APU is 1-1 at NAIA Tournament after two days

The Azusa Pacific University softball team, seeking the school’s first national title, is 1-1 after two days at the NAIA Tournament in Gulf Shores, Ala.
The Cougars, getting three hits from Angie Sprague (Charter Oak High School), Bekah Wiesser and Jac Harkey, opened with a 9-7 victory over St. Thomas on Thursday before dropping a heart-breaking 5-4 loss to host Mobile this morning. The Cougars led 4-0.
Azusa Pacific continues pool play against Oklahoma City at noon on Saturday. The winner likely advances to the double-elimination bracket, which begins on Monday.

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Baseball: Damien knocks off Glendora in shocker 6-4; South Hills goes down 8-3, Covina loses 3-2; Bishop Amat cruises 10-1 and San Dimas loses

By Steve Ramirez
For the Damien High School baseball team, nothing quite matches up with a win over rival Glendora, except when it comes in a CIF-Southern Section playoff game.
Kevin Hindes scored on an errant throw in the top of the sixth and Damien ousted 2010 Division 2 champion Glendora with a 6-4 victory over host Tartans in a first-round game on Thursday.
The Spartans, who didn’t play their rival during the regular season after Glendora was moved from the Sierra League to the Baseline League, improved to 16-12 and advanced to face either Crescenta Valley or Notre Dame of Sherman Oaks in Tuesday’s second round at a site to be determined.
Glendora, which won it’s first divisional title last season, finished 17-7-1.
“In order to get to the top, you want to go through the top,” Damien coach Al Leyva said. “They are a great team, well-coached with great players. It was a challenge for us, but it’s nice to get one on them. But more importantly, we just have to get ready for the next game.” (To continue click thread)

Covina loses: The Lancers (18-10) scored three runs in the top of the fourth inning, two of them unearned, and came from behind to beat the Colts, 3-2, in a Division 4 first-round game Thursday.

CIF-SS Playoffs
Thursday’s first-round results

Division 2
Damien 6, Glendora 4
Arroyo Grande 8, South Hills 3
Chino Hills 2, Peninsula 1, 8 innings
Division 4
La Salle 3, Covina 2
Chino 9, San Dimas 2
Bishop Amat 10, Ridgecrest Burroughs 1

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Softball: Amat advances with 3-0 win over Paramount; Bonita hangs on for 8-7 win; South Hills pounds California 9-2; St. Lucy’s shocks Burroughs 1-0 and San Dimas wins

By Fred J. Robledo, Staff Writer
South Hills story: South Hills High School softball coach Scott Fisch wasn’t too concerned when the Huskies finished the season with a split against Charter Oak, who didn’t make the playoffs. The Sierra League is that deep, and so is the CIF-Southern Section Division 3 playoffs, which made South Hills’ come-from-behind 9-2 victory over visiting California even more meaningful in Thursday’s first round. South Hills (18-7) advances to Tuesday’s second round against Lakeside, a 7-6 winner over Mira Costa at a site to be determined by a coin flip.

Protest?:Duarte lost 3-2 to Alhambra, but Duarte claims that Alhambra conducted an illegal pregame batting practice at protested. We will update with results tomorrow.

Diamond Bar ousted: The sophomore made just her second start of the year Thursday after returning from a meniscus tear and Valenzuela went the distance to lead Colton to a 3-2 victory at Diamond Bar in a CIF-SS Division 2 first-round playoff game.

Amat rolling: Perhaps Bishop Amat High School pitcher Natalie Sanchez was a little too good on Thursday afternoon. In addition to scoring a run and pitching a complete-game gem, Sanchez laced a shot that went foul and broke the front windshield on her mother’s car parked nearby. That’s about the only thing the senior did wrong in a 3-0 win over Paramount in the first round of the CIF-Southern Section Division 2 softball playoffs.

West Covina falls: “When I went up there, my game plan was to hit it hard on the right side,” the junior outfielder said following Thursday’s 3-2, eight-inning victory over visiting West Covina. “Luckily, I hit it in the gap and did what I was supposed to do.”

Notes: Bishop Amat opens day with easy 3-0 win over Paramount; St. Lucy’s does it again, knocks off Burroughs 1-0 behind a solid performance from pitcher Danielle O’Toole, who threw a one-hit shutout … Courtney Gano has a big day in Bonita’s 8-7 cliffhanger; Britney Rodriguez had two doubles and Syndey La Follette hit a two-run homer in the Huskies’ 9-2 win over California and in Duarte’s 3-2 loss to Alhambra, Duarte is protesting over Alhambra’s alleged illegal pre-game batting practice. Our reporter, Keith Lair covered the game and says Duarte has a strong case…Long Beach Wilson won a thriller over West Covina, 3-2.

CIF-Southern Section Playoffs
Today’s first-round

Division 2
Long Beach Wilson 3, West Covina 2
Colton 3, Diamond Bar 2
Cajon 1, Los Altos 0
Bonita 8, Ontario 7
Division 3
St. Lucy’s 1, Burroughs 0
Chino Hills 3, Quartz Hill 0
South Hills 9, California 2
Bishop Amat 3, Paramount 0
Division 4
San Dimas 7, Palm Desert 1
Buena 1, Northview 0
Segerstrom 2, Covina 0
Division 5
Alhambra 3, Duarte 2 — under protest for illegal batting practice.
Arroyo 1, Immaculate Heart 0
South El Monte 16, West Valley 11, 8 innings
Azusa 11, Mary Star of the Sea 2

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Azusa Pacific goes for NAIA softball title

By Steve Ramirez
Azusa Pacific University begins play in the NAIA softball championship tournament today in Gulf Shores, Ala.
But the road for the Cougars (32-21), who open up pool play against St. Thomas (31-21) of Daytona Beach, Fla., is quite a bit longer than the 2,046 miles they have traveled to Tobacco Road.
It’s a trip that was four years in the making and dates back to 2008, when coach Carrie Webber was summoned from Northern California. Along the way, there were growing pains of hovering around .500 for three seasons before finally catching fire over the past month to advance to the national tournament for the first time since 2000.
“I don’t think I could be more proud of the girls than of how they have progressed over the last four years,” Webber said. “Those girls who came before have paved the way for what is happening right now. This is where I expected this team to be at about this time.
“I thought it would take three or four years to actually see it progress to the point where we are. It just gives validation to what we are doing.”

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WILD-CARDS: St. Lucy’s holds on for 11-9 victory; Damien beats Redondo, will play at Glendora Thursday; South Hills wins; Diamond Bar loses

South Hills wins big: The Huskies jumped all over visiting Rancho Verde for six runs in the first inning and didn’t look back in a 10-1 victory.

Diamond Bar blows late lead: Timmy Robinson hit a two-run homer in the seventh inning and the visiting Ocean View Seahawks rallied for a 4-3 victory over the Brahmas in a Division 3 wild-card game Tuesday.

By Fred J. Robledo, Staff Writer
Thanks to its biggest scoring outburst of the season, the St. Lucy’s High School softball team doesn’t have to dwell over its near collapse in Tuesday’s CIF-Southern Section playoff game.
When you win, everything is forgiven.
Visiting Fillmore scored five runs in the seventh and sent the tying runner to the plate, but St. Lucy’s pitcher Danielle O’Toole got a strikeout to end the game and St. Lucy’s held on for an 11-9 victory in a Division 3 wild-card game. (To continue, click thread).

Today’s predictions: Damien, South Hills and Diamond Bar should all advance to the first round, but that’s it. Northview has a chance at home, but don’t see Walnut, Baldwin Park, Nogales or any of the teams in Division 5 winning with the exception of the El Monte-Gladstone game, someone has to move on, probably Gladstone. In softball, Glendora will go down at Valencia, but I like St. Lucy’s and Los Altos to move on and possibly Covina. As for everyone else, it’s one and done I’m afraid.

Today’s wild card results
Division 2

Damien 3, Redondo Union 1
South Hills 10, Rancho Verde 1
Division 3
Ocean View 4, Diamond Bar 3
Walnut at Knight, 3:15 p.m.
Division 4
Grace Brethren 3, Northview 0
Bishop Montgomery 2, Baldwin Park 0
Nogales at Santa Ana Calvary Chapel, 3:15 p.m.
Division 5
Gladstone 13, El Monte 1
Duarte 11, Rubidoux 6
Paraclete 2, Azusa 1 (9)
Mountain View at Linfield Christian, 3:15 p.m.

Today’s wild-card results
Division 1

Glendora at Placentia Valencia, postponed Wednesday
Division 2
Los Altos 2, Rancho Verde 0
Division 3
St. Lucy’s 11, Fillmore 0
Division 4
Nogales at Culver City, 3:15 p.m.
Coachella Valley at Covina, 3:15 p.m.
Division 5
Sierra Vista at Ramona Convent, 3:15 p.m.
Rosemead at Hemet, 3:15 p.m.
La Puente at Lompoc Cabrillo, 3:15 p.m.

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Sprinting to the finish line, McClain, Lee, Price and Salcido making this year memorable

If you’re not excited about high school track, you never will be. The San Gabriel Valley is known for a lot of things, but producing sprint champions is not one of them. That’s what makes the next couple weeks so exciting. Think of it, if Covina’s Remontay McClain goes on and wins back-to-back state titles in the 100 and 200 meters, he will become the first ever to win back-to-back in both events in consecutive years. Think about that. In the history of California, which has produced some of the best sprinters in history, it’s never been done? This is some great history he’s chasing. Hallowed history. And who would have thought one of the guys who could upset him is in our backyard too, West Covina’s Beejay Lee. It’s unbelievable, and why there is no way I’m missing the CIF track finals on Saturday at Cerritos College. McClain and Lee should win their respective divisions, then will square off next week in the Masters, and if they continue, in state. Bishop Amat’s Kylie Price has the state’s leading time in the 100 meters (11.75). Could the SGV actually produce the top boy and girl sprinter in the state? Price also could double. She’s one of the top long jumpers in the state and could get to the state finals in the 200 meters as well. San Dimas’ Katherine Salcido also could advance to the state finals, and could win a CIF title in the 100 hurdles on Saturday. I’m telling you, it’s a great three weeks for track, and it doesn’t happen very often like this, so enjoy the ride.

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Swimming: Jaques and Grant back out of Masters Meet individual races, will swim relays

Fred’s thoughts: Makes you wonder how important the Masters Meet is when so many of the best individuals back out of the big races. What Jaques and Grant are doing is not a surprise. Several top swimmers have not raced in what is supposed to be the biggest meet of the season. It’s not, the CIF finals are what everyone shoots for, maybe it’s time they get rid of the Masters Meet, or tinker with it so that it’s more meaningful. As one swim coach pointed out, they don’t keep team scoring. The coach said if they did, top swimmers would be more likely to swim in it … just a thought.

By Steve Ramirez, Staff Writer
Glendora High School’s Gretchen Jaques and Walnut’s Andrea Grant won CIF-Southern Section individual swimming titles over the weekend. The duo will not add CIF-SS Masters championships to their resumes. Each backed out of individual competition for today’s Master’s Meet, scheduled for 5 p.m. at William Woollett Aquatic Center in Irvine. They will compete on their team’s respective relay teams, which will include top-qualifier Glendora in the 200-yard medley relay. Walnut is the No. 4 qualifier.

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