Baseball: Gabrielino stays in first in MVL with 8-0 win over South El Monte behind no-hitter and 10 strikeouts from phenom Angel Acosta

When Gabrielino High School’s Angel Acosta gets going on the mound there’s almost no stopping him.

But when the senior right-hander gets going at the plate, too, well, that’s just asking for trouble.

Acosta pitched his third no-hitter of the season, struck out 10and drove in two runs to lead host Gabrielino to an 8-0 victory over South El Monte on Wednesday afternoon in Mission Valley League play.

Gabrielino (9-7, 7-1) extends its league lead to two games over South El Monte (5-7, 5-3), which had only itself to blame after imploding in the third inning with several miscues and an error.

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Big games with bigtime predictions as the league title chases take shape on Big Wednesday

This is a great day to twitter updates, and I’ll post results of all these games soon after they’re completed. If you want to update your game, twitter it to me at twitter@sgvtribpreps


Northview (9-3-1, 4-0) at San Dimas (12-5, 5-0), 3:15 p.m.
With teams only meeting twice in league, the Vikings and Saints will start and finish their two game series on Friday, the winner taking a huge step toward the league title. Nogales is also 4-0 in the Valle Vista after sweeping Covina and still has to go through Northview and San Dimas. So, the first heavyweight battle starts today: The Pick: Northview

Damien (9-5-1, 4-2-1) at South Hills (9-6, 3-3), 3:15 p.m.
The top five teams in the Sierra are within two games of each other. The Spartans and Huskies meet twice this week, so this will go a long way in paving the path for the winner, especially with a sweep while possibly leaving the other on life support: The Pick: South Hills.

South El Monte (5-6, 5-2) at Gabrielino (8-7, 6-1), 3:15 p.m.
All five of the Eagles’ wins have come in the Mission Valley League and they can tie for first with a win today. But don’t bet on it, not if Gabrielino is throwing Angel Acosta. If you follow the West Valley, you know about Acosta. He had an 18 strikeout game against El Monte, a 13 strikeout game against Arroyo and most recently a 16 strikeout win over Mountain View. He also has a 0.70 ERA. The Pick: Gabrielino

Sierra Vista (10-4, 5-1) at La Puente (10-7, 6-0), 3:15 p.m.
Duarte and Azusa are right there at 4-2 in the Montview, so defending league champ Sierra Vista can make things interesting if they can hand the Warriors their first loss in league. In games like this, I always love the Dons’ pitching. The Pick: Sierra Vista

Chino Hills (17-3, 2-0) at St. Lucy’s (17-3, 2-0), 3:15 p.m.
It’s hard to imagine that these teams only have played two league games this late in the season, but it’s on now. All I’ve heard is how the Huskies are this great big Goliath, and I don’t mean the South Hills Huskies, the Regents took care of them. Both teams are hot, the pitching is great and though Chino Hills probably has more firepower, St. Lucy’s is finally producing for big lefty Danielle O’Toole. It probably comes down to the big error, and if I’m being honest with myself, well, I just don’t trust St. Lucy’s yet in those bigtime situations … The Pick: Chino Hills

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Boys Soccer All-Area: Claremont’s Sam Newton earns player of the year and South El Monte’s Nelson Rodriguez earns coach of the year

By Fred J. Robledo, Staff Writer
Claremont High goalkeeper Sam Newton, the Tribune Player of the Year, had 14 shutouts this season. Claremont allowed just 22 goals in 27 games while going 22-3-2 and winning the Sierra League. (Watchara Phomicinda / Staff Photographer)

The San Gabriel Valley didn’t produce any boys soccer champions or teams that advanced to the finals.

It had more to do with misfortune than lack of talent, the Claremont High School boys soccer team being a prime example.

Claremont, the defending CIF-Southern Section Division 2 champion, was the top seed entering the Division 2 playoffs after going undefeated in the Sierra League. But the Wolfpack was upset 1-0 by La Sierra in the quarterfinals, finishing the season with a still-impressive 22-3-2 record.

Claremont, a team that did it with defense, allowed just 22 goals in 27 games, anchored by senior goalkeeper Sam Newton.

Newton, voted the most valuable player of his team, finished with 14 shutouts and was named the Sierra League player of the year and was a Division 2 first-team selection.

Newton’s season was so remarkable that he was named the San Gabriel Valley Tribune’s Player of the Year for the 2011-12 season, an award Wolfpack coach Fred Bruce-Oliver said was much deserved. (To continue, click thread).

COACH OF THE YEAR: Nelson Rodriguez, South El Monte
PLAYER OF THE YEAR: Sam Newton, Claremont, GK, Sr.
Defender: Stephen Barba, Claremont, Sr.
Defender: Michael Montoya, Chino Hills, Sr.
Defender: Jorge Jimenez, Ganesha, Sr.
Defender: Manuel Garcia, Mountain View, Sr.
Midfielder: Jorge Ramos, South Hills, Sr.
Midfielder: Agustine Huazano, La Puente, Sr.
Midfielder: Alex Casas, South El Monte, Jr.
Midfielder: Carlos Zarate, Mountain View, Jr.
Midfielder: Alexander Piceno, Sierra Vista, Jr.
Forward: Dennis Kantor, Claremont,Sr.
Forward: Keyran Kelly, Damien, Sr.

Goalkeeper: Julian Sanchez, Diamond Bar, Sr.
Defender: Martin Ruiz, Ganesha, So.
Defender: Luis Beltran, La Puente, Sr.
Defender: Luis Verdusco, Sierra Vista, Jr.
Defender: Kyle Goodenough, Damien, Sr.
Midfielder: Troy Ford, Claremont, Sr.
Midfielder: Alan Miranda, Mountain View, Sr.
Midfielder: Tommy Baker, South Hills, Sr.
Midfielder: Jordan Bingham, Damien, Sr.
Forward: Jorge Cruz, La Puente, Sr.
Forward: Raul Martinez, Bonita, Sr.

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Baseball: Bishop Amat crushes St. Paul, 12-1

“‘All hands on Deck.’ Ever since we lost Rio (Ruiz), that’s our term for the rest of the year. No one’s above the game. We need to circle the wagons together.” — Coach Andy Nieto

After a solid six innings by Bishop Amat left-hander Daniel Zamora, the senior was seen cleaning the mound after the game and coach Andy Nieto took note of his tidiness.

“All hands on deck,” Nieto said. “Ever since we lost Rio (Ruiz), that’s our term for the rest of the year. No one’s above the game. We need to circle the wagons together.”

Amat circled visiting St.Paul and had 10 hits en route to a 12-1 Del Rey League victory Tuesday afternoon.

The Lancers, ranked second in CIF-Southern Section Division 4, remained unbeaten at 7-0 in league and 13-7 overall.

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Baseball: Glendora takes over first in Baseline with 5-4 win over Alta Loma

Glendora wins Baseline League baseball showdown with Alta Loma

Overcoming some late-inning mistakes, the Glendora High School baseball team scored a run in the bottom of the seventh inning to pull out a 5-4 win over Alta Loma Tuesday afternoon.

The win puts the Tartans (13-5, 7-1) in sole possession of first place in the Baseline League, one game ahead of the Braves. The teams will meet Thursday at Alta Loma in the rubber game in the season series.

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Baseball Rankings: Bonita holds firm, Amat to No. 2; South Hills slips to No. 8 and John Romano’s Nogales Nobles sneak in at No. 9

1. Bonita (17-1)
Much more than just Garza
2. Bishop Amat (12-7)
3-1 at National Classic
3. Damien (9-5-1)
Slight lead in Sierra
4. Diamond Bar (12-3-2)
Still 4-1 in Hacienda
5. Northview (10-3-1)
Perfect 5-0 in Valle Vista
6. Charter Oak (10-4)
Gladstone tourney winners
7. Glendora (12-5)
6-1 start in Baseline
8. South Hills (9-6)
Bad showing in San Diego
9. Nogales (13-4)
What a huge surprise
10. San Dimas (12-5)
Also 5-0 in the VVL

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Softball Rankings: Showdown of all showdowns on Wednesday, No. 1 Chino Hills at No. 2 St. Lucy’s

Kaylea Snaer watch: The Rowland Raiders’ slugger was named athlete of the week and is having one of the best seasons in recent memory after going 5-for-8 with two home runs and five RBIs last week. Snaer, batting a whopping .569, leads the CIF-Southern Section with 12 home runs, leaving her six shy of the CIF record 18 with a month to go in the season. She’s homered in 11 of 17 games for the Raiders, needing six homers in the final eight games to match the record.


1. Chino Hills (16-3)
Big games ahead
2. Bishop Amat (13-3)
Rested after break
3. St. Lucy’s (16-3)
Hosting No. 1 CHills Wednesday
4. Duarte (12-3)
No challengers in Montview
5. Charter Oak (10-5)
Sierra’s sleeping giant
6. South Hills (12-6)
Needs big second half
7. Bonita (9-6)
In four-way Hacienda tie
8. San Dimas (12-6)
4-0 in Valle Vista
9. Ayala (9-7)
Starting to fade?
10. Los Altos (10-6)
Big win over West Covina

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Nogales, a team not picked by many (including me) to make the playoffs, is suddenly 4-0 in the Valle Vista after a huge sweep of Covina

By John Honell, Correspondent
The Nogales High School baseball team, written off early in the season after a 1-4 start and likely upset three Valle Vista League teams were ranked ahead of it, won its 12th consecutive game Monday.

The visiting Nobles (13-4, 4-0) got a clutch seventh-inning double from junior Adrian Guzman to break a 1-1 tie and the Nobles went on to record their second consecutive one-run win over Covina, 3-2.

“We started two freshmen and only have two seniors,” Nobles coach John Romano said. “Early in the season we made some mistakes and lost some games, but they’ve worked hard and have been successful. (Assistant coach) Don Montanez has been with me for 29 years and his hard work has made it easy for us to be successful.” To continue click thread.

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Legendary West Covina High and Mt. SAC football coach Mal Eaton has passed away

By Fred J. Robledo, SGVN,
Mal Eaton, the first football coach in West Covina High school history and one of the all-time San Gabriel Valley coaching legends, passed away on Saturday at the West Covina home he lived in for more than 50 years, and just days after celebrating his 88th birthday.

Eaton, one of the most respected and adored coaches of his generation, was hired by West Covina principal Maurice Wooden, the brother of legendary UCLA basketball coach John Wooden, in 1956, and quickly built the Spartans into a CIF-Southern Section power over the next 14 years.

During an era when only league champions qualified for the playoffs and when there were far fewer champions to crown, Eaton’s West Covina teams won 10 league titles from 1956-70.

Eaton led the Spartans to its first CIF-SS title in 1965, beating Crespi 7-0 for the Division 3A crown.

A graduate of UC Santa Barbara and USC, Eaton started his coaching career at Bonita High before arriving at West Covina.

His coaching career spanned more than 36 years with 256 wins. In addition to earning a number of area coach of the year awards, he was selected the area coach of the decade for the 1960s.

Eaton, who often spoke with John Wooden and USC football coaching legend John McKay, was just as successful at his craft.

Eaton never had a losing season at West Covina, compiling a remarkable 115-23-6 overall record and later was inducted into the California Coaches Association State Hall of Fame in 1993 and the West Covina Hall of Fame at Big League Dreams Park in West Covina.

Eaton left West Covina to become the head football coach at Mt. San Antonio College from 1970 to 1987, winning South Coast Conference titles in 1980 and ’82.

Eaton is survived by his wife Linda, daughters Stacey Lerch, Malorie Shipp and seven grandchildren. His first wife Barbara, died in 1984. His funeral services are pending.
Stacey Lerch said the Blue Ford Mustang that Mal Eaton purchased in 1966 is restored and still in his garage. He bought a blue Ford because that was West Covina’s colors at the time.

“It was an absolute honor to have him as our father, even today we still called him daddy,” Stacey Lerch said.

“He had two daughters and considered his players his boys. As the only girls, we had to do things that boys had to do, like yard work, check the oil or the tires.

“But what I remember the most is no matter how big he got or how big his career got, whenever
we would call he would stop whatever he was doing and talk to us.

“He would never say he was too busy, he always had time for his kids and his family.” (To continue reading click thread).

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Girls Basketball All-Area: Bonita’s Nikki Wheatley and Covina’s Nick Masi earn top honors

PLAYER OF THE YEAR AND FIRST TEAM STORY: Night in and night out, all eyes were on Nikki Wheatley. Sometimes, all hands and hips were, too.

The focus of several double teams and various defensive strategies, Wheatley never wilted. Instead, the Bonita High School sophomore delivered the type of season so many expected after she burst on the scene in the 2010-11 season as an electric freshman point guard.

After leading Bonita to 27 wins, a second consecutive sweep of the Hacienda League and trips to both the CIF-Southern Section and state playoffs, Wheatley is the 2011-12 Tribune Player of the Year.

COACH OF THE YEAR: Fresh off a 13-15 season the year before, nobody was expecting much from the Covina High School girls basketball team this past winter.

The Colts returned just one player who had averaged double figures in points a season prior and had a new coach in Nick Masi. It was not exactly the recipe for a record-setting season.

Player of the year: Nikki Wheatley, Bonita, So.
Coach of the year: Nick Masi, Covina
Guard: Evelyn Herrera, Workman, Sr.
Guard: Ashli Baddorf, Covina, Sr.
Forward: Chelsea Barnes, Diamond Ranch, Sr.
Forward: Imari Brown, Duarte, Jr.
Forward: Leeah Powell, Bishop Amat, Jr.

Forward: Taylor Jackson, San Dimas, Sr.
Forward: Merrissa Suarez, Charter Oak, Sr.
Guard: Paulina Santana, Bishop Amat, So.
Guard: Savannah Selby, St. Lucy’s, Sr.
Guard: Melody Gauthier, Rosemead, Jr.

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Boys Basketball All-Area: La Verne Lutheran’s Grant Jerrett and Bonita’s Greg Eckler take top honors in 2012

All-Area story: Grant Jerrett arrived at tiny La Verne Lutheran High School four years ago hoping he had picked the right high school to attend.

Two state championships, a CIF-Southern Section title, an invite to play in the McDonald’s All-American game and a Gatorade California Player of the Year award later, and it’s pretty obvious Jerrett made the right choice. To continue click thread

Coach of the Year: At this point, very little that head coach Greg Eckler is able to do with the Bonita High School boys basketball program should come as a surprise.

But very few people can honestly say that back in November they saw the Bearcats’ 25-win, Hacienda League-championship season coming.

Bonita had to replace four starters, including the top two scorers, from 2010-11′s 26-win, league championship team. Duplicating such a strong performance would be nearly impossible.

Not with Eckler at the helm, though.

Player of the year: Grant Jerrett, La Verne Lutheran, Sr.
Coach of the year: Greg Eckler, Bonita
Forward: Chris Reyes, Damien, Sr.
Forward: Treavon Francis, Northview, Sr.
Forward: Garrett Horine, Bonita, Sr
Guard: Kyle Gordon, Glendora, Sr.
Guard: Eric Cooper Jr., La Verne Lutheran, Jr.

Forward: Kyle Maloof, Claremont, Sr.
Forward: McKay Anderson, La Verne Lutheran, Jr.
Forward: Primitivo Gomez, Arroyo, Jr.
Guard: Jared Dizon, Damien, Jr.
Guard: Mike Peters, Covina, Jr.

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Bonita takes over first with 5-0 win over Diamond Bar; Garza allows four hits and strikes out nine

By Fred J. Robledo, SGVN
Justin Garza knows when he takes the hill he’s going to get his opponents best.
He knows the scouts are there and curious onlookers want to get a look at that mid-90s fastball.

But nothing fazes him, not even visiting Diamond Bar, which entered Thursday’s game as the top-ranked team in the CIF-Southern Section Division 3 poll with Bonita at No. 2 and sole possession of first in the Hacienda League on the line.

Garza delivered again, tossing a four-hit shutout in Bonita’s 5-0 win over the Brahmas. It was his second shutout and sixth complete game to improve to 6-1.

Pressure? What pressure.

“You take everything day-by-day, pitch-by-pitch,” said the Cal State Fullerton commit. “Pitching is a lot like hitting. You can’t try to do to much, you stay relaxed and trust yourself and your mechanics.”

Bonita coach John Knott has run out of things to say about Garza, who has won 22 of 23 starts dating back to 2010.

So Knott just repeats himself.

“There is a tendency as a coach to take it for granted and I don’t want to do that,” Knott said. “I want to give him his due, not that he would ask for it.

“For an 18-year-old to be as composed as he is with all the scouts, everyone counting on him and all the attention he gets is a reflection on him and how well he carries himself.

“He’s the same humble kid that he’s been from day one. He’s got the same work ethic, he’s still coachable and I want to continue to recognize it because guys like that don’t come around often.” (To continue click thread)

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All-Area Basketball teams published on Friday and Saturday; All-Star game set for April 28 at Damien

It’s finally here. The Tribune boys and girls all-area basketball teams will be published on Friday (boys) and Saturday (girls), respectively. The annual Tribune/Star-News all-star boys and girls basketball game will follow on Saturday, April 28 at Damien High School. Next week, we will announce the coaches and teams for the all-star event. The boys and girls soccer all area teams will be published next week, and girls water polo and wrestling the following week. When we have firm dates on soccer, wrestling and water polo, I will let you know on the blog. Thanks for your patience.

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Special signing day at Los Altos

Los Altos athletes to sign letters of intent Wednesday included, from top left to right: Savannah Blackiston, Catie Tuning, Massela Lino and Shane Virnala. From bottom left to right: Brittany Fulton, Alexis Garcia, Taylor Saenz-Griego and Jennipher Solis (Courtesy photo)

By Fred J. Robledo
Wednesday marked the first day of the late period for high school athletes to sign national letters of intent, but at Los Altos High School it wasn’t all about signatures. It was about commitment.

Athletes going to NAIA or Division II or III colleges don’t need to sign letters of intent, but being accepted to a school and earning even a small amount of scholarship money to continue an athletic career still is a dream come true for those who work hard in class and in athletics.

Los Altos celebrated eight athletes who made those intentions known Wednesday in a ceremony at the school, and athletic director Steve Garcia couldn’t be prouder of their accomplishments. (To continue click thread)

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UPDATE: Gladstone tournament final between Charter Oak and Pasadena postponed today because of rain, will meet on Thursday at 2 p.m. for title

Gladstone tourney update: On Tuesday, Charter Oak defeated Ayala 4-3 and Pasadena beat L.A. Baptist 6-0 to advance to Thursday’s championship at Gladstone High School at 2 p.m. The game was postponed on Wednesday because of rain.

Monday’s result: The Charter Oak High School baseball team put together its biggest offensive outburst of the season Monday and defeated Village Christian, 13-1, in the opening game of the Gladstone Tournament. The game was shortened to six innings due to the tournament’s 12-run rule.

Charter Oak, the Tribune’s No. 7-ranked team, jumped out to a 7-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning and never looked back.

The Chargers will play Sierra League-rival Ayala today at 10 a.m. in the second game of the tournament.

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Softball: San Dimas takes over first in the Valle Vista; Birthday girl Solis delivers for Los Altos in key win over West Covina

San Dimas Wins: San Dimas takes over first in Valle Vista with a 3-2 win over Northview.

Birthday girl delivers: Jennipher Solis celebrates her 18th birthday with a 1-0 shutout for Los Altos in a key win over West Covina, creating a three-way tie for first in the Hacienda along with Bonita.

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Baldwin Park set to hire Chris Williams as next football coach, replacing James Heggins

Baldwin Park High School athletic director Carlos Aparicio confirmed that the school has agreed in principle to hire Chris Williams as its next head football coach, replacing James Heggins, who resigned but will remain at the school as a teacher. Williams is a Workman High graduate who most recently was an assistant at Gladstone High School.
“We’ve agreed but nothing is official until April 24,” Aparicio said of the school’s intention to hire Williams as a walk-on coach. “He has to fill out all the necessary paperwork and go through the background and fingerprints. We’re not in school this week, so nothing is official until next week.”

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Aram reports that Kurt Scoby could be headed to Monrovia; my sources say that is not true and Scoby is still enrolling at Duarte

Aram reported that two of his sources indicated that Charter Oak transfer Kurt Scoby did not enroll at Duarte on Monday as expected and was heading to Mid-Valley champion Monrovia instead. That is not true according to my sources, who say he is still enrolling at Duarte by the end of the week.

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Defending champ Bishop Amat opens National Classic with 9-5 win over Pacifica

Defending champion Bishop Amat advanced to the second round of the Hard 9 National Classic with a 9-5 win over Pacifica and will face Esperanza, a 5-3 winner over Sunrise Mountain, in the second round today at 1 p.m., at Esperanza High School.

Hard Nine National Classic Second Round Pairings

Top Bracket
Carlsbad vs. El Toro at Esperanza, 4 p.m.
Bishop Amat at Esperanza, 1 p.m.
Bottom Bracket
Img Academies vs. Spanish Fork at El Dorado, 4 p.m
El Dorado vs. Valley Vista at El Dorado, 1 p.m.

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Diamond Bar suffers huge setback with loss of senior pitcher Henry Omana to a broken foot

Diamond Bar, the top-ranked team in the CIF-Southern Section Division 3 baseball rankings, was dealt a huge setback with the indefinite loss of senior pitcher Henry Omana, who broke his foot on March 30 in a spring tournament game against Anaheim.

“It was his left foot, his plant foot, Diamond Bar athletic director Kurt Davies said. “He was running down the first base line.

“He might be out the rest of the season, he might return, we don’t know at this point.”
Diamond Bar (11-2-2, 3-0) travels to second-ranked Bonita (15-1, 3-0) on Thursday in what would have been a showdown between two of the Valley’s best pitchers for sole possession of first.

Omana, who is still deciding where to attend college, is 4-0 with a 0.56 ERA with 30 strikeouts in 25 innings.

If he was healthy, Omana would have presented a great matchup against Bonita’s Justin Garza, who is 5-1 with a 0.50 ERA.

Davies said Omana likely needs surgery but is hoping it can wait until the end of the season.

“He’s going to have a second opinion on his foot (this week) to determine which path he needs to take,” Davies said. “If he doesn’t need surgery now, he’s hoping that in a couple of weeks he could return and finish the season if he can handle the pain.

“It’s obviously tough on him. He wants to play and they’re having a terrific season. We’ll see what the doctors say and take it from there.”

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