I’m banking the Valley is going to add two more baseball titles to its resume on Saturday, that’s how good I feel about Bonita and Glendora’s chances. We were going to blog on Coveritlive, but our friends at the CIF office, which means media relations giant Thom Simmons, emailed me this, “Feel free to tell your readers you would love to “coveritlive” but, the heartless CIF is denying you.” Believe me, Simmons actually loves us, he reads our blog (and swears he doesn’t comment) and is one of the best media relations people in the business, so I’m cutting him some slack. That leaves two alternatives, do you want us to twitter updates on the blog, or do a live blog inning-by-inning scoring updates on the thread or both. Either way, we’re going to get the info to you as soon as possible, with quotes and pictures afterward.
Above: Glendora’s Kyle Layton
By Fred J. Robledo, Staff Writer
There are some unique ties between the Glendora and Bonita high school baseball teams, which will compete for divisional titles on Saturday at The Diamond in Lake Elsinore. Bonita (24-4-1) will face Ocean View (21-9) in the Division 3 championship at 1 p.m., followed by top-seed Glendora (26-2-1) and Yucaipa (27-6) battling for the Division 2 crown at 4:30. (To continue, click thread)
Bonita sophomore Nolan Henley is the nephew of Glendora coach Dan Henley, and Bonita coach John Knott is close friends with Scott Winterburn, the University of La Verne coach and father of Tartans standout Joe Winterburn. Knott and Scott Winterburn both played and were assistants at Azusa Pacific under longtime coach Tony Barbone.
“I think that part of it is kind of neat,” Knott said of the relationship between both teams. “Nolan already has asked if he can stay and watch Glendora play after us.
“Obviously we will be pulling for each other. We both want to win our games, and it’s a great opportunity for the (Valley) to come out and support, especially since we’re playing back-to-back.”
CIF opted for the smaller 6,000-seat venue at The Diamond because Angel Stadium was originally not available because of a scheduling conflict.
“I’m mixed on playing there (The Diamond),” Knott said. “When we met with CIF officials, they talked about it being more intimate, and possibly coming close to filling up most of the seats.
“But at the same time, players would love the opportunity to play in the big stadiums. That’s always been kind of your reward for getting this far, to play in a big-league stadium, but it’s alright. Playing for the championship is good enough.”
Knott had no idea it had been 59 years since since Bonita’s only title in 1951.
“When I was driving to the CIF office with Eric Podley (athletic director and football coach) he was telling me this was our first trip to the finals,” Knott said. “There are no banners on the wall from the (’51) season. Maybe it was just too long ago.”
One of the biggest reasons for the Bearcats’ postseason success has been senior shortstop and pitcher Brian Tuttle, who was more of a utility player on last year’s team that graduated seven starters, including shortstop Jiovanni Mier, who was drafted in first round of Major league baseball’s amateur draft by the Houston Astros.
Tuttle is 7 for 15 with five RBIs, five runs scored and a homer in four playoff games.
On the mound he’s been even more spectacular, throwing a complete-game five-hitter in a 2-1 second-round win over Downey. In the semifinals, he pitched another complete game in a 13-4 win over San Gorgonio.
“Brian’s hits have been big hits too,” Knott said. “He’s like a lot of guys on this team who have taken advantage of their opportunities.
“He’s pitched and played well, especially in big moments. There is not much more you can say. He’s really stepped it up at the right time.”
Glendora shortstop Clint Harwick III is looking to end a long family drought.
His grandfather, Clint Harwick, coached the Tartans for almost 30 years from 1968-95, winning eight league titles with a semifinal appearance in 1989, but not a championship.
His son Clint Harwick II played for him at Glendora and was his assistant in his final years in 1994 and ’95, and is now a superintendent in the Charter Oak School District.
Three generations of Harwicks have never been able to deliver a championship to Glendora, but Clint Harwick III is hoping to change that, with a father and grandfather looking on proudly.
“It would be awesome,” Clinton Harwick II said. “Not just for our son or our family, but for all those guys on the (Tartans) team. They’re such a close-knit group and have been together for so long that it’s great to see them having this opportunity. They deserve it.”