It finally happened …

I had a feeling this day in high school sports would come sooner than later. Let me first explain what’s going on and offer you some links to help figure it out. There is controversy swirling around Newport Harbor pole vaulter Allison Stokke. She’s an 18-year-old senior and one of the state’s top vaulters. But that’s not why she’s getting attention. It seems that pictures of Ms. Stokke have been circulating around the Internet and they’re not attracting eyes because of her good vaulting form. You can see what I mean by doing a simple google search with her name. I’ve decided against posting any of them here because I don’t want copyright hassles. There’s also a myspace fan page for her, which you can also find by searching either that site or google. Stokke has turned into an Internet superstar for obvious reasons – she’s a female high school athlete with movie star looks and has people toeing a very strange line. And Allison’s father, Allan Stokke, who is a prominent defense attorney, is evidently not happy about his daughter’s new found fame. He voiced his displeasure in a FRONT PAGE story in the Washington Post and more recently the OC Register. Remember, the girl goes to Newport Harbor, and the story is in the Washington Post!!! Think it’s gotten big? The Washington Post article prompted the popular Web site to say: “Giving an huge interview to The Washington Post about how you can’t stand everyone talking about your daughter — and including two more attractive pictures — is really the perfect way to get everyone to stop talking about your daughter.” And then there’s this from CBS.
The situation has become so gigantic that it’s making its way through several major blogs and the debate has begun. I would suggest checking Sportsbybrooks (scroll down) for another viewpoint. It’s currently the lead item on that blog and there’s more further down the page.

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Shrine Game canceled ….

First of all, I blame you. We’ll get back to that in a second. I wrote an article today that ran in all three of our publications. I suggest you read it. Basically, the Shrine Game is taking a year break due to a lack of orginization. Supposedly, this is only a year break and not an altogether cancellation of the event. But if you’ve been tracking the game’s recent struggles – poor attendance, limited TV coverage and controversial selection process – you know that it’s unfortunately on its last leg. It will be a very sad day in SoCal high school football if the Shrine Game becomes extinct. And who’s to blame for all of this? Well, to be blunt, everyone is at fault. Fans for not attending. Players for not playing. Game organizers for not running things properly i.e. changing with the times. Did you go to last year’s game? I did. It was at Citrus College. I don’t think I saw you there because I truly didn’t see anyone there. I do know that I saw some players on the roster who weren’t legit all-stars. Second team all-leaguers selected to play because of connections or coaching preference. So what can be done to revive a game that used to get massive crowds decades ago? I got a call today from Jay Johnstone, who read my article. He’s interested in taking a shot at preserving this part of SoCal sports history. Will anybody else step up?

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I know that it’s kind of a hectic time with two teams playing for CIF championships this weekend, but the (baseball) All-Star game is this Sunday at Mt. SAC at 6 p.m.

Red Team (I think)
Max Valerio Arcadia
Corwin Kim Arcadia
Mark Larini Arroyo
Omar Soto Baldwin Park
Maverick Olivares Bishop Amat
Sergio Munoz Bishop Amat
Chris Eusebio Bishop Amat
Matt Baudino Bonita
Nick Torres Charter Oak
Mark Mendrun Damien
Chris Sandez Duarte
Andrew Viotti Duarte
Greg Cuevas Nogales
Tony Gracia Nogales
Robert Rodriguez Northview
Will Davis Northview
David Leonard San Dimas
Angel Marti South Hills
John Salazar South Hills
Matt Rueda South Pasadena
Joe DePinto St. Francis
Evan Simontisch St. Francis
Matt Quintero St. Francis
Justin Franta Walnut
Ed Caraza West Covina
Nick Field West Covina

Blue Team (I think)
Jacob Giambalvo Alhambra
Bryan Davila Alhambra
Javier Estrada Alhambra
Julio Raymundo Azusa
Cesar Beltran Blair
Adrian Farfan El Monte
Michael Ortega El Monte
Danny Macias Gabrielino
Ricky Pokorny Gabrielino
Mitchell Maseredjian La Canada
Scott Vincent La Puente
Frank Moreno Los Altos
Evelio Ahumada Los Altos
Eddie McKiernan Monrovia
Nick Fabanish Monrovia
Erik Allen Monrovia
Chris Galaviz Montebello
William Loza Montebello
Leander Benjamin Mountain View
Demaris Ellis Pasadena
Matt Forgatch San Marino
Braulio Velasquez Sierra Vista
Adrian Franco Sierra Vista
Mike Mendoza Temple City
Kyle McDonald Temple City

And the softball game is on June 6 at Mt. SAC 6 p.m.

Baldwin Park- Amber Frame
Charter Oak-Delaney Baylor, Jennifer Fontan, Ashley Comeford
Covina-Becky Hernandez
Duarte-Justine Goldsmith
Glendora-Ashley Paul
La Canada-Lise Leibl, Kristen Oechsel
Monrovia-Krissy Mihm, Courtney Mihm, Katie Mc
Samantha Rogers, Brittany Bateson
Northview-Serena Palacios, Casey Mc Phail, Vanessa Gutierrez
Rosemead-Danielle armenta, Leanna San Angelo
San Dimas-Jennifer Bustillos, Jessica Frusher, Gabby McNellis, Amanda
Ratliff, Lauren pulley

Bishop Amat-Lauren Mirabal
Diamond Bar-Brianne Bagwell, Alyssa Walters
El Monte-Jazmin Velazco, Desiree Avila
La Puente-Vanessa Palomino
Los Altos-Samantha Perez, Kim Valdivia
Nogales-Jessica Purcell, Cindy Fonseca
Rowland-Heather Ortiz, Christina Banuelos
South Hills-Tara Olson, Jacquelyn Holtzclaw, Jacqueline, McGrade
Walnut- Britany Matlock, Kristin Lane
West Covina-Shauniece Knight, Desiree Perez, Jordan Augino
Wilson-Jessica Bracamonte

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PREDICTIONS: Monrovia vs. Amat …

I don’t know if Freddie Robledo and his boys are just sandbagging, but there seems to be little belief on the westside that Monrovia can defend its title and take down Amat. It will be ace against ace on Saturday night when Eddie McKiernan and Maverick Olivares oppose each other in a game that will probably take only an hour to complete. Below you’ll find the musings of those who have either covered or coached against both teams in Saturday’s finals. I’d imagine Saturday’s crowd is going to be huge as everyone in the Valley will head east for the showdown. I know, I know, it sucks to go all the way to Riverside to play a game that very easily could’ve been played locally with a lot less money spent on gas. But, just look at Saturday’s game as the only good reason anyone could ever have to set foot in Riverside. Now, on to those predictions … Aram Tolegian: “Amat scores only twice and Monrovia once. McKiernan is dominant, but so is Olivares. Both teams flash leather and do the little things, but Amat does them slightly better. I’ve said it all along, Amat is just top-to-bottom better than anybody in the SGV. That doesn’t mean they can’t be beat, but I’ve seen a lot of teams who have one or two great players, three good ones and the rest average. Amat is just good up and down – batting order, starters and bullpen. Plus, when you watch this team, you can tell Coach Andy Nieto has taught them well. They’re fundamentally sound.” Yes, I just quoted myself. Brian Baiotto: “I definitely think Bishop Amat is going to win because they’ve kind of been cruising through the playoffs. They’re just too sound of a team. I just don’t think McKiernan can beat them alone, as great as he is.” If anybody should know, it’s Northview coach Darren Murphy. He’s played them both. Murphy: “That’s a tough matchup. I like Bishop Amat’s overall depth. They’re better than people assume. When you see Amat, you know you can play with them, but you hope your kids aren’t blown away with the Amat mystique. I like pitching in the playoffs, and Monrovia will be in it with McKiernan. The fact McKiernan has won a championship, and Amat hasn’t, that’s makes it a great game. Overall, though, I’d have to go with Amat’s overall depth. You think they’re beatable, but they find a way to pull out wins.”

Here’s the what the boys from the ‘Dena think:

Fred J. Robledo: Will Monrovia start McKiernan and bring someone else in the seventh inning, or start Eddie in the second inning, and let him finish. I hope the latter is true. In any case, I’ve seen Monrovia and McKiernan enough to know that if Monrovia plays defense behind Eddie, they’re going to win. I watched Monrovia commit three errors in McKiernan’s only loss, a 4-3 setback earlier in the season against Northview. I watched the Cats self-destruct with six errors on Tuesday, but McKiernan came in the fourth inning and settled everything down, then threw shutout innings in the fourth, fifth and sixth to allow the Cat’s to rally and pull out a miracle, 15-14 over Woodcrest Christian in the semis. I’ll set the over/under at 2. If the Cats commit 2 errors or less, they win. Anything more than 2, and the Lancers walk away with the title.

Andrew Campa, Star-News correspondent “Bishop Amat,” Campa said. “Amat is a division one team playing in division five. They’ve been the most consistent team in this division, and they breezed through a relatively tough Del Rey League. You like Monrovia’s heart, but it can only take you so far.”

Scott Galetti, Star-News staff writer: “Bishop Amat,” Galetti said. “Eddie’s only available for six innings, and once they get past him, I’m not sure if the rest of Monrovia’s staff can hold Amat down. I witnessed a game where Amat scored ten runs after La Salle’s starter went out earlier in the season. After seeing what happened without Eddie against Woodcrest Christian, I’d have to go with Amat.”

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Amat and Charter Oak championship game bound!!!

I’d call this a fitting place to play a championship game.

Charter Oak 5, Torrance 1 (Playoffs: CO 45 runs, Opponents 9)
Amat 4, Temple City 1 (The Amat vs. Monrovia matchup is now reality.)
Santa Monica 5, Northview 4 (Horrendously tough loss for the Vikes. They led 4-1 entering the seventh, but had some problems and fell apart. No shame, though. Thanks go out to this team for an absolutely thrilling postseason.)
Female bases
Charter Oak and San Dimas. Congrats to both teams for two unexpectedly awesome runs.

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UPDATED: East All-Star roster for the Hall of Fame Game …

When: July 6
Where: Bassett HS

Head coach: James Heggins, Baldwin Park
Phillip Aguayo, WR, Bonita
Greg Benson, LB, Diamond Ranch
Todd Bruno, LB, Glendora
Jesse Cervantes, OL, Bishop Amat
Philip Chase, QB/DB, Rowland
John Cornell, RB, Claremont
Jon Couwenhoven, DL, Rowland
Nic Curry, DB, South Hills
Emilio De La Garza, OL, Charter Oak
Terrance Dennis, DB, Diamond Ranch
Ralph Diaz, DL, Covina
Jordan Edmond, RB, Glendora,
Travis Eschardies, WR, Damien
Eric Flores, OL, Gladstone
Rex Foss, WR, Los Altos
Eric Gomez, WR, Ganesha
Josh Gracieux, DL, St. Paul
Aaron Harris, RB, Baldwin Park
Evaristo Herrera, OL, Baldwin Park
Anthony Hile, LB, Damien
Michael Hooper, LB, Bonita
Ivan James, WR/DB, Garey
Jamal James, WR/DB, Covina
Jon Joe, WR, San Dimas
Michael Johnson, WR, Charter Oak
Sam Lavea, DE, Los Altos
Mishaun Marshall, RB/DL, Nogales
Greg Martinez, OL, Montclair
Mike McDonough, QB, Covina
Mark Mendrun, QB, Damien
Ricky Montoya, LB, Baldwin Park
Mike Natividad, OL, West Covina
A.J. Pasalo, LB, Charter Oak
Brian Percell, DL, Pomona
Jose Perez, OL, St. Paul
Shaun Rosenthal, LB, West Covina
Darius Ridge, DB, Claremont
Frankie Ruiz, TE/DE, Bassett
John Salazar, WR/DB, South Hills
Alex Silva, QB, Workman
Richard Skolaski, OL, Northview
Marvin Walker, DB, Chino
William Wallace, RB/DB, West Covina

NOTE: There are preliminary plans to have a Saturday afternoon practice/scrimmage with the snack bar open that will give fans a fun way to watch these guys scrimmage against each other. Heggins thinks it will be the team’s first time in pads. Should be cool. More on that later … The team will practice at Baldwin Park HS in the new stadium where a beautiful field turf surface has been installed. That stadium looks unreal, by the way.

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