Baseball: South Pasadena beats San Marino 5-4 amid controversy; Titans coach Mack Paciorek, assistant Freddie Diaz and senior pitcher Alan Felix ejected. Temple City beats La Caada 5-1 to extend RHL lead.

South Pasadena’s 5-4 win over San Marino on Friday afternoon ended in controversy and three San Marino ejections.

The bizarre play happened in top of the seventh with San Marino’s Mark Chen at second and Matt Wofford at the plate with the game tied at 4.

Wofford connected for a hard line drive to left field. South Pasadena left fielder Matt Pinson backpedaled to make the catch, but upon colliding with the wall it appeared that the ball came loose, prompting Pinson to make a throw to second but not before Chen scored to make it 5-4 in favor of the Titans.

Field umpire Dave Hargrave ruled the ball was in play but South Pasadena coach Anthony Chevrier appealed to home plate umpire Chris McNeese. After conferring with Hargrave, McNeese ruled Wofford out, negating his RBI double.

San Marino’s Mack Paciorek raced to the field and exchanged in a heated argument with McNeese, who threw out Paciorek moments before throwing out San Marino hitting coach Freddie Diaz.

In the bottom of the inning, the Tigers’ two-out rally started with a Dylan Trimarchi single up the middle, followed by an infield single from Tony Veiller. Trimarchi beat the tag at home to score the game-winning run. When McNeese called the play safe, thus ending the game, San Marino pitcher Alan Felix said something to McNeese, who walked away. Hargrave ejected Felix, and both umpires were escorted out of the field by South Pasadena athletic director Ralph Punaro.

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Baseball: Temple City, South Pas ride confidence wave.

Temple City baseball coach Barry Bacon couldn’t have been more thrilled after beating Monrovia last week to hop in the driver’s seat for the Rio Hondo League.

But it was the Rams’ (13-6, 7-1) win over South Pasadena that really solidified their chances.

“It was a big win for us the other day against Monrovia,” Bacon said. “But we felt this game (against South Pasadena on Tuesday), coming in on their field we saw they were playing better and we needed to put them two games behind us.”

South Pasadena (10-11, 5-3) on Wednesday beat Monrovia (8-12-1, 4-4) to secure second place with four league games remaining.

“I know South Pasadena is not used to being in this position,” said Tigers coach Anthony Chevrier, who finished 7-8 in league last year. “I know they’re excited to have the opportunity to finish higher this season.”

At this point, there may be no stopping Temple City.

“It’s a team growing in confidence,” Bacon said. “It’s a team built on pitching and defense and we’re swinging the bat very well, I think.”

South Pasadena hosts San Marino (5-14, 2-6) at 3:30 today while Temple City throws Corey Copping against host La Caada.

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Baseball: La Salle working on long-term deal to play its home games at Arcadia County Park. Good idea?

Big changes could be coming to La Salle High School if the school is successful in securing a long-term deal that would call for the Lancers baseball team to play its home games at Arcadia County Park beginning next season.

No deal yet is in place, but talks have been extensive.

La Salle athletic director John Matheus confirmed the school is in negotiations, adding that the school’s long-term plan calls for a pool addition and possibly a new gymnasium where La Salle’s baseball field currently sits.

Anthony Harris, slated to officially take over athletic director duties July 1 upon Matheus’ departure, also confirmed the news and said the school’s plan initially had the Lancers playing home baseball games at Arcadia County Park this season.

“But something fell through right before the beginning of the season when we weren’t allowed to play at the park for the dates we had submitted,” Harris said.

La Salle coach Harry Agajanian welcomed the idea of playing at Arcadia County Park.

“If we put a little work into the place we can make that into a nice facility out there,” he said. “It does need some work, like some bullpens. It’s not a whole bunch of work and it would be a great place to play.”

As with everything, there are pros and cons.

“It’s fun to play on campus,” Agajanian said. “It’s always great to be at the school and have the kids there, so we lose that factor. On the flip side, we could get some night games there. We can get a good crowd for, say, Friday night games. That would be a lot of fun.”

La Salle last season played its Del Rey League home games at Arcadia County Park, largely in part because the Lancers had pitcher Brian Hill, known as a fly ball pitcher. At La Salle, an oddly aligned right field works against the Lancers when playing teams that hit the ball long. Such was the case this season when Bishop Amat belted four home runs against La Salle in the series finale at La Salle, prompting Bishop Amat coach Andy Nieto to admit that the field dimensions paved the way for numerous home runs and a 14-run lead in the first three innings.

La Salle’s right field is lined 300 feet; left field at 275 feet; and right-center at 260 feet.

“Maybe a couple of them hit the gap, but a few of them are definitely caught (at Bishop Amat),” Nieto said. “It’s one of those games you hope you never get to at this park when you deal with those kind of parameters.”

That was a stark difference from the previous meeting at Bishop Amat’s field when La Salle pushed the game to extra innings before losing 3-2 in nine innings. Bishop Amat hit no home runs in that game.

Harris noted the difference, too.

“It’s pretty obvious when you play a team like Bishop Amat that’s going to go yard against you more times than not most of those balls are going to be long outs somewhere else,” he said.

If the school is successful in securing Arcadia County Park, the Lancers softball team — after losing their home field at nearby Latter Day Saints Church and currently playing at Big League Field Dreams in West Covina — would join the baseball team at Arcadia, Matheus said.

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Baseball: San Marino, La Caada, Monrovia and Maranatha all trying to cope with injuries, lack of depth.

Above: San Marino’s Doug Mayberry, who has had to deal with a variety of injuries.

There was a high sense of optimism when the high school baseball season started.

A season riddled with injuries, however, has all but derailed the hopes of some teams (San Marino, La Caada) while others (Monrovia, Maranatha) try to overcome depth problems.

San Marino (5-14, 2-6) recorded its biggest win of the season Tuesday when it beat Monrovia, 6-3. Before that, the Titans had little to celebrate.

Senior catcher Mark Chen broke his nose three weeks ago in the second game of a doubleheader against Maranatha. His first game back was Tuesday. Sophomore Bradley Haslam has been out several weeks with a leg injury and will return for the first time Friday at South Pasadena. Everett Phillips, regarded as the ace this season, pitched three innings against Charter Oak in the third game of the season and has not pitched since because of a ligament strain in his throwing elbow. He’s not expected to pitch the rest of the season.

Doug Mayberry, the lone all-league returnee who batted .382 with 15 RBIs and 10 doubles as a junior, has been in and out with a variety of injuries.

Sophomore Matt Wofford, batting .387, also has been out the last two weeks. San Marino coach Mack Paciorek promoted Nick Gott, son of former Dodger pitcher Jim Gott, from the junior varsity team. Gott in his second start for the Titans tweaked his knee against Temple City in a pickoff attempt.

Paciorek is not discouraged.

“It’s one of those years you can’t shake,” he said. “But it’s nice to see the motivation with their insistence to get back on the field. That’s the one thing all athletes have to learn, is you have to work hard to get back. They’re giving us that motivational boost.”

Paciorek said he knew the Rio Hondo League had more parity this season, but a surprise still ensued.

“South Pasadena having so many seniors you knew were going to make a run at one point,” he said. “Temple City’s got the pitching, we knew that going in. But the surprise is Monrovia. It’s not that they’re not good, but they’re not what they have been. That’s kind of caught everyone off-guard.”

Monrovia’s quest for a sixth consecutive league title is on thin ice. The Wildcats (8-11-1, 4-3) need to win outright and hope La Ca ada (8-9, 2-6) upsets Temple City (13-6, 7-1) Friday.

The Spartans started league with five consecutive losses before beating San Marino, 4-3, and Monrovia, 5-4. UC Santa Barbara-bound Brendon Shoemake and Sam Baldwin have been bright spots in La Caada’s pitching rotation.

Monrovia started the preseason ranked No. 1 by this newspaper despite returning only three starters. But filling big shoes in the rotation and key spots elsewhere slowed the Wildcats.

“Temple City is sitting pretty right now,” Paciorek said. “We are no longer in control of our destiny. We can win out and still not make the playoffs or we can win three of four and make the playoffs, if other things go our way.”

Maranatha (9-12, 4-5) is in a rebuilding mode as it sits in fourth place in the Olympic League.

The Minutemen, No. 7 in the preseason rankings, returned five starters this season, but losing Star-News Player of the Year Dylan Covey to graduation left a considerable gap in the lineup.

Maranatha also lost significant power at the plate. The Minutemen batted .312 with a .421 on-base percentage and .398 slugging percentage last season.

They’re batting .262 this season.

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Baseball: Monrovia’s skid continues, loses to South Pas.

By Keith Lair, Staff Writer

MONROVIA – The South Pasadena High School baseball team got pitcher Tony Veiller back at the right time.

The senior right-hander had been unable to pitch because of an injured finger until last week.

On Wednesday, he showed he was back at full strength by throwing a complete game and leading the visiting Tigers to a 6-1 victory over Monrovia in Rio Hondo League play.

“The coaching staff got together and was hoping we could keep things close until he got back on the mound,” South Pasadena coach Tony Chevrier said. “He threw strikes and gave us the opportunity to win.”

The win ended a 20-plus game losing streak to the Wildcats and propelled the Tigers into second place, a game ahead of the Wildcats.

“It’s like climbing a mountain,” Veiller said of finally beating the Wildcats. “This is the first time we’ve ever done this.”

Veiller was nowhere close to being perfect, but he was good enough to let his defense do the work. He scattered three hits and hit a batter. In his previous outing, a nonleague win over Hoover, he pitched 3 2/3 innings.

The win put a serious dent in the Wildcats’ bid to win their sixth consecutive league title. Monrovia has lost seven consecutive games, three in league, and is three games behind first-place Temple City with seven games to play.

Monrovia committed four errors and had two base-running mistakes.

The Tigers’ Conor Bednarski singled in the second and went to third on Corey Richard’s single. Keaton Leach hit a blooper to left field which Reed Miller tried to dive to get. The ball popped out of his mitt and Bednarski scored.

A two-base error and consecutive fly balls to center field made it 2-0 in the fourth. A fielder’s choice after a pair of singles made it 3-1 in the fifth.

South Pasadena broke it open in the sixth with three runs off three pitchers.

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Softball: La Caada jumps on San Marino miscues, 7-4.

UPDATE: For the record, a few of us took a second look at the score book. Upon further review, we’ve determined Michelle Floyd had six unearned runs against one earned. Lauren O’Leary had two unearned runs against one earned, which came in the sixth inning. There was some confusion early in the game as to whether a Floyd pitch was a wild pitch or a passed ball. Also, passed balls on dropped third strikes are not considered as errors.

By Miguel A. Melendez, Staff Writer

SAN MARINO – There was frustration throughout, with a barrage of errors being the culprit.

Nevertheless, the La Caada High School softball team capitalized early and often as it completed a Rio Hondo League sweep over San Marino with a 7-4 win Wednesday.

San Marino (11-6, 5-3) started a young infield with the absence of all-league shortstop Alexis Watanabe and all-league third baseman Jacqueline Martinez. Watanabe (.500, 10 RBIs, five doubles) was out with an illness and Martinez (.314) served a one-game suspension stemming from an ejection Tuesday against Monrovia.

The inexperienced infield was prone to vulnerability, and no one knew that better than La Caada coach KC Mathews. The Spartans (17-3, 8-0) were aggressive on the basepaths and quickly pounced on the Titans, who committed four errors and had a slew of miscues at home plate.

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Baseball: Arcadia feeling pressure in the Pacific League.

“There’s pressure to win games because we don’t score any runs, It would be nice to get a base hit to score some runs.”Arcadia coach Nick Lemas after the Apaches’ 2-0 win over Pasadena.

Above: Aggressive base running isn’t a problem, as Arcadia’s Drew Klein is tagged out at home in the second inning against Monrovia earlier this year, but key base hits are becoming far and few in between.

Arcadia’s 25th consecutive Pacific League victory wasn’t easy. Pasadena made it tough, to the point that the Apaches’ two runs in their 2-0 win came on sacrifice flies. As our Keith Lair wrote, Arcadia has to find imaginative ways to manufacture runs, and they did Tuesday. A while back I subtlety wrote in a headline that KJ Edson is doing his job, but that a little more run support would make things easier. Almost immediately a fellow by the screen name of “Broken Arrow” added his two cents: “(L)ast time I checked, all you need is one more run than the other guy so a lack of run production is moot as long as they pitch and play catch.”

As I pointed out, he obviously missed the point. My point was that if Arcadia (17-3, 8-0) was hitting the ball as well as its pitching rotation was producing, the Apaches would probably be running away with the Pacific League with much more authority. At this point, Crescenta Valley (18-2, 7-1) must like its chances with another shot at Arcadia when they meet May 13 under the lights at Arcadia.

We don’t know what Crescenta Valley is batting as a team because they dont’ post their stats on MaxPreps. To Arcadia’s credit, it does. The Apaches, as a team, are batting .287 with a slugging percentage of .358. By contrast, Temple City, the first place team out of the Rio Hondo League, is batting .339 with a .431 slugging percentage.

Pundits will say the Pacific League is arguably tougher competition and the Apaches have faced tougher competition. Not necessarily. Temple City played some tough competition in the Apache Invitational, playing the likes of San Dimas and Glendora. Arcadia beat Temple City 4-3 in that tournament and Temple City beat Pasadena, 7-1.

In the Pacific League, Arcadia has won four of its eight games by two runs or fewer. By contrast, Crescenta Valley has won each of its league games with blow out wins, with the exception of a 3-1 win over Burbank. The Falcons lost to Arcadia, 2-0 4-2.

Nevertheless, you have to give credit where credit is due, and the Apaches are in a position to finish league undefeated for a second consecutive season. Arcadia last year became the only school Pacific League history to finish league undefeated.

But after Tuesday’s game, it’s apparent that run production is becoming an issue.

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Softball: La Caada, San Marino ready for round II. Spartans got the best in first meeting, 3-0.

La Caada and San Marino meet again. The Spartans (16-3, 7-0) got the upper hand in the first meeting a few weeks ago when they beat the Titans (11-5, 5-2) under the lights at La Caada High. I told a few people that I thought this rivalry lost a little bit of its luster when San Marino got beat by Monrovia 2-0 earlier in the Rio Hondo League season. That all but gave La Caada a cushion in the league standings without having to yet play San Marino. San Marino and La Caada, I think, are the top two teams in the West San Gabriel Valley, albeit the Spartans hold a considerable gap between them and the rest. While San Marino suffers with lack of depth, the Spartans seem to flourish with depth from top to bottom. Add to that the fact that La Caada standout Lauren Cox is back in the circle throwing a bit, and you have a Spartans team that arguably has the best power hitter (Anna Edwards) and a powerful 1-2 punch in the circle with Cox and Lauren O’Leary, who has been outstanding all season. San Marino is led by Michelle Floyd who is 11-4 with 178 strikeouts with a 0.61 ERA and six shutouts this season. Alexis Watanabe (.500, 10 RBIs, five doubles) leads the team in batting. Floyd is just as dangerous with a bat in her hand (.476, 11 RBIs, two home runs) but with little else coming elsewhere, the Titans become vulnerable.That’s what leads me to believe La Caada will likely sweep the series today when they meet at San Marino.

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Baseball: Temple City takes two-game lead in Rio Hondo League standings. Is this the end of Monrovia’s reign?

By Miguel A. Melendez, Staff Writer

SOUTH PASADENA – Some will point to a five-run explosion in the seventh inning as the key to the Temple City High School baseball team’s 11-4 Rio Hondo League win over South Pasadena on Tuesday afternoon.

The reality is, the visiting Rams (13-6, 7-1) let their defense do the talking, getting out of pressure-moment innings, particularly in the sixth, when a potential momentum swing for the Tigers (9-11, 4-3) never came to fruition.

“They had runners in scoring position in many of the innings,” said Temple City coach Barry Bacon, whose Rams sit atop the league standings with a two-game lead. “We just pitched out of it and played good defense today.”

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