Monrovia football player Derrick Johnson facing charges of attempted murder

Miguel A. Melendez, Staff Writer
A Monrovia High School senior and standout football player pleaded not guilty Monday in Fontana Court to charges of attempted murder, attempted robbery, possession of marijuana and possession of marijuana for sale. Derrick Johnson, 18, of Monrovia, was arrested Wednesday following a botched robbery and shooting in Fontana. (To continue click thread).

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Baseball: Bonita shocks Bishop Amat 2-1 in battle for best in the San Gabriel Valley

By Fred J. Robledo, Staff Writer
This is why high school baseball in the San Gabriel Valley takes a back seat to nobody.
A week after Bishop Amat won Orange County’s prestigious National Classic and climbed to No. 8 in MaxPreps’ national rankings and No. 1 in its Southern California poll, the Lancers couldn’t extend their 21-game undefeated streak in a battle for best in the Valley. Bonita, behind a brilliant performance from senior pitcher Brandon Murfett, pulled out a 2-1 victory in front of standing-room only crowd at Mt. San Antonio College on Tuesday night in a charity game that benefited the R.J.’s foundation — a non-profit organization that supports terminally ill children and raises money for low-income families to promote professional, academic and athletic achievement. (To continue, click thread).

Bishop Amat-Bonita photo gallery

This is great stuff from Bonita coach John Knott talking to his team in the moments after the big win….

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Eighth Annual Tribune/Star-News All-Star Classic is a clean sweep for the Tribune

Check out Keith Birmingham’s huge gallery of Saturday’s Night’s All-Star Classic. For video interviews with the MVPs and slam dunk winner, click thread.

Boys game story: : Tribune 98, Star-News 87
Girls game story: Tribune 80, Star-News 69

For the first time in the eight year history of the Tribune/Star-News All-Star Classic, the Tribune team brought out the brooms, sweeping the Star-News in the boys and girls games at Damien High School. The Tribune girls won 80-69 behind game MVP Taylor Anderson (Bonita), who finished with 11 points, 9 rebounds and 3 assists. Madison Zylstra (Bonita) had 13 points and Leticia Galarza had 10 to pace the Tribune team. Zylstra also won the girls 3-point contest, connecting on 14 of 25 shots. In the the boys game, MVP Daniel Rodriguez (Bishop Amat) erupted for 19 first half points and finished with 20 points, 10 rebounds and two assists to lead the Tribune to a 98-87 win. Bruce English (La Verne Lutheran) had 14 points, James Northup (Bonita) had 13 and Jordan Butler (Bonita) finished with 11. Bishop Amat’s Tyler Hill lit it up to win the boys 3-point contest, connecting on 17 of 25 shots to win going away. Lutheran’s Bruce English won the dunk contest, going airborne and throwing one down on his final attempt to win it.

At Damien HS
Tribune 98, Star-News 87

Nick Holden (Pasadena) 10, Mike McGlashan (La Canada) 6, Jay
Henderson (Monrovia) 12, Jared Norsworthy (Flintridge Prep) 7, Hunter
Merryman (Pasadena Poly)10, Dario CiVon (La Canada) 10, Daniel Wohl
(Poly) 13, Kishon Sanders (La Salle) 3, Justin Knowles (Muir) 5, Matt
Faber (La Canada) 4, Justin Young (Keppel) 5, Stephen Van Spronsen
(Maranatha) 2.
Daniel Rodrigez (Bishop Amat) 20, Jordan Butler (Bonita) 15,
Bruce English (La Verne Lutheran) 14, James Northrup (Bonita) 12,
C.J. Cooper (LV Lutheran) 8, Sharif Watson (Rowland) 7, Tyler Hill
(Bishop Amat) 7, Gian Demano (Damien) 5, German Pompa (La Puente) 2,
Mark Roche (Arroyo) 2, Aubrey Coleman (Walnut) 2, Michael Doering
(Glendora) 2, Alvin Tan (Los Altos) 2.

Tribune 80, Star-News 68

Mian Dingle (Maranatha) 16, Ashley Cook (Monrovia) 13, Ashia
Owens (Muir) 11, Itos Aikhionbare (La Salle) 7, Bryttne Nakamura
(Keppel) 6, Kaila Turner (Maranatha) 5, Kelsey Lee (South Pasadena)
4, Jade Richard-Craven (Pasadena Poly) 2, Brittani Hirose (Keppel) 2,
Remi Kohno (San Marino) 2.
Madison Zylstra (Bonita) 13, Taylor Anderson (Bonita) 11,
Leticia Galarza (Bishop Amat) 10, Vianai Austin (Bishop Amat) 9,
Andrea Villanueva (Bishop Amat) 9, Amber Del Real (West Covina) 7,
Chariah Harris (Chino Hills) 4, Nnenna Abaeze (Walnut) 4, Nicole
Zugasti (St. Lucy’s) 3, Tatyana Warren (Baldwin Park) 3, Alexis
Arnold (Azusa) 3, Claudia Ramirez (Northview) 2, Amy McDill (Walnut).

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Baseball: San Dimas gives Covina first Valle Vista League loss, pulls out 10-9 win at home

By Clay Fowler, Staff Writer
On a couple of occasions in the San Dimas High School baseball team’s key Valle Vista League contest against first-place Covina on Friday, Matt Lee couldn’t have imagined there would be any vital defensive plays to be made in the last inning. The first came when the senior watched his first-inning grand slam sail over the left-field fence, and the second when he was pitching with an eight-run lead after two innings.
Nevertheless, Lee snared a line drive in the seventh inning to help retire Covina in order for the first time since the first inning and preserve a 10-9 victory for San Dimas that put the Saints into a tie for first place.

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Football: Check out Aram Tolegian’s spring all-encompassing Top 25 on “In the Huddle”

No surprise that Aram’s All Encompassing Top 25, which includes teams from the Whittier Daily News and Pasadena Star-News is led by Bishop Amat.Click here to look at all the teams. For you Trib folks, I’m publishing just his Tribune teams so you have an idea of how Aram is ranking the area in the spring….Is football really almost here again?

Fred’s two cents: I told Aram Covina is too high, I would put them No. 6 behind Chino Hills and South Hills. Aram talks about Covina’s big three, Vinny Venegas, Geovantry Ainsworth and Billy Livingston, but I think South Hills’ big three of Jamie Canada, Jamel Hart and Vincent Hernandez are better, plus the Huskies are deeper. Aram nailed the top three, but I do question Glendora at No. 9 and Diamond Bar at No. 10. I would have probably included Diamond Ranch and San Dimas instead.

Aram’s Top Ten Tribune football spring rankings and comments:
1. Bishop Amat — QB Ruiz, RBs Moore and Shay, WR Sanchez, TE Velasquez all back on what should be an outstanding offense. But is the ‘D’ finally going to be a PAC-5 championship-caliber stop unit?
2. West Covina — The program is on fire right now and although several key veterans graduate, D-1 prospects in RB/DB Solomon and DE Meaders return. Not to mention RB Aaron Salgado.
3. Charter Oak — QB Santiago to WR Gilchrist could be the area’s most lethal combo. Young RBs Garcia, Scoby and Vaughns all a year older and a year stronger. Lines and defense are the big questions.
4. Covina — Easily HC Thomas’ best team since 2006. QB Livingston, RB Ainsworth, WR Venegas all among area’s best at their respective positions and there’s plenty of veteran experience back on both lines and defense. Scary.
5. Chino Hills — Decimated by graduation, but since when do the Huskies not have excellent talent to work with? QB Chavez is back, so that’s one headache out of the way.
6. South Hills — QB Hernandez and RB Hart return and star-in-waiting Jamie Canada could be back in time for league. Huskies lose a lot on both lines, but who in the Sierra League is really capable of mowing anybody else over?
7. Bonita — Lots of buzz already about the lower-level talent that HC Podley and staff will have to get game-ready in a short amount of time. All they need to do is learn how to win under the lights, according to most area pundits.
8. Damien — Coaching staff goes from good in a veteran kind of way to good in a youthful kind of way. Two years of Gano saying “We’re going to be pretty good in a few years” should begin paying off this fall.
9. Glendora — Obviously, the upcoming decision on who the new HC will be looms large. No QB Jeffries around anymore, but RBs Holmes and Victoria return. Tartans may not be Baseline good, but they’re still good enough to throw a scare into just about anybody on this list.
10. Diamond Bar — The Brahmas look like a legit threat to be second place in the Hacienda with QB Omana, RB Clayton and WR Katrib all back. The defense will have to be better and as will the lines. But remember, DB was 6-4 last year and just got a year better.

Worth watching: Schurr’s Aaron Cantu is graduated and gone this June, but would love to see someone top this video he put together dubbed, “trick shot quarterback.” You do it, I’ll post it.

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Baseball: The player of the year chase is on…

We’re at the midpoint of the baseball season with Bonita, Bishop Amat, Covina, Chino Hills, Glendora, Sierra Vista and South Hills all having great years and in league title position, with Bishop Amat on top of the Division 4 poll and Bonita No. 3 in D-3. It’s also a great time to check in with our leading candidates for player of the year. By no means is player of the year limited to this list, you never know who might have a great second half or go nuts in the playoffs, but for now, I’ll share who I think the top ten candidates are, and of course, these are in no particular order.

Above: If you had to name a front runner, it’s hard to argue against Garza, doing it offensively and defensively for the Hacienda League leading Bearcats, also ranked No. 3 in Division 3.

Ty France, South Hills, Jr. — Of course we don’t have the numbers on him, South Hills doesn’t like this stuff to get out, but we’ve seen France enough to know whether he’s catching or pitching, he’s been a force and swings a great bat too. In fact, you can say the same thing about his teammate C.J. Saylor, also having a great year offensively and defensively.

Nick Hynes, Covina, Jr. — I don’t know if it’s Valle Vista League pitching or what, but statistically, he’s a monster. Hynes is batting. 588 with 15 RBIs and three home runs, and the Colts are in first place.

Elias Novelo, Sierra Vista, Sr — Another player who fills out the stat box for the impressive Dons, going for their third straight Montview League title. Novelo is hitting .453 with an area-leading 35 RBIs and three homers. But that’s only half the story, he’s also 7-0 on the mound with a 1.46 ERA and 42 strikeouts.

Justin Garza, Bonita, Jr. — If we were giving away the award today, how could you give it to anyone else. All he’s done is go 7-0 with a 0.37 ERA, owns a head-to-head win over Diamond Bar’s Kenny Mathews, and has been nails in the absence of 6-8 lefty Adam McCreery. If that’s not enough, he’s also among the area hitting leaders batting .429.

Kenny Mathews, Diamond Bar, Sr. — The Cal State Fullerton bound pitcher is 4-2 with a 0.67 ERA and 56 strikeouts. The Brahmas don’t have a lot of offense, except for Mathews and a few guys. Mathews also is hitting .444 with seven doubles and 11 RBIs.

Joseph Keller, Chino Hills, Jr — Doing it hitting and pitching for the Sierra League leading Huskies. Keller is batting. 575 with 8 RBIs and 2 home runs. On the hill he is 2-2 but has an impressive 0.95 ERA in 22 innings.

Rio Ruiz, Bishop Amat, Jr. — Best player on the best team? It’s easy to make the argument, and he’s having another solid year. Ruiz is hitting. 482 with 24 RBIs, seven doubles, two triples and two home runs.

Rouric Bridgewater, Diamond Ranch, Sr. — He’s probably the area’s most feared hitter on a team that isn’t going to win much. But statistically, he’s doing it again, batting .467 with 18 RBIs and four homers.

Matt Munoz, San Dimas — One of the best defensive infielders I’ve seen, and the kid can hit too, batting .429 with eight RBIs and 3 triples.

Nick Cooksey, Glendora, Sr The Tartans slugger is batting .439 with 17 RBIs and five home runs. John Alexander you could put on this list too, I’ve always thought John has the smoothest swinging stroke around.

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Softball: The player of the year chase in on …

We’re at the midpoint of the softball season with several contenders emerging in the player of the year chase. In the past, this award almost always went to a pitcher because of how dominating and important that person was to their team. But with the rubber moved back and pitchers struggling to adapt, the player of the year chase is as wide open as ever. Like I wrote in baseball, by no means is player of the year limited to this list, you never know who might have a great second half or go nuts in the playoffs, but for now, I’ll share who I think the top ten candidates are, and of course, these are in no particular order.

Above: San Dimas third baseman Sara Moore in the MVP running with another fine season.

Cassie Padilla, Bishop Amat, Jr — The numbers are staggering. The shortstop on the area’s top team is batting .593 with 24 RBIS, 10 doubles and five home runs.

Courtney Gano, Bonita, Sr — The Washington-bound shortstop is putting it all together, like Garza in baseball, you can make a strong argument she’s the front-runner for the Hacienda League-leading Bearcats. Gano is hitting .554 with 21 RBIs and two homers, and has a slugging percentage of .911. But those I’ve asked said she’s playing even better defensively.

Stephany La Rossa, Diamond Bar, Sr. — On her way to UCLA, La Rossa is obviously one of the area’s best shortstops, but the Brahmas have struggled in recent years. But at 4-1 in the Hacienda, La Rossa is in the MVP chase, hitting .487 with 13 RBIs and two homers.

Natalie Sanchez, Bishop Amat, Sr. – Is anyone doing more in the circle and at the plate than Sanchez? She’s 16-1 with a 1.74 ERA with 57 strikeouts. At the plate she’s hitting .417 with 23 RBIs and three home runs.

Britney Rodriguez, South Hills, Jr. — Will join La Rossa at UCLA, but she’s still only a junior and one of the most feared hitters in the area. We finally obtained South Hills’ stats and her numbers are impressive, batting. 479 with 20 RBIs, 5 HRs and a .938 slugging percentage. Sam Nieves is right there too, batting. 518 with 21 runs scored and 2 Hrs.

Samantha Valadez, Charter Oak, So., — Only seen her once, but she’s having a great season like the others. She leads the Sierra with a .556 batting average to go with 20 RBIS and five home runs. For her to be in contention though, the Chargers need to win more.

Veronica Ramirez, Azusa, Sr. – I remember seeing her as a freshman and thinking extremely high of her. She’s the best player in the Montview, but the problem is, she’s on a struggling team. She’s batting .514 with 16 RBIs and two homers. In the circle she has a 2.23 ERA with 58 strikeouts.

Patricia Parks, Chino Hills, Fr. — The only freshman to make the list is a serious contender, doing it in a part-time role in the circle and at the plate for the Sierra League leading Huskies. She’s batting .356, but look at the power, 7 home runs and 19 RBIs. In the circle, she has a 1.69 ERA and is 4-0

Sara Moore, San Dimas, Sr. — Having another solid year, hitting .434 with 13 RBIs and three homers. Moore is not the only one on her team in consideration for the league-leading Saints. Courtney Hine (.466) and Aleena Avalos (.444) can swing with the best of them too.

Paige Medina, Arroyo, Sr. — Impressive numbers for the Mission Valley League leading Knights. She’s hitting .548 with five home runs and 12 RBIS. If they make a CIF title run, she’s in the mix for sure.

Note: There are no stats on Glendora or St. Lucy’s, so hard to follow what’s going on. South Hills agreed to send me weekly updates, so I have them now.

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