Friday Baseball: Glendora, Diamond Bar and Damien still in a tight race in the Sierra, all looking to complete sweep this afternoon

Lost in all the fun of Bishop Amat and South Hills the other day was the Sierra League race, where our three locals remain in a tight race for the league title. Glendora clobbered Chino Hills 13-5 on Wednesday while Diamond Bar took care of Chino 8-3 and Damien defeated Ayala 19-6. The same teams meet again this afternoon with Glendora (17-2-1, 8-2) holding a one-game edge over Diamond Bar (13-7, 7-3) and Damien (14-5, 7-3).

Friday’s games
Glendora at Chino Hills, 3:15 p.m.
Diamond Bar at Chino, 3:15 p.m.
Ayala at Damien, 3:15 p.m.

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Softball: West Covina beats Rowland 2-1 on a disputed call; Bonita hard to figure out, loses swagger in 5-4 loss to Charter Oak

West Covina 2, Rowland 1: Even West Covina High School softball coach Dan Woodward had to tip his hat at the strategy, Rowland opting to throw seldom-used freshman pitcher Esperanza Sanchez instead of reliable junior Laura Banuelos in Thursday’s San Antonio League game that would give the winner control of its own destiny toward a San Antonio League title.

Charter Oak 5, Bonita 4: The Charter Oak softball team has shown this season that it can beat, and lose to, anyone on its schedule. The Chargers proved it Thursday. Taylor Hawkins’ RBI single scored Jayme Chesler from second base in the bottom of the seventh inning to give Charter Oak a 5-4 victory over Bonita in a Miramonte League game.

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We need more of that … 1,200 fans would agree

Mt. SAC baseball coach Stacy Parker estimated it at 1,200, but said there might have been more. It was about five-deep down the left-field lines, and barely any walking room behind the stands, which brings me to this: Way back in December Northview coach Darren Murphy asked what I thought of a SGV Friday night game of the week. He asked if I thought teams would be willing to give up a home game for a neutral site game like the one we saw at Mt. SAC between Bishop Amat and South Hills last night that drew more fans than the stadium could hold. Tournaments are great, but big-game matchups are the way to go. After last night, tell me you don’t want to see Glendora go against Bishop Amat. How about Northview and Pedroza against Mathews and Diamond Bar. How about Damien vs. Bonita, or South Hills against Glendora? How about giving a team like Sierra Vista and pitcher Christian Huerta a shot at one of the big dogs on a big stage. We need more of this, and for all those wondering, both coaches agreed last night that South Hills and Bishop Amat will meet again like this next year. By the way, was there anything better than watching legendary Art Mazmanian chase down the umpire after the delayed third strike to end the game. Hey, the stadium is named after him, he can do whatever he wants.

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Boxing Reporter Robert Morales, an Edgewood graduate and friend, has quite a story to tell as he prepares for another big mega fight

By Doug Krikorian, Sports Columnist
As he gets set to cover the Floyd Mayweather-Sugar Shane Mosley welterweight title match Saturday night at the MGM Grand Garden in Las Vegas, Robert Morales admits it’s become a rite for him to pause momentarily before the proceedings unfold and reflect on his glad destiny. He will be in a ringside seat amid tumult, and not in an iron-barred cell amid silence. He will be jotting down notes on his steno pad, and not be quaffing down vodkas in a saloon. He will be doing what he savors without fear of violence, and not on the streets ducking gun shots from adversaries bent on putting him in a graveyard.

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Living up to all the hype, Bishop Amat holds off South Hills, 4-3 on a dramatic strikeout in the 7th

Game Story: If Bishop Amat is among the best high school baseball teams in the state, which many publications lead you to believe, then South Hills isn’t that far behind.

Pitchers duel: It’s rare when marquee matchups actually live up to the hype. And for the first few moments of Wednesday’s showdown between the Valley’s nos. 1- and 2-ranked teams, it looked like the standing-room only crowd at Mount San Antonio College was in for a real dud.

Keith Birmingham’s photo gallery

Just call this one another San Gabriel Valley Classico. It certainly looked that way as Bishop Amat held off South Hills, 4-3, in a battle of the top two baseball teams in the area. Amat’s Paul Paez needed 125 pitches to dispose of the Huskies, who loaded the bases with two outs in the seventh before catcher Cody Doyle took a delayed strike three to end it. Paez finished with a six-hitter and 13 strikeouts. Rio Ruiz was the offensive hero, giving the Lancers a 3-0 lead in the first on a homer to right. South Hills, getting RBIs from Tyler France, Dakota Behr and Richard Rollice, chipped away, and made it 4-3 by the seventh inning on an RBI single by France. But after Christian Ibarra walked to load the bases with two outs, Doyle took strike three to end the game.

On the delayed strike:
“I wanted to go after the umpire in the end, but what does that accomplish,” South Hills coach Kevin Smith said. “He wasn’t purposely trying to screw us, but for whatever reason he thought it was a third strike and we didn’t. But you live with it and move on. I don’t care what the final score was, that was a character-building game for us.”
On Rio Ruiz’s three-run homer
“I’ve been battling the first inning the whole year,” South Hills pitcher Andrew Morales said. “After that I settled down. But one swing of the bat can change the game.” Ruiz was just looking to drive the ball, but found a pitch he could pull. “I knew they weren’t going to give me anything to hit, but he gave me a first-pitch curve ball and I caught it,” Ruiz said. “It was a great game. South Hills did a heck of a job fighting back, but we ended up being the big dogs in the end.”
On the game:
“I really believe the way the game started they felt they were going to blow our doors off, and then we came back and played the game,” Smith said. “Their guy (Paez) can pitch, there’s no doubt about that, but we got (six) hits and nailed his ERA. Like I told our kids, I would rather be over here than over there anytime because of the way we came back under adverse conditions.”
Bishop Amat coach Nieto was not surprised at all that the Huskies didn’t fold. “C’mon, champions don’t roll over,” Nieto said. “Champions don’t quit. I’m sure if you go to their gym you see banners hanging, that’s a trait. Smith’s not going to allow that to happen, he’s a bulldog and his team is a reflection of what he is, which is a tough guy. This game is for tough guys and it was a battle between two tough teams.”

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