SOFTBALL PLAYOFFS: Ladies of the diamond begin their title quests …

By Keith Lair, Staff Writer

The Rio Hondo League softball race was rough.

So rough that it cost two-time reigning CIF-Southern Section champion La Canada a berth in this season’s playoffs. So rough that no league team earned a seeded spot in the Division 4 playoffs. So rough that Monrovia, which finished in a three-way for second, must face a No. 4 seed Thursday.

“We kind of had a taste of everything, including turmoil at the end,” Monrovia coach David Guzman said. “We’ve gone through it all already. That will make it definitely interesting.”

The Wildcats tied for second with La Canada and San Marino. La Canada, which won the last two CIF-SS Division 5 titles, finished with a sub-.500 record, thanks to its tough nonleague tournament schedule and was ineligible to apply for an at-large berth.

The draw was not entirely kind to the league with Monrovia (14-9) playing at No. 4 seed Dos Pueblos (21-3) in Thursday’s first round. San Marino (15-7-1) will play host to Ventura in a wild-card game today. League champion Temple City (13-13) will play host to Garden Grove on Thursday. La Canada, with back-to-back losses to San Marino last week, finished 13-14.

“We’re used to going in and have pitching battles,” Guzman said. “Hopefully we have the kind of weapons than can get runs across.

“We’re battle-tested. We’re used to and ready to face small ball with teams like Temple City and great pitching against San Marino’s (Michelle) Floyd, who was tough all year. We’re used to one-run games.”

In all, 14 west Valley teams are in the playoffs. Seven, including San Marino, must advance out of today’s wild-card round.

Arcadia will play host to San Gorgonio and La Salle will play host to Crescenta Valley in Division 3, Gabrielino is at Culver City in Division 4, Morro Bay is at Ramona Convent and Barstow at Marshall in Division 5 and Westridge is at Desert Christian in Lancaster in Division 6.

Olympic League champion Maranatha also drew a Division 4 home game. The Minutemen will face the Serrano/Jurupa Valley winner.

In Division 6, four west Valley entrants drew home games. Lone Pine is at Horizon League champion Alverno, St. Anthony plays at Prep League champion Rio Hondo Prep, California Lutheran at San Gabriel Mission and Twentynine Palms at Pasadena Poly.

The seven division tournament quarterfinals are May 23, with semifinals on May 28 and finals on May 31 or June 1 at Irvine’s Manning Stadium.

 

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BASEBALL PLAYOFFS: Locals start their title quests as pairings released on Monday …

By Keith Lair,

Staff Writer

Alhambra came oh so close to winning its first CIF-Southern Section baseball championship last year.

The Moors reached the Division 3 title game for the first time in 85 years, losing to Bonita, 5-1. The Almont League champions drop a division and head into the playoffs, and with the exception of Rio Hondo League teams, a somewhat unknown factor.

Being in different divisions, we’re facing teams we’ve never faced,” Alhambra coach Steve Gewecke said. “The matchups we’re playing, I had to look up where both schools are located.

Alhambra will face a wild-card entrant, Bishop Diego or Godinez, in Friday’s first-round game at Moor Field.

We’re not familiar with them and it’s obvious we get a chance to see an opponent and they cannot see us. It’s huge.”

Gewecke can only hope that the Moors, 19-6, make a magical run like last year.

A lot of things have to happen to make that kind of run,” Gewecke said. “The longer time goes, the more we can understand that. There are so many wild-card games than instead of 32 teams having a chance, now it’s 48 teams that can make a run.

If we’re playing our best baseball… If we can put our No. 2 and No. 3 pitchers on our shoulders, we have a chance.”

Alhambra’ s issue this season has been hitting.

We get the ball in the air too much,” he said. “We can’t put a finger on it. If we get better at-bats and with our pitching being very good and because our defense is also very good, we can do it. Some of our pitchers give up less than a run a game so all we have to do is scratch one or two runs out.”

Twelve west San Gabriel Valley teams earned berths into the playoffs. Four teams will play wild-card games today.

Arcadia has a home game against Pioneer Valley and Pasadena plays at Santa Barbara in Division 2. Fullerton plays at San Marino in Division 4 and Marshall is at Santa Paula in Division 6.

First-round games in divisions 5 and 7 are on Thursday with the five other divisions playing on Friday. The quarterfinals are scheduled for May 24, semifinals May 28 and finals, if any area teams advance, on June 1 at UC Riverside. The CIF-SS’s top three divisions will play at Dodger Stadium on May 31.

Prep League champion Flintridge Prep earned the lone seed from the west valley. The 15-8 Rebels will play the wild-card winner between Marshall and Santa Paula at the Glendale Sports Complex in Division 6. 

Rio Hondo League champion La Canada also drew a Division 4 wild-card team and will face today’s winner between Barstow and host California. La Sierra will play at Monrovia on Thursday. 

The lone area matchup will be Duarte at Olympic League champion Maranatha in Division 5. The game has been tentatively scheduled for 6 p.m. on Thursday at Robinson Field.

In another Division 6 game, Bloomington Christian plays at Pasadena Poly. In Division 7, Southwestern Academy is at Avalon and St. Monica will play host to Marywood.

 

Division 2 

Tuesday’s Wild-Card Round

Pioneer Valley at Arcadia

Pasadena at Santa Barbara

Division 4

Tuesday’s Wild-Card Round

Fullerton at San Marino

Friday’s First Round

Barstow/California winner at La Canada

La Serna at Monrovia (Thursday)

Bishop Diego/Godinez winner at Alhambra

Division 5 

Thursday’s First Round

Duarte at Maranatha

Division 6

Tuesday’s Wild-Card Round

Marshall at Santa Paula

Friday’s First Round

Marshall/Santa Paula winner at Flintridge Prep

Bloomington Chr. at Pasadena Poly, 4 p.m.

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Crescenta Valley stuns Arcadia on Ted Boeke’s 3-run blast in the seventh to turn a 4-2 deficit into a 5-4 win …

ARCADIA — Ted Boeke hit a three-run home run in the top of the seventh and the Crescenta Valley High School baseball team edged host Arcadia 5-4 on Friday night.

With the win, Crescenta Valley (20-7, 12-2) earned a share of the Pacific League championship with Burbank and will go into next week’s playoffs as the league’s No. 1 team. Arcadia (20-7, 10-4) finished tied with Burroughs for third, and will get the league’s automatic after winning the tiebreaker.

Crescenta Valley trailed 4-2 entering the seventh inning, but got two men on for Boeke with one out. Arcadia opted to lift starter Austin Georgen and bring in reliever Joey Harmon to face Boeke.

Boeke was waiting for a fastball and when he got it, he didn’t miss, sending a shot over the left-field fence to give his team the lead.

“I knew the fastball was his go-to pitch,” Boeke said. “So when I was looking fastball, I got one and hit it.

“It’s a dream come true. It’s something I was wanting to do since freshman year and it’s a dream come true. When you think you’re going to hit a home run, bad things happens. So I was just going up there thinking hit the ball hard.”

Crescenta Valley starter Brian Gadsby was left in to pitch the seventh and quickly got two outs before Troy Resch singled to give the Apaches hope. But Gadsby got Georgen to ground to end the game and Arcadia’s three-year reign as league champion was over.

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OFFICIAL: Rio Hondo League upholds TC-Monrovia tie … La Canada wins outright league title and San Marino gets 3rd-place playoff spot …

After deliberating Thursday night and most of Friday, the Rio Hondo League decided to make official the Temple City and Monrovia high school baseball teams’ 4-4 tie that was halted in 10th inning due to lightning on Thursday.

The result had a ripple effect in the league standings and made La Canada the outright league champion with Monrovia second. It also gave San Marino the league’s automatic third-place playoff spot.

Trouble is, not everybody in the league felt the game should have ended in a tie given the fact that all five teams had either championship or playoff implications because of the result.

Both Temple City and Monrovia stood by on Friday in case they got word the game would be resumed. But after consulting with the CIF Southern Section office earlier in the day and further talks, the league upheld the tie because its own bylaws are unclear what to do in this event.

“Common sense would tell you that the game needs to be decided on the field,” said Monrovia co-head coach Brad Blackmore, whose team would have earned a share of the league championship with a win over Temple City.

“Maybe I’m wrong, but I’ve never heard in my life of any season ending with a tie in the last game of league with three playoff spots up for grabs and you have an open date the next day. Why would you not settle it on the field?

“There’s nothing in the bylaws either way. And once it gets to CIF, if the league hasn’t agreed on it, then you have no chance.”

Temple City blew leads of 3-0, 3-2 and 4-3 in Thursday’s game before Monrovia tied the game at 4-4. Then, a fluke lightning storm hit the area and the umpires suspended the game as a safety precaution.

Meanwhile, across town, San Marino edged La Canada, 3-2, to cause havoc in the standings.

League coaches left it in the hands of the athletic directors to reach a resolution to the quandary of whether Monrovia and Temple City should be allowed to resume. Some argued that without a unanimous vote, the league could not grandfather in a new rule where one didn’t exist or was unclear.

South Pasadena and Temple City will have to hope for at-large berths when pairings are announced on Monday.

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Earlier game date brings new set of issues for Hall of Fame All-Star Game … i.e. no Monrovia or Muir …

PREPXTRACOVER
M-Town and Muir may not be there for the West, but B-Mart certainly will be.

When: May 17, 7 p.m.
Where: West Covina HS

Organizers of next week’s Hall of Fame All-Star Game for the area’s top high school football seniors are hoping that moving up the date will result in a bigger crowd and an easier experience for players and coaches.

The crowd size remains to be seen, but one things for certain, the game will have stiff competition from the opening round of the CIF-Southern Section baseball playoffs slated to begin that same day.

“We’re trying to find a right and right place,” game organizer Leon Ward said Thursday. “You can’t wait too long for it because it’s hard to do it when the kids have already graduated and they’re gone. Talking to the coaches, they would rather do it the earlier the better.”

This year’s game will be played Friday, May 17 at West Covina with kickoff at 7 p.m. In previous years, the Hall of Fame Game was always been played in June or July after school had let out and the players graduated.

But with high school football now a year-around proposition, coaches who coach the all-star game often do so at the expense of spending time with their own teams during the now-crucial passing circuit.

Game organizers had considered moving the game even earlier in the school year than May, but ultimately settled on this year’s date. That hasn’t been as much of a problem for the East team as it has the West.

The West roster pools players from schools located west of the 605 Freeway. The top program in that area is Monrovia, which won’t have any players in this year’s game because May 17 is prom night.

Muir players invited to the game to play for the West declined because next weekend is track and field finals. San Marino players shunned their invite to concentrate on baseball.

“We thought it was going to work out fine,” Ward said. “The coaches were all in favor of it. For the last two or three years, that’s been on the agenda because of all the coaches asking us to move it up.

“We moved it up thinking we’d be okay. And for the most part, it’s been okay except that we got one bomb dropped on us last week when we found out the Monrovia kids had prom.”

The defections have left West head coach Joel Sanchez of El Monte scrambling to find replacements and keep his team together.

“They’re good kids and they’re working hard,” Joel Sanchez said. “It’s been tough getting everybody here together. When they’re all here, like yesterday, we have 43 (players).

“Just getting everybody here has been the tough part.”

High school football all-star games are no easy task to put together. Even the longstanding Shrine All-Star Game, which once filled the Los Angeles Coliseum with fans, folded due to poor crowd attendance and player participation.

The quandary for the Hall of Fame Game has always been player participation because much of the top local talent had already left to begin their college career by the time game night rolled around, or they did not want to risk injury by playing in the game.

Playing in the game, however, hasn’t stopped many former local greats from going on to prosperous careers. Blair’s Sean Smith and West Covina’s Walter Thurmond III played in the 2005 game and are now in the NFL.

The moved-up game date has actually helped the East roster lure a talented quartet from Charter Oak, which includes Colorado-bound receiver Bryce Bobo, who otherwise might not have played if the game was held in June or July like previous years.

Despite the logistical problems, Sanchez has been able to field a talented roster that’s led by Tribune Player of the Year Brandon Martinez of El Monte, who is hoping to quarterback the West to a win.

“People always think he looks good because of playing in our league, but he looks good out here,” Sanchez said. “He’s good and he’s looking good out here, so that’s a plus for us.”

WEST ROSTER

0 M. Matiarena 6″4 290 T Salesian
1 Wardell Barry 5’7 160 DB Pasadena
2 Albert Llamas 5″8 160 ss St. Paul
3 Brandon Martinez5’7 165 QB EL Monte
4 Peter Aholoka 5’9 165 RB Arroyo
5 Johhny Garcia 5’9 165 WR FS EL Rancho
6 Ruben Jimenez 5’10 195 LB EL Monte
7 Joey Sanchez 5’10 185 QB SS EL Rancho
8 S. San Miguel 6’0 175 WR DB Rosemead
9 Jake Holguin 6’3 205 WR Rio Hondo Prep
10 Lorenzo Mena 5’10 185 LB Gabrielino
11 Nick Downs 6’2 220 LB St. Paul
12 Josh Mendoza 5’11 175 QB Garfield
13 Gabriel Larios 6’0 160 WR San Gabriel
15 Ramon Sierra 6’4 285 DE Garfield
17 Jared Gonzelez 5’8 175 RB Cantwell
18 Ricardo Fonseca 5’9 175 WR SS Schurr
20 Jorge Reyes 5″10 165 FB LB St. Paul
21 Ivan Lezama 5’9 175 LB Schurr
22 Jesse Pina 6’0 220 FB DE Hoover
24 Roger Lemus 5’8 200 RB Lincoln
25 Austin Ford 5’11 205 LB Arcadia
26 Alex Saavedra 5’11 235 OL DL St. Paul
26 Pablo Ocegueda 5’10 165 FS South El Monte
27 Steven Barron 5’7 160 DB Don Bosco Tech
28 Abel Barajas 5’11 185 WR EL Monte
29 Torus Stepney 5’5 155 DB Pasadena
32 Ezra Broadus 5’7 170 RB CB Alhambra
33 Marcus Lewis 6’0 195 RB SS Duarte
34 Eric Alvarez 6’1 215 LB San Gabriel
43 Chris Reed 6’1 205 FB LB Temple City
44 Chris Mendoza 5’10 195 LB Bell Gardens
50 J. Betancourt 5’9 185 C DE Temple City
51 James Rivera 5’10 230 C T Arroyo
53 Chris Cavalero 6’2 250 OL NT Alhambra
55 Adrian Barrios 6’1 225 OL DE Arcadia
65 Flemming White 6’5 315 G Pasadena
67 Bryan Rodriguez 6’2 295 OL Montebello
74 Erwin Melesio 6’3 300 OL DL Linclon
77 Chris Vargas 6’1 245 T Bell Gardens
78 Nelson Leon 5’11 225 OL Rosemead
79 Corey Reaves 6’1 265 OL DL Verdugo Hills
81 Adolfo Sanchez 5’9 165 WR EL Monte
85 Richard Natividad 6’1 205 DE South El Monte

EAST ROSTER

1 Noel Martinez La Puente REC 6’1 165
2 Andy Sherwood Damien REC 5’7 165
3 Muleck Henderso West Covina DB 5’10 190
5 Bryce Bobo Charter Oak REC 6’3 195
6 Aaron Parham South Hills REC 6’1 210
7 Matt Simko Chino Hills QB 6’3 220
9 Jacob Farias South Hills DB 5’10 180
10 Jesus Arteaga Azusa DB 5’9 162
11 Kevin Amezquita Gladstone QB 6’1 180
14 Alex Arellano Chino WR
15 Josh Savage Damien WR 6’2 200
16 Brandt Davis Bonita K 6’0 180
17 Eric Ortiz Charter Oak LB 6’1 239
18 Bahlil Thompson Garey ATH 6’1 175
20 Reggie Turner Bonita RB 5’9 195
21 Aaron Vaughns Charter Oak RB 5’8 170
22 Aaron Sanchez Gladstone LB 5’8 205
23 Elvis Toscano Santa Fe DB 5’7 160
28 Khari Garcia Charter Oak DB 5’11 185
29 Cade Lindsay Glendora RB 5’10 160
34 Aaron Salgado West Covina RB 5’8 205
40 Terrance Manderville Nogales REC 6’2 190
42 Roy Torres Northview LB 5’11 220
43 Justin Buga San Dimas LB 5’11 191
44 Aaron Franklin West Covina DB 5’11 193
45 Eric Noyola Los Altos TE 5’11 215
50 Justin Tumer Covina LB 5’9 230
51 Noah Garcia Diamond Ranch OL 6 263
52 Mike Mora Sierra Vista LB
54 Elia Semu Covina OL 5’11 220
55 Jacob Hughes Whittier Chr. DL 6’3 220
57 Jacob Gamboa California OL 5’10 245
58 Tommy Green Glendora OL 6’3 280
60 Matthew Lopez Bishop Amat DL 6’0 245
61 DJ Theard Bonita OL 6’5 295
66 German Ponce California DL 5’11 260
72 Adrian Solchaga Gladstone OL 5’9 230
74 Dustin Sanford Sonora OL 6’3 260
77 Greg Lawton Rowland DL 5’10 175
79 Christian Lopez Gladstone OL 6’3 255
84 Adam Romero West Covina DL 6’1 190
87 Hunter Grap Don Lugo TE 6’5 220
90 Isaiah Osorio La Serna DL 6’0 245
92 Cody Walsh Chino DL 6’4 240

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La Canada edges San Marino, clinches AT LEAST a share of Rio Hondo League championship …

miz

PHOTOS from Wednesday’s game

La Canada 3, San Marino 2 — Spartans earn at least a share of Rio Hondo League title and guarantee themselves as being the No. 1 rep from the RHL in next week’s D-4 playoffs. Amazing stuff considering that LC won JUST TWO league games last season. Anthony Mizrahi’s 3-run blast in the first inning proved to be the difference. Alex Bang got the win for LC. The teams will play again tomorrow with San Marino fighting for its playoff life and ace Jeff Bain on the bump. LC is likely to counter with lefty ace Justin Lewis.

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West roster for Hall of Fame All-Star Game … May 17 at West Covina HS …

0 M. Matiarena 6″4 290 T Salesian
1 Wardell Barry 5’7 160 DB Pasadena
2 Albert Llamas 5″8 160 ss St. Paul
3 Brandon Martinez5’7 165 QB EL Monte
4 Peter Aholoka 5’9 165 RB Arroyo
5 Johhny Garcia 5’9 165 WR FS EL Rancho
6 Ruben Jimenez 5’10 195 LB EL Monte
7 Joey Sanchez 5’10 185 QB SS EL Rancho
8 S. San Miguel 6’0 175 WR DB Rosemead
9 Jake Holguin 6’3 205 WR Rio Hondo Prep
10 Lorenzo Mena 5’10 185 LB Gabrielino
11 Nick Downs 6’2 220 LB St. Paul
12 Josh Mendoza 5’11 175 QB Garfield
13 Gabriel Larios 6’0 160 WR San Gabriel
15 Ramon Sierra 6’4 285 DE Garfield
17 Jared Gonzelez 5’8 175 RB Cantwell
18 Ricardo Fonseca 5’9 175 WR SS Schurr
20 Jorge Reyes 5″10 165 FB LB St. Paul
21 Ivan Lezama 5’9 175 LB Schurr
22 Jesse Pina 6’0 220 FB DE Hoover
24 Roger Lemus 5’8 200 RB Lincoln
25 Austin Ford 5’11 205 LB Arcadia
26 Alex Saavedra 5’11 235 OL DL St. Paul
26 Pablo Ocegueda 5’10 165 FS South El Monte
27 Steven Barron 5’7 160 DB Don Bosco Tech
28 Abel Barajas 5’11 185 WR EL Monte
29 Torus Stepney 5’5 155 DB Pasadena
32 Ezra Broadus 5’7 170 RB CB Alhambra
33 Marcus Lewis 6’0 195 RB SS Duarte
34 Eric Alvarez 6’1 215 LB San Gabriel
43 Chris Reed 6’1 205 FB LB Temple City
44 Chris Mendoza 5’10 195 LB Bell Gardens
50 J. Betancourt 5’9 185 C DE Temple City
51 James Rivera 5’10 230 C T Arroyo
53 Chris Cavalero 6’2 250 OL NT Alhambra
55 Adrian Barrios 6’1 225 OL DE Arcadia
65 Flemming White 6’5 315 G Pasadena
67 Bryan Rodriguez 6’2 295 OL Montebello
74 Erwin Melesio 6’3 300 OL DL Linclon
77 Chris Vargas 6’1 245 T Bell Gardens
78 Nelson Leon 5’11 225 OL Rosemead
79 Corey Reaves 6’1 265 OL DL Verdugo Hills
81 Adolfo Sanchez 5’9 165 WR EL Monte
85 Richard Natividad 6’1 205 DE South El Monte

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Rio Hondo League race heats up …

Thursday’s Games

San Marino 3, Monrovia 1
— Titans ace Jeff Bain tossed a one-hitter and kept his team’s hopes for third place in the Rio Hondo League, and a guaranteed playoff spot, alive. Meanwhile, Monrovia’s league title hopes just took a big hit. The Wildcats will enter the final week a game behind first-place La Canada in the league standings … and the Spartans own the tiebreaker after taking two out of three from the Wildcats this spring.


South Pas 10, Temple City 3
— South Pas staved off third-place elimination. I have no deets, but the Tigers finished the regular season 11-13 overall and 5-7 in league.


Wednesday’s Results


Monrovia 5, San Marino 1
— Wildcats get one win closer to pulling even with La Canada in first place at 7-3 in league. Pitcher Chris Burkholder was fantastic and a three-run fifth inning blew the game open. San Marino got a decent start from Jeff Chan, but three errors did in the Titans.

Temple City 5, South Pas 1
— Rams frosh pitcher Zechariah Jarrard was filthy and got the win to put his team right in the thick of the race for third place and a guaranteed spot in the D-4 playoffs.

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