Bonita bats come up big in 8-2 win over Los Altos


Tyler Heslop deposited a ball over the left-field fence in Bonita’s six-run fifth.

Bonita 8, Los Altos 2:
Bonita turned a 2-1 lead in the fifth into an 8-2 rout of Los Altos after scoring six times in the fifth before the Conqs recorded an out. Justin Garza went the distance for the Bearcats and took a one-hitter into the seventh before allowing two hits and a run in that inning while earning his fourth win of the season. Both teams entered Thursday’s action tied with Diamond Bar for first place in the Hacienda League with 2-0 records.

For photog Keith Birmingham’s gallery from Thursday’s game, please go HERE.

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Signing Day: Area’s top athletes seal the deal …

By Aram Tolegian
Staff Writer

Call it blind faith or just a hunch, but Charter Oak High School receiver Chris Gilchrist is headed to Boca Raton, Fla., next season to play for Florida Atlantic, a school Gilchrist did not visit during the recruiting process and began courting him very late in the game.

Gilchrist decided late Tuesday he would attend Florida Atlantic and made it official on Wednesday morning by signing his letter of intent.

“They showed the most interest, even though it was late,” Gilchrist said.

“I talked to them every night. They have a whole new coaching staff, so it’s a fresh start for me and them.

“It was nice to know that somebody wanted me to go play football for them.

“It’s just a feeling you get when somebody puts a lot of effort into talking to you, trying to get to know you and wanting to meet you.”

Gilchrist was far from the only local athlete to make his or her college destination official on Wednesday.

At West Covina, 2010 Tribune Player of the Year Chris Solomon ended a long recruiting process by choosing to play for Nevada over Colorado.

Pomona’s Gerrad Kough picked Colorado long ago and stuck with that decision Wednesday.

Bishop Amat saw football standouts Ajee Montes (SMU) and Jalen Moore (Eastern Washington) make their plans official. For Moore, the decision came down to where he would get the earliest opportunity for playing time, and that meant Eastern Washington instead of Colorado.

“Too many running backs,” Moore said of Colorado. “When I was on my trip (at Eastern Washington), they made me feel like I was at home.”

Montes is headed to play for well-known coach June Jone at SMU. He will play defensive back for the Mustangs.

“I have a chance to play early,” Montes said. “What I liked a lot about June Jones is that he’s consistent. He’s had winning seasons and three back-to-back-to-back bowls.”

Diamond Ranch saw four members of its football team sign on Wednesday and their destinations were quite impressive. Receiver Andrew Fischer (Harvard) and linebacker Jacob Ardron (Columbia) will play in the Ivy League.

Offensive tackle Blake Benjamin will play for the Navy and aim for medical school.

Defensive back Chris Miller will make it easy for local fans to follow his career by playing in the Pac-12 at Oregon State.

“It’s a college town and everybody in the town is friendly,” Miller said of Corvallis, Ore., where Oregon State is located. “Being in the PAC-12, that’s a competitive conference.

“Any school that would’ve given me an offer, I would’ve taken it. Oregon State gave me the offer and I hopped on it.”

The Wilson duo of J.R. Nelson (Montana) and Keith Hawk (Yale) made their choices official. Nelson will play cornerback for the Grizzlies after making a name for himself as an one of the area’s most dangerous offensive players.

“I chose Montana because it’s a great school and I just felt like it was a great place for me,” Nelson said. “I loved the mountains and the snow. It’s cold, but you have to love that snow. It’s something we don’t get in Southern California.”

Glendora running back Corey Victoria became the first of probably many local standouts to choose Azusa Pacific University, which will begin play in Division 2 next season. For Victoria, the chance to stay local and play in front of family and friends was too good to pass up.

The signings did not stop at football. Several of the area’s top girls also made their college plans official.

The soccer signings were as follows: Shavonn Johnson (Bonita) signed with Lamar. Shannon Kent (St. Lucy’s) signed with Loyola Marymount. Alyssa Cabral (Bishop Amat) signed with Cal-State Dominguez Hills. Amber Marani (Walnut) signed with UC Riverside and Mayra Almazan (South Hills) is heading to

UC Santa Barbara.

Bishop Amat saw a pair of volleyball players sign in Rachel Seals (Seattle University) and Megan Bowcock (Great Falls).

Glendora field hockey standout Leah Cofer signed with Pacific.

Softball signees were as follows: Kellie McCleve (Glendora) Salt Lake College. Jeovanna Rios (Bishop Amat) Fort Lewis College. Sumer Knight (West Covina) La Sierra. Tayler Castro (West Covina) Cal Baptist. Alexzandra Blanco (West Covina) Central Arizona and Taylor Miller (Glendora) La Sierra.

Rowland track and cross country standout Nick Rivera signed with Texas Tech.

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Introducing the Bet It and Sweat It blog …

I am very happy to announce that San Gabriel Valley Newspaper Group has entered into the world of gambling as it pertains to horse racing, sports betting and poker.

In doing so, we have launched the BET IT AND SWEAT IT blog. There you will find constant updates, insights, opinion and interaction between those of us who like to partake in horse racing, sports betting and poker, be it as a hobby or a serious endeavor.

I’m quite certain you will find this blog VERY ENTERTAINING and VERY INFORMATIVE.

You can start by reading my Super Bowl prediction column. And then be back on Friday afternoon at 1:30 p.m. for a webcast that will feature Covers.com handicapper Dave Malinsky, FOXSports.com’s assistant managing editor Zack Pierce live from Indy and Pro Football Weekly’s Editor and handicapping columnist Mike Wilkening.
You can start by reading my Super Bowl prediction column. And then be back on Friday afternoon at 1:30 p.m. for a webcast that will feature Covers.com handicapper Dave Malinsky, FOXSports.com’s assistant managing editor Zack Pierce live from Indy and Pro Football Weekly’s Editor and handicapping columnist Mike Wilkening.

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Calling ALL Feb. 1 signers: The Tribune wants you if ….

… IF YOU DID NOT ATTEND OUR FALL SIGNING DAY PHOTO SHOOT.

So any athletes who did not attend that shoot back in Oct. or Nov. (I don’t remember the date) and are signing a letter of intent WEDNESDAY, FEB. 1, please contact me at aram.tolegian@sgvn.com

I have spoken to most of the football players and athletes from other sports who are signing. If I missed anybody or you simply want to confirm tomorrow’s photo shoot, please email me.

Remember, the photo shoot is 2:30 p.m. at the Tribune and you need to be wearing SOMETHING representing the college you are signing with.

IMPORTANT: Tommy Kiss, aka Chino Hills Tom, aka The Inland Insider, will be putting together a nice video package of the football signers.

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Different gym, same result: Covina beats rival Northview again … Colts use 16-1 run in fourth

By John “Nuttin Honey” Honell

COVINA – Games between crosstown rivals Covina and Northview high schools are some of the most intense in the Valley.

With second place in the Valle Vista League and a high CIF-SS postseason seed on the line, the standing room-only crowd almost could feel the electricity in the air.

The Covina boys basketball team, which defeated Northview last Wednesday, outscored the Vikings 16-1 in a four-minute stretch of the fourth quarter to knock off the defending league champions 47-41 Monday night.

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Fred’s, uh, on vacation this week. So it’s back to the Aram Regime … just don’t expect me to use Fred’s crusty mouse …


There are currently 1,459 forms of the flu virus on Fred’s mouse. Blet.

Anyway, it’s good to be back in the saddle again (not really). The suggestions Fred left this week for the Tribune coverage plan wreaked of soccer. Which is nice, but don’t expect The Fat Man to stick to it word-for-word. We’ve got Signing Day on Wednesday and that’s gonna be huge. If you know of any athletes signing a letter of intent on Wednesday, please contact me at aram.tolegian@sgvn.com to let me know.

As for the Top 10s, I will be handling those as well. With Glendora and Damien both losing to Etiwanda last week, and La Verne Lutheran losing to Westchester, we’ve got some decisions to be made. Wilson No. 1, anybody? Also, Amat’s girls team is slip-sliding away.

And this week is The Rematch: Workman at Duarte (girls).

Follow me on Twitter @ChemicalAT

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Damien beats Don Lugo and Northview beats Glendora to punch tickets into Pride of the Foothills championship game on Saturday night …

Northview 55, Glendora 42 — Treavon Francis scored 23 points and grabbed eight rebounds as Northview used a 15-0 run to start the second half to beat host Glendora. The Vikings trailed 30-23 at halftime, but limited Glendora to just 12 points for the entire second half.

Damien 85, Don Lugo 80 — Frosh guard Jeremy Hemsley scored 25 points and hit a crucial 3-pointer with just over a minute to play to tie the game at 77-77. Damien finished with an 11-0 run after trailing by six entering the fourth and by as many as 10 in the fourth. Chris Reyes also had 25 points for the Spartans.

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BREAKING NEWS: Damien hoops standout Chris Reyes commits to St. Mary’s …

Damien senior forward Chris Reyes committed to St. Mary’s on Monday night.

Reyes averaged 17 points and 10 rebounds last season for the Spartans. Reyes, a 6-foot-7 power forward, has been a Tribune All-Area selection the past two seasons.

St. Mary’s men’s basketball program has gained fame recently by reaching the NCAA Tournament in 2005, 2008 and 2010. The 2010 team advanced to the Sweet 16.

St. Mary’s is located 10 miles east of Oakland, Ca. in Moraga.

With Reyes back, the Spartans figure to be one of the area’s top teams again this winter. Damien went 26-4 last season.

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Charter Oak asst. principal Glenn Martinez named Asst. Commissioner of Athletics at the CIF-Southern Section …

Here’s the press release ...
Incoming CIF Southern Section Commissioner of Athletics Rob Wigod announced today that Charter Oak High School Vice-Principal Glenn Martinez has accepted the position of Assistant Commissioner of Athletics for the CIF-SS, effective August 15, 2011.
“I am very pleased to announce the selection of Glenn Martinez as the next assistant commissioner of the CIF-SS,” stated Wigod. “Glenn brings a wealth of knowledge, experience and passion for high school education and athletics.”

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UPDATED: Rio Ruiz selected to Team USA 18U National Team roster for second-round trials, father says he will go and still play with Bishop Amat’s football team this fall

UPDATED: Rio Ruiz has decided to attend the U.S. National team trials Sept. 12-21, his father Rudy Rios said, which means the Bishop Amat quarterback will miss at least three nonleague games against La Mirada, Damien and Cathedral, returning against Venice followed by the Serra League opener against Alemany on Oct. 14. Rudy Ruiz has spoken with coach Steve Hagerty, who he said was supportive of Rio’s decision. Rudy said nothing is guaranteed (to Rio) in terms of his position when he returns, saying that it’s Hagerty’s decision, and he respect it.

BREAKING NEWS: Bishop Amat High School slugger Rio Ruiz has made the 28-man roster of the 18U USA Baseball National Team roster.

Ruiz is one of 28 players to receive invitations to be a part of the second-round trial, which will take place between Sept. 12-21. From there, the team will be cut down to 20 players, which will compete in the COPABE Pan American AAA/18U Championships in Cartagena, Colombia, Sept. 23-Oct. 2.

The trials and tournaments conflict with Bishop Amat’s football schedule, thus calling into question whether Ruiz will be a part of the Lancers’ football team, on which he has been a two-year starter at receiver and quarterback. Last season, Ruiz played quarterback for Amat, which went 9-2.

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GORBALL REINSTATED: School board moves quickly to bring back longtime Arroyo girls hoops coach …


District Vice President John Tran (far left) urging board to reinstate Mike Gorball

PHOTO GALLERY of Wednesday’s meeting

By Aram Tolegian
Staff Writer

SOUTH EL MONTE — The community spoke and the El Monte Union High School District listened.

After an outpouring of support from current and former players, and area coaches, at Wednesday’s school board meeting, Arroyo High School girls basketball coach Mike Gorball has been reinstated by the district effective immediately.

Gorball was fired last week by first-year Arroyo principal Oscar Cisneros after 21 seasons. Gorball’s teams have won eight league championships, finished second nine times and made the playoffs in 20 of his 21 seasons.

“I’ll be happy to go to practice tomorrow and I think they (the players) will be, too,” said Gorball, who did not attend Wednesday’s meeting. “I know what the kids on my team have done to contact all my coaching friends and former players and it’s unbelievable that they can drum up that kind of support in such a short amount of time.

“I cannot even express (how moved I am). I told them I will never be able to thank them enough.”

The public comments portion of Wednesday’s meeting was overrun with Gorball supporters, which included Bishop Amat girls basketball coach Richard Wiard and South El Monte girls basketball and softball coach Dean Bunting.

With emotions ranging from tears to anger, speaker after speaker questioned Cisneros’ decision and the impact it will have on the Arroyo athletics program where Gorball is also an assistant football coach and supports several other sports.

After the comments portion of the meeting expired, district Vice President John Tran moved to immediately reinstate Gorball, which was met with loud applause from the packed chamber.

“I think the decision made to let Coach Gorball go was probably not the right move,” Tran said. “Any decision that will be made on Coach Gorball in the future will come back to the board. As of right now, the board couldn’t act on this because it wasn’t on the agenda. But under educational code we were able to give direction to the superintendent (Nick Salerno) and it was a unanimous decision to reinstate Coach Gorball.”

Cisneros declined to comment on why he fired Gorball, but many people attending the meeting believed it was because Cisneros wanted to hire a certified teacher for the position. Gorball works at the high school as a campus security officer.

“I made my decision tonight based on the fact that I don’t think he (Gorball) got a fair shake,” board member Carlos G. Salcedo said. “In certain circumstances it is beneficial to have the coaches be teachers because those teachers are there full time and they do get to know the students on a deeper level.

“However, I think there are some exceptions. For example, our coach in this instance, Gorball, he’s already here as a campus supervisor. In his role, he does have the opportunity to get to know these kids.”

Cisneros attended Thursday’s meeting and showed little emotion as students, parents and community members publicly questioned his decision and urged board members to change it.

“It’s not personal,” Cisneros said during a break in the meeting. “The board decides the direction it wants to take and that’s the direction it wants to take.”

No successor for Gorball had been named prior to Wednesday’s meeting. The Knights begin their summer tournament schedule on Friday. But with Gorball back at the helm, fears by parents about a team playing games with no coach were calmed, although Cisneros said the team would have a had a replacement in time for Friday’s game.

“I don’t think the timing was great given that they have a tournament coming up,” Tran said. “I just wanted to make sure we had immediate action to reinstate to give him time to prepare his team for the upcoming tournaments.”


Arroyo principal Oscar Cisneros (right) looks on during Wednesday’s meeting

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National Classic: Bishop Amat shocks and rocks nationally ranked St. Francis, crushing who many felt was the best team in the country, 11-3

PLACENTIA — Bishop Amat High School has had some signature wins in recent years.
Tuesday Bishop Amat got another one.
Wallace Gonzalez went 4 for 4 and had six RBIs and David Berg was solid on the mound in relief to lead Bishop Amat to an 11-3 victory over St. Francis of Mountain View, ranked No. 1 nationally by Baseball America, in the quarterfinals of the National Classic at El Dorado High School.
Bishop Amat improved to 18-2 and will face either Bingham of South Jordan, Utah or El Capitan of Lakeside in today’s semifinals at 4:30 p.m. at Cal State Fullerton. St. Francis, which is also ranked No. 2 nationally by MaxPreps.com, slipped to 20-2.
“Bishop Amat is used to big games,” Bishop Amat coach Andy Nieto said. “That’s why kids come to Bishop Amat. We’re not into moral victories. Like I said last year when we lost. We got outplayed and Torrance beat us.
“We’re into hanging banners and winning championships. Just look into the history books. In the over 50 years of Bishop Amat, there’s a lot of big wins. This is just another one.”
What separated this one from some of the others in recent years, was in the amount of ease Bishop Amat took apart the top-ranked team in the country.
And St. Francis helped Bishop Amat’s cause, committing three errors, all which keyed Bishop Amat rallies.
The first, a dropped throw on a pickoff attempt, allowed Jay Anderson to take third. He then scored for a 1-0 lead on a sacrifice fly by Dominique Davis.
Bishop Amat then used two St. Francis’ miscues to go up 6-0 in the third, which was highlighted by a an RBI double by Davis and a two-run single by Gonzalez.
Wallace wasn’t done. He followed with a two-run single to push the advantage to 8-2 in the fifth before hitting a two-run home run in the seventh for an 11-3 lead.
“I just knew I had to stay relaxed at the plate,” Gonzalez said. “I knew our pitchers (starter Daniel Zamora and Berg) were going to do a great job. It didn’t change my approach too much.
“We weren’t worried about the rankings. (Bishop Amat) was ranked No. 2 (nationally) last year, and lost. Rankings mean nothing. It’s a game of baseball, and anything can happen.”
Berg was also impressive after relieving Zamora in the third. He gave up just one run and struck out 10 in five innings to improve to 4-0.
He came to the rescue after St. Francis nearly got back in the game in the third, cutting Bishop Amat’s lead to 6-2 following a two-run home run by Alex Blandino. St. Francis then put runners on first and third before Berg struck out Jon Williams to end the threat.
Berg, then after giving up a run in the sixth, ended it with three strike outs in the seventh.
“This was a simple illustration what baseball is,” Nieto said. “The team that plays the best catch, and puts the ball in play, has the best chance to win.
“I was proud of our guys for taking on the challenge, and not cracking.”

Tuesday’s quarterfinal games
Bishop Amat 11, St. Francis 3
Bingham vs. El Capitan, 7 p.m., Cal State Fullerton
Wednesday’s semifinals
Bishop Amat vs. Bingham-El Capitan winner, 4:30 p.m., Cal State Fullerton

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THEY DID IT, Lutheran wins back-to-back state titles, beats Bishop O’Dowd 64-59

By Keith Lair, Staff Writer
Suffering and trials can lead to jubilation. La Verne Lutheran High School senior Kevin Payne Jr. lost his father in August in a horrific freeway accident. Xavier Jones collapsed during a November practice this season, suffering from heart issues. Saturday afternoon, in the biggest game of his life, Payne found that a pair of 3-point baskets can overcome all that pain and suffering.
He hit key back-to-back 3-pointers to help give the Trojans the CIF State Division III title with a 64-59 victory over Northern California champion Bishop O’Dowd of Oakland at Power Balance Pavilion. (To continue click thread)

Robledo’s reaction: I hope Lutheran is enjoying commenters who still don’t want to give them their just due. For those who still don’t get it, Lutheran didn’t buy there was to anything, they earned it. What they did as an at-large is a remarkable and incredible accomplishment. If you think you can just throw out a basketball to bunch of talented players and win back-to-back state titles you’re mistaken. Just look at your NCAA tournament bracket if you don’t understand, talent only gets you so far, the rest is desire and coaching. At the state level everyone has talented players and D-3 had one of the more stacked brackets of all the divisions. Lutheran worked their butts off and their coaching staff worked their butts off to pull off one of the more remarkable titles in Valley history. Those who don’t appreciate it were never going to appreciate it, they’re mostly haters and a bunch of sour grapes. I don’t care if nobody likes Goliath – but this was no Goliath. Nobody thought Lutheran could win a D-3 title after sneaking into the tournament, and they did it without a home game. They OVER-ACHIEVED to the tune of a SoCal Regional and State title.

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State playoffs: Bonita girls explode in 4th quarter to topple Bell-Jeff, La Verne Lutheran boys roll over Orange Lutheran …


Bonita keeps rolling in state!

Boys
Division 3
Second Round
La Verne Lutheran 75, Orange Lutheran 58 — Trojans were up 40-15 at halftime! As I’ve told Robledo and Ramirez, Division 3 was the best and deepest division in boys hoops this year. This is what happens when a D-3 team (La Verne Lutheran) plays a D-4 team (O-Lu). It should be noted that O-Lu pulled within 61-52 with about 5 minutes left before a 6-2 run sealed it for the Trojans.
Girls
Division 3
Second Round
Bonita 67, Bell-Jeff 52 — Nikki Wheatley scores eight of her team’s first 12 points of the fourth to send the Bearcats to the semis. Bonita led 40-27 in the third, then fell behind 43-42 before going on a 23-4 tear.

Bearcats fans should see a lot more of their starting five tonight.

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Last-second shot helps Amat stay Queen of the Valley and beat Bonita, 57-55


Andrea Villanueva found wide-open teammate Leeah Powell under the basket for an easy layup off an inbound pass as time expired to give Bishop Amat a 57-55 win over Bonita in a clash of the area’s top-two girls basketball teams.

Bonita entered the game 16-1 and this appeared the year that somebody else beside the Lancers would dominate the local landscape, but Amat had other ideas and came from nine down in the second half to eek out the victory and maintain its status as the top girls team in the Valley.

Amat’s Leticia Galarza led all scorers with 22 points. Bonita’s Madison Zylstra was held to 10 points. Nikki Wheatley led the Bearcats with 17.

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Girls Hoops: Bishop Amat has easy time with St. Paul, 64-37, in Del Rey opener

Aram Tolegian, Staff Writer
Bishop Amat High School’s girls basketball team was leaving nothing to chance in its Del Rey League opener on Thursday against visiting St. Paul.
The Lancers, who shared last year’s league title with Bishop Montgomery and Serra, figure this year’s race is going to be just as tight and erupted in the first quarter for an early double-digit lead en route to a 67-34 win over the Swordsmen.
“I read what (Glendora boys basketball) coach Mike LeDuc said the other day after his team beat Los Osos,” Amat coach Richard Wiard said. “He said ‘If you want to win a league title, you’d better win the home opener. Otherwise, you’re going to be in trouble.’
“We did that and the other three teams in our league are all very good. They’re all ranked either No. 1 or 2 in their CIF divisions, so it’s going to be a challenge.
Amat improved to 15-3 overall and 1-0 in league. St. Paul is now in a big hole considering Thursday was its second league loss (15-5, 0-2).The Swordsmen get a week off to regroup before they play Bishop Montgomery.

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SoCal Shootout schedule Jan. 22 at APU released

What an outstanding docket put together by Gordon “Boom Boom” Hamlow.

Saturday, Jan. 22 at APU

9 a.m. Flintridge Prep vs. Covina
10:30 a.m. Bishop Amat vs. Bonita (girls)
Noon Walnut vs. Maranatha
1:30 p.m. Rowland vs. Righetti
3 p.m. Corona Del Mar vs. Upland
4:30 p.m. Los Osos vs. La Canada
6 p.m. Damien vs. Mission Viejo
7:30 p.m. Etiwanda vs. Colony
9 p.m. Glendora vs. Baldwin Park

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