Baseball: Bonita’s Justin Garza continues his dominance, beats Diamond Bar and Mathews 2-1

Bonita’s Justin Garza looks looks more like a freshman than a junior, generously listed at 5-10, 150 pounds. But I wanted to know about the 3-0 start and 0.37 ERA that people kept raving about on the blog. And I wanted to know how he would respond going against Kenny Mathews, the savvy senior from Diamond Bar who Bonita coach John Knott called, “a once in a decade type pitcher.” Well how’s this for a confidence builder, Garza went the distance against Mathews, pitching a complete game 2-1 victory. He almost had a shutout, giving up his lone run in the seventh. But then he showed his toughness, getting a ground-out to end the game with the tying run on second. Mathews wasn’t a sharp as he normally is. He continually got behind in counts, gave up seven hits and struck out just three, but he was still in the game. Diamond Bar committed four errors, but it was the play that got away that cost them. Mathews’ pick-off attempt with two outs in the fourth inning beat Bonita’s Mark Lindsay back to first, but the ball was dropped. That new life allowed Conor Vislay to answer with a double that scored Lindsay, followed by Thomas Castro’s single that scored Vislay. It wasn’t much, but thanks to Garza, it was enough. It also makes you wonder, whenever towering 6-8 Adam McCreery gets the green light, they’ll have 1 and 1A. That’s scary with the offense they already have.

By Fred J. Robledo
Diamond Bar high school baseball coach Eric Shibley is not concerned with the Brahmas’ slow start after being pegged this newspapers pre-season top choice. After all, the “real” season is just beginning.
Diamond Bar lost four straight in the same week during a recent trip to the Loara tournament — but three were one-run losses in low-scoring games, prompting Shibley to point to the big picture. (To continue click thread)
“Numbers don’t lie, obviously we started slowly, but we’re pleased with our defense and pitching,” Shibley said. “Tournaments are tournaments. You want to win every time you step on the field, but tournaments aren’t Hacienda League games and they’re not CIF playoff games. Ultimately, those are the games we need to win and be prepared for.”
Diamond Bar boasts one of the top pitchers in California, left-hander Kenny Mathews, who already is committed to Cal State Fullerton, though with his Major League Draft stock continuing to rise, it could lead to a tough decision for Mathews later in the year.
But Mathews is just part of the equation.
Henry Omana, a 6-foot-3 junior, has a fastball that touches the 90s, giving the Brahmas a valuable number two pitcher.
However, with some tenderness in his throwing arm, Shibley preferred to rest Omana, sending him out for his first start against Diamond Ranch on Tuesday.
Omana answered the call, throwing four solid innings and allowing just one hit in a 6-1 Diamond Bar victory that helped the Brahmas improve to 4-4 and 2-0 in the Hacienda League.
“We wanted to give him (Omana) rest (during tournament season) just to get him sharp,” Shibley said. “He wasn’t injured, it was just cautionary, plus we got a chance to see a lot of other guys pitch.”
Teams only face each other twice a year in the Hacienda League and there are no back-to-back games against the same opponents.
This is a luxury for Diamond Bar, who can pick and choose who to throw Mathews against.
By throwing Omana earlier in the week, Diamond Bar will send Mathews out Friday at home against Bonita (5-2), who many expect will contend for the league title with the Brahmas.
Bonita won the Miramonte League last year and advanced to the Division 3 title game. The Bearcats have nearly everyone back, so Shibley knows Friday’s game at 3:30 p.m., is definitely one that will have league title implications, even though they’re just in the second week of the league season.
“Bonita is as good as anyone around here, and they’ve got an experienced senior-oriented team,” Shibley said. “Our issue is going to be scoring runs. We know that (Mathews and Omana) are going to keep us in games, but we need to score to make things easier on them.
Mathews (2-1, 1.05 ERA) already has 26 strikeouts in 20 innings, and whenever he pitches, you can expect a group of scouts behind home plate with radar guns.
“He’s a once-in-a-decade type pitcher,” Bonita coach John Knott said of Mathews. “He outdueled Glendora (and pitcher Adam Plutko) in a game at home last year and Glendora went on to win a CIF title.
“I don’t think our guys are going to be intimidated, but we know we’re going up against a kid who has had a lot of success. You have to chip away and have competitive at-bats against him to have a competitive chance.”
Bonita normally would counter with 6-foot-8 senior pitcher Adam McCreery, who already has committed to Arizona State and has scouts drooling over him because of his size and potential.
But McCreery hasn’t pitched for the Bearcats this season, who hope to get him back for a late-season stretch run.
McCreery has been dealing with tenderness in his throwing elbow, but Knott says doctors have found nothing structurally wrong with him.
“He’s (McCreery) possibly a first-round (Major League draft) prospect,” Knott said. “His stock has soared. Just five months some (publication) named him one of the top 15 high school prospects in the country.
“With him we’re obviously a much more complete team, but we have to be cautious. With most high school players you can push them along because this is as good as it gets. But with (McCreery) he has a bright future and we have to be cautious.”

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  • BaseballDad

    Great article..but Diamond Bar is still weak up the middle defensively…and they are not a good hitting team collectively…Bonita has Garza who has been pitching well this season…and they have Brandon Murfett who throws in the high 80s..but this is baseball and anything can happen. The Hacienda is wide open. I really don’t think anyone is going to run away with the league title. West Co beating Walnut after losing to Rowland is just an example of how unpredictable things are. Rowland and Los Altos were tied 2-2 before they called the game after 4 innings…It’s wide open

  • Tommy Lasorda

    Just an FYI, there is a kid at Bonita named Justin Garza thats been doing more than holding the fort down in McCreery’s absence. He is 3-0 and has completely dominated the 3 teams he has face. He is not a new name. He ha some great outings last year as a sophomore. It’s only a matter of time before he’s being taken seriously. If you haven’t heard about him, look him up!

  • ?

    I have seen both teams play and Bonita has all the tools to win this game. D-Bar better hope Kenny allows 0 runs cause D-Bar cannot score runs. I agree Bonita will put the heat on D-Bar and will force them to play defense, which is very shakey. prediction time
    Bonita – 3
    D-Bar – 2

  • Homer L

    News Flash!
    College scholarships can be rescinded! It happens, if you dont believe it, ask any softball Parent. Its the beginning of the season and this kid has a tender elbow? Whats up with that? It sounds like this Garza kid is their # one pitcher anyway!
    In baseball it usually boils down to pitching depth.

  • player

    I was at the Diamond Ranch/ Diamond Bar game yesterday. There was a good vibe in the air. Both school’s parents and kids were smiling and talking to one another. These kids have grown up attending grade school, playing little league and their families are all good friends. Anyways, Both teams came out ready. Starting pitcher’s and long time buddies, also SGV ARSENAL teammates were ready for a good old dog fight. Both kids came out strong showing there stuff. At the end #24 Omana was obviously the better of the two. DB had a good game. DB’s pitchers got the support needed before the game was called. Great job to both coaches. Funny thing, yesterday all that was mentioned was the score on the blog. Were are the looser know it all dad’s/mom wana be coaches with their comments. oh so quiet. Just let the kids play and support your team. DRanch is a good team with great players. When they jell watch out. I personally think DRanch will beat up on Bonita. Glad I was there and good luck the rest of the way its just getting started. Class Programs at Diamond Bar/Diamond Ranch

  • Bulldog1

    Fred, I thought I had a pretty good idea for you to bring back the videos that you, Steve and Aram did during football season, where are they?
    When you do the WC video, please mention it doesnt take much to, Kiss the Ring you just have to be nice to us and be worthy.
    Bulldog Fever.

  • kiss this

    Hey Bulldog, you’re kissing Charter’s Oak back-to-back championship rings, you never took the title from anyone, you won a vacant title.

  • patrick

    Ahhhhh…The Haters have arrived!! Lol…..Its obvious the previous posters have it out for Diamond Bar!, First , it was they would get smoked by Diamond Ranch, NOW….they are spelling their doom against Bonita! Sad, that the haters are 45+ yrs of age and making such juvenile comments about 16-17 yr olds!

  • Scores

    Any scores from today’s games.

  • Steve Ramirez

    @Grow Some: McCreery’s injury sounds like the same that Tyler Pill suffered at Fullerton, and the MLB Network had a special on these types of injury recently. They are a stress of the elbow muscles, and without the shutdown are a rotar-cuff injury in the making. Pill didn’t pitch the final 1 1/2 months of the season last year, but he’s back and pitching great this year.
    This is not the type of injury where as you say, ‘Man Up.’ The consequences can end a player’s career if you don’t error with catuion.

  • Bulldog1

    Yes we took a vacant title, so what! We tolk the title with a much better team than Charter oak had this sesson, and we did it with class and humility, anyways, you escaped just in time my friend! Hell, I hate to admit it but, even Bonita had a better team than you did! I figure Carter Oak would have finish 4th at best in the Hacienda leegue. It feels good to be a winner, never have to find a rock to climb under and hide like JFRDOUCHE and the rest of losers!

  • C Dawg

    Baldwin Park 3 San Dimas 1 (8 innings)

    Temple City 8 La Salle (Milwaukie, Oregon) 1

    Anyone have the South Hills-Chino Hills score please? Thanks – C Dawg

  • Grow Some


    Did you read the MRI? Do your homework in reporting before you pop off. A pulled or strain doesn’t lead to surgery. Man up its time to support your team…

  • scores

    South Hills beat by Chino Hills and Damien beats Charter Oak.

  • shut the hell up

    grow some – if you are so tough, why don’t you go the mcCreerys and tell them what yo think to thier face. Have YOU seen the MRI. Have YOU talked to the Doc. YOU have no idea what YOU are talking about.

  • Aaron


    I don’t care who you believe you are because I know you certainly are not an athletic trainer, a sports physician, or a specialist. One thing is for sure is you are not 6’8″ and still growing. Adam is a great kid, and a stud on the mound. I didn’t see you here questioning Coach Shibley about why he didn’t pitch Omana until Wednesday.

    One thing is for sure, Bonita is a solid team without A-Mac, and they’ll be REALLY GOOD if not on the way to a one seed when he gets back on the mound. Have two solid starters in Justin Garza and Brandon Murfett right now…and some other guys getting innings. You can’t tell me that McCreery coming back doesn’t scare you.

    Oh and Steve is a Sportswriter and he’s pretty objective when it comes to him covering all the sports he does so well.

    /Rant over.

  • ?

    Anyone know if the Bonita @ D-Bar game is still on?

  • Playball

    It’s good to see coaches error on the side of the player when it comes to injuries. The coaching staff at both DB and Bonita are protecting their players and going about using other pitchers at the start of the season. Got to admire that!

  • DB Fan

    Diamond Bar / Bonita @ Diamond Bar High is on today.

  • Bohi

    Bohi wins 2-1. Justin Garza goes the distance for his 4th win of the year. He’s proving to be one of the very best pitchers in the valley and he is only a junior. Mathews pitched great too. A dropped ball on a pickoff lead to 2 unearned runs.

  • Hey dumb a$$

    your right, every injury results in a surgery. Are you that stupid????

  • Grow Some

    Hey Harry meets Lloyd

    Invest in some Pampers, your boy is running low on the stock.

  • reality

    Bonita has officially taken over the top spot from Bishop Amat as receiving the most insults directed at their many highly successful athletic programs. They must be doing something right to garner all this jealously. Bulldog and Get Some bloggers are like the pimply faced loser that call the girls scaggs after they reject them for a date. The only way this type can feel a little better is to self-gratify themselves in their bleach- smelling darkened rooms watching porn and telling Bonita players to get some. Bonita players are obviously getting some everyday. How about you Bozos?

  • Don

    Garza continues to be outstanding, bringing way more stamina than I ever expected. Good on you Justin; happy to see that arm is hanging with the big heart we all knew you had.

    Anyone who follows prep baseball from year to year knows that pitching is always a work in progress.

    Last season’s Bonita squad began the season expecting Yepez to be the #1 guy, found another in Tuttle, and finished in the finals with A-Mac as the #1 although all three ended up contributing big time. Speaking of which, funny seeing Fred characterize this season’s BoHi team as having nearly everyone back. Yeah Freddie, nearly; kinda reflects the depth of coverage you gave the Bearcats last year.

    Apropos of nothing, its great to hear about the DBar and DRanch parents getting along. The whole DB Walnut area generates an amazing amount of talent at the youth level every year and should expect success at the High School level.

  • Ro

    Garza did not go against Mathews.He went against the whole diamond bar team which is a weak hitting team.mathews went against a bonita which is a great hitting make it sound like it was a 2 man head to head competition.

  • the truth

    A reminder to all of my post at the beginning of the season…….

    wow, did I really just read that Diamond Bar is number #1 ranked team (agreed when the #1 is pitching). That will last as long as their starting pitching does and if the defense can hold up. Which is about one week since they are not going to burn up those guys until league starts. And I will side with FredJ, Kmath over Amat, just like Kmath over Plutko last year. For those that want to see the best pitcher, not thrower, go see DBar play with Kmath on the hill. There will not be a kid like him come along in many years. All the best for him and Diamond Bar.

    My rankings assuming Bonita #1 starter is good to go……

    1. Bonita, to many impact returners, best coaching staff, best athletes, clutch players
    2. Damien, solid and deep at pitching, top coaching staff, players are coming now from everywhere.
    3. South Hills, Deep, deep, deep, know how to win, but pitching is key, we will see.
    4. Amat, cause they are Amat, and do have top D1 players, Ruiz and Anderson, and probably the biggest reason they might be the #1 is they have played smallball forever and that is now key with the BBCOR bats.
    5. Diamond Bar, the best #1 pitcher, and a hard throwing #2, but what else???????
    xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx the rest………
    6. Northview, San Dimas, Charter Oak, pick em cause they are all well coached, and know how to compete.
    7.Glendora, Nogales, Claremont, Los Altos

    How about the list of top talent but underachieving teams……. that to follow


    FredJ, not bad huh,

    Let me add that Charter Oak has turned into a solid team and Diamond Ranch has lots of talent but zero coaching.

  • the truth

    Great high school game. Great coverage FredJ and interview with coach Knott. Once again, I will say he is the best high school coach around and will really miss him when he gets a head job in college. Letting the throw go through was worth 2 runs because if DBar does not steal there they probably get at least 1 run maybe 2. Why would a coach steal Omana? with 0 outs? Even if they get a double play they get a run with mathews pitching. And yes he was not as sharp for him but nevertheless was awesome.

    DBar is improving on offense and will be a huge factor in cif playoffs D3 with their starting pitching. And the middle infield has gotten better, now they have to figure out 3B. If they looked they might have the answer on the freshman team as they have a few great athletes and one that could play there and be DH’d for if need be.

    Hacienda prediction: Bonita, DBar, Los Altos, Walnut, W. Covina, D Ranch, Rowland

    Biggest bust: DRanch, great talent, tons of pitchers, but no coaching what a shame.

  • its all good

    hey player nice post,

    the dbar /dranch game was cool and watching kids that grew up playing together and competing against each other was cool. You saw DBars pitcher and DRanch catcher smiling at each other. And friendly banter between the players. And the better team won that day and both teams knew it. And yes parents from both sides hugging and saying hey to those they have not seen in awhile. And then bloggers coming on here and giving kudos to each others team. And then Dranchers rooting for DBar at todays game.

    Theres hope after all…………..

  • not again

    To the truth,
    Looks like you are close as of now for the rankings. But you are off on the coaching at DRanch, they are ok guys, but they just go along with the “let everybody play mantra” and not play the best players. Two of the best outfielders are football players but the coach still sits em because they are not baseball only guys. How sad. In fact another footballer and great athlete that could have really helped this year and who is getting a football scholly would have played. But he went thru the same routine last year and did not want to subject himself to this coach disrespect and sit the bench and watch a lesser athlete play in the must win league games. These players add “True Grit” and confidence that the others do not have yet. To bad as they have tons of talent this year.

    To Ro: are you kidding, Garza has thrown a gem vs Damien already , so do not discount his performance and make it seem like it was not comparison to Mathews today. He was great.


    very sad to bag on a kid that has an injury. You obviously are a bohi parent or player that is extremely jealous of this kid. Personally, him being out is going to be a blessing in the long run as others will get valuable innings now that will mean big things come playoff time. You do not have to win the league to get a nice seed this year.

  • BaseballDad

    I don’t think it’s wrong to say that Garza faced a weaker hitting team then Mathews had to face. It doesn’t take anything away from this kids performance. Garza had to know going in that he couldn’t give up more then a couple of runs to beat Mathews. He stepped up and shut down Diamond Bar knowing he had little room for error. Hats off to him for beating the Valley’s top pitcher.
    I think Bonita will be tough to beat in the Hacienda. The rest of the league is wide open. I think the other teams will be the heck out of each other and a .500 record will get a team into the CIF playoffs.

  • D B res

    Coach Shibley is not a championship coach…..
    There were better infielders and hitters he did not let make the team.
    This is the result you get losses.

  • Bulldog1

    It sounds to me that, there is no-way Diamond bar after losing a game it needed to win, can win with class and humility, the fact their playing the blame game is pathetic. Now the balance of power has shifted to Bonita and West Covina.
    Bulldog Fever.

  • Glendora starting to settle down and play good ball after their own tournament. 3-0 in the Baseline. Handling Alta Loma 6-2 who took the Bonita/Northview tournament. Glendora is a good quiet team. They may not have the talent like last years squad but they do good sound baseball.

  • Grow Some

    Not Again

    “Nothing Structural Wrong” Like I said…. Players/pitchers play threw pulls and strains.. Time to clean the diapers..

  • ?

    Sad to see the talent at D.Bar go to waste. DBar must really be ok with below average coaching. Big time coaching mistake vs Bonita, that one hurts!!! As I predicted the game would come down to a coaching move and look what happens. DBar way too many mistakes. Good game Bonita.

  • Daddy’s Wrong

    Garza is the real deal! He has taken everything in stride even with McC out.

    I would agree with “GS” because it’s time to take the mound and do something for your team. If you read between the lines, Knott is being politically correct and that’s smart.

    Most know McC needs a little push and some believe Daddy just cares about the check and the arm, we’ll let the sports fans decide.

    What was interesting is that the reporter asked about off-season workouts??? Maybe McC should have listened to Garza and not Daddy.

  • Tommy Lasorda

    You’re welcome Fred! Lol!

    Atta boy Garza! Keep working hard!

  • Enough is enough

    Fred, as usual, you have let this blog turn into another example of adults bashing an 18 year old kid over something they have no direct knowledge of whatsoever. You DO THE RIGHT THING and delete these nonsense post that are attacking the character of adam and his family.

  • Basic


    I think some, maybe even most, are just anxious to see the kid pitch but unless you have some FACTS about the situation don’t pretend to know.

    I can only speak from what I would do with my kids and I think there are different scenarios:
    1. Is he just not 100%? if so maybe I do push him along a little
    2. Is there a chance he could do more damage, then NO!!! there is no way I am risking HIS future
    3. Is it a combination of both? then I let his coach and dr decide what is best, and probably more his dr than coach.

    And, as for the off-season workouts…
    Please…Does Anyone know why A-Mac’s stock has gone through the roof? Could it be because he was pitching for an area code team and being seeing by many??? So just because his work-out is different than yours, does not mean he is not doing so…

    Anyway, Congrats Adam on ASU and stay positive, like I said I just think most are just anxious to see you pitch…

    Great kid and Great Family

  • player

    ?, The Truth and the rest of you,

    DB beats WCo, DR and there is silence. DB comes up short against Bohi and Coach stinks.
    Email or call Coach with your concerns. Know it all wanna be coaches/mom get over it. Baseball is a crazy game any team can win. Be positive support the team and shut up!!! Anywhere you go you hear the same old poop.



  • Bonita HS

    Do the right thing

    Get real dude.. Youre probably the daddy crying us a river.