All-Area Baseball: San Dimas’ Leyland earns player of the year; South Hills’ Smith coach of the year

Here it is, more prestigious than All-League, tougher to crack than All-CIF, it’s the infamous, non-political Tribune All-Area baseball team, which represents the top 23-players in the East San Gabriel Valley for the 2009 season.

To purchase a reprint of the all-area cover page, click here.

Player of the year: Josh Leyland (San Dimas, Sr.)
Coach of the year: Kevin Smith (South Hills)

First team
Pitcher: Erik Salcido, San Dimas, Sr.
Pitcher: Derek Klena, South Hills, Sr.
Catcher: Jerry McClanahan, Bishop Amat, Jr.
Infielder: Richy Pedroza, Northview, Sr.
Infielder: Jiovanni Mier, Bonita, Sr.
Infielder: Thomas Jenson, San Dimas, Sr.
Infielder: Erik Lewis, Damien, Jr.
Outfielder: Kevin Ponzo, San Dimas, Sr.
Outfielder: Jacob Smigelski, Glendora, Jr.
Outfielder: Mark Garcia, Damien, Sr.
Utility: Andrew Melchor, Nogales, Sr.

Second team
Pitcher: Nico Calderaro, Bonita, Sr.
Pitcher: Brady Zuniga, Bishop Amat, Sr.
Catcher: Jake Bailey, Charter Oak, Sr.
Infielder: Christian Ibarra, South Hills, Jr..
Infielder: Jason Plowman, Bonita, Sr.
Infielder: Ryan Arnold, Northview, Sr.
Infielder: Nick Bergara, Bishop Amat, Sr.
Outfielder: Chris Allen, Charter Oak, Sr.
Outfielder: Chester Pak, Diamond Bar, Sr.
Outfielder: Jon Hernandez, West Covina, Jr.
Utility: Christian Huerta, Sierra Vista, Jr

To read stories, click thread

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Daniel Limon and Rauley Zaragoza ready to prove the doubters wrong in the Hall of Fame game

30th Hall of Fame Game, Friday, 7:30 p.m.
Bassett High School, $8 admission
East leads series, 17-10-2

Above: Azusa’s Rauley Zaragoza returning an interception for a touchdown in the Aztecs’ playoff win over Covina.

This is a sneak preview for Wednesday’s newspaper.
By Fred J. Robledo ..
When Sierra Vista High School’s Daniel Limon told Mt. San Antonio College coaches he would like to try out at slot receiver this fall, they told the generously listed 5-foot-10, 173-pounder they were more interested in him as a kicker. After all, he did make 12 field goals for the Dons.
“They laughed to be honest with you,” Limon said. “But that’s alright. You come from Sierra Vista, you’re going to have doubters. It’s nothing new to me.” To continue reading with more from Miguel Melendez on the West practice, click thread. West coach Matt Koffler calls RB Tra Sumler the best player in the SGV

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San Dimas’ Ariel Shore and South El Monte’s Manny Acosta named Athletes of the Year

South El Monte High School’s Manny Acosta and San Dimas’ Ariel Shore bucked the trend of specialization in high school sports and once again showed the multiple-sport athlete is alive and well. After earning several accolades during their senior years in multiple sports, Acosta and Shore can add the 2008-09 San Gabriel Valley Tribune Athlete of the Year award to their collection as well. To continue reading, click thread

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Star-Newbie Melendez talking up the East-West Hall of Fame game … No way the East loses again

WHEN: Friday, 7 p.m.
WHERE: Bassett High
WHO: East (coached by Northview’s Jim Arellanes) vs. West (coached by Rosemead’s Matt Koffler)
LAST YEAR: The West snapped the East’s six-game winning streak last year, winning 34-14 behind South El Monte wide receiver Tommy Cogburn, who stole the show with three touchdowns.
SERIES: East leads, 17-10-2

Practice: The Beasts from the East are practicing Monday-Thursday at 3:30 p.m., at Northview. Drop by to check it out.

Miguel Melendez says: Alright guys, you’ve asked for it so here it is. The 30th Hall of Fame game is Friday night and as the game approaches we’ll be bringing you reports from the East and West practices. Both teams already have been practicing in preparation for the 30th anniversary of the senior game, and once again, the East appears to have a star-studded roster for Arellanes. Charter Oak quarterback Chris Allen, the Tribune player of the year and Southeast Division MVP, will be joined by Chargers teammates Tyler Perri (DT), Evan Williams (DE), and Kiely Rycraw (WR) – all of whom won a section title the last time they played. “Those Charter Oak kids are the real deal,” Arellanes said. “They’re as good as advertised. They obviously have been coached well. Their knowledge of the game is unbelievable, and they have been flying to the football with a passion.” The East is loaded in the backfield with Bishop Amat’s Deshawn Gaisie, Rowland’s Brandon Stansell and San Dimas’ Daniel Joseph, who has transitioned well from the Winged T to an I formation.

Miguel continues … Call it a dis or call it motivation, but If memory serves me right, it was the folks over on the East (cough cough, Robledo) who predicted San Dimas would handily beat Rosemead in the quarterfinals. Uh, no. Rosemead came out burning on all cylinders and took care of business and reached the CIF-Southern Section Mid-Valley Division finals. Koffler said he’s looking forward to Friday’s game and the West has practiced like it’s a championship game. “I know on our side we’re approaching this game like it’s going to be very physical,” he said. “I’m not sure what’s going on on the other side, but our practices are very physical; that’s the way we coach and that’s the only way we coach. We’re not slowing down just because it’s an all-star game. We’re picking up the pace and showing the rest of the San Gabriel Valley how we do things at Rosemead.”

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All-Area coming soon …

We begin with the Tribune postseason-awards on Tuesday, beginning with the Boys/Girls athlete of the year award. Baseball is on Wednesday and Softball on Thursday. The rest is as follows.

Boy/Girls athlete of the year, June 23
Baseball, June 24
Softball, June 25
Boys Tennis, June 26
Boys Track, June 30
Girls Track, July 1
Boys Swimming, July 2
Girls Swimming, July 3

Last chance: It’s a chore getting everyone in for pictures after school is out. We have almost everyone, but we’re missing Charter Oak’s Uchechi Anunkor, Bonita’s Amber Pezzolla, Bonita’s Paul Bakahit and David Scheibe and Walnut’s Josen Corpuz. If anyone can contact these athletes, ask them to get in touch with me at I will do what I can to set up a last-minute pictures.

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Football, Football, Football …. I’m trying to pump myself up for 2009 … If you have summer passing league schedules, send them in .. Bonita tourney this weekend, will post schedule this afternoon

Someone asked if Bishop Breakdown will be back in the fall … Absolutely.

More Amat highlight video’s….Don’t hate, if you have a school highlight video, send it here and I will post it too. By the way, this is long, but it’s fantastic

Amat HighLights from Chris M on Vimeo.

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Glendora’s Jacob Smigelski earns MVP honors and the North proves that San Gabriel Valley Baseball is better near the Foothills, 15-5

Okay, so that’s a lame headline, but I had to come up with something. I wish it was more of an East-West underclassman game so I could brag how much better the East side of the Valley is over the slumping West. But we already knew that, right?

By Miguel Melendez
– The heavy, dark clouds threatening rain could not dim the spotlight from the future baseball stars in San Gabriel Valley. The second annual Underclassman All-Star Game set the stage for the North to shine with a 15-5 victory over the South on Saturday night at Jackie Robinson Stadium. Glendora junior Jacob Smigelski earned MVP honors after striking out three in two innings and allowed just one run on three hits. He also also walked, stole a base and scored a run. “I tried to fire it out there and try my best,” Smigelski said. “It was fun playing with all the guys.”

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The second annual baseball underclassman all-star game set for June 20 at Jackie Robinson Stadium; Glendora’s Henley will coach the North

The word about the Underclassman All-Star Game apparently has gotten around. KG Sports Training Foundation founder Kiko Garcia made calls to local high school baseball coaches when putting together the inaugural game in 2008. This year, his phone is ringing with local coaches on the line. The second annual game is set for Saturday, June 20 at Jackie Robinson Stadium at Brookside Park. The skills competition – featuring 60-yard dash timing and agility courses – at 3:30 p.m. and the game will follow at 6. Glendora’s Dan Henley will coach the North and South El Monte’s Gil Adame will coach the South. The rosters will be finalized this weekend.

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Miramonte All-League baseball and softball teams

I have every area all-league list with the exception of the Sierra League, which I have put in several calls for, but still haven’t received it. I will continue posting a new league everyday continuing on Monday with the Montview League, followed by the others.

Miramonte All-League Teams
– Nico Calderaro, Bonita, pitcher
First Team
Jason Plowman, Bonita, utility
Kenny Kissell, Charter Oak, pitcher
Ronnie Blagg, Los Altos, pitcher
Jake Bailey, Charter Oak, catcher
Jiovanni Mier, Bonita, infield
Chris Allen, Charter Oak, infield
Jonah Northrop, Charter Oak, infield
Joel Licon, Diamond Ranch, infield
Matt Sanchez, Wilson, infield
Corey Hare, Bonita, outfield
Jeff Gelalich, Bonita, outfield
Josh Surdo, Charter Oak, outfield

MVP – Diana-Lynn Patterson (pitcher) Los Altos; Courtney Gano (shortstop), Los Altos
First Team
Amber Bachman, Bonita, utility
Vanessa Bracamonte, Wilson, utility
Chloe Wurst, Bonita, pitcher
Roxy Avalos, Los Altos, catcher
Clarice Spathais, Bonita, infield
Crystal Venegas, Charter Oak, infield
Monique Villasenor, Charter Oak, infield
Latisha Dedeaux, Los Altos, infield
Lexi Garcia, Los Altos, infield
Breeanna Sandoval, Bonita, outfield
Andrea Sprague, Charter Oak, outfield
Victorea Contreras, Los Altos, outfield

For Second team and honorable mention, click thread
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Derek Klena and Josh Leyland earn CIF player of the year honors; Kevin Smith and Mike Regan earn CIF coach of the year honors

The CIF-Southern Section does not release this list for another week or so, but the word is already out. The Orange County Register had it posted on their webpage, so click here and congrats to all the honorees… There is one huge omission, where is Jiovanni Mier in Division III? Gets drafted 21st overall, but he is not on the first or second team list.
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Hall of Fame All-Star football game on June 26 at Bassett HS: The Rosters are finally here!

left: Charter Oak’s Chris Allen will quarterback the East.

I know the teams already are practicing for the San Gabriel Valley Hall of fame All-Star football game on Friday, June 26, which will be coached by Rosemead’s Matt Koffler (West) and Northview’s Jim Arellanes (East). So what took so long to post the rosters? The tournament organizers never sent them, so I hounded the coaches today and have them posted here. The East looks strong, South Hills’ Cameron Deen and Charter Oak’s Chris Allen at quarterback with Rowland’s Brian Stansell, Bishop Amat’s Deshawn Gaisie and Diamond Ranch’s Brian Spirlin in the backfield — that’s going to be tough to beat. The West counters with Rosemead’sTra Sumler and Monrovia’s Marquise Williams in the backfield. Rosemead’s Angel Alejandre and South El Monte’s Jose Garay will share time at quarterback. At first glance I will establish the East as a favorite by a touchdown. Last year I predicted an East blowout and they got blownout, so who knows. Click the thread for the rosters

Below: Rosemead running back Tra Sumler will lead the West.

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Following Mier, Leyland, Lyons and Slover also get drafted … Now, to sign or not to sign?

Bonita High School’s Jiovanni Mier, who was drafted in the first-round and 21st overall by the Houston Astros, wasn’t the only area player drafted in Major League Baseball’s Amateur Draft. Former South Hills pitcher Brian Slover (CS Northridge) was taken in the eighth round (250th overall) by the Toronto Blue Jays. Former Charter Oak shortstop Scott Lyons (Arkansas) was taken in the 15th round (452nd overall) to the Kansas City Royals, and fresh off of winning the CIF-SS Division IV title, San Dimas’ Josh Leyland was selected in the 16th round (483rd) by the Oakland A’s.

To sign or not to sign: This question was asked by several people yesterday. If you were Jiovanni Mier, would you go to USC or sign, and probably get a signing bonus in the range of $1.5 to $2 million? With that much on the table I would sign, no question about it. My feeling is you can always put $150,000 grand away for college if baseball doesn’t work out. Your dream is to play pro baseball, and someone is giving you life-changing money to pursue it? Take it, be smart with the money, and chase your dream. The bigger question is what will Josh Leyland do? He signed a letter of intent with Washington State. He has a scholarship on the table. My answer to that is it is completely up to him. Is it more risky to sign? Yes, because the financial value of the scholarship is more than will be offered by the A’s. This is probably the hardest decision for families to make, but you know what, it’s not a bad situation to be in is it?

Below: San Dimas’ Josh Leyland

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Camps and more camps: Bishop Amat Girls basketball and Football camp’s this month

No, we’re not the Bishop Amat Tribune, just doing our part to spread the word. Anyone who wants their high school camps posted can send them to me …

Girls Basketball: Bishop Amat High School girls’ basketball coach, Richard Wiard (yes he’s back), is holding his annual Lady Hoopster Basketball Camp June 22-25 from 1:30-5:00 daily. The camp is open to girls entering the 5th-9th grades. Girls will receive instruction in basketball fundamentals, a camp t-shirt, and the chance to win daily prizes. The cost of the camp is $80. For more information, contact Coach Wiard at 626-962-2495 ext. 5868.

Football: Bishop Amat’s Hit & Hustle Football Camp is at Bishop Amat on Saturday, June 20th from 9 am-3 pm. Registration is $75 and begins at 8:30 am and includes lunch, t-shirt, and camp photo, and instruction in tackling, take-aways, and offensive & defensive techniques. The Amat coaching staff will be instructing at the camp along with several varsity players. For more info, contact coach Steve Hagerty at at 626-962-2495 Ext. 6001 or email for registration materials and/or questions.

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