About Fred Robledo

Fred J. Robledo is the local sports editor for the Los Angeles Newspaper Group

Saturday’s annual Glendora alumni basketball game to benefit 10-year-old Cale Smith

Glendora basketball alumni game Saturday at 5 p.m., benefits 10-year-old Cale Smith: For the last three years, former members of the Glendora High School boys basketball team have gathered to celebrate the long and successful tradition of their program at an annual alumni basketball game.This year, however, the importance of this game goes far beyond the boundaries of the gym, as the program has focused its efforts on supporting the family of Corey Smith, which has recently been forced to cope with a cancer diagnosis.
In late February, 10-year-old Cale Smith, the son of Corey Smith, a 1990 graduate of Glendora High School, and Karine Smith, was diagnosed with what doctors believed to be benign skull tumor known as Schwanomma. But, as the family, which includes 14-year-old Kylie, an incoming freshman at Glendora High School, and 8-year-old Caden, prepared to leave on a spring break trip, Cale began to experience pain in his skull and face. This time, doctors determined that the malignant tumor was in fact Rhabdomyosarcoma, a cancer that usually develops in skeletal muscles.

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CalPreps ranks Bishop Amat football No. 1 in California

The expectations for Bishop Amat and coach Steve Hagerty are tremendous with Calpreps ranking the Lancers No. 1 in California, ahead of St. John Bosco and Corona Centennial. There is no better receiving/secondary tandem anywhere with Tre Sidney and Tyler Vaughns, but there still remains one question, when will the Lancers welcome back senior RB back Torreahno Sweet? There is no doubt all the lofty projections come with the understanding that Sweet is on board. But for some mysterious reason that nobody at Amat will explain, Sweet, who played baseball in the spring, is technically still not on the team. Players and sources I’ve spoken with believe it will be ironed out, but the clock is ticking.

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ALL-AREA SOFTBALL: South Hills’ Natalie Lugo and Glendora coach Michael Quiroz earn top awards


Natalie Lugo, South Hills, Sophomore
When her high school career is finished, Lugo could go down with the best in San Gabriel Valley history. Her numbers might not resemble those from previous era’s when the pitching distance was shorter and when hitters weren’t nearly as talented as those today thanks to the increasing influence of travel ball.
But here’s the deal, you don’t get offered a full scholarship as a freshman pitcher to now two-time defending NCAA champion Florida without being something special.
Lugo, who committed to the Gators as a freshman when she earned all-area first-team honors is the 2015 Tribune softball player of the year after leading South Hills to the CIF-Southern Section Division 2 semifinals. Lugo also was selected to the Division 2 first team.
On a team that was somewhat offensively challenged, Lugo carried the load, finishing 15-6 with a 0.73 ERA. She completed 13 games with seven shutouts and the power pitcher struck out an area-leading 263 in 143 innings.
Lugo threw three no-hitters, which included a 1-0 win over Aliso Niguel in eight innings with 16 strikeouts. She also had another eight-inning no-hitter in a 3-1 win over El Segundo in which she struck out a season-high 19. She struck out 10 or more in 17 games.
In the playoffs, Lugo stood up to the challenge.
lugoIn the Huskies’ 2-1 second-round win over Villa Park, she pitched all nine innings with 15 strikeouts.
In the 6-1 quarterfinal win over Agoura, she gave up just two hits and struck out 11.
Even in defeat, she was tough, losing 2-0 in the semifinals to powerful Mission Viejo, who at the time was undefeated and ranked No. 1 in the country by USA Today.
Lugo went all seven innings giving up just one hit and one earned run while striking out 13 Diablos.
“When we played against Mission Viejo the (NCAA) super regionals was on and I pretended like it was a college world series game,” Lugo said. “We knew how great Mission Viejo was, but I kept telling myself to handle it because this is what it’s going to be like in college.”
Fortunately for South Hills, Lugo has two more years to master her craft before saying goodbye.
“It was a great year, we made it our goal at the beginning of the season to go as far as we can and getting to the semifinals was a big accomplishment,” Lugo said. “Our goal next year is to get to the championship and win it.”

Coach of the year
Michael Quiroz, Glendora

MIKEQUIROZQuiroz made it clear when he took over the Tartans’ program in 2013 that he was interested in developing a program for the long haul, which included everything from changing players’ mindset to having assistant coaches that were engaged.
Glendora had won just seven games the season before Quiroz and it struggled his first two years on the job, going 11-14-1 last year.
But that changed dramatically in 2015, with Glendora finishing 22-7 while capturing the Palomares League title and advancing to the second round of the CIF-Southern Section Division 2 playoffs.
For his efforts, Quiroz has been selected the Tribune softball coach of the year.
“When I got the job the biggest thing was we had a lot of talent but the kids weren’t pulling the rope the same way,” Quiroz said. “Everyone had their own agendas, so it’s taken time to get everyone on the same page and believing that high school softball matters.
“In the world of travel ball there is a sense and belief sometimes that playing high school doesn’t matter. That’s a culture I was fighting to change and I think this season is proof that we were able to turn the corner and represent the school in the right way.”

Lindsey Hughes, Pitcher, San Dimas, Sr.

LINDSEYHUGHESThe Valle Vista league most valuable player and Division 5 first-team selection led the Saints to the Division 5 semifinals, losing 2-1 in eight innings to eventual champion St. Bonaventure. Hughes, who is headed to Stony Brook University in New York, was fantastic offensively and defensively. In the circle she finished 12-7 with a 1.80 ERA with 124 strikeouts in 101 innings. At the plate she batted .364 with 31 RBIs and six home runs.

Cambria Keefer, Pitcher, Glendora, Jr.
CAMBRIAKEEFERThe Palomares league most valuable player and Division 2 first team selection verbally committed to Rutgers and had a breakthrough junior season in leading the Tartans to the league title. Keefer led the Tartans to the second round of the Division 2 playoffs, finishing 12-6 with a 1.63 ERA with 142 strikeouts in 133 innings. She also had four complete game shutouts.

Jenna Rodelo, Catcher, Rowland, Jr.
jennarodeloThe lone bright spot on a Raiders team that struggled with her consistent hitting and solid defense behind the plate. Rodelo was named to the Division 5 and Valle Vista league first team. This is her second straight all-area first selection, batting .591 with 43 RBIs, eight doubles and seven home runs.

Celeste Wood, Utility, Los Altos, Sr.
celestewoodOne of the best all-around players in the area is headed to Michigan State after earning her second straight all-area first-team honor to go with her second straight Hacienda League first-team selection. In the circle she finished with a 2.88 ERA, and offensively, she batted .500 with 12 RBIs and two home runs.

Randi Farricker, Infielder, Glendora, Jr.
RANDIFARRICKERAlready verbally committed to Arizona State, the junior showed why with consistent hitting throughout the season to earn Palomares league first-team honors in helping her team to the league title. She batted .500 with 21 RBIs, nine doubles and two home runs. She had at least a hit in every game but four.

Ashley Diaz, Infielder, South El Monte, Sr.
ashleydiazNamed the Mission Valley League most valuable player for the second straight season while also earning Division 5 first-team homnors. This is the shortstop’s second straight first-team all-area selection and an easy choice. The University of Arkansas commit was spectacular again, batting .561 with 42 RBIs, 10 home runs and nine doubles for the MVL champions.

Mandy Larios, Infielder, Bishop Amat, Sr.
MANDYLARIOSThe Lancers’ sure-handed shortstop helped her team reach the Division 3 semifinals and earned Del Rey League first-team honors. Headed to Arizona Western, she batted .387 with 25 RBIs. Her best moment of the season came in a thrilling 4-3 victory over Burbank in the quarterfinals. Trailing 3-0 going into the seventh, it was Larios’ two out, two-run single that gave the Lancers a 4-3 walk-off victory.

Christine Pinela, Infielder, Charter Oak, Sr.
CHRISTINEPINELAThe Chargers’ third baseman had a sensational season in the tough Hacienda League, helping her team to a co-league championship with Chino. Headed to Azusa Pacific University, Pinela was named the Hacienda League most valuable player and also was selected to the prestigious Division 1 first team. She batted .379 with 18 RBIs, 10 doubles and two triples.

Jade Nua, Outfielder, West Covina, Sr.
JADENUAThe Hacienda League first-team selection was one of the best hitters in the area. She batted .516 with 25 RBIs, four home runs and six doubles. Her most memorable game came early in the season when her three-run homer led to a 5-3 win over Charter Oak to claim the San Dimas tournament title.

Alyssa Barrera, Outfielder, Bishop Amat, Jr.
ALYSSABARRERAAThe speedy centerfielder is arguably the best defensive outfielder in the area, earning all-area first-team honors for the second straight year as well as her second straight Del Rey League first-team selection. Barrera, who helped lead Amat to the Division 3 semifinals, was a tough out, batting. 458 with 30 RBIs, 15 doubles and four home runs.

Kaile Chavez, Outfielder, Charter Oak, Sr.
KAILECHAVEZThe do-it-all Chavez earned Hacienda League first-team honors for the co-league champion Chargers. The power hitter batted .301 with 20 RBIs, six home runs and six doubles. She also was a force in the circle, going 6-4 with a 2.9A ERA.

Pitcher: Alexis Vargas, Bishop Amat, Jr.
Pitcher: Princess Nava, Covina, Sr.
Utility: Caitlyn VanHemelryck, South Hills, Sr.
Catcher: Nicole Gutierrez, West Covina, Jr.
Infielder: Ciara Granado, Edgewood, So.
Infielder: Britney Orozco, Northview, Fr.
Infielder: Marissa Chavez, Charter Oak, So.
Infielder: Angelica Ochoa, Sierra Vista, Sr.
Outfield: Brooke Jackson, San Dimas, So.
Outfield: Kayla Sok, Glendora, Sr.
Outfield: Christie Aguilar, South Hills, Jr.

Final Top Ten
1. South Hills (20-8)
2. Bishop Amat (20-8)
3. Charter Oak (18-9)
4. Glendora (22-7)
5. San Dimas (21-10)
6. Edgewood (19-1)
7. South El Monte (15-5)
8. Sierra Vista (17-7)
9. West Covina (15-13)
10. Covina (15-13)

League Champions
Del Rey: St. Paul
Hacienda: Charter Oak, Chino
Miramonte: Edgewood
Mission Valley: South El Monte
Montview: Sierra Vista
Palomares: Glendora
Valle Vista: San Dimas

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BASEBALL ALL-AREA: San Dimas’ Peter Lambert named player of the year; Walnut’s Paul Acosta coach of the year

Player of the Year
Peter Lambert, San Dimas

Mike Regan has had a lot of good players in his 16-year tenure at San Dimas. But few, well none, have been as dominant as senior right-hander Peter Lambert was this season.Lambert was nothing short of spectacular. He had 13 starts and completed nine of those. Five were shutouts and he allowed only four earned runs and managed 113 strikeouts in 83 innings for a miniscule ERA of 0.43.
And that’s just what he did on the mound.
He also hit .295 and came up with some clutch hits, excelling at shortstop when not on the mound.
Lambert, who led the Saints to a San Gabriel Valley record 31 straight wins before a semifinal loss to Walnut, was named the San Gabriel Valley Tribune baseball player of the year.
peterlambertHe also was named the CIF Southern Section Division 3 player of the year and was named Most Valuable Player in the Valle Vista League for a second time, sharing that award with teammate Jacob Castillo.
“I was pretty happy with what I was able to do,” Lambert said. “I wanted to give my team a chance to win and I was able to do that. We really wanted to win it all as a team but we still had a great time and there were some great moments.”
Lambert was dominant last year as a junior, the first year in which he saw full-time duty as a pitcher. He continued to build on that season this year, refining all of the pitches in his repertoire and learning the finer points of pitching,
“Pitching is about more than just throwing hard,” he said. “I really think I became a better pitcher and learned more about how to get guys out and how to use all my pitches.”
Lambert has signed with UCLA but has a choice to make. He was drafted by the Colorado Rockies in the second round with the 44th overall pick in the draft. Regan said it was the highest any player from the school has been selected.
He had about two dozen or so major league baseball scouts in attendance every time he took the mound. Learning how to deal with that was part of the process.
“You like to try and ignore it but you know they’re there,” he said. “You still have to go out and do your job. After awhile you get used to it and just focus on getting each batter out.”
— Michelle Gardner

Coach of the Year
Paul Acosta, Walnut

Acosta, who is in his third year as the Mustangs’ head coach, but who has been an assistant involved with Mustangs baseball for over two decades, knew what the school’s magical run to the CIF-Southern Section Division 3 finals meant during their quarterfinal victory at home.
The Mustangs had just beaten Quartz Hill when Acosta peered over at Karla McKenzie, the Mustangs’ longtime booster.
paulacosta“We were playing in front of our biggest crowd of the year and I looked over at our snackbar and there was Karla with this look, this glow on her face. It had been so long since Walnut baseball had done anything that the proud look on her face spoke for all of us.”
After starting 3-7-1, Walnut won 18 straight, which included winning the Hacienda League, the school’s first baseball league title since 1996. But the biggest moment of the season came in the Division 3 semifinals.
Walnut reached the championship in the most unexpected way, knocking off undefeated and USA Today No. 1 San Dimas, 4-1, in the semifinals, to give the Saints their lone blemish, finishing 31-1.
Walnut’s rally cry on social media, #WhyNotUs, had become reality as it advanced to its first championship game since 1982.
Walnut lost 10-0 to Redondo Union in the championship, but the surprising season that few expected was more than enough to earn Acosta San Gabriel Valley Tribune baseball coach of the year honors.
“For the rest of their life they’ll be able to tell the story and tell their kids how they beat San Dimas, how they knocked off a 31-0 team,” Acosta said.
And the reward is respect.
“This year to me officially puts Walnut baseball back on the map,” Acosta said. “We’re not going to sneak up on anybody anymore. And that’s how it should be. We should have bigger expectations from here on out.”
— Fred Robledo

Pitcher: Ryan Mauch, South Hills, Junior

ryanmauchNamed the Palomares League most valuable player and also earned Division 2 first-team honors. The Long Beach State commit was sensational for the Huskies finishing undefeated with an 8-0 record with an impressive 0.76 ERA in 55 innings, allowing just six earned runs all year. His best performance came down the stretch with a 1-0 complete game shutout over Bonita, allowing just four hits.

Pitcher: Cody Dye, Walnut, Junior
codydyeA clutch performer on a team that shocked previously undefeated San Dimas in the semifinals to advance to the CIF-SS Division 3 championship game. Dye, named the Hacienda League most valuable player and a Division 3 first-team selection, finished 8-1 with a 0.68 ERA with 70 strikeouts in 60 innings. He was undefeated until losing his only game in the Division 3 championship.

Pitcher/Utility: Jacob Castillo, San Dimas, Junior
jacobcastilloThe co-most valuable player from the Valle Vista League and a Division 3 first-team performer is a San Diego State commit who was brilliant all season whether pitching or playing shortstop. On the hill Castillo was 11-1 with a 0.43 ERA with a 119 strikeouts in 82 innings. He also batted .341 with four doubles and 16 RBIs. In the Saints’ Division 3 second-round win over Garden Grove (17-0), Castillo threw a no-hitter with 13 strikeouts.

Catcher: Justin Gomez, Bonita, Senior
justingomezIn addition to being a strong defensive presence behind the plate, Gomez was a big offensive threat in earning Palomares league first-team honors for the Division 3 quarterfinalists. He batted. 402 with a team-leading 29 RBIs with 20 runs scored. He also led the team with eight doubles to go with a triple and home run.

Infielder: RJ Romo, Glendora, Senior
rjromoWas named to the Division 2 first team while also earning Palomares League first team honors for his consistent offense and defense. The first baseman helped the Tartans capture the league title with a smooth-swinging bat. The 6-foot-3, 210-pounder batted .416 with a team-leading 25 RBIs. He also had eight doubles, a triple and 13 multi-hit games.

Infielder: Jacob Amaya, Northview, Sophomore
jacobamayaOne of the best age-group players in the Southland, Amaya already has given a verbal commitment to NCAA Division 1 power Cal State Fullerton. The shortstop was one of the few bright spots for the Vikings, batting. 515 with with 21 RBIs and 26 runs scored. In the power department he belted 12 doubles with three home runs and three triples to earn Valle Vista league first-team honors.

Infielder: Tommy Acuna, San Dimas, Junior
tommyacunaAcuna was the Saints’ best offensive weapon while also playing third base the second half of the season. Acuna, named to the Valle Vista League first team, batted .529 with 25 RBIs and eight doubles. His only home run came in the regular season finale against Wilson, belting a three-run homer in the fifth inning to keep the Saints’ undefeated season alive in a come-from-behind 3-2 victory.

Infielder: Jayson Gonzalez, Bishop Amat, Sophomore
jayson gonzalezAt 6-foot-2, 210 pounds, the third baseman who already has verbally committed to Vanderbilt is one of the top players in the country for his age group. He had a productive season for Amat, which tied for the Del Rey League title and advanced to the Division 3 semifinals. Gonzalez, a first-team all-league selection, batted .415 with 17 RBIs, five doubles, three triples and two home runs.

Outfielder: Sergio Robles, Bishop Amat, Senior
sergioroblesNamed to the Del Rey League and Division 3 first team after helping his team share the league title and advance to the Division 3 semifinals. Robles, who is heading to Cal State Bakersfield, was a big performer at the plate. He batted. 373 with 15 RBIs, four home runs, three doubles and two triples.

Outfielder: Jonathan Longtin, San Dimas, Senior
jonathinlongtinWas one of the best run-producers for a Saints team that finished 31-1 and advanced to the Division 3 semifinals before losing its only game of the season. The Valle Vista league first-team performer batted .322 with 23 RBIs while also scoring 20 runs. Longtin also was considered one of the area’s best defensive outfielders.

Outfielder: Daniel Benedict, Damien, Junior
danielbenedictThe Baseline League first-team selection helped the Spartans earn a playoff spot down the stretch, which the Spartans used to upset Palomares league champion Glendora in the first round of the CIF-SS Division 2 playoffs after winning a wild-card game to advance. Benedict batted .386 with 18 RBIs, 12 doubles and four home runs.

Pitcher: Austin Isenhart, Glendora, Sr.
Pitcher: Isaac Esqueda, Bishop Amat, So.
Utility: Anthony Guardado, Nogales, Sr.
Catcher: Nick Valdez, Bishop Amat, Jr.
Infielder: Brennan McKenzie, Walnut, Jr.
Infielder: Frank Ramirez, South Hills, Sr.
Infielder: Anthony Franco, Baldwin Park, Sr.
Infielder: Jonathan Hurtado, Arroyo, Sr.
Outfield: Griffen Herrera, Glendora, Jr.
Outfield: Alex Carrillo, West Covina, Sr.
Outfield: Brandon Buna, Rowland, Sr.

Final Top Ten
1. San Dimas (31-1)
2. Walnut (21-8-2)
3. Glendora (22-8)
4. Bishop Amat (17-13-1)
5. South Hills (19-9-1)
6. Bonita (23-10)
7. Sierra Vista (17-6)
8. Damien (12-15)
9. Arroyo (14-4)
10. Nogales (19-12)

League Champions
Del Rey: Bishop Amat, Cathedral, St. Paul
Hacienda: Walnut
Miramonte: Garey
Mission Valley: Arroyo
Montview: Sierra Vista
Palomares: Glendora
Valle Vista: San Dimas

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