By Steve Ramirez
West Covina High School’s Beejay Lee and Remontay McClain have been the featured local attractions at invitational track and field meets the past few weeks. It will be no different during the San Gabriel Valley Championships, which are scheduled for Saturday at West Covina. The meet, which includes 36 schools, including some of the best athletes in the area, begins at 10 a.m.
Above: Jazmin Chavez scoring for the Vikings after tripling home Makaila Garcia.
By Fred J. Robledo Staff Writer
The way the San Dimas High School softball team jumped on Northview pitcher Chrissy McPhail, you might of thought Vikings coach Jeff Butler would start a rain dance hoping the light drizzle would turn into a down pour so they could start it all over another day.
But the Vikings and McPhail persevered, overcoming an early three-run deficit to pull out a 7-5 victory to take over sole possession of first in the Valle Vista League.
By Steve Ramirez
There was a time when South Hills’ Dakota Behr was described as a football player/wrestler who sometimes played baseball. Thursday he showed that he is definitely a baseball player who also plays football and competes for the wrestling team. Behr pitched a four-hit shut out and struck out 10 as the Huskies remained in control of the San Antonio League race with a 7-0 victory at Nogales. South Hills also got two hits and three RBIs from Dominick Martinez and two doubles from Cameron Saylor, improved to 14-3 overall and 6-0 in league. Nogales slipped to 12-8 and 2-3.
Amat’s Wallace Gonzalez, Charter Oak’s Dennis Rufus and South Hills’ Sioasi Aiono will be given their invitations at the schools next week. The Nation’s top 400 seniors received nominations from the Army, which will be narrowed down to the Top 90 for the East vs. West game on Jan. 8, 2011 at the Alamodome, in San Antonio, TX., which will be televised live on NBC.
Above: Wallace Gonzalez as a sophomore at Glendora before transferring to Bishop Amat, where he didn’t play his junior season, but is expected to be a huge contributor as a senior.
Let me get this straight, Santa Margarita High School officials agree that head football coach Harry Welch violated Southern Section undue influence rules by holding an open house at the athletic facility and has issued a self-imposed punishment, but principal Ray Dunne doesn’t feel it’s necessary to announce what the punishment is, nor will CIF step in and discuss the penalties. Why are we brushing punishments under the rug? This isn’t a private or personal matter, this is directly related to the actions of a football coach as it pertains to his team. It’s irresponsible for the school and CIF not to come clean on the penalties that come with violating rules infractions. Initially, Dunne wasn’t going to allow Welch to make a statement, then Welch released a statement on Wednesday, which was the least apologetic statement I’ve ever heard … To continue click thread.
When we put together all-area baseball teams, we usually select 2-3 pitchers, four infielders, three outfielders and a catcher. This could mean three shortstops and a first baseman, two center fielders, etc, etc. We do this in an effort to recognize the best-of-the-best, because sometimes your two or three best players in the Valley might play the same position. What I’m curious to know is who bloggers DO think are the best at each position? If this were a major league all-star game and you were voting by the actual position they were playing, how would you fill in the blanks for a starting pitcher, first, second, third and shortstop, along with a left fielder, right fielder, center fielder and catcher.
It’s never perfect, but there’s no arguing with the results of the Damien High School baseball team.
The host Spartans just continue to win, and they added to their success, using a home run from first baseman Joe Larez and a solid effort from pitcher Nick Amrhein to rally for a 2-1 victory over rival Glendora in a key Sierra League game on Wednesday
Damien, also getting an RBI single from Jorge Ortega, improved to 13-4 overall and moved into a first-place tie with the Tartans at 6-2 in league play. Glendora, getting a solid effort on the mound from Jacob Cage, slipped to 15-2-1.
The two teams will play for the league lead at Glendora on Friday.
By Fred J. Robledo
If there was a week circled on the St. Lucy’s softball calendar, this had to be it. Not only are the Regents competing in the Charter Oak tournament, where they defeated Montebello 6-0 on Monday to advance to Saturday’s championship against Bonita, but they also have a pair of critical Sierra League rivalry games with neighboring Glendora. Round one didn’t go so good. While their tournament success has given them a lift, the Regents’ opportunities with runners in scoring position didn’t fare so well against the Tartans on Wednesday, losing 2-0 behind a big-time performance from Tartans junior pitcher Carly Argyle.
Tom Conner is in good shape and exercises regularly, so how did the the 35-year-old Bloomington High Football coach suffer a heart attack? He discusses it with staff reporter T.J. Berka, a story all of us could learn from.
“I don’t know how much stress from coaching impacted my heart attack, but it didn’t help. When you are trying to build a program, it’s natural to take on everything you possibly can yourself. We didn’t have a booster club when I started, so we were working to build that up and fundraise. Ultimately it’s your name out there, win or lose, so you want to make sure everything is exactly how you want it. That can cause stress and really take up a lot of your time.” — Bloomington Bruins coach Tom Conner.
Below: Bloomington coaching staff …
By T.J. Berka, Staff Writer
As a physically fit, 35-year-old football coach that exercises regularly with his teenage players, Tom Conner isn’t exactly a person you would expect to be a heart-attack risk. But on March 25, as he was playing basketball after school, the Bloomington High School football coach felt sharp chest pains. Those chest pains turned into a series of heart attacks, with Conner being transported to Kaiser Permanente Hospital and having to be revived on two separate occasions. Conner is now resting comfortably at home and hopes to be back at BHS before spring practice, but is still startled by his life-threatening experience.
We reported earlier this week that South Hills freshman running back Aarel Vaughns, the younger brother of San Antonio League MVP and graduating senior Geoffrey Vaughns, had checked out of school. Apparently the younger Vaughns is now at Charter Oak. At South Hills Aarel Vaughns was the freshman MVP who joined the varsity for the playoffs.
There were several games rained out Tuesday, and possibly more today. If you know of games being rescheduled or postponed again, let us know, we don’t want to miss a big rescheduled game that’s not updated on a schedule.
By Aram Tolegian, Staff Writer
Think the Star-News All-Star team has the only Asian sensation in Saturday’s Tribune/Star-News All-Star Classic? Think again. Wilson High School’s Michael Wong was turning heads again Tuesday night at Damien High School when the Tribune team held its second practice in preparation for Saturday’s 6 p.m. showdown, also at Damien. (To Continue click thread)
Boys and Girls Basketball All-Star Game
Seventh Annual Tribune/Star-News All-Star Classic
Saturday, April 24, Damien High School
Girls game: 4 p.m.
Boys game: 6 p.m.
Boys Star-News leads series, 5-1
Girls: Star-News leads series, 4-2
What’s interesting about this O.C. Register story is that it talks about the eligibility of a player who transferred from St. Margaret’s to Santa Margarita, where coach Harry Welch is now the coach after leaving St. Margaret’s for Santa Margarita. There’s more to it, they’re talking about an entire 2010 football playoffs being taken away, but it sort of mirrors whats going on at Pomona doesn’t it?
“They knew we were a better team than them. That’s why they celebrated the way they did. That’s why they attacked us at the end the way they did. They knew they were about to beat a team better than them.” — Chino Hills coach Kyle Billingsley after getting swept in a 7-3 loss to Damien on Friday.
Fred’s thoughts: Don’t know what to make of that comment except that “the better team,” is in a fight for playoff survival while Damien (12-4, 5-2) tries to move into a first-place tie with Glendora (15-1-1, 6-1) when they meet tomorrow at Damien, and again on Friday at Glendora. The Tartans can take a commanding lead in the Sierra with another sweep, though Damien coach Al Leyva doesn’t see it unfolding that way. “Nobody is going to lock up this league with four or five games to play,” Leyva said. “It’s going to be a boat race until the end.” Um, I say Glendora has it locked up by the final week.
Tribune Baseball Rankings
1. Bishop Amat (17-2) — We still have a week to wait for the South Hills game at Mt. SAC, otherwise, they just keep pounding on teams in the Del Rey League. Other than St. Paul, they don’t get tested. Then again, how many tests do you need with the tournaments and nonleague games they have taken on. Kudos to Nieto for taking on the best of the best.
2. Glendora (15-1-1) — I’m convinced that the Tartans are the second best team in the Valley after watching a couple wins against Diamond Bar last week. There’s no weakness, great pitching, hitting and defense. I won’t be surprised at all if they sweep Damien this week too.
3. South Hills (11-3) — What I learned about the Huskies in the National Classic is that their pitching is deeper than I thought, and they’re a tough bunch of kids, battling back from an 0-2 start to win two straight. Mentally, that’s going to help them a lot the rest of the way.
4. Bonita (13-2-1) – When you think of coaches of the year, certainly Glendora’s Dan Henley and Bishop Amat’s Andy Nieto come to mind, but what about the job John Knott is doing? If anything, the Bearcats are the biggest surprise by far, and their coach is a big reason for it after an impressive sweep over Charter Oak last week.
5. Damien (12-4) – This team has a lot of toughness, beating Chino Hills twice to get back in the Sierra League title hunt. They have their chance to take over first with back-to-back games against Glendora, but will they be able to swing the bat against the Tartans like they did the Huskies? I don’t think so, but I wanna see if they can.
6. Northview (11-4-2) — Quietly and efficiently, the Vikings continue to win, and like Knott, coach Darren Murphy is doing a great job after graduating so many talented players. Catcher Arman Valenzuela is swinging the bat well, and they’re guaranteed a win every week when Pedroza is pitching.
7. Diamond Bar (10-7) – One of the best teams in the Valley with Mathews, a very ordinary team when he’s not pitching, that’s what I learned about the Brahmas last week. I’ll tell you what, if they sneak into the playoffs, I wouldn’t want to be the league champion who gets them in the first round.
8. Los Altos (13-5) – The Conqs have a slim chance of getting back in the Miramonte title hunt, but they will need a sweep over Bonita, which isn’y likely. Still, they have an impressive overall record and are dangerous.
9. Charter Oak (9-8) — That Northview tourney title seems so long ago after getting swept by Bonita to fall three games out of first place. The Chargers have been on a roller-coaster ride of streaks, so can’t wait to see what’s next.
10. Sierra Vista (11-4) – They’re coming on strong and senior pitcher Christian Huerta leads the way, batting over .500 with a 6-1 record on the hill. It will come down to Sierra Vista and La Puente at the end of the season, but can both stay undefeated in league until then?
Above: When you pull off the upset of the year, a 2-1 win over West Covina, you deserve to get your team picture posted. It was just the Nobles’ second win of the season.
TRIBUNE SOFTBALL RANKINGS
1. Bonita (17-1-1) – Absolutely and without question after not only beating Glendora, but handling them so easily. It’s one thing for Wurst to throw a no-hitter or one-hitter against some of these other teams, but to do it against Glendora is mental toughness 101.
2. Glendora (13-3) – Nothing for the Tartans to be ashamed of, they still split with the Bearcats, and have bigger issues to worry about, like games against Ayala and rival St. Lucy’s, who will be playing Bonita in the Charter Oak championship game.
3. St. Lucy’s (12-7) – We certainly underestimated the Regents, a 6-0 winner over Montebello to reach Saturday’s Charter Oak tournament title game against Bonita. They also beat Charter Oak 1-0. But here’s the deal, they get rival Glendora twice this week and with Bonita Saturday, we will know exactly where they stack with the rest.
4. Arroyo (13-1) – You can’t ignore the overall record, even if you think they haven’t beaten anyone spectacular and won’t play anyone spectacular until the end of the season. Winning counts, and they keep winning.
5. West Covina (9-5) — If I were West Covina, I would probably be slow to report it to MaxPreps also, but the rumors are true, Nogales is now 2-17 after beating the Bulldogs 2-1 last week for one of the biggest stunners in years. Give Nogales all the credit in the world, but the Bulldogs are their own worst enemy. They sweep South Hills, but are only a game up on the Huskies with losses to Nogales and Rowland.
6. South Hills (12-6-1) – They can’t win the big games, even when they come close like they did in a 4-3 loss to Glendora. But with West Covina losing to Nogales, the San Antonio is still up for grabs and the way everyone is playing, predictions don’t mean anything.
7. Northview (12-5) – The Vikes have won 6 of 7 and are in a three-way tie for the VVL lead with Covina and San Dimas, who will meet today. After watching all three, I like the Vikes to close it out. The league isn’t particularly difficult, but there is parity at the top, with a slight edge to the Vikes.
8. Covina (12-3) – Like Arroyo, you have to respect their overall record, but lets see what they do in the second and third games against San Dimas and Northview. That will tell us everything.
9. San Dimas (9-6) – They deserve to be back in the top ten, but for a team that was ranked No. 2 at the beginning, they still have a lot to prove. They have a four-year pitcher in the circle, they should be better than this.
10. Charter Oak (10-8) — They are what they’re, a close to .500 team that can surprise anyone or get beat by anyone.
This years pitching core is sensational, Plutko, Mathews, Paez, Pedroza, Santiago, but is anyone doing more for their team than Sierra Vista’s Christian Huerta, who is batting .583 with nine doubles, four homers along with a 6-1 record and 0.94 ERA? If you haven’t seen him, he could start and be nails for anyone.
The San Gabriel Valley is filled with quality pitchers. Just look at Bishop Amat High School. The Lancers, arguably the top team in the state, are led by senior left-hander Paul Paez, who is 7-0 with a 0.31 ERA and signed a letter of intent with San Diego. Glendora’s Adam Plutko could be the area’s top Major League Baseball draft prospect. The UCLA-bound senior is 5-1 with a 0.95 ERA. Diamond Bar has the area’s best underclassman in junior left-hander Kenny Mathews. The Cal State Fullerton commit is 5-1 with a 1.11 ERA after suffering his first loss on Friday against Plutko and the Tartans. Others having good seasons include Charter Oak’s Travis Santiago, 4-0 with an area-best 0.25 ERA, and Northview’s Eddie Pedroza, who threw a perfect game last week against Ganesha. But there probably is nobody doing as much for his team offensively and defensively than Sierra Vista senior Christian Huerta, who has 10 consecutive hits in his past three games with 11 RBIs and is batting .583.
As Aram’s sources confirmed last week (and once again beating the Mid-Valley to the punch), Mike Mooney is back in charge. I’m looking forward to the Mooney-coached Titans in the Mid-Valley Division, guaranteeing right now that San Marino will be a contender with him at the helm. San Marino traditionally loses players to private schools, but folks are going to think twice now that the former USC Trojan (that’s hard to say) is in charge. He absolutely gets the most out of his talent, adding a big piece of an intrigue to the Valley. Believe me, Monrovia-San Marino, San Marino-Temple City? Those are going to be must see’s.
Above: That was then and this is now, Mooney’s back.
In the Huddle: San Marino High School announced assistant principal Mike Mooney as its new football coach on Monday, ending weeks of speculation that Mooney would replace D.R. Moreland, who resigned in late March to further his education. San Marino gave Mooney his first head coaching position in 1996. Mooney left San Marino after the 1998 season to become head coach at his alma mater Temple City where he guided the Rams to four Rio Hondo League titles during a successful eight-year run.
South Hills’ Aarel Vaughns, the freshman brother of senior Geoffrey Vaughns — the San Antonio League MVP and a first team All-CIF Southeast Division selection, checked out of South Hills last week according to sources.
There will be a new team atop the East San Gabriel Valley area softball rankings on Wednesday. Bonita High School saw to that on Monday. Chloe Wurst tossed a one hitter and struck out 13 and the No. 2 Bearcats scored a 5-0 victory over No. 1 Glendora in a Charter Oak Tournament semifinal game that was halted after six innings due to the time-limit rule.