South Hills-Whittier Christian photo gallery
By Andrew Campa
IRVINE – The South Hills High School softball team had been counted out so many times this season there perhaps was no better way to respond to fans and detractors than by winning a CIF-Southern Section ring. While the plan was in place, defending Division 5 champion Whittier Christian was an unwilling partner. The No. 1-seeded Heralds rallied behind another brilliant effort from Courtney McGee in claiming their third division title in six years with a 4-0 win in Friday’s championship game at Deanna Manning Stadium. (To continue, click thread).
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)
San Gabriel Valley’s best again helping Fullerton. Here’s a story I wrote for today about four former area players who are keying Cal State Fullerton’s run to the postseason – and beyond.
FULLERTON – Cal State Fullerton’s base is in the heart of Orange County.
But there have been instances in recent years where the Titans have added some San Gabriel Valley flavor. Fullerton’s run to the College World Series final four in 2001 and 2003, as well as its road to the 2004 national title was paved with players who once called the 626 area code home.
It’s the same this season for the Titans, whose quest for the school’s fourth CWS championship has been aided by four former area players – Gary Brown of Diamond Bar High School, Tyler Pill of Covina, Richie Pedroza of Northview and Noe Ramirez of Alhambra.
All will be key elements when the Titans open the Division I regional playoffs against Minnesota tonight at 8 p.m. at Fullerton’s Goodwin Field.
These four players haven’t forgotten where they came from.
“I think we all represent (the area) well,” said Pill, whose older brother Brett starred at Fullerton and was one of the heroes on the 2004 national title team. “This shows what type of talent that plays in the San Gabriel Valley.
“Since we’re up here competing and making a big impact in this program, it shows other teams, other coaches that a lot of talent comes from the San Gabriel Valley, and they will start looking for more who come from (here). I think as long as we keep performing well, there will be more San Gabriel Valley guys up here.”
With the baseball season officially over, Bishop Amat turns all its attention to football from now until December, if they’re still playing that long. This will be our bloggers’ opportunity to offer their impressions of spring practice, what you see at quarterback and the other impact positions. Who will carry the rock if Jay Anderson really doesn’t return to concentrate on baseball. Who will carry them in the trenches? Who are the newcomers that will make an immediate impact, and the returners that have to step it up. And as always, what’s the 411, the mood in Lancerland, the inside scoop. You know we all want to know.
By Fred J. Robledo, Staff Writer
For those interested in classic baseball matchups, it will be hard to find a better one than wild-card entrant Yucaipa (27-6) taking on top-seeded Glendora (26-2-1) in the CIF- Southern Section Division 2 championship at The Diamond in Lake Elsinore at 4:30 p.m. Saturday. That’s because the Tartans are sending out UCLA-bound right-hander Adam Plutko, also a potential high draft choice in this month’s Major League Baseball amateur draft. (To continue, click thread).
Above: Glendora will face highly regarded 6-foot-5 pitcher Taijuan Walker, who has been clocked in the mid 90s.
By Aram Tolegian, Staff Writer
Before Diamond Ranch High School’s football team can entertain the thought of another 14-game season, the Panthers have to find a quarterback who can lead them on such a long journey. That’s what Diamond Ranch coach Roddy Layton has been focusing on as his team continues spring practice and prepares for a long summer of learning. Last year’s quarterback, Gus Viramontes, led the Panthers to two consecutive CIF-Southern Section Southeast Division championship games, but he graduates later this month, along with playmakers such as Amari Staten and Elisha Henley. (To continue, click thread).
Above: Who will replace two-year starter Gus Viramontes, who led the Panthers to consecutive championship games.
Let’s face it, Glendora coach Dan Henley and Bonita’s John Knott deserve every award you can give them for how they have led their teams this season. Glendora is playing for its first championship in the school’s history, and arguably in the Southern Section’s most difficult division, earning the undisputed tag as the Valley’s best team so far. But then there’s Bonita, playing for its first since title since 1951, which came before the Dodgers moved here from Brooklyn. That’s just crazy. When you think about how many impact players the Bearcats lost, it’s just crazy. I can still remember Knott weeping on the field following the loss to South Hills last year. I really think he thought they let an opportunity slip away that might not come back for a while. Who knew? Hopefully there will be a good Valley turnout at the Diamond in Lake Elsinore, with Bonita going at 1 p.m., followed by Glendora at 4:30 p.m., games that we will live blog for all of you. Player of the year, that’s a tough call too. So much has happened in the final weeks that everything is up for grabs, including all the first-team area spots. We’ve got a few days before Saturday’s championship, so go ahead, looking for a player of the year, two pitchers, four infielders, three outfielders, a utility and catcher.
At the Diamond, Lake Elsinore
Ocean View vs. Bonita, 1 p.m.
Yucaipa vs. No. 1 Glendora, 4:30 p.m.
South Hills’ emotional journey is going to end with a Division 5 championship opportunity against defending champion Whittier Christian on Friday at 5:15 p.m., at Deanna Manning Stadium in Irvine. This is a team you can’t think about without thinking of Britney Rodriguez, whose brother Tony and big fan of the Huskies died in a car accident back in March, which obviously was a trying time for weeks. It’s great to see how they pulled together and have this opportunity now. BTW, does coach Scott Fisch have another dive in him?
One South Hills High School punch beat La Canada’s 1-2 punch in Tuesday’s CIF-Southern Section Division 5 softball semifinals. Sophomore Sydney La Follette delivered the knockout punch in the sixth inning, breaking a 1-1 tie with a full-count double, to lead the Huskies to a 3-1 victory and the CIF-SS championship game for the first time since 1997, when they defeated St. Paul, 2-1, for the Division IV crown.
The San Gabriel Valley Senior Softball All Star Game will be played Monday, June 7th at Mt. San Antonio College. The game will start at 6:30 pm. Mt. Sac will be charging a $5 admission fee and a $2 parking fee. The north team will be coached by Reese Mitchell from Glendora High School and the south team will be coached by Dean Bunting from South El Monte High School. To view the rosters from both teams, click the thread.
Bishop Amat High School girls’ basketball coach, Richard Wiard, is holding his annual Lady Hoopster Basketball Camp June 21-24 from 1:30-5:00 daily. The camp is open to girls entering the 5th-9th grades. Girls will receive instruction in basketball fundamentals, a camp t-shirt, and the chance to win daily prizes. The cost of the camp is $80. For more information, contact Coach Wiard at 626-962-2495 ext. 5868.
Glendora advances: It was classic Glendora High School baseball. The Tartans usually get solid pitching, backed with good defense, and then let someone step up offensively. That someone was senior Jacob Smigelski, who with one swing of the bat has Glendora where it’s never been before – the CIF-Southern Section finals. Smigelski homered with one out in the bottom of the seventh inning and the Tartans advanced to the school’s first appearance in the CIF-SS title game with a 2-1 victory over visiting Mira Costa in a Division 2 semifinal on Tuesday.
Bonita advances: None of the players on the Bonita High School baseball team were alive the last time the Bearcats made a CIF final. There’s a good shot none of their parents were alive as well in 1951. Needless to say, Bonita’s 13-4 victory over San Gorgonio in Tuesday’s CIF-SS Division 3 semifinal game held a bit of extra significance.
CIF-SS Playoffs Results
Tuesday’s semifinal results
Glendora 2, Mira Costa 1 – Tartans will face Yucaipa in Saturday’s championship at 4:30 p.m., at Storm Stadium in Lake Elsinore.
Bonita 13, San Gorgonio 4 – Bearcats will face Ocean View or Gahr in Saturday’s championship at 1 p.m., at Storm Stadium in Lake Elsinore.
Ayala 1, Bonita 0, 8 innings — Ayala will face Warren in championship either Friday or Saturday at Deanna Manning Stadium in Irvine.
South Hills 3, La Canada 1 – South Hills will face Whittier Christian in championship either Friday or Saturday at Deanna Manning Stadium in Irvine.
Ayala-Bonita softball game story
By Fred J. Robledo
Pitcher Chloe Wurst did everything she could to carry the Bonita High School softball team on her shoulders, dragging the top-ranked Bearcats into extra innings against fourth-seed Ayala. But Ayala pitcher Jessica Hall has broad shoulders too, carrying the Bulldogs to the CIF-Southern Section Division 3 championship with her fourth consecutive shutout of the playoffs, outdueling Wurst and the Bearcats 1-0 in eight innings in Tuesday’s semifinals. (To continue, click thread).
Beckman tried protesting Upland’s 3-1 Division 2 softball quarterfinal victory for, guess what, an illegal batting practice. CIF looked at it, determined once again, like South Hills’ baseball win over Montebello, that while an illegal batting practice took place, the number of players involved was determined to be not sufficient enough to force Upland to forfeit the game, which I completely agree with. Again, kudos to CIF for siding with the kids that won on the field, and who were obviously not trying to cheat anyone, but made a silly mistake, not one that warrants the death penalty in the playoffs. Why teams continue to file these protests in hopes of winning this way is beyond me. A full organized batting practice is one thing, but when it’s obvious just a few kids are involved, do the right thing and take your medicine. You lost, don’t look to be bailed out by a few whiffle balls.
Protesting over this? An anonymous emailer sent this photo of South Hills “illegal batting practice,” in the first round against Montebello, which protested their loss. CIF, determined that while illegal, it was not enough to remove a team from the playoffs because only a couple of players took part.