Badminton: Keppel wins second straight CIF-SS title

CLICK HERE FOR A PHOTO GALLERY OF THE CIF-SS BADMINTON FINALS

By Keith Lair, Staff Writer

AZUSA – Kenneth Hui said he is accustomed to drawing a crowd.

The Keppel High School sophomore and his partner, sophomore Johnny Zeng, needed only to finish off Diamond Bar’s Luke Chiang and Alvin Ma to win a second consecutive CIF-Southern Section Division 1 badminton championship.

Hui hit a drop serve and then returned a Chiang shot just beside Ma to clinch the Aztecs’ 10th CIF-SS title on Saturday at Azusa High.

“I’m kind of used to it now, playing in other tournaments,” he said of his teammates watching the lone match at the time. “It was pretty important.”

The 11-7, 11-5 win by the Aztecs’ No. 2 doubles team over the Brahmas’ No. 1 team gave the Aztecs their 11th point of the match, an 11-7 lead, and was enough to defeat Diamond Bar, 12-9, for a second consecutive title.

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BBCOR bats make baseball safer, but offense lagging.

Awesome read on ESPNLA.com regarding the use of the newly installed BBCOR bats in high school baseball this season. The lack of offensive production is noticable across the San Gabriel Valley: batting averages are down, home runs are down and runs scored are down. My boy David Ely goes the distance and gets reaction from some of the top high school baseball programs across the Southland. He writes:

“There’s no doubt that because they reduced the exit velocity off the bat that it’s allowed for more reaction time,” Bishop Amat coach Andy Nieto said. “How much? I think that’s still yet to be seen.”

In the past, pitchers were vulnerable to rocketed line drives hit off charged aluminum bats at speeds that left players with little to no chance to safely protect themselves. The increased level of danger took center stage in March 2010 when a 16-year-old pitcher in Kentfield, Calif., was put in a coma after getting hit in the head by a ball reportedly travelling 100 mph. The decision to revamp the composite bat standards in California was made with those kinds of plays in mind, and area coaches agree the game is safer because of it.

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“You can tell who can hit,” UCLA coach John Savage said. “The power is really down across the board. If you see a guy with two or three home runs you realize he has some power. Before, that doesn’t mean much. The cream of the crop hitters has risen that’s for sure.”

CLICK HERE TO READ THE FULL STORY ON ESPN LOS ANGELES

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Baseball: Monrovia bounces back with 2-1 win over South Pasadena on Wednesday to snap 7-game losing streak. Temple City visits San Marino at 3:30 today.

Monrovia’s Kevin Shue went the distance and allowed just four hits and no earned runs to lead the Wildcats to a 2-1 win over South Pasadena on Wednesday afternoon. The win helped the Wildcats (9-12-1, 5-4) snap a seven-game losing streak and puts them above .500 in the Rio Hondo League for the first time since opening with four consecutive victories. Monrovia scored one in the first inning to grab the early lead, but errors still seem to hamper the Wildcats as they committed a staggering four errors. Monrovia’s Adrian Velasco and Joe Mata each had a double with an RBI apiece from Jairo Jiorge and Kevin Pestanas. Monrovia is off today and visits La Canada on Friday. League leader Temple City (14-6, 8-1) sits comfortably atop the league standings with three league games remaining. First of the three is a trip to San Marino today. The big game for the Rams will come next Tuesday when it visits Monrovia. That series is always a treat, evident by the last two games with each team making making heroic plays in the bottom of the seventh inning to squeeze out a victory.

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Football: Are we getting closer to Texas football with a 16-game season? Monrovia’s Ryan Maddox thinks so. Some coaches don’t like it though, saying it’s a tad long.

“We’re getting closer to Texas and a true state champion. Of course, it makes the season longer, but I think it’s neat. It’s an interesting concept, but I wouldn’t want to see it take away from the division championship. But it hasn’t done that, I don’t think. It adds an interesting twist and I really don’t see a problem with it. The preseason may have to be adjusted.”
Monrovia coach Ryan Maddox.

“From a medical standpoint, there is not any definitive data that says five games is enough or 15. Most people don’t like this answer, but it really depends on the coach. The doctors said that if that coach is teaching and coaching correctly and what they mean by correctly in football is they’re hitting one day a week, they’re in pads one day a week and keeping the length of practice to a respectable time limit, and what we mean by that is two hours then these kids can play forever.”
CIF associate director Roger Blake.

By Aram Tolegian
STORY:
Depending on who you ask, the lengthening of the prep football season is either a really good thing or something so bad it’s unimaginable. Late last week, the California Interscholastic Federation state council gave final approval to adding regional bowl games to the state championship bowl games format for high school football. And there’s been no shortage of opinions on whether the move was ahead-of-the-curve thinking or a money grab that jeopardizes the safety of student athletes.

Under the new format, the CIF sections that make up the southern half of the state would contest five regional bowl games the weekend after the Southern Section championships are played. That would mean a 15th game for teams invited to play in these games. The winners would then move on to a 16th game, the state championship bowl games the following week. The new format will start in the 2012 season.

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Baseball: Arcadia extends league win streak to 27.

By Miguel A. Melendez, Staff Writer

ARCADIA — A mere KJ Edson sighting gives the Arcadia High School baseball team a considerable advantage, but when the Apaches produce three runs right off the bat in the first inning, the result becomes all but official.

Arcadia wasted no time building an early lead, and it was all the run support Edson needed as he allowed just one hit in six innings pitched to lead the Apaches to a 6-0 Pacific League win over Pasadena on Wednesday.

Edson’s lone hit came off of Pasadena’s Chris Rucker, whose line drive bounced off of third base and out of Arcadia third baseman Drew Klein’s reach. Edson was in command from that point on as 12 of the 18 outs were on ground outs. In two games against Pasadena, Edson’s thrown 13 shutout innings and allowed just four hits.

Arcadia (20-3, 11-0) extended its impressive league win streak to 27 thanks to a productive first inning in which the Apaches were able to cash in three runs on three hits and an error.

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PBS SoCal’s investigation to expose high school and college coaches in Orange County who received cash and gifts from supplier. Premieres tonight at 5:30.

A PBS SoCal investigation will expose financial records from an Orange County sports apparel and equipment supplier, that indicate a number of high school and some college coaches in Orange County received cash and gifts from the company.

The secret records were named “Slush Account,” and kept track of how the funds were dispersed to coaches. The “Slush Account” records show that the company over-billed school districts for uniforms, and other sport accessories, and shared the excess cash with coaches.

This story will premiere tonight on the 5:30 p.m. broadcast of PBS SoCal’s newsmagazine “Real Orange.”

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Say uncle! CIF enacts mercy rule in football with running clock. Is this a good idea? Aram says it is, and I agree.

Aram Tolegian at “In the Huddle” reports that starting this season, if any football game has a margin of 35 points or higher at any point in the first three quarters, the coaches and referees can agree to go to a running clock.

Here’s how it works:

If ENTERING the fourth quarter, or at any point in the fourth quarter, there is a lead of 35 points or more, the game will MANDATORILY go to a running clock and that WILL NOT change no matter what the score becomes. So, if Team A is leading Team B 35-0 and Team B score to make it 35-7, the clock will keep running.

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Baseball: Keith Jones steps up to the plate and delivers.

San Gabriel baseball coach Mike Proctor has taken a medical leave of absence after undergoing surgery last Friday, San Gabriel athletic director Pat Hill said.

Proctor stepped down to have an undisclosed surgery that had been on hold because of insurance approval the last year. Proctor, a walk-on coach who is an L.A. County Sheriff’s Deputy, was in his fourth season at the helm before his medical leave. His last game was last Tuesday.

In his place for the remaining four games of the season will be former football coach Keith Jones. Hill said she approached Jones about filling in for the remainder of the season and he accepted.

Jones’ first game was supposed to be last Friday but could not attend because of a prior commitment. He dressed up for Tuesday’s game, which the Matadors (2-13, 1-10) lost, 11-1.

Jones stepped down last year as football coach after 11 seasons at the helm. When the girls basketball program needed an interim coach, Jones, who has also coached track and wrestling among other sports, stepped in.

“I just can’t say no,” Jones said. “The way our district is run, and all districts, you have to get certified, you have to get CIF courses, finger prints, cleared, and since I already have that — if it’s (in the middle of the season) like its been the last couple times — it’s an easy fit.

“It’s easy for me to help out. That’s mainly the reason why. I don’t want them to cancel any games, and I don’t want the kids to be sacrificed.”

As for wearing a new sports uniform, in this case a baseball uniform, Jones said: “I looked sharp yesterday.”

It’s uncertain if Proctor, who is 14-60 in four seasons with the Matadors, will return.

“We haven’t decided what we’re going to do,” Hill said. “I haven’t talked to him since the surgery, so I don’t really know.”

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Baseball: Muir records first league win in five years.


Above: We have no photos of Muir baseball. If anyone wants to send us a current one, please do!

Muir is known for its football and girls basketball prowess, and in its heyday track was also in the mix. More recently, the boys basketball team grabbed the spotlight after reaching the CIF-Southern Section Division 5AA finals this season.

Baseball’s taken a back seat since winning only three games in six years before the start of this season. Muir, however, made a bit of team history Tuesday when it won its first Pacific League game in five years after mounting a strong fifth inning comeback to beat Glendale, 10-8.

Muir (2-16, 1-8) trailed 8-2 heading into the fifth. The Mustangs rallied for five runs thanks to a Sam Hutchins two-run home run that pulled them within 8-7. Kevon Seymour’s three-run home run in the sixth inning that gave the Mustangs the lead for good, and their first league win since beating Blair 11-3 in the 2006-07 season when they went 3-18 overall and 1-13 in league.

“We struggled for a couple years but we have some kids who want to play,” said Muir coach Mike Bendy, who is in his fourth season at the helm. “The kids just rallied. They started hitting the ball and it just carried over to the next batter. That got them pumped up.”

Senior Jeffrey Davis, a standout quarterback who led the Mustangs to the quarterfinals of the CIF-SS Southeast Division playoffs, went the distance to record his second win of the season. He also recorded a triple and a double. Seymour finished with four RBIs.

BOX SCORE
Pacific League
Muir 10, Glendale 8

Glendale 511 100 0 — 8 7 2
Muir 100 153 X — 10 9 2

Daniel Aragon; Joseph Franco (5) and Rafael Rios; Jeffrey Davis and Martin Sanchez and Sam Hutchins (2). HR: Hutchins (M), Kevon Seymour (M). 3B: Davis (M). 2B: Davis (M), Covarrubias (G), Morales (G). RBI: Seymour (M) 4. W: Davis (2-4). L: Franco.

Records: Glendale 3-9, 1-8; Muir 2-16, 1-8.

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Baseball: La Salle loss to St. Paul ends in controversy.

By Mario Aguirre, Correspondent

SANTA FE SPRINGS – Anthony Ybarra drove in the decisive run in the bottom of the sixth inning Tuesday, keeping alive the playoff hopes of the St. Paul baseball team with a 1-0 win over La Salle.

The game didn’t end, though, without some controversy down the stretch. With two outs and a runner on first in the seventh, the home-plate umpire ruled that a pitch from Anthony Gonzalez hit La Salle’s Chris Williams.

Williams, who had no exaggerated reaction from the pitch, walked to first base, with St. Paul coach Casey Morales disputing the call. The third- base plate and home-plate umpires discussed the call, and moments later rescinded it. Williams returned to the plate and struck out. Game over.

“It was a fastball, right-hand side,” Williams said. “I went to swing, but the ball hit me right on the palm.”

“It was just a bad call,” Williams added, with his glove off to reveal his swollen wrist. “The umpire looked over here, and I was just standing at the bag. And I guess he just saw it in my face or something that the ball probably didn’t hit me.”

St. Paul (8-16 overall, 3-6 in league) will take the much- needed Del Rey League win. Only three games remain for the Swordsmen, who must win the rest of the way to remain in playoff contention. Heading into Tuesday, they trailed third-place Bishop Montgomery (9-12, 3-5) by one game.

“Every game from here on out, we’re treating it like the playoffs,” Ybarra said.

“We know if we lose,” Gonzalez said, “we’re done.”

Gonzalez (3-6) worked the mound Tuesday, striking out nine and allowing two hits.

La Salle (13-9, 7-4), which already clinched a playoff berth, needs a win to clinch the league’s No. 2 seed outright. La Salle has only one league game remaining, on Friday, when they host St. Paul.

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