Softball: Glendora beats Ayala 3-1 to earn a share of the Sierra League title; South El Monte scored a dramatic run in the 7th to beat rival Arroyo, 4-3, winning the MVL title

South El Monte 4, Arroyo 3: With all the twists and turns of a good novel, it was only fitting that Thursday’s Mission Valley League showdown between the South El Monte and Arroyo high school softball teams ended with some drama. Angie Aguinaga led off the bottom of the seventh inning with a triple to the left-center-field gap and was awarded home plate when the throw in went into the South El Monte dugout for a 4-3 win that gave South El Monte its fifth consecutive league title.

Glendora 3, Ayala 1: For the third consecutive year, the Glendora High School softball team earned a piece of the Sierra League title with Ayala, but this one had a special feel to it. Glendora scored two runs in the bottom of the sixth to squeeze out a 3-1 victory. The Tartans defeated Ayala’s UCLA-bound pitcher Jessica Hall for the first time and earned their first win over the Bulldogs in three years.

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Spring Football: Mater Dei transfer gives Diamond Bar a pair of quality quarterbacks in returner Andrew Cameron and transfer Harry Omana

Above: Diamond Bar’s Andrew Cameron threw for 1,795 yards and 11 touchdowns in 2009

By Aram Tolegian, staff writer
Diamond Bar coach John Martin may have a simple solution to his developing two- headed monster at quarterback – play both Andrew Cameron and Harry Omana, who transferred from Mater Dei late last season. “Both of them will play a little bit,” Martin said. “Both do things a little bit different.” Cameron, a senior-to-be, has plenty of experience. Omana, a junior-to-be, is versatile. When spring practice begins Monday, the two should put on quite a show. Quarterback is just one place where Martin has plenty of experience back. Diamond Bar returns 17 of 22 starters just in time to head into a new league and division: The Brahmas are leaving the Sierra League for the newly formed Hacienda League, which will produce exciting local matchups on a weekly basis. Diamond Bar is also changing to the Southeast Division.

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South Pas vaulter the center of national attention; our Keith Lair defends Knowles

National Reaction story: Commentators, bloggers and the national media continued Wednesday to debate the finish of a dual track meet that ended in controversy when a pole vaulter was disqualified for wearing a friendship bracelet.

Our Keith Lair, who covered the event, says don’t blame Monrovia coach Mike Knowles: One website said that Knowles could have suggested to Laird to remove the bracelet long before she jumped. Well, it was so cold that the athletes were not removing their sweats until they got on the runway, so there is no way Knowles could have known earlier that she was wearing a bracelet.

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Breaking News: Say goodbye to Bishop Amat’s National Ranking, St. Paul 3, Bishop Amat 2

Why do I feel like I jinxed it with the previous thread, or broke up a no-hitter by talking about it. Folks, this just in, St. Paul beat Bishop Amat 3-2 in the Del Rey League finale today, ending Amat’s 47-game league winning streak, and ending Paul Paez’s undefeated season. Bishop Amat had just moved to No. 2 in Baseball America’s National Rankings, but this surely will drop them way down. Gabe Encinas got the win for St. Paul, who scored in the bottom of the sixth to break a 2-2 tie. Both pitchers went the distance. We will have more in tomorrow’s newspaper, but you can blame us, it’s the Tribs fault.

St. Paul 3, Bishop Amat 2: St. Paul High School’s baseball team ended its regular season on an impressive note Wednesday, defeating Del Rey League rival Bishop Amat, 3-2. Gabriel Encinas threw a complete game for the Swordsmen, who snapped Bishop Amat’s 37-game league unbeaten streak. Encinas (8-2), who signed to attend Loyola Marymount, scattered six hits and struck out five

Sierra Vista 12, La Puente 7: Sophomore Giovanni Rivera and senior Christian Huerta had three RBIs apiece and Sierra Vista won its second consecutive league championship with a 12-7 victory over the Warriors.

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If Bishop Amat baseball wins out, they could win another mythical national title with Baseball America’s No. 2 ranking

The latest Baseball America/National Coaches poll ranks Bishop Amat No. 2 in the country, jumping all the way up from their previous spot of No. 24. In 2001 Bishop Amat was crowned USA Today’s National Champion. I know they already clinched league, but don’t say today’s game at St. Paul doesn’t mean anything. The Lancers also are trying to extend their 37-game league unbeaten streak. Check out “The Big River,” Rio Ruiz, he’s on the cover.

After all these years covering preps, I’ve never seen a better sophomore than shortstop Ruio Ruiz. Just enjoy it, he’s around two more years and will likely go down as one of the all-time greats. When you consider the teams and pitchers he’s faced throughout the season, his team-leading .520 batting average along with 28 RBIs and four home runs is amazing. Imagine if Amat had a fence, the homer total could be so much more. I guess the only negative thing I could say about him is he’s going to USC, :), someone should remind him he looks better in blue.

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Why couldn’t Monrovia just, “Do the Right Thing.” Who wants to win a title on a technicality, especially on something as silly as this …

This thread is running in Miguel Melendez’s Star-News blog, I just had to share it with you. Apparently Monrovia called a South Pasadena pole vaulter for wearing a friendship bracelet, which cost South Pasadena the league title … read on…By the way, shouldn’t high school officials remind participants to take off jewelry before events start? If you’re a coach (from any school) and you see this, shouldn’t you walk up and remind the person to take that off. To me that’s sportsmanship, not waiting until the end of the competition to call someone on a technicality that you probably knew all along that you could call at anytime.

Deadspin’s reaction from this story was harsh, so harsh in fact I couldn’t print it, but read on with caution if you wish.

Even Sports Illustrated chimed in:

South Pasadena’s Robin Laird thought she won meet April 29 with final pole vault. But opposing coach pointed out she had string friendship bracelet against rules. Laird was disqualified on technicality, giving Monrovia the victory and league title.

Our Keith Lair covered the event:

There likely will be very little friendship when the South Pasadena and Monrovia high school track and field teams meet next time.

That’s because a friendship bracelet decided the Rio Hondo League girls title.

With the pole vault deciding Thursday’s dual meet, Monrovia needed at least a second-place finish to claim its first league title.

South Pasadena’s Rachel Ma and Monrovia’s Samantha Boltz and Gabby McBride all cleared 7-0. South Pasadena’s Robin Laird, the Tigers’ best pole vaulter, passed at the height.

With a crosswind and both teams watching, cheering wildly on makes and groaning on misses, Laird easily cleared 7-6. Monrovia co-coach Mike Knowles pointed out Laird was wearing a friendship bracelet. Any jewelry calls for automatic disqualification. The coaches called CIF-Southern Section officials to confirm the disqualification.

“I hate that,” Knowles said. “I didn’t want to do that. I’ve lost a CIF title because a girl had one diamond earring she forgot to take out in the 4 by 400 relay.”

Laird’s disqualification gave the Wildcats a 65-62 win.

Migue Melendez’s take: Winning at all costs? I’m not a fan of it, and in this particular case I was not a fan of how Monrovia won the league title. Clearly, Laird won the event in dominating fashion. According to the Sports Illustrated report, South Pasadena coach PJ Hernandez asked Monrovia coach Mike Knowles “you really want it to come down to this?” I know, rules are rules, but c’mon. Really?

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Spring Football: Damien’s $220,00 weight room is the pride of the Valley, 80 lifting stations spread over 3,400 square feet

By Aram Tolegian, Staff Writer
Damien High School’s athletic upgrades took another big step this week with the unveiling of the school’s weight room located at Spartan Hall. Damien had already redone its baseball and football fields and built a new gym. Now students have what school staff are calling a state-of-the-art weight room to go along with it. (To continue click thread)

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Spring Football: Baldwin Park vs. Walnut on Friday Night at 7 p.m., under the lights

By Aram Tolegian
Walnut will host Baldwin Park in a passing game with a fall feel on Friday at 7 p.m. The game will be 11 on 11, with both teams treating preparations as if it were a typical regular-season game. Baldwin Park returns a veteran team but has questions at quarterback, so Friday’s game should help Braves coach James Heggins get a first look at what he’s got to work with. Fans will also get to see Mustangs standout Aubrey Coleman, who recently committed to Washington

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Softball: San Dimas back to its old tricks, on late season charge with 15-5 rout of Northview; Duarte inches closer to Montview title with 6-5 win over Azusa while Glendora falls to Ayala

San Dimas’ Kayla Norrie hit a two-run homer, had four hits, six RBIs and was a triple short of a cycle to lead San Dimas (17-7, 12-2) to a 15-5 rout over Northview (18-6, 12-2) in six innings to move into a first-place tie in the Valle Vista. In other big games, Duarte (12-6, 10-1) came back and beat Azusa (15-5, 10-2) 6-5 and can clinch the Montview league title with a win over Workman on Thursday. In the Sierra League, Ayala (24-4, 8-1) took a one game lead over Glendora (19-5, 7-2), though the Tartans will meet them again on Thursday at home in hopes of sharing the title.

Above: San Dimas junior shortstop Aleena Avalos reached base all five times in Tuesday’s win.

Story: Ayala 2, Glendora 0
Story: Duarte 6, Azusa 5
By Fred J. Robledo, Staff Writer
San Dimas High School catcher Kayla Norrie calls it late season team bonding while shortstop Aleena Avalos said when the Saints turn it on, there is no turning it back off.
Whatever the reason, late season charges have come to define the Saints in recent years, and they’re doing it again. San Dimas, who has reached the CIF-Southern Section Division 5 semifinals the past three years and the championship game last year, mercied rival Northview 15-5 in six innings on Thursday to move into a first-place tie in the Valle Vista League with the Vikings, though the tiebreaker goes to the Saints after taking two-of-three in the season series. (To continue, click thread).

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Charter Oak names John Phillips and Todd Quinsey to take over basketball programs

Charter Oak High School announced today that Damien High school assistant John Phillips has been named the new boys basketball coach, replacing Ray Walker, who resigned. Charter Oak also named former Northview coach Todd Quinsey the girls basketball coach, taking over for Keisa Pineda. Quinsey is a Trib favorite of ours, he is a former correspondent who also worked phones for us.

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Baseball rankings: Amat, Glendora top teams by far, South Hills slips to No. 4 after Walnut loss

Here’s this week’s baseball rankings:
1. Bishop Amat (25-2)
– With two undefeated pitchers in Paul Paez and Brandon McNitt and a 47-game Del Rey League winning streak and nonleague and tournament wins that would make anyone jealous, all that’s left is another CIF championship.
2. Glendora (20-2-1) – Someone asked me what Glendora has to do to get respect. They pointed out that winning the Sierra is the toughest chore in the Valley, and that they’ve won two tournaments. My answer to that is they’re not the only power ranked behind Amat, arguably the best in the state.
3. Damien (17-5) - Huge sweep over Diamond Bar, they’ve clinched a playoff spot and will finish no worse than second in the Sierra. Another great season in a tough league.
4. South Hills (17-5) – How do you go from nearly beating and arguably outplaying Bishop Amat in a 4-3 loss, to a 5-3 loss against Walnut? They will finish with two games against Rowland, and need to win convincingly to show they still have the swag.
5. Bonita (17-4-1) – the Bearcats clinched the Miramonte title with two wins over Wilson last week, and now get two nonleague games with Walnut this week. That’s a nice feeling, they can rest and do whatever they want before the playoffs start.
6. Northview (16-5-1) - Huge win at San Dimas to clinch the VVL title after losing earlier in the week in a blur after lefty Eddie Pedroza left with what looked like an injured elbow, though we’ve been told it was his forearm. We hear that he’s likely to be back for the playoffs, which is really, really good news for the Vikes.
7. Diamond Bar (14-9) - Despite getting swept last week by Damien, the Brahmas are a solid third in the Sierra, a position not many thought they would be in when the season started. How would you like to be a league champion and draw them and Mathews in the first round? Talk about not fair.
8. Sierra Vista (17-5) – Huge 3-2 win over La Puente to take a one-game lead in the Montview heading into a final showdown against the Warriors on Wednesday to clinch the title outright.
9. Charter Oak (14-8) - Not a great season, but not a bad one either. They will finish second in the Miramonte but the real disappointment is Los Altos, who they will meet twice this week. The Conqs are 14-8 overall, but 4-6 and fourth in league.
10. San Dimas (15-7) — Nice stand at the end of the year to have a shot at the VVL title, but not enough firepower or arms on the mound to get it done. Still, they could be a dangerous postseason opponent.

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Softball: Rankings shake-up, St. Lucy’s to No. 2 with Charter Oak earning the NO. 5 spot

Here’s this week’s softball rankings:
1. Glendora (19-4
) – It’s been a long wait, but finally the Tartans hook up with Ayala on the road today and at home Thursday for the Sierra League title. Both teams enter the final series of the season with 7-1 records in the Sierra.
2. St. Lucy’s (16-10) - The Regents’ late season charge leaves them one game back of Chino Hills for third in the Sierra with two games against Chino this week. Diamond Bar takes on Chino Hills for a pair. Plus they own a win over Ayala and Bonita, moving them to No. 2.
3. Bonita (20-4-1) – Followed a loss to Charter Oak with another loss to Los Altos. Not exactly what you want with the playoffs nearing. Add to that a loss to St. Lucy’s, and they’ve dropped three of four and fall to third in our standings.
4. Northview (18-5) – The Vikings are 12-1 in league but need another win over San Dimas today to clinch the VVL title outright.
5. Charter Oak (16-11) — All of a sudden the Chargers have won seven straight, including a win over Bonita to take firm control of second in the Miramonte.
6. West Covina (16-7) – The San Antonio League champs lost a nonleague game to Charter Oak and earlier in the season lost to Los Altos, showing the strength of the Miramonte compared to the San Antonio.
7. San Dimas (16-7) - When the Saints turn it on, they really turn it on, owners of three straight shutouts and six straight wins with the payoff possibly coming today against Northview, the last team to defeat them.
8. South Hills (17-7-1) — Earned a nice sweep over Walnut to keep sole possession of second in the San Antonio.
9. Azusa (15-4) - The Aztecs are 10-0 in league, but the title on the line with finale today against Duarte (9-1) for the outright title.
10. Arroyo (18-2) - Facts are facts, they have the best won-loss record in the Valley, but losses have come against Covina and Gabrielino. Without any eye-opening quality wins, it’s hard to rank them higher than this.

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Spring Football: Back-to-back champion Charter Oak opens camp, like what it has in recent Long Beach Poly transfer Maurice Clement …

By Aram Tolegian, Staff Writer
Charter Oak High School football coach Lou Farrar has been through plenty of spring practices and it never gets old. But the veteran Chargers coach had a very good reason why he was looking forward to this year’s spring activities, which began Monday as the Chargers started their quest for a third consecutive CIF championship.
“I’ll tell you what, I’m so excited, I’m not blowing smoke either,” Farrar said. “My daughter and son-in-law went on a cruise last week, so my wife and I had their three kids for a week. I kept saying I can’t wait for football because that’s the sanctuary. This is the only place I can go where I have total control and everybody listens to me … not like my grandkids.” To continue reading, click thread

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Softball: Arroyo not happy or willing to accept forfeit to South El Monte, adding intrigue when they meet again Thursday for the league title

By Fred J. Robledo, Staff Writer
Arroyo High School’s softball team is not happy with the Mission Valley League’s decision to ask it to forfeit a 2-0 victory over South El Monte on April 2 for allegedly conducting an illegal pre-game batting practice. In fact, Arroyo has refused to acknowledge the forfeit in the league standings while it appeals the decision, even though no appeal date has been set and both teams are to meet for the final time Thursday in a game that will decide the league title.
The forfeit would have had no bearing on the league title had Arroyo (18-2, 12-1) not lost last week to Gabrielino 5-4. That opened the door for South El Monte (12-5, 11-2), whose only two losses have come against the Knights, though one is the game in question. (To continue, click thread)

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Baseball: Bishop Amat beats St. Paul 8-1 to clinch fourth straight Del Rey title; Sierra Vista holds on for 3-2 win over La Puente

Bishop Amat won its 37th consecutive Del Rey League game and clinched its fourth straight Del Rey League title with an 8-1 win over St. Paul, capped by another strong two-hit complete game from pitcher Brandon McNitt, who improved to 8-0. The Lancers got a bit boost offensively on an inside-the-park grand slam from Bernardo Zavala in the second inning that gave the Lancers a 4-0 lead. Sierra Vista pitcher Christian Huerta held on for a 3-2 victory over La Puente after giving up both runs in the 7th inning to give Sierra Vista a one-game lead over La Puente with both teams meeting again on Wednesday at Sierra Vista.

Bishop Amat 8, St. Paul 1: Senior pitcher Brandon McNitt is the reason Bishop Amat High School baseball coach Andy Nieto doesn’t like naming anyone as his staff ace. Most would assume that label would belong to senior lefty Paul Paez, who is 11-0 with a 0.56 ERA. But McNitt has put together a season that would make anyone envious, and it was on full display in Bishop Amat’s 8-1 victory over St. Paul on Monday that clinched the Lancers’ fourth consecutive Del Rey League title.

Sierra Vista 3, La Puente 2: Sierra Vista High School took a huge step toward defending its Montview League baseball championship on Monday when it scored two runs in the bottom of the seventh inning to come from behind and beat La Puente 3-2.

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Aram’s SGV all-encompassing football Top 25

For the complete list of Aram’s all-encompassing SGV top 25 football spring football poll click the link. Here is a quick peak at the top five. Personally, there is no way I would have Diamond Ranch ranked that high, Glendora, West Covina and Muir would look better in that spot.

1. Bishop Amat – I seriously have no idea how any team will be able to cover Wallace Gonzalez.
2. La Habra – The Highlanders really don’t get all the credit they deserve for being one of the Southland’s perennial powers.
3. Charter Oak – Already hearing rumblings about how good the incoming frosh class is going to be. It never ends.
4. South Hills – Line play will be key for Huskies in new league/division and they’ve obviously got it.
5. Diamond Ranch — Panthers drop a spot over QB concerns. Let’s see what happens in spring and summer.

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Boys Volleyball Playoff wild-card tonight: Bishop Amat and Los Altos hoping to adavnce

Bishop Amat beats Whittier Christian: There was just no denying either the Bishop Amat High School boys volleyball team or middle blocker Adam Balderas. The 6-foot-4 senior connected on 16 kills and six blocks and was dominant in the Lancers’ 25-23, 26-24, 20-25, 23-25, 15-7 victory over host Whittier Christian in Monday’s wild-card round of the CIF-Southern Section Division 4 playoffs.

Southern Section Boys Volleyball
Division 4
Monday’s wild card

A–Bishop Amat at Whittier Christian
B–Gabrielino at Viewpoint
C–Westminster La Quinta at Los Altos
D–Holy Martyrs at Keppel

First Round
Tuesday’s matches, 7 p.m.

Winner wild card A at #1 El Segundo
Redlands at Temple City
Winner wild card B at #4 Garey
Winner wild card C at San Gabriel
Winner wild card D at #2 Rancho Alamitos

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Scouting Guru goes down memory lane with South Hills principal Judith North, who announced her retirement

The Scouting Guru has been all over the San Gabriel Valley and beyond, and like always, he’s offered to share his thoughts, free of charge. Don’t hate, enjoy it for what it’s worth, which is one man’s opinion on the talent in the San Gabriel Valley.

The Guru Says: I had a column in my computer ready to get you updated on what is going on in the recruiting circles. My thoughts from the Nike Camp and Combine along with other interesting tidbits from throughout the area. But, I decided to change things up when the clock hit 1:20 p.m. on Friday afternoon. That was the exact moment that an era in the San Gabriel Valley had come to an end. It was the moment when South Hills High School Principal Judi North decided to retire in late June as the principal of South Hills High School.

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BREAKING NEWS: South Hills principal Judith North announces retirement …

South Hills High School principal Judith North announced she will retire at the end of the school year during an emotional assembly at the school on Friday afternoon.

North, arguably one of the best sports principals in the Valley, has been a visible figure at all Huskies sporting events during her time at the school.

“Most intellectuals can’t lead,” South Hills football coach Steve Bogan said. “Judi North is an intellectual who could lead. She has to be going into semi-retirement because I could never see her not involved in people’s lives.”

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Baseball: Northview claims fifth straight Valle Vista League title; Damien sweeps Diamond Bar to stay close to Glendora

Northview 13, San Dimas 7: Northview claimed its fifth consecutive league championship on Friday with a 13-7 victory over defending CIF champ San Dimas while the Saints secured their fifth consecutive runner-up finish in a league that has produced the past two CIF-SS Division 4 champions.

Damien 6, Diamond Bar 3: Damien High School remained in the chase for the Sierra League baseball title with a come- from-behind 6-4 victory over Diamond Bar on Friday afternoon. The Spartans trail Glendora by one game with two games left. Trailing 4-0 against Brahmas ace Kenny Mathews, the Spartans (17-5, 10-3) sent 10 batters to the plate and scored six runs in the top of the fifth to pull out the victory.

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Spring Football: Azusa football hoping to springboard off semifinal appearance; Arroyo WR Anthony Miller dislocates shoulder

By Aram Tolegian, staff writer
San Dimas High School isn’t the only place experiencing a numbers boom due to recent football success. Azusa coach Joe Scherf reports that his usual headcount of 60 players has grown to 75 as the Aztecs ready for spring ball. The reason? Azusa’s march to the Mid-Valley Division semifinals last season. “We’re getting a lot of different kids to come out,” Scherf said. “I’m sure the number will dwindle back down to about 60 kids in the program when the season gets here.”

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Track Finals: San Dimas’ Erika Kalmar highlights a record setting day in Valle Vista League finals

Above: Erika Kalmar part of four league titles and four meet records.
Valle Vista League Finals: Several records fell at Thursday’s Valle Vista League track and field finals at Baldwin Park High School, a day highlighted by the brilliant performance of San Dimas High senior Erika Kalmar, who not only walked away with four first-place medals but was part of four meet records as well.

Sierra League Finals: Many in attendance at the Sierra League track and field finals Thursday cheered when it was announced that Brea Buchanan of Ayala High School had broken two meet records. Buchanan merely giggled.

Above: San Dimas’ Katherine Salcedo setting a record in the 100 hurdles.

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