity baseball this season, giving Rio Hondo League teams serious schedule flexibility.

When Blair decided to play only junior varsity baseball this season, it opened an opportunity for the rest of the Rio Hondo League to schedule to their pleasing.

Monrovia, for example, loaded its schedule with tough nonleague opponents that included out-of-state teams.

Temple City did the same.

“It’s giving me a chance to have two out-of-state teams on our schedule,” Temple City coach Barry Bacon said. “It allows us to have some variety on my schedule. We’re able to challenge ourselves.”

Monrovia co-head coach Brad Blackmore echoed that statement.

“With Blair not playing this year, I added a bunch of games and we ran into some quality teams,” he said. “Playing that (Crescenta Valley) doubleheader is going to help us down the road. We were very competitive in both those games, and saw a very good left-hander from the team (from Oregon we faced earlier this week).”

Blair athletic director Gary Parks said the decision to play only junior varsity was made at the end of last season.

“We’re trying to build the program from the ground up,” Parks said. “Next season, they should be going back up to varsity.”

There was some confusion as to whether the league now goes from having three guaranteed spots to only two, but CIF-Southern Section spokesman Thom Simmons said six-team and five-team leagues are guaranteed three playoff spots. Four-team leagues receive only two automatic bids, while seven-team leagues have four guaranteed spots.

Temple City earlier this week was scheduled to play Highland High of Palmdale in the Varsity First Pitch showcase, featuring 28 high schools for a one-game showcase at Clear Channel Stadium, home of the Single-A Lancaster JetHawks. Poor field conditions stemming from the heavy rain, however, canceled the game.

“Even though it was clear the field would have been under water,” Bacon said, “but it would have been awesome to play in a minor-league stadium.”

Temple City visits San Marino today, but more rain is expected. If the game is postponed, Bacon said, the game would be rescheduled for after spring break, since the Rams already have a game scheduled for Monday, which normally is when the league makes up its postponed games. Temple City is scheduled to host La Salle of Oregon that day.

“(San Marino coach) Mack (Paciorek) and I have three possible dates we need to discuss,” Bacon said.

Blackmore said that if Monrovia’s game at La Ca ada today is rained out, the game will be made up Monday, giving the Wildcats three league games next week.

Added Blackmore: “It’s going to be a very important week.”

Double trouble

Calvin (2-0, 13 strikeouts) and Corey Copping (nine strikeouts) would bolster any pitching staff in the area. Julian Jarrard (2-1, 16 strikeouts) would do the same. The trio combine to lead a Rams pitching staff that has an impressive 1.83 ERA.

Jarrard, like a slew of players in the Temple City lineup, is a jack of all trades. He’s not only a stellar pitcher, but he’s a quality shortstop and carries a heavy bat at the plate. Jarrard had a double and four RBIs in a 10-4 win over La Ca ada last week in the league opener. His brother Julian is the catcher, and the four have helped Temple City to a 4-2-1 record.

It’s their consistency that has Bacon beaming with pride and ready to take the challenge head-on in next month’s Apache Invitational, when the Rams take on CIF-SS champion Glendora, CIF-SS runner-up Bonita and San Dimas, which won the Division 4 title two years ago.

Finding the source

Blackmore said facing good pitching in nonleague competition is one reason why Monrovia hasn’t played well offensively, but there’s more to the problem.

“Some of it is lack of offense,” Blackmore said. “I’m not going to sugarcoat that. We start three sophomores and two or three juniors. You get exposed when you’re learning at the plate.

“When you face some good pitching, that’s the nature of the game.”

In its four losses, Monrovia (4-4-1) has totaled only five runs. This week against South Pasadena in the league opener, the Wildcats scored eight runs. The next day, Monrovia was held to one run in a 2-1 loss to Wilson of Oregon.

“We had a great hitting plan on Tuesday and did very well,” said Blackmore, referring to Monrovia’s game against South Pasadena. “Then we averted back to some of our bad habits at the plate (Wednesday) and it showed. We have some things offensively we’re working on, and we’ll get there.”

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Softball: Medina leads Keppel past Marshall, 5-0


By Miguel A. Melendez, Staff Writer

ALHAMBRA – Alashanee Medina walked up to the plate in the fourth inning knowing she had been struggling as of late.

Still, the Keppel High School junior is no easy out. She battled and made Marshall pitcher Cierra Newton work for every pitch.

Medina said she wanted to crush the ball, but a walk was just as effective. That much was accentuated when she reached second on a fielder’s choice before Vanessa Mendez doubled her home for a key run en route to the Aztecs’ 5-0 victory over the Eagles in a nonleague game Thursday.

“I just wanted to get on base and try to score that run as fast as possible,” Medina said. “I wanted to crush the ball, but just reaching base was still good because I was able to help my team out.”

Medina, the Almont League pitcher of the year as a sophomore, went the distance and struck out 14, allowing just two hits to record her sixth win of the season.

Brianna Becerra had two triples for the Aztecs (6-4), one each in the first and third innings, but it wasn’t until the fourth when Keppel saw its efforts pay off. Mendez made it 2-0 after Amanda Martinez singled her in.

“Brianna Becerra crushed the ball and did really well,” Medina said. “We’re all kind of in a little funk, but today it was great to see that we did pretty good.”

Marshall (3-5) squandered a big opportunity in the fifth when it loaded the bases. Newton led off and was hit by a pitch before Ashley Storms reached first on an error. Medina struck out Angelina Rezendez before walking Amy Zeronian. Medina, however, showed why she’s the league’s most feared pitcher, striking out the next batter to end the threat.

“We know what we’re going to get from her in the circle,” Keppel coach Bobby Madrid said, “but we have to play defense behind her.”

Keppel made it 5-0 in the fifth. Brianna Jimenez reached first on catcher’s interference and stole second before an error allowed Becerra to reach first and score Jimenez.

Angelica Pena followed with a bunt single to score Becerra.

Medina’s RBI single capped the Aztecs’ scoring.

“You can’t pitch around her, because you have girls that can hit behind her,” Madrid said of Medina. “You pitch to her and she’s going to hit the ball hard.”

Marshall coach Jason Taylor said the Eagles were stymied by Medina.

“She did a great job mixing up her pitches in the zone,” Taylor said. “She started that, really, for them and set the tone early on.”

Madrid said he was pleased to see the bats come alive for the Aztecs.

Keppel is expected to be improved in the coming weeks once senior Brittani Hirose completes her transition from basketball.

“Our leader of the pack is Brittani,” Madrid said. “Her making the (CIF State) playoffs in basketball took a bit of its toll, but we’re trying to get her quick at-bats.

“We haven’t put her on leadoff because we want her to see pitches, but we think by league she’ll be at the top of the lineup, where she belongs.”

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Football: A lot of buzz surrounding next year’s class

There will be a lot of buzz surrounding area high school football next season.

The current junior class already consists of highly touted recruit Ellis McCarthy from Monrovia, who’s considered a five-star recruit according to ESPN and has offers from USC, UCLA, Arizona, Cal, Washington and Florida.

The 6-foot-5, 295-pound defensive lineman recently was chosen to play in the U.S. Army All-American Bowl next season. McCarthy, who took part in this year’s U.S. Army National Combine in San Antonio, made 69 tackles and a team-high 11 sacks, and led the Wildcats to their first CIF- Southern Section Mid-Valley Division championship. He also was named the Star- News Defensive Player of the Year.

It’s looking like two more highly touted recruits will join McCarthy in the recruiting frenzy next season.

Arcadia’s Taylor Lagace, who led the Pacific League with four interceptions and caught 42 catches for 650 yards and nine touchdowns, was offered a scholarship to Boise State, according to Arcadia coach Jon Dimalante. Lagace, a Star-News All-Area defensive back, adds the Broncos to a list of hopefuls that already includes Northern Arizona and New Mexico State.

Below: Arcadia’s Taylor Lagace picked up Boise State over the weekend.

Dimalante said Lagace, the Pacific League Player of the Year, and his father took an unofficial trip last week and he was offered a scholarship the same day. He added that he’s unsure whether Lagace – who just got back from Las Vegas after playing 7-on-7 with teammate and quarterback Myles Carr – will decide before the start of the season.

“I’m not sure,” Dimalante said. “It’ll be up to him and his family. I think there are going to be a lot more offers around the corner, but Boise State is a great program.

“He was only there for a day, but he really liked the campus, the facilities and the coaches.”

Muir wide receiver Karl Holmes signed with Arizona State earlier this month, and Kevon Seymour figures to make a similar jump soon.

The defensive back who earned first-team all-area honors after recording 47 tackles and seven touchdowns while playing three positions was offered a scholarship from Florida, according to’s Brandon Huffman. Seymour also has offers from Arizona, Arizona State, Colorado, New Mexico State, Oregon State, San Jose State, UCLA and Washington.

Below: Muir’s Kevon Seymour has plenty of options.

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