Baseball: La Salle, Bishop Amat suspended by rain

CLICK HERE FOR A PHOTO GALLERY FROM LA SALLE-BISHOP AMAT GAME

Bishop Amat led 9-4 in the bottom of the seventh when the umpire called the game because of rain. Bishop Amat coach Andy Nieto and La Salle coach Harry Agajanian agreed before the game that if the game was interrupted because of rain they would resume play at the next meeting at La Salle, which is April 15.

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Softball: Alex Eaton, Alanna Pires power Tologs to win

CLICK HERE FOR A PHOTO GALLERY FROM THE MAYFIELD-FSHA GAME

By Miguel A. Melendez, Staff Writer

PASADENA – Alex Eaton proved baffling. The junior entered in the third inning for the Flintridge Sacred Heart Academy softball team, just in time to stop Mayfield’s scoring spree.

Alanna Pires proved clutch. The senior third baseman opened the fourth inning with a triple and scored the Tologs’ first run. Her RBI single in the seventh tied the game, and Eaton beat the tag at home to score the winning run that completed a comeback from a six-run deficit for an 8-6 nonleague win at Brookside Park.

Mayfield (3-5) jumped ahead early with two runs in the first and four in the third, led by Katie Clancy’s three- run triple in the third that scored Jessica Parada, Lauren Armenta and Mireya Hernandez.

The Cubs appeared to be in control and on their way to an easy victory.

Eaton, however, had other plans. She took over in the circle for MacKenzie Lyng in the third and struck out six, allowing no runs and just four hits.

“I really feel she was an easier pitcher to hit than the first one,” Mayfield coach Jennifer Moulden said.

“Somehow she was keeping us off balance. I couldn’t tell by her pitches, other than I think our girls put too much pressure on ourselves.”

Flintridge Sacred Heart (4-5) coach Kirk Nishiyama called Pires, a first-team All- Mission League selection last season, “the glue” of the team, and for good reason.

Her leadoff triple in the fourth paved the way for four runs to cut the Cubs’ lead to 6-4. She capitalized on a throwing error to score while Lauren Torres reached base safely.

Molly Zwart singled in Torres, and Kelly Trueblood’s double down the third-base line scored Zwart to make it 6-3. After Alyssa Conti drew a walk and stole second, Trueblood came home on a wild pitch.

“They showed a lot of heart and didn’t give up,” Nishiyama said.

Zwart led off the sixth with a triple and scored on a fielder’s choice to make it 6-5.

Alyssa Conti opened the seventh with a bloop single, and Eaton reached base on a bunt single to start the rally in the seventh.

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Boys Basketball: Kenyatta Smith wins Wooden Award

Kenyatta Smith said he was humbled when word came from Flintridge Prep athletic director Alex Rivera.

Smith, the 6-foot-8, 260-pound center who led the Rebels to a CIF-Southern Section Division 5AA championship, was one of seven athletes selected as a John R. Wooden High School Player of the Year.

Smith led Flintridge Prep to a 24-7 record and a second-round appearance in the CIF State Division V Southern California Regional playoffs after helping the Rebels bring home their lone CIF-SS basketball championship.

Smith averaged 19.8 points and 14.8 rebounds for a Rebels team ranked No.1 in Division 5 all season long. He’ll be presented with the award April 8 at the Wooden Award Gala held at the Los Angeles Athletic Club.

This year marks the 35th anniversary of the Wooden Award, and the high school winners will be honored along with the men’s and women’s Wooden All-America teams and the Legends of Coaching honoree, Michigan State’s Tom Izzo. The high school award has grown from recognizing a single player of the year in 1994 to the six divisions of the CIF-Southern Section and the L.A. City Section.

Smith joins a long list of prominent winners that includes Jrue Holiday (Philadelphia 76ers), Tyson Chandler (Dallas Mavericks), Tayshaun Prince (Detroit Pistons) and Baron Davis (Cleveland Cavaliers).

“I was shocked when I heard,” Smith said. “I felt really humbled and really blessed. It definitely feels surreal, just realizing the hard work paid off.”

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Baseball Rankings: La Salle, Temple City, Pasadena and Alhambra move up in latest rankings; Lancers get big test vs. Bishop Amat in second Del Rey League game.

STAR-NEWS TOP 10 RANKINGS

1. Arcadia (4-2)
Tough loss to Northview

2. La Salle (6-2)
Bishop Amat big boys in town

3. Temple City (4-2)
Pitching depth showing worth

4. Pasadena (6-3)
Strong showing last week

5. Alhambra (6-2)
On 6-game winning streak

6. Monrovia (3-3-1)
Lost to Cresc. Valley twice

7. South Pasadena (4-3)
League win over San Marino

8. La Caada (5-4)
Needs more consistency

9. St. Francis (4-3)
Split vs. Notre Dame

10. Maranatha (2-4)
Tough start to season

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Softball Rankings: Maranatha continues winning ways

STAR-NEWS TOP 10 RANKINGS

1. La Caada (3-3)
Tough schedule is showing

2. San Marino (7-2)
Battle at La Caada today

3. Maranatha (5-2)
Minutemen don’t skip a beat

4. La Salle (4-5)
Division 3 no walk in the park

5. Duarte (5-1)
Scored 23 runs vs. Mt. View

6. Temple City (7-3)
Three wins last week

7. Monrovia (5-5)

Beat La Salle, 5-2

8. Mayfield (3-4)
Lost to Maranatha 9-5

9. Keppel (4-4)
Still searching for rhythm

10. Marshall (3-4)
Visits Keppel on Thursday

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BREAKING NEWS: La Verne Lutheran holds off a gritty La Caada team 57-47 to earn a trip to Sacramento to play for the CIF State Division III Championship.

CIF STATE DIVISION III
SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA
REGIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP
La Verne Lutheran 57, La Caada 47

FIRST QUARTER

La Caada’s first three possessions: block, block, shot clock violation. Mike McGlashan, of course, scores the Spartans’ first bucket on a drive-in layup. Lutheran’s CJ Cooper scores the final bucket on a steal and jumper to pull Lutheran within 11-10 heading into the second quarter. La Caada’s finding success with constant movement and finding the open man inside. However, they can’t seem to buy a 3-pointer. So far they are 0 for 3. Lutheran is commiting uncharacteristic turnovers to keep the Spartans in the game.

SECOND QUARTER

And a HUGE ovation in the pro-La Caada crowd here at the Galen Center, where the Spartans take a 25-22 lead at the half after McGlashan’s trademark fade-away jumper. Backdoor passes for the Spartans are a thing of beauty. It’s what’s keeping La Caada intact. I just wonder if La Caada would have converted its first 3-pointers in the first quarter, because if it did you know La Verne Lutheran now is forced to defend the perimeter, leaving lanes open for easy buckets. It’s how La Caada plays, and it’s how the Spartans shocked Price in the CIF-Southern Section Division 3AA championship. La Verne Lutheran vowed it wouldn’t fall victim to the Spartans’ drawn-out offense, but so far the edge goes to La Caada. Grant Jarrett leads the Trojans with eight points in the first half on 4 of 7 shooting. McGlashan’s scored a game-high 12 points on 6 of 9 shooting and fellow senior Matt Faber has 10 points. La Verne Lutheran shot 37.5 percent from the field in the first half to La Caada’s 55 percent. Say no more…

THIRD QUARTER

La Caada went 1 for 7 in the third quarter until Dario CiVon converted the game’s first 3-pointer in the game with 51.2 seconds left. The Spartans played for the last shot and Mason Holle laid in a beauty of a scoop as time expired to pull the Spartans within 34-32.

FOURTH QUARTER

Mason Holle scores opening bucket on a layup with 7:15 left to tie the game at 34-34. Grant Jarrett’s tip-in gave the Trojans a 40-34 cushion with 5:26 left in the game, prompting La Caada coach Tom Hofman to call a timeout. Spartans come out of timeout with yet another backdoor pass, this time to Matt Faber who converts the layup to pull the Spartans within 40-36. On the ensuing possession Jarrett is at it again to keep the lead at 42-36 on a jumper. McGlashan’s 8-footer brings the Spartans within 42-38 with 4:12 left in the game. It’s his first shot of the entire second half. Jarrett’s getting a bunch of tip-in baskets. He gets a 13-foot jumper to fall with 2:32 left to give the Trojans a 46-40 cushion. Eric Cooper hits a clutch 3-pointer with 1:39 left in the game to put the Trojans ahead 49-40 for the game’s biggest lead. Mason Holle steals the inbounds pass, dishes it out to McGlashan who hits a 3-pointer with 1:23 left to pull the Spartans within 49-45. La Verne Lutheran turns it over on the ensuing possession, but so did La Caada before Bruce English converts the layup to give the Trojans a 51-45 lead with 59.6 seconds left. McGlashan misses 3-pointer and is forced to foul Bruce English, who goes to the line with 45 seconds left. English converts the first free throw, misses the second but gets another try after the Spartans are called for a lane violation. With 10.7 seconds left, Hofman empties the bench. The clock finally struck midnight for La Caada, which got a roaring ovation as the starters headed to the bench.

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CIF State: Old school vs. New school when La Caada’s Tom Hofman and La Verne Lutheran’s Cooper face off in CIF State Southern California Regional championship.

2011 CIF STATE BOYS DIVISION III
Boys Basketball Southern California Regional Final
Saturday’s game at the Galen Center
La Caada vs. La Verne Lutheran, Noon

“The years that Glendora was great, when they had Tracey Murray, when they had my assistant coach Brandon Lee, when they had all those great players, do you think all those great players lived in Glendora? Where did they come from? They all came from different places.”La Verne Lutheran coach Eric Cooper.

“I’m proud of the way we do it at La Canada. I’m not taking anything away from anybody else, but I think we’ve done it right and I’m not saying that they don’t. I never look at it as a bad vs. evil type of situation. We’re different, and again, it’s not because of right or wrong. It’s public/private. We get who we get. It’s just another opponent. I respect Lutheran and what they’ve done.”La Caada coach Tom Hofman

By Aram Tolegian, Staff Writer

On one end of the Valley is the La Caada boys basketball program, led by a coach whom most people from Flintridge to La Verne and beyond have heard of. On the other end of the Valley is La Verne Lutheran’s program, led by a coach whose number is on speed dial by several college coaches but whom few people from his school’s surrounding area could pick out of a crowd.

The difference between the two programs, their players and the two men who lead them could not be any more pronounced. On Saturday at noon, they’ll meet at USC’s Galen Center to decide the CIF State Division III Southern California Regional championship.

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Softball: La Salle can’t hang with Charter Oak in loss

CLICK HERE FOR A PHOTO GALLERY FROM THE LA SALLE-CHARTER OAK GAME

By Fred J. Robledo, Staff Writer

WEST COVINA – Charter Oak must love the Big League Dreams facilities in West Covina, where the Chargers are hosting their annual high school softball tournament. Not only are the fields enormous and wide open, the slick artificial-surface outfields favor anything in the gaps, which the Chargers took full advantage of Tuesday.

Inside-the-park home runs from Charter Oak’s Samantha Valadez, Monique Villasenor, Cassie Andrews and Jayme Chessler led to a 17-4 victory over La Salle, helping the Chargers improve to 6-2 overall and 2-0 in the tournament after a 6-1 win over Covina on Monday.

Valadez had two hits and scored four runs and Andrews finished with three hits and two runs scored. The Chargers belted 16 hits in the four-inning win.

“We’re hitting the ball well, all of us,” Valadez said. “Just trying to make good contact.”

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Baseball: Pasadena, La Salle earn split of twinbill

CLICK HERE FOR A PHOTO GALLERY FROM THE DOUBLEHEADER

By Miguel A. Melendez, Staff Writer

PASADENA – They called it the battle of Sierra Madre Boulevard, and what a battle it was.

Bowdien “Bubba” Derby did his best to keep the La Salle High School baseball team in it in the first game of a nonleague doubleheader against Pasadena. The Lancers lost in eight innings, 5-3, but he came back to pitch a complete game while adding a solo home run to lead La Salle in the second game, 5-1, on Tuesday afternoon.

Derby, a junior standout, was virtually unhittable in the second game. He struck out nine and allowed just two hits and one run. At one point Derby retired nine straight.

“I was pumped today,” Derby said. “I wanted to beat them. They’re our rivals, literally a mile down the street. I wanted to claim Pasadena today.”

Derby tied the first game 3-3 on a home run to right field before Robert Lain and William Yost scored in the eighth to lift Pasadena.

“When he’s spotting his pitches, he’s one of the best,” La Salle coach Harry Agajanian said. “We felt if we could stay inside, they would have a hard time.”

“Bubba Derby is a darn good player all around,” Pasadena coach Mike Parisi said, “with the bat and on the mound. He’s definitely one of the best players in the area. He overmatched us today in the second game.”

Pasadena (3-2) squandered golden opportunities in the fifth inning of Game 2, leaving two on base. Jay Cordero drew a leadoff walk and stole second base before Chris Rucker came in to pinch run.

He advanced to third on a passed ball before Brandon Carrillo drew a walk. Derby got ahead on the next two hitters, though, and recorded the final two outs on strikeouts.

Pasadena’s lone run came on a solo shot to center by Chris Klein, who jumped on a 1-1 pitch to lead off the sixth. He came on in relief in the sixth and struck out the first two batters.

La Salle’s Michael Pedote scored in the first after a leadoff double before Derby’s blast to center made it 2-0. Noeh Martinez’s single to left scored John Auer in the fourth to make it 3-1, and Pedote and Nick Crow scored in the fifth on a Pasadena error.

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BHoops: 6th man award should go to La Caada crowd

Tom Hofman isn’t one to exaggerate, much less sugarcoat, so when the La Caada boys basketball coach says Saturday’s home crowd against Inglewood was the loudest in his 25 seasons at the helm, it’s because he means it.

“We’ve had a couple games like that,” Hofman said, “but nothing that noisy. When we played Compton Centennial in 2007 we had a great crowd, but I don’t think we had a crowd as enthusiastic as that. The crowd was a tremendous home-court advantage.”

It’s that kind of edge, Hofman said, that’s fueled the Spartans in the final minutes of games throughout their postseason run, which now finds them in Saturday’s CIF State Division III Southern California Regional title game against La Verne Lutheran at USC’s Galen Center.

La Caada (30-3) earned a first-round bye in the state playoffs after doing what many considered impossible: beating powerhouse Price of Los Angeles to win the school’s second CIF-Southern Section Division 3AA championship.

The impressive feat – one that required patience and precision – turned the Spartans into the must-see team of the regional playoffs. That much was accentuated by the fact La Canada saw long lines circle the school gym an hour before tipoff against Crespi in the second round. An L.A. County Sheriff’s deputy helped control the crowd.

In that game, the Spartans withstood the Celts’ frantic effort that ended with a last- second shot that didn’t hit the rim, prompting the student section to rush the court. After the court finally cleared, Hofman and a game official, from the L.A. City Section, chatted.

“He said it was the best home court he’d ever seen,” Hofman said. “And they’ve been tremendous. They’ve been the sixth man, without a doubt, during the playoff period.

“When you have a crowd like that and close games like that, it definitely is a factor into boosting energy.”

La Caada broke from tradition against Inglewood in holding strong to its lead, converting all seven field-goal attempts in the fourth quarter.

Still, the La Caada crowd rushed the court in what was the final home game for the team’s 14 seniors.

Still making strides

This late in the season, teams will usually have hit a peak, but not La Caada.

Hofman feels the Spartans are getting better, and added that fatigue won’t be an issue, what with a chance to play for a state title on the horizon.

“They’re very focused,” Hofman said. “The key is they’re starting to play together.”

That wasn’t always the case. La Caada had just completed its first half of the Rio Hondo League season and Hofman felt that the Spartans were playing inconsistent basketball since the start of the season, and that players were self-involved.

“We talked about the finality of the season, that if we don’t start playing together, the season was going to end real soon,” Hofman said.

“We were a little too individual, everybody trying to be all-league players instead of looking out for the best interest of the team. They took it to heart, and from that point on we turned it around.”

In the CIF-Southern Section playoffs, the Spartans beat Bishop Montgomery in double overtime, squeezed out a one-point win over Palm Springs, and forced Price into playing a relaxed tempo that clearly didn’t benefit a run-and-gun offense that featured three Division I-bound athletes.

Added Hofman: “I don’t think I’ve had a team play this many games and continually get better.”

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