SEMIFINALS: South Hills routs Amat in stunning fashion, 16-1; Amat baseball rallies, wins 5-4 with run in the seventh; No. 1 Bonita falls 8-2 to Beckman; Chino Hills, South El Monte, Arroyo lose

South Hills’ Sweet 16: The South Hills High School softball team overwhelmed second-seeded Bishop Amat in stunning fashion with a hitting display that went on and on and finally ended with a 16-1 win in Tuesday’s CIF-SS Division 3 semifinal.
Visiting South Hills sent at least seven batters to the plate in six of the seven innings to advance to the championship for the second season in a row. The Huskies will face top-seeded Oaks Christian, a 2-1 winner over Chino Hills, on Friday or Saturday at Deanna Manning Stadium in Irvine.
Unseeded South Hills (21-7) lost in last year’s Division 5 championship to top-seeded Whittier Christian, 4-0, and Tuesday played like a team that has unfinished business.
“We’ll take on No. 1 until we get it right,” Huskies coach Scott Fisch said.

Amat’s Comeback Kids: There’s nothing quite like sweet revenge, especially when it comes in the CIF-Southern Section playoffs against a team that gave you heartache the season before.
The Bishop Amat High School baseball team knows the feeling.
Andrew Gutierrez’s RBI single scored Rio Ruiz in the bottom of the seventh inning and the Lancers rallied from four runs down to score a 5-4 victory over Torrance in Tuesday’s CIF-SS Division 4 semifinal at USC’s Dedeaux Field.
The No. 2-seeded Lancers, who dropped a 7-3 setback to the Tartars last season, improved to 28-4 and will face top-seeded Palm Desert, a 2-1 winner over Oaks Christian, for the division championship at Dodger Stadium on Friday at 4:30 p.m. It’s Bishop Amat’s first trip to a division final since 2008 and first visit to Dodger Stadium since winning the Division IV crown in 2001.

CIF-Southern Section Semifinals
Tuesday’s Results
Division 3

Beckman 8, Bonita 2
Woodbridge at Culver City, 3 p.m.
Championship: Thursday, Dodger Stadium, 4:30 p.m.
Division 4
Palm Desert 2, Oaks Christian 1
Bishop Amat, Torrance 4
Championship: Friday, Dodger Stadium, 4:30 p.m.

Division 3

Oaks Christian 2, Chino Hills 1
South Hills 16, Bishop Amat 1
Division 5
La Canada 6, South El Monte 2
Beaumont 4, Arroyo 0
Championships: Friday and Saturday at Deanna Manning Stadium, Irvine, TBA

No. 1 Bonita falls: Well, whatever Irvine Beckman did to get ready for visiting Bonita and senior Adam McCreery worked as the Patriots battered McCreery en route to an 8-2 victory in Tuesday’s CIF-SS Division 3 baseball semifinals.

Beaumont shuts out Arroyo: Neal hit another home run in the sixth inning and the Cougars scored a 4-0 victory in a CIF-Southern Section Division 5 semifinal game Tuesday.

Goodbye South: The Spartans’ bats then snapped everyone back to reality and did the needed damage for a 6-2 victory over the visiting Eagles.

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Scouting Guru delivers Memorial Day thoughts on top football prospects and much, much more

The Scouting Guru has been all over the San Gabriel Valley and beyond, and like always, he’s offered to share his thoughts, free of charge. Don’t hate, enjoy it for what it’s worth, which is one man’s opinion on the talent in the San Gabriel Valley.

The Guru writes: Happy Memorial Day to all. For most of the high schools, spring football is either done or we are in the final week of it. And with the end of May nearing, it also means that the college spring evaluation period has come to a close. So for this column we’ll take a look at our revised Top-10, reveal out diamonds to watch and recommend a new hamburger establishment in West Covina. (To continue, click thread).

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A season for the record books, Bonita’s Justin Garza earns high praise from San Gorgonio coach

Following Bonita’s 7-0 win over San Gorgonio on Friday, San Gorgonio coach Bill Eatinger said of Bearcats pitcher Justin Garza, who is 13-0 with a 0.55 ERA: “(Garza) is the best pitcher in CIF. The kid’s numbers are phenomenal and you saw what he did. We knew we needed to play our best game of the year. We made a couple of mistakes early and that was enough.” After a great regular season, Garza managed to kick it up a notch in the playoffs. He hasn’t been scored on in 13 innings and has allowed just four hits.

He may not look imposing and came out of nowhere, but there is no doubt how talented Garza is, and with his confidence growing, he’s maturing each time out. In terms of best single season ever by a high school pitcher in the San Gabriel Valley, his numbers make an argument against anyone.

Note: I wrote previously if Garza went 14-0, he would match Edgewood’s Mike Pill with the best record for a perfect season in SGV history, which Pill did twice, in 1977 and ’78. Since writing that, some have taken notice and alerted the CIF office of records that were not submitted, like Covina’s Mike O’Hara, who went 15-0 in 1979. That was added just recently, which makes O’Hara the all-time best. For Garza though, if he finishes 14-0 or better, he would be the first to crack the prestigious 14-0 or better season since 1999, or the first since the turn of the century. Not bad, right? And remember in the 70s and prior, pitchers could pitch unlimited innings, there was no 10-inning per week rule. Like I said, what Garza is doing in the modern high school baseball era is extremely impressive.

Rec. Player/School Year

17-0 Rick Stewart, Fillmore 1977
16-0 Vance Thurston, Long Beach Wilson 1947
16-0 Mike Corkins, Rubidoux 1964
15-0 Mike O’Hara, Covina 1979
15-0 Willie Leighton, Fillmore 1988
15-0 Craig Jones, La Quinta 1995
15-0 Brett Young, Calvary Chapel/Santa Ana 1999
14-0 Mike Pill, Edgewood 1976
14-0 Mike Pill, Edgewood 1977

14-0 Mike Witt, Servite 1982
14-0 Craig VanHulzen, Apple Valley Christian 1990
14-0 Jason Kelly, St. Joesph/Santa Maria 1997
14-0 Tim Thompson, Grace Brethren 1998

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Baseball: Bishop Amat at ‘home,’ Bonita on the road in Tuesday’s semifinals

If Bishop Amat and Bonita are going to play for CIF–Southern Section baseball titles, they must win games away from the San Gabriel Valley in Tuesday’s semifinals.
Bonita, which lost in the finals last season, travels to Beckman for a 3:15 p.m., with the winner advancing to the championship. Bishop Amat has the home game, but because the school’s softball team is also at home, the Lancers have chosen to play their semifinal against Torrance at USC’s Dedeaux Field, which is closer to Torrance than La Puente. Game time is scheduled for 6:30 p.m.
Tuesday’s Semifinals
Division 3

Bonita at Beckman, 3:15 p.m.
Division 4
Torrance vs. Bishop Amat at USC, 6:30 p.m.

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Baseball Quarterfinals: Bishop Amat crushes Kaiser 13-2; Bonita beats San Gorgonio 7-0 behind another big performance from Garza; Damien’s surprise playoff run ends, 12-2

By Fred J. Robledo, Staff Writer
For those who believe the Bishop Amat High School baseball team should be competing in a much tougher division, the Lancers’ 13-2 victory over visiting Fontana Kaiser in Friday’s CIF-Southern Section Division 4 quarterfinal just fuels the debate. The second-seed Lancers (27-4) are ranked sixth in the state by Maxpreps, and march on to Tuesday’s semifinals against Torrance, which is Amat’s home game, but with Amat’s softball team at home against South Hills the same day, Amat’s baseball game might get moved to an alternate site. (To continue click thread).

Bonita Notes: Bonita’s Justin Garza improved to 13-0, allowing just two hits in six innings in a 7-0 shutout over San Gorgonio. The Cats are a win away from advancing to their second straight title game. Garza is a win away from matching Edgewood great Mike Pill’s undefeated 14-0 mark, which he did twice in 1977 and ’78 in leading Edgewood to back-to-back championships. Pill’s 14-0 campaigns are the SGV record for most wins in a perfect season.

Friday’s quarterfinal results
Division 2

Mission Viejo 12, Damien 2
Division 3
Bonita 7, San Gorgonio 0
Division 4
Bishop Amat 13, Kaiser 2

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Covina’s McClain and Bishop Amat’s Price double up at CIF-Southern Section Masters Meet

By Steve Ramirez
Covina High School’s Remontay McClain and Bishop Amat’s Kyle Price began the season as the area’s top two returning track and field athletes.
They continue to live up to that billing.
Both earned double wins while qualifying for next weekend’s CIF State championships in Clovis after giving stellar efforts Friday night during the CIF-Southern Section Masters Meet at Cerritos College.

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Track: McClain, Price highlight tonight’s Masters

MASTERS RESULTS: For up to the minute results of tonight’s Masters, click here.

By Keith Lair, Staff Writer
he difference in track and field practices around the San Gabriel Valley this week has been a matter of numbers. Two weeks ago, high school facilities were filled with hundreds of athletes training in earnest. That number was down to 20 this week and will dwindle to probably no more than a handful after tonight, when athletes who had top-nine running times or top-12 field-event marks in last weekend’s CIF-SS Finals will compete in the Masters Meet at Cerritos College. Field events are scheduled to start at 4:30 p.m., with running events beginning at 5:30. In addition to the top five finishers in each event, those who better a preset standard in their event will also earn a berth in next weekend’s two-day CIF State meet, to be held at Buchanan High in Clovis, just northeast of Fresno. (To continue click thread)

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Softball: Bishop Amat and South Hills win, will square off in Tuesday’s semifinals; Chino Hills, South El Monte and Arroyo win; St. Lucy’s falls 4-0

By Fred J. Robledo, Staff Writer
South Hills High School softball coach Scott Fisch said he might have pulled a muscle, one of the risks he takes every time the Huskies win CIF-Southern Section playoff games. Fisch lines up his team along the third-base line afterward, then circles the bases and makes a head first slide at home. He’s been doing it a lot lately, struggling to catch his breath after South Hills hung on for a 4-3 victory over fourth-seed Warren in Thursday’s Division 3 quarterfinals at home. (To continue click thread)

Division 3
Chino Hills at Oaks Christian, 3:15 p.m.
South Hills at Bishop Amat, 3:15 p.m.
Division 5
South El Monte at La Canada, 3:15 p.m.
Arroyo at Beaumont, 3:15 p.m.

Thursday’s quarterfinal results
Division 3

Oaks Christian 4, St. Lucy’s 0
Chino Hills 6, La Serna 2
South Hills 4, Warren 3
Bishop Amat 9, Torrance 1
Division 5
South El Monte 4, Marlborough 2
Arroyo 4, Savanna 3

Amat wins: The second-seeded Lancers smacked the ball early and often, coasting to a 9-1 victory in the quarterfinals of the CIF-Southern Section Division 3 softball playoffs Thursday.

St. Lucy’s goes quietly: The Regents managed only one in Thursday’s CIF-SS Division 3 quarterfinal – a total that was good enough for victory in its first-round game, but it wasn’t enough in a 4-0 loss to No. 1 seed Westlake Village Oaks Christian.

Don’t doubt the South: The Eagles came from behind for a 4-2 victory over sixth-seeded Marlborough in a quarterfinal game Thursday afternoon.

Chino Hills rolls: Chino Hills High School’s softball team put all three elements of its attack – pitching, hitting and defense – to use Thursday in a 6-2 victory over host La Serna in the quarterfinals of the CIF-Southern Section Division 3 playoffs.

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Damien’s Chad Hockin is hitting playoff homers like his late grandfather, Harmon Killebrew

By Fred J. Robledo
Nobody tells a story like longtime Dodgers announcer Vin Scully, and being part of one of his many tales means you must have done something special. Major League Baseball Hall of Famer Harmon Killebrew died May 17, losing his long battle with esophageal cancer, and Scully was reminiscing later that night, talking of Killebrew’s playing days during his Dodgers television broadcast against the Milwaukee Brewers as only Scully can.

Then he ended his story by saying how appropriate it was that on the day Killebrew died at age 74, his grandson hit a home run in a high school playoff game. That grandson is Damien High School’s Chad Hockin, who hit a solo homer in a 3-1 victory over Redondo Union in the Spartans’ CIF-Southern Section Division 2 wild-card game – mere hours after Killebrew’s passing. (To continue click thread)

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Damien camp with Ralph Brown III on Saturday at Northview High School

Former NFL cornerback Ralph Brown III, who won a CIF championship at Bishop Amat and a National title at Nebraska, is hosting a youth football clinic at Northview High School on Saturday. The Football camp is sponsored by Damien, but with Damien’s graduation on Saturday, the camp was moved to Northview. The youth camp, available for anyone through the eighth grade, begins at 11 a.m. The high-school-aged portion of the camp starts at 1:30 p.m. The cost is $25 per person. For more information, contact Damien high school.

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Quarterfinal baseball/softball schedule

The ESGV won a lot of coin flips to host home games in the quarterfinals. In fact, Bishop Amat and Bonita baseball won coin flips to be home and Damien has an automatic home game against Mission Viejo. Bishop Amat baseball will play at 1:30 p.m., Friday because graduation is that night. In softball, St. Lucy’s is home against top-ranked Oaks Christian, and South Hills and South El Monte softball are both home too. Only teams on the road, Chino Hills at La Serna, Bishop Amat at Torrance and Arroyo at Savannah

CIF-Southern Section playoffs
Thursday’s quarterfinals
Division 3

Oaks Christian at St. Lucy’s, 3:15 p.m.
Chino Hills at La Serna, 3:15 p.m.
Warren at South Hills, 3:15 p.m.
Bishop Amat at Torrance, 3:15 p.m.
Division 5
Marlborough at South El Monte, 3:15 p.m.
Arroyo at Savanna, 3:15 p.m.

Friday’s quarterfinals

Division 2
Mission Viejo at Damien, 3:15 p.m.
Division 3
San Gorgonio at Bonita, 3:15 p.m.
Division 4
Kaiser at Bishop Amat, 1:30 p.m.

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Baseball: Bonita’s Adam McCreery throws one-hitter in Cat’s 5-1 win; Bishop Amat scores late, wins 3-0; Damien advances again, beats Notre Dame 7-5 behind two homers from Hockin; La Puente, Sierra Vista lose

By Steve Ramirez
AMAT GAME STORY: The big question mark for the Bishop Amat High School baseball team entering the CIF-Southern Section playoffs was if the Lancers’ no-name pitching staff would be good enough to support their productive offense. The answer came loud and clear Tuesday.
Ryan Serrato and David Berg combined on a two-hit shutout and Andrew Gutierrez had a two-run triple in the sixth to lead No. 2 seed Bishop Amat to a 3-0 victory over St. Bonaventure in a Division 4 second round game at Ventura College. (To continue click thread).

CIF-Southern Section Playoffs
Today’s second round results
Division 2

Damien 7, Sherman Oaks Notre Dame 5
Etiwanda 4, Chino Hills 2
Division 3
Bonita 5, Northwood 1
Division 4
Bishop Amat 3, St. Bonaventure 0
Division 5
Oak Hills 11, La Puente 9
Montclair Prep 6, Sierra Vista 1

Chino Hills sent home: - Senior pitchers Andy Cerroni and Jason Broussard combined on a three-hitter and allowed just one earned run as Etiwanda High School defeated visiting Chino Hills, 4-2, in Tuesday’s CIF-Southern Section Division 2 second-round game.

Aram Tolegian’s baseball roundup

Bonita 5, Northwood 1: Bonita High School pitcher Adam McCreery is all the way back, and that’s bad news for the rest of CIF-Southern Section Division 3. McCreery, who missed much of the season with an elbow injury and slowly was being worked back into the fold, threw a one-hitter Tuesday in leading No. 1-seeded Bonita to a 5-1 victory at Northwood. “We’ll see how he wakes up tomorrow, but he hasn’t complained about his arm yet,” Bonita coach John Knott said of McCreery. “I don’t ever ask him how he’s feeling. He’s fine now and I’m tired of asking him.” McCreery, a 6-foot-8 prospect who’s headed to Arizona State next season if the majors don’t get a hold of him first, allowed just one hit and struck out eight. His return to full strength makes Bonita even scarier, considering ace Justin Garza is 12-0 and remains at Knott’s disposal. Bonita scored twice in the first inning to give McCreery a cushion. The Bearcats’ Matt Gelalich stole four bases and scored two runs. Bonita improved to 26-4 and will host San Gorgonio in Friday’s quarterfinals. “The key was to try and score first and put the pressure on the opponent.,” Knott said. “Their crowd was pretty quiet the whole game until the last inning when they tried to get into it. It was nice to score first and not feel the pressure of being a one seed and playing at somebody else’s house. “McCreery looked great. He had a lot of confidence and was throwing the ball hard. He’s
just tough to hit.”

Damien 7, Notre Dame 5 – Chad Hockin’s big day at the plate kept the Spartans’ playoff roll going. Hockin hit two- and three-run home runs to help the Spartans improve to 17-12. Damien made the postseason as a wild-card team but has beaten Glendora and Notre Dame to reach Friday’s quarterfinals.

Oak Hills 11, La Puente 9 – The Warriors almost dug out of a six-run hole, but their rally fell short. La Puente, which once trailed 7-1, closed to within 11-9 in the sixth and had the bases loaded with two outs, but couldn’t come up with a hit. Jimmy Jacobo led the Warriors by going 3 for 4 with three RBIs. La Puente finished 17-8.

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Softball: Bishop Amat holds off late surge; St. Lucy’s and O’Toole produce another shutout; South Hills wins big on the road; Bonita, San Dimas, Azusa and Duarte head home

By Fred J. Robledo, Staff Writer
Whether you call it breathing room or insurance, the Bishop Amat High School softball team gave itself just that, avoiding disaster in the seventh inning against visiting Oak Park in Tuesday’s CIF-Southern Section Division 3 second-round game thanks to a hefty six-run lead.
Bishop Amat scored four runs in the bottom of the sixth which help offset the Eagles’ three runs in the seventh, allowing the Lancers to escape with a 7-4 victory and a trip to Thursday’s quarterfinals, where they will be on the road against Torrance. (To continue click thread).

CIF-SS Softball Playoffs
Today’s second round results
Division 2

La Mirada 3, Bonita 0
Division 3
St. Lucy’s 1, Highland 0
Chino Hills 1, North Torrance 0
South Hills 7, Lakeside 3
Bishop Amat 7, Oak Park 4
Division 4
Ocean View 6, San Dimas 0
Division 5
South El Monte 8, Duarte 4
Savanna 10, Azusa 0
Arroyo 3, San Marino 1

Bonita ousted: Amber Hickman and Jenevie Rivas combined for a shutout, and La Mirada earned a 3-0 victory over No. 2-seeded Bonita in a CIF-Southern Section Division 2 second-round game Tuesday.

Saints get shutout: The fourth-seeded Seahawks jumped on the host Saints (21-8) in the first inning and scored all six of their runs in a 6-0 victory to advance to Thursday’s quarterfinals.

Arroyo moves on: The Arroyo High School softball team hit two home runs in the fifth inning en route to a 3-1 victory over visiting San Marino on Thursday and advanced to the CIF-SS Division 5 quarterfinals.

Don’t doubt the South: South El Monte High School advanced to the quarterfinals of the CIF-Southern Section Division 5 playoffs with an ugly 8-4 win over fourth- seeded Duarte on Tuesday afternoon.

More Softball notes:
St. Lucy’s 1, Highland 0 – Pitcher Danielle O’Toole’s dominant postseason continued with a 12-strikeout effort to send the Regents into Thursday’s quarterfinals, where they will host Oaks Christian. O’Toole went the distance and allowed three hits and a walk to pick up her second consecutive 1-0 win. She also delivered a sacrifice fly that scored Brandi Harkness in the bottom of the fourth inning with what turned out to be the game-winning run. “I told the kids in the last win, at Burroughs in a very crowded softball stadium, that we picked a great time to play our best softball of the season,” St. Lucy’s coach Ryan Nuveman said. “Our offense is what it is, our defense needs to be what it’s been in our last several games and our pitching has been lights out, almost unhittable.” The Regents (16-12) have won eight of their last nine games. “We knew Danielle had this in her,” Nuveman said of his junior standout. “She’s a big-time prospect, already committed to San Diego State. “She was hurt last year and it’s taken quite a while for her to get back into shape. But she’s now peaking again. This is not a surprise.”

South Hills 7, Lakeside 3 – The Huskies rode pitcher Sydney LaFollette into the quarterfinals after the junior induced 13 groundouts to keep Lakeside at bay. The Huskies broke through for three runs in the third and fourth innings. Vanessa Molina went 2 for 3 and Lexi Robles had two RBIs for the Huskies, now 19-7.

Savanna 10, Azusa 0 — The Aztecs were besieged by errors and allowed just two earned runs in the loss. Azusa (15-8-1) managed just five hits, including a double by Janel Chavira.

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Strike it up for the hometown girl, Veronica Ramirez, who leads Azusa into the second round

Great story by Aram, I’ve said it many times, put Veronica Ramirez on any team in the Valley, and she’s still a star. But give her credit, she stayed home and made the most of it.

By Aram Tolegian, staff writer
Veronica Ramirez had options before deciding to stay home and attend Azusa High School before her freshman year. Now a senior, the multi-talented softball standout mostly has flown under the radar for the past four years while her travel ball teammates have gotten far more notoriety playing for schools more well-known for softball.
At this point of the season, each pitch Ramirez throws may be her last and each swing of the bat may be her final in an Aztecs uniform. But the hometown girl with gaudy statistics isn’t having any regrets. (To continue, click thread)

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Breaking News: Duarte wins batting-practice protest, will play South El Monte on Tuesday

The CIF-Southern Section forfeited Alhambra High School’s 3-2 softball victory over Duarte after the Falcons protested Thursday’s Division 5 first-round game, alleging the Moors conducted illegal pre-game batting practice, which is against CIF playoff policy.
Duarte and Alhambra school officials met with CIF-SS representatives on Monday in Cerritos, and Duarte provided a video of the alleged incident for CIF officials to review.
After completing interviews and gathering information, the CIF-SS ruled that an illegal batting practice took place, and per CIF policy, forfeited Alhambra’s victory to Duarte.
Duarte (20-3), the fourth seed, advances to Tuesday’s second round at South El Monte (14-10) at 3:15 p.m.
The CIF-SS issued a written statement, which reads in part: “It was determined after meeting with representatives to both schools and receiving video tape and officials statements that a violation had occurred and the violation was such as to warrant the removal from the playoffs of the Alhambra team.”

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