Are we nearing the end of metal bats?


A California legislative committee advanced a bill Wednesday that would place a two-year moratorium on the use of metal bats in high school baseball, responding to safety concerns that were raised when a Marin County teenager was severely injured earlier this year.

“The hyper-performance of high tech metal baseball bats has gone too far. It’s increasing the risk of serious injury and yes, death, for young people and we have to do something about it.”Assemblyman Jared Huffman, D-San Rafael

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Spring Football: West Covina looking bigger, stronger, faster … but are they better?

By Aram Tolegian, staff writer
It’s his strongest team ever. It’s his fastest team ever. So why won’t West Covina High School football coach Mike Maggiore call next season’s Bulldogs his best team ever?
“There’s a little thing called football skill,” Maggiore said. “This is the strongest and fastest team I’ve had, but that doesn’t make a football team great. But it should help us out. When the Bulldogs begin spring practice next week, Maggiore will have more than 50 players on the roster who can clean 200 pounds in the weight room. He’ll also have 10 who can bench more than 300 pounds.
When you combine that kind of power with the type of speed the Bulldogs have in track star and running back B.J. Lee, it’s easy to see why West Covina is expecting big things in the fall.

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Spring Football: Bishop Amat’s Brock Booth joins elite company, could push Ruiz for starting spot

By Aram Tolegian, staff writer
Bishop Amat quarterback Brock Booth has advanced to the next round of Steve Clarkson’s Dreamaker quarterback competition. Booth pulled it off with a strong showing at Clarkson’s camp held at the Rose Bowl in late February. Booth was among those chosen out of the group to head to Santa Barbara for the next round where he’ll compete against what Clarkson calls “an even stronger group of athletes”.

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Mayfield girls volleyball coach fired after three straight CIF titles because, ummm, the school wants to go in a different direction?

Go ahead and try making sense of this … Ernest Banaag, the most successful coach in Mayfield Senior School history, will not have his contract renewed for the 2010-11 school year. Banaag, in his four years at the parochial school, led the volleyball team to three consecutive CIF-Southern Section championships. Banaag said school officials said they wanted the program to “go in a different direction.”

“That’s all they would tell me,” said Banaag, who coached the team for four years. “They wanted to go in a different direction. I don’t know what direction winning CIF three years in a row is. If it was for due cause, then I would understand. If it was three losing seasons, I would be happy to go. I did not fulfill my duties. I asked them if they slept on it if it would change their minds and they said no.”

Robledo’s thoughts: The school should give an explanation. You have a coach publicly asking for one after winning three straight titles. I would understand if the coach went quietly because there was some inner turmoil with a student or teacher that they both didn’t want going public, but for him to be let go out of the blue after everything he has done for the school doesn’t make sense. It’s not fair to the coach because of the way he was fired, it makes it look like he’s done something wrong that we don’t know about. If he says he hasn’t, and asks for an explanation, the school should do the responsible thing and give one.

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Baseball: Glendora stays on top of Sierra with win over Chino; Damien gets huge win over DBar


Glendora 9, Chino 3: The Glendora High School baseball team got an early test from visiting Chino in a Sierra League game Wednesday before an unheralded player came off the bench and sparked a five-run inning to help the Tartans remain unbeaten at home with a 9-3 victory.

Damien 12, Diamond Bar 8: For the first time in recent memory the three playoff teams from the Sierra League have been decided before the last week of the season. Damien High School, the Tribune’s fourth-ranked team, took advantage of five hit batters and seven walks to beat seventh ranked Diamond Bar 12-8 on Wednesday afternoon.

Sierra League standings:
Glendora 19-2-1, 10-2
Damien 16-5, 9-3
Diamond Bar 14-8, 8-4
Friday’s games
Chino at Glendora, 3:15 p.m.
Damien at Diamond Bar, 3;15 p.m.

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Baseball: San Dimas’ Matt Lee hits a dramatic grand slam in the seventh to lift the Saints to a 5-3 victory over Northview, who loses pitcher Eddie Pedroza with an injured elbow


By Fred J. Robledo, Staff Writer
The Northview High School baseball team was close enough to taste its fifth consecutive Valle Vista League title, but left with a nauseating feeling after San Dimas’ Matt Lee hit a dramatic grand slam in the seventh inning shortly after Vikings pitcher Eddie Pedroza was removed after injuring his elbow on a curve that left him grimacing in pain with two outs to go.
Lee’s grand slam to left — his second homer of the season, came with the Saints trailing 2-1 with the bases loaded and two outs, paving the way for a 5-3 victory after the Vikings tacked on a run in the bottom half. (To continue click thread)

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Spring Football: San Dimas’ program numbers could double following championship

By Aram Tolegian, Staff Writer
It’s amazing what a CIF-Southern Section championship will do for a football program’s numbers. Just ask San Dimas High School football coach Bill Zernickow, who said he expects the number of players out for spring ball to nearly double from recent years. Zernickow estimated 90 players will be out for spring practice, up from the usual 50. He credited the turnout to the program’s success. (To continue click thread)

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Softball: Bishop Amat beats St. Joseph to create tie atop Del Rey League

By Dave Werstine, Staff Writer
The Del Rey League softball race is interesting now. St. Joseph had a chance to all but wrap up consecutive championships Tuesday afternoon. However, visiting Bishop Amat ruined the celebration, eking out a 1-0 decision to draw even with the Jesters for first place. “We are in a good situation,” said Lancers coach Jesse Mendez, whose team can claim at least a share of the title, with Bishop Montgomery and St. Paul to close the regular season.

Above: Bishop Amats Lauren Vargas safe on second base despite the efforts of Natalia Garcia. The Lancers beat St. Joseph 1-0. Photo by Brittany Murray / Press Telegram

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Baseball Rankings: Amat and Glendora peaking as playoffs near, but so is defending champ South Hills and the sleeper known as Northview


Above: Bishop Amat coach Andy Nieto deserves a lot of credit for not just putting together one of the toughest schedules in the state, but for winning and giving the SGV all the state-cred it deserves.

Here’s this week’s baseball rankings:
1. Bishop Amat (22-2) - Just another ordinary week in Lancerland, a 4-3 win over South Hills followed by an 11-1 blowout over Lakewood to capture the Redondo Tournament title. After the schedule they played, I don’t want to hear any Division 4 complaints after they add another section title in a few weeks.
2. Glendora (18-2-1) - It’s amazing to me that this far into the season the Tartans have just two losses, especially considering how difficult the Sierra League is. They were rewarded this week with the No. 2 ranking in Division 2.
3. South Hills (14-4) - Nobody really believes in moral victories. Yes, it was a 4-3 loss to Bishop Amat, but some think they outplayed, out-pitched, and out-hit the Lancers, they just couldn’t come up with the crucial at-bats. That’s baseball and why a loss in this fashion isn’t really a loss.
4. Damien (15-5) - The Spartans continue to stay close to the Spartans, sweeping last week to remain 8-3 in league, just a game back of Glendora with two weeks left.
5. Northview (14-4-1) - Have we been sleeping on Northview? Could there still be a huge Northview-Bishop Amat showdown in the Division 4 playoffs? Well, the Vikes are No. 3 in D-4 and 10-0 in league. They can all but wrap it all up with a win over San Dimas on Wednesday.
6. Bonita (15-4-1) - What once was a comfortable lead in the Miramonte is now just a one game lead over Charter Oak after losing to Diamond Ranch. They finish with two games each against Walnut and Wilson.
7. Diamond Bar (14-7) - The Brahmas sweep over Chino sets up a big week with two games against Damien. Like Damien, they’re also 8-3 in league and a game back of Glendora. The survivor this week should do no worse than second in league.
8. Charter Oak (13-8) – The Chargers kept pace with the Bearcats with a much needed sweep over Wilson, doing it in style with back-to-back shutouts. These Chargers are something, one week they look ordinary, the next they look unbeatable.
9. Sierra Vista (14-5) – A loss to Azusa last week leaves them in a tie with La Puente for the Montview League lead, setting up a great finish with a pair against the Warriors next week for all the league title.
10. San Dimas (14-6) – After a horrible start, the Saints are 9-2 in league and control their own destiny with a pair against Northview this week. They got clobbered in their first meeting with the Vikes, will be interesting to see how far they’ve come on Wednesday.

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Softball Rankings: Glendora and Bonita both lose, but remain No. 1 and 2 respectively


Question: Should Bishop Amat be in the top 10? It’s tough because of their 10-11 overall record, though they have played a monster schedule. Here’s the thing, they’re 7-2 in the Del Rey League and playing St. Joseph’s today for the outright lead in the Del Rey. You tell me.

Here’s this week’s softball rankings:
1. Glendora (17-4)
- Tartans suffer a 5-4 loss to Chino Hills, but remain in a tie for first place with Ayala thanks to St. Lucy’s win over the Bulldogs.
2. Bonita (19-3-1) - Look at the losses, Charter Oak, St. Lucy’s and Glendora with a tie against South Hills. The Bearcats are better than this, you know it, I know it, and something tells me when the playoffs arrive, they will show it.
3. St. Lucy’s (14-10) - Lets see, a sweep of San Dimas, a victory over Bonita, Ayala, and Charter Oak Tourney champs, but a miserable 1-5 in the Sierra.
4. Arroyo (17-1) - We told you a month ago that Arroyo wouldn’t lose another game once the Mission Valley League started. Looks like we were right. But when it comes to quality wins, can’t rank them above the top three.
5. West Covina (15-6) - Big sweep over Rowland last week, even if the second-game came with a bit of controversy. The San Antonio title is theirs unless they trip up big-time.
6. Northview (16-5) - The Vikings in control for now, but they will end the season next week against San Dimas and Covina for all the marbles.
7. San Dimas (14-7) – Didn’t need a crystal ball to know the Saints start winning this time of year, and with four straight wins, can’t wait until they meet Northview one more time next week.
8. Charter Oak (13-11) – Back-to-back wins over Los Altos and Bonita are good enough to grab top ten attention again.
9. South Hills (15-7-1) – Look like they will finish second in the San Antonio and will need to do better in the games-you-have-to-win category down the stretch.
10. Azusa (14-4) - They’re in the same boat with Arroyo, just too good for their league and will probably go undefeated in the Montview as well, already 9-0 with two weeks left.

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Rowland’s Michael Ball feeling great after broken collarbone, but will the Raiders be just as great?

By Aram Tolegian, Staff Writer
If you’re a Rowland High School football fan and you’re worried about the recovery of star quarterback Michael Ball from a broken collarbone, coach Craig Snyder has a message for you: Don’t be. Snyder said his quarterback is fully recovered from the injury that cut short his junior season. Ball has been running track and will be in the football flow once that ends. (To continue click thread)


Above: The collarbone injury that sidelined Michael Ball. Now he’s back and ready to go.
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Walnut’s Grant hopes to add to her collection

By Steve Ramirez, Staff Writer
There are some sports that often seem like the family business. It seems that way for the Grants, whose sister trio of Rebecca, Rachel and Andrea has each enjoyed success competing for the Walnut High School swimming team during this decade. Andrea Grant, a junior, is the latest of the sister act, winning a CIF-Southern Section Division II individual title last season and looming as one of the favorites to win two events this year.

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CIF Polls: Glendora and Bishop Amat on top in Baseball; St. Lucy’s huge 4-3 upset over Ayala knocks them to No. 4 in Softball


Above: Bishop Amat’s Rio Ruiz after belting a three-run homer in last week’s 4-3 win over South Hills.

CIF-Southern Section Baseball Polls
Division 2

1. Glendora, 2. Chaminade, 3.Crespi, 4. Redlands East valley, 5.Cypress, 6. Bellflower, 7. Foothill, 8. Santa Barbara, 9. Los Osos, 10. Arcadia
Division 3
1. Beckman, 2. South Hills, 3. Alhambra, 4. San Gorgonio, 5. Hemet, 6. Rancho Alamitos, 7. Bonita, 8. California, 9. Ocean View, 10. Culver City.
Division 4
1. Bishop Amat, 2. Palm Desert, 3. Northview, 4. St. Paul, 5. Fullerton, 6. El Segundo, 7. Sonora, 8. Monrovia, 9. Torrance, 10. San Dimas.

CIF-Southern Section Softball Polls
Division 3

1. La Reina, 2. Bonita, 3. Glendora, 4. Ayala, 5. Oaks Christian, 6. Alemany, 7. Cajon, 8. Tesoro, 9. Atascadero, 10. Downey.
Division 5
1. Cerritos Valley Christian, 2. La Canada, 3. Village Christian, 4. West Covina, 5. Whittier Christian, 6. South Hills, 7. Heritage, 8. Calvary Murrieta, 9. Riverside Christian, 10. Savanna.
Division 6
1. Marymount, 2. Arroyo, 3. South El Monte, 4. La Salle, 5. Ramona Convent, 6. Oaks Hills, 7. Oxford Academy, 8. San Gabriel Mission, 9. Nordoff, 10. Faith Baptist.

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Baseball: South Hills-Northview will meet next season under the lights; “New” SGV baseball tournament in the early stages

Since last week’s Bishop Amat 2-1 victory over South Hills in front of more than 1,200 folks under the lights at Mt. San Antonio College, some interesting things have happened. South Hills and Northview have agreed to meet on a Friday night next year, as well as Bishop Amat and South Hills meeting again, and we hear their could be more nonleague “mega matchups” under the lights next season. And there’s more, Bonita and Northview are teaming together to create a San Gabriel Valley tournament at the beginning of the season, one that could match the best teams of the SGV with several of the best from the Inland Empire. They’re hoping for a quality 32 team tournament with several commits already. Locally, South Hills, Damien, Bonita, Northview, Los Altos and Covina are in. Redlands East Valley, Yucaipa, Rancho Cucamonga and Los Osos are committed from the IE. This has all the making of something great, with organizers hoping first-round games could match SGV teams against I.E. teams so we could keep a count of how the two areas perform against each other. It’s a wonderful idea, and a great way to start the year. Team interested in participating (hint, hint Bishop Amat) should contact John Knott at Bonita or Darren Murphy at Northview.

On a side note: Yes, this tournament is scheduled the same week as the Glendora tournament, which obviously will affect it now that Northview, Bonita, Alta Loma as well as Bishop Amat will not attend. Sort of a good news, bad news, I know, but I like the idea of a huge area tournament.

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The umps blew it, Rowland paying the price

In West Covina’s 2-1 softball victory over Rowland last week, the game-winning run shouldn’t of been allowed, according to rule 7.09 (L) and 7.08 (B) of the rulebook. Rowland and West Covina were tied 1-1 in the second inning when West Covina had runners on first and third with one out. On a ground ball to short, the shortstop went to first, where the baserunner was ruled out for interference after running inside the baseline and knocking over the first baseman. The runner on first was allowed to go to second, and the runner on third allowed to score, which was the difference for West Covina in a 2-1 game, and which cost the Raiders a chance to control their own destiny for a league title had they won the game. Rowland coach Craig Snyder didn’t protest, but the rule states the runners on first and third should not have been allowed to advance: The Rule States: If the runner does not avoid the fielder, the ball is dead and he is out. No other runners may advance beyond the base they last held at the time of the interference. If the batter-runner has not reached first base, runners remain at their bases held at the time of pitch.

Snyder said: “I apologized to my team, I should have protested. I knew what I was arguing was right, and if I had to do it over again I would have protested, no doubt about it. I screwed that up.”

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The first of several big weeks for Track and Swimming have arrived …

It’s a big league finals week for track and swimming and we want to report your results. Obviously we can’t be at every final, but we want to report on every final we can, so organizers are encouraged to call our office extensions (2233, 2242) and speak to Steve Ramirez at the conclusion of your meets at the end of the week. Steve will stay inside taking your calls on Thursday and Friday to write about your finals so help us, help you. Good luck to everyone, and you can start by posting where and when your league finals are taking place.

League Final Dates
The Miramonte League will kick off the week in swimming with its finals Tuesday at Las Flores Park in La Verne at 12:30 p.m. The rest of the swimming schedule has the Valle Vista League finals at San Dimas on Thursday at 2 p.m.; the Sierra League at Glendora, also on Thursday, at 3 p.m.; the San Antonio League at Walnut on Friday at 3 p.m., and the Montview League, also on Friday, at Sierra Vista at 2 p.m.
League finals in track are Thursday and Friday. The Thursday meets are the Sierra League at Ayala at 3 p.m.; the San Antonio League at Walnut at 3; the Montview League at Bassett at 3:15; the Valle Vista League at Baldwin Park at 3:15, and the Del Rey League at Serra in Gardena at 4:30. Friday’s schedule has the Miramonte League at Bonita at 3 p.m. and the Mission Valley League at Gabrielino at 4.

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CIF looking into Santa Margarita letter …

This story won’t go away, The O.C. Register published a letter written to parents by Santa Margarita principal Ray Dunne in the wake of an open house rules violation in which the school admitted wrongdoing, but would not discuss publicly what the penalties were. Apparently this letter didn’t sit well with CIF officials, who told the L.A. Times’ Eric Sondheimer they might consider re-opening their investigation into the alleged recruiting violations.

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Rialto coach Don Markham resigns over allegations before ever getting started

Riverside Press-Enterprise: Don Markham has resigned as the Rialto High football coach. Markham was put on administrative leave as coach Tuesday following allegations that were submitted to the school. The district would not elaborate on the allegations. According to the story, Markham said he has been accused of manhandling players, to which he responded. “The important thing for me is to clear my name,” Markham said. “It’s kind of discouraging. Somebody said to me today that you don’t want this to be your legacy and you don’t want it to end like this.”

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Rosemead’s mental bottle of get tough: White Helmets? Like the concept, but it takes more

Rosemead is hoping that by ditching maroon for white helmets that it will somehow make them a tougher football team, according to coach Matt Koffler, who told Aram he wants to see his kids work harder and play tougher. I guess with white helmets you’ll look like a warrior with every scratch of your opponents paint, but I’m not sure it will make you play like a warrior. That has to come from within. If this works I’m petitioning UCLA to drop the powder blue.

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Bishop Amat beats powerful Lakewood 11-1 to capture Redondo tourney; McNitt goes to 7-0

If Saturday night’s championship game of the Redondo Tournament were a prize fight, Bishop Amat would have knocked out Lakewood in the first round. Bishop Amat (22-2) scored seven runs on six hits in the top of the first inning off Lakewood’s Danny Ittner to claim the White Bracket title, 11-1, in front of a packed stadium. Brandon McNitt (7-0) went six strong innings for Bishop Amat, allowing just one unearned run on four hits to pick up the win.

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Banner day for Amat signees


CENTER LEFT TO RIGHT: Kelsey Salter Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, Paul Paez University of San Diego, Matt Johnson University of New Mexico, Davis Cazares New Mexico, Josh Tierney Univ. of Redlands, Jerry McClanhan UC Irvine, Damien Haynes Howard University, Alexander Ragsdale Colorado State, Daniel Kane University of Redlands, Anthony Lee University of La Verne, Anthony Avila Occidental College, Nancy Rodriguez University of La Verne.

A banner spring signing period for 13 Bishop Amat High School student-athletes ended with a bang at a lunchtime ceremony put on by the school to honor their achievements. Parents and friends were allowed to attend, and the athletes paid their thanks to the school and their families.

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Gabrielino’s Angel Acosta is really, really good; Sierra Vista wins, Huerta bangs two-run homer

Mission Valley League, Gabrielino 7, South El Monte 6: In his heart, Gabrielino High School baseball coach Joe Laski gave sophomore right-hander Angel Acosta a victory and a save. In the rule book, a pitcher cannot receive credit for a win and a save in the same game.

Montview League, Sierra Vista 5, Azusa 1: Avenging its first Montview League baseball loss of the season, Sierra Vista High School scored three runs in the first inning and held on to beat Azusa 5-1 Friday afternoon. A two-run home run by Christian Huerta capped the three-run first for the host Dons (14-5, 7-1). That was all starting pitcher Elias Novelo needed as he struck out seven and won his sixth game of the season against no losses.

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