By Fred J. Robledo
Walnut boys basketball coach Josh Cameron resigned on Wednesday to become the assistant principal at Norco High School.
Cameron coached eight years at Walnut and turned it into one of the premier programs in the San Gabriel Valley, earning area coach of the year honors this past season after leading the Mustangs to an undefeated Hacienda League title.
The Mustangs finished 22-6, setting a school record for victories in a season and also a school-record 14-game undefeated streak.
Cameron took over a team that had just won four games prior to his arrival in 2006 and turned it around, advancing to the playoffs for six straight years, reaching the CIF-SS divisional quarterfinals once and the second round four times.
Cameron finishes with an overall record of 128-90 at Walnut. He was 21-31 in his first two years, but finished 107-59 in his last six seasons.
“The opportunity at Norco came up and I went for it, it’s a great job,” Cameron said. “It’s a little bittersweet leaving Walnut because of the program we built up. It’s a great place to coach because of the players and administration.”
Cameron’s leaving the program on a high note and with a young team that’s built to continue what he started.
“That’s what’s great about it, the program is at one of the highest points it’s been in a long time,” Cameron said. “I’m certainly not leaving the cupboard empty. I wouldn’t of left Walnut for any other coaching position, but with a chance to become an assistant principal, it was an opportunity I couldn’t pass up.”
By Fred Robledo
PLAYER OF THE YEAR: Janell Wheaton, San Dimas, Sr.
San Dimas coach Don Pollard remembers when Janell Wheaton was a freshman and wondering if all that talent would blossom.
“There are some players that come in as a freshman and you say to yourself, ‘she’s going to be great as a senior,’ and then they never really live up to the hype.”
That wasn’t Wheaton.
“Not only did she live up to everything, she exceeded it,” Pollard said. “I’m not just talking about her talent, but her softball IQ, how she plays under pressure and the work she does in the classroom. She’s the most complete package I’ve ever been around.”
Wheaton, who signed a national letter of intent to play at National champion Florida, has been selected the San Gabriel Valley Tribune player of the year.
“She’s everything she’s advertised to be,” said San Dimas coach Don Pollard. “She deserves all the accolades she’s getting.”
Wheaton did it all at San Dimas, winning four straight Valle Vista league titles and earning three straight league most valuable player of the year awards.
Wheaton was named to the all-area first-team a year ago, then set her sights even higher.
“The girl who was chosen for player of the year last year (Bishop Amat’s Lexi Gonzalez) went to Oregon State,” Wheaton said. “I said to myself, ‘that’s my goal, to have a good season, to win league again and get player of the year and go off on a good note.’ I’m pretty happy with my career at San Dimas.”
The catcher’s senior season numbers were off the charts. She led the area in average, RBIs and hits, batting .617 with 44 RBIs and 58 hits. She also had five home runs and likely would have finished with double-digit homers if San Dimas had a fence.
“That’s true, she would have had seven to ten more with a fence,” Pollard said. “Everyone played her back and she still hit bombs over their heads that would have been gone at any other park.
“She made adjustments at the plate and hit a lot of line drives. She finished with a lot of extra base hits (10 doubles and six triples).
Wheaton also led San Dimas to the CIF-Southern Section Division 5 quarterfinals, and for all her offensive prowess, she was an equal force defensively behind home plate.
“Nobody stole on her and anyone that tried found out quickly it wasn’t going to work.” Pollard said. “I can’t remember the last time she let a ball get past her that wasn’t a wild pitch, she has that kind of skillset.
“The other thing is, she calls her own game. She’s been calling her own game the last three years because she’s got that IQ and understands pitchers and hitters very well.”
Wheaton will either play first base or catcher at Florida.
“They have some established players ahead of her, but they’ll find a place for her,” Pollard said. “I have no doubt she’ll go on to do great things at Florida and whatever else she chooses to do in life.”
COACH OF THE YEAR: Nacho Hernandez, Los Altos
No team improved more over the course of the season than Los Altos, a young group that was beaten soundly early in the year, losing three of their first five games, and getting hammered in two of them. But the Conquerors stayed the course under their fourth year coach, who needed wins over Bonita and West Covina in the second half of Hacienda League play to earn a co-league title with Bonita, giving Hernandez his second league championship.
The Conquerors finished league with a dramatic come-from-behind 4-3 victory over West Covina, then shocked South Hills 1-0 in the first round of the CIF-Southern Section Division 2 playoffs. The Conquerors won 10 of their final 12 games to finish 16-7, and for their efforts, Hernandez has been selected the Tribune 2014 softball coach of the year.
NATALIE LUGO, South Hills, Freshman, Pitcher
The only freshman on the all-area first-team was arguably the area’s best pitcher and is already verbally committed to NCAA champion Florida. She earned Sierra League first-team honors, finishing 16-6 with a 0.98 ERA with 197 strikeouts in 150 innings. She also helped the Huskies reach the Division 2 playoffs.
CELESTE WOOD, Los Altos, Junior, Pitcher
She hit and pitched her way to the Hacienda League MVP after helping the Conquerors finish in a tie for the league title, then pitched a gem in a 1-0 victory over South Hills in the first-round of the Division 2 playoffs. Wood, who is committed to Michigan State, was 13-2 with a 2.38 ERA and just as dangerous at the plate, batting .536 with five home runs and 19 RBIs.
JENNA RODELO, Rowland, Sophomore, Catcher
Was the lone bright spot on a Raiders team that won one game all season. She earned Hacienda league first-team honors for her terrific season defensively and at the plate, where she was among the leaders in every offensive category. She batted .533 with 12 home runs and 35 RBIs. She was pitched around so many times, she did it all with only 60 at-bats.
MADELAINE TICKEY, West Covina, Junior, Utility
Tickey quickly proved herself after transferring from Duarte, turning into one of the areas best all-around players in the circle and the plate. She earned Hacienda league first-team honors after helping the Bulldogs reach the playoffs. She batted .394 with seven home runs and 31 RBIs. In the circle she was 12-5 with a 2.33 ERA.
AMANDA SANCHEZ, Bishop Amat, Senior, Infielder
The Del Rey league first-team third baseman earns her second-straight all-area first-team selection. On her way to the University of Missouri, she helped the Lancers reach the second round of the Division 3 playoffs and was one of the areas most feared hitters. She batted .442 with six home runs, eight doubles and 24 RBIs in a tough league that produced divisional champion St. Paul.
ASHLEY DIAZ, South El Monte, Junior, Infielder
She earned the Mission Valley most valuable player award for the second straight season after helping the Eagles to a co-league title with Arroyo and has verbally committed to the University of Arkansas. The shortstop produced sensation offensive numbers and was among the area leaders in the triple crown category, batting. 542 with 10 home runs and 40 RBIs. She also had 11 doubles.
MONET MANNING, Northview, sophomore, Infielder
The sophomore shortstop had a breakout season for the Vikings to earn Valle Vista league first-team honors. She hit for power and average, batting .509 with eight home runs, 29 RBIs and seven doubles. She belted two home runs in a game twice, and only struck out twice the entire season.
ALICIA BROWN, Glendora, Senior, Infielder
The Tartans’ team struggled in the Baseline league, but Brown was one of the league’s best, earning first-team honors. She helped the Tartans to the San Dimas tournament title and batted .354 with eight home runs and 17 RBIs. The third baseman will continue her softball career at Loyola Marymount University.
CHLOE MELANSON, Bonita, Junior, Outfielder
The speedy right fielder earned Hacienda league first-team honors and is verbally committed to the University of Miami in Ohio. She helped the Bearcats share the Hacienda league title by hitting for average, power and was a threat on the bases. She batted. 522 with 12 home runs, six doubles and 20 RBIs.
ALYSSA BARRERA, Bishop Amat, Junior, Outfielder
The Del Rey league first-team selection led the Lancers in average and was tied for the team lead in runs scored. She batted an impressive .494 with a .553 on base percentage. She finished with 40 hits while also belting two home runs to go with three doubles, three triples, 12 RBIs and 21 runs scored.
BROOKE CLEMETSON, Charter Oak, Senior, Outfielder/Pitcher
The Sierra League first-team selection pitched, played outfield and is one of the areas best all-around players headed to Cal State Fullerton. She batted .423 with four doubles and nine RBIs but was most important to her team in the circle, finishing 12-3 with a 1.15 ERA with 73 strikeouts.
Pitcher: Kaelyn McFadden, Bonita, Senior
Pitcher: Princess Nava, Covina, Junior
Pitcher: Kaile Chavez, Charter Oak, Junior
Catcher: Melysia Ortega, South Hills, Sophomore
Utility: Ana Mejia, Northview, Senior
Infielder: Evelyn Sandoval, El Monte, Sophomore
Infielder: Jennifer Aguinaga, San Dimas, Senior
Infielder: Isabella Sierra, Covina, Sophomore
Infielder: Anissa Sanchez, Bishop Amat, Senior
Outfielder: Jocelyn Marquez, Northview, Senior
Outfielder: Alexis Gonzalez, West Covina, Senior
Outfielder: Sierra Hensel, Charter Oak, Senior
FINAL TOP TEN
1. Charter Oak (19-8)
2. Bishop Amat (18-10)
3. San Dimas (22-8)
4. Los Altos (16-7)
5. South Hills (21-8)
6. Bonita (17-7)
7. West Covina (16-12)
8. Arroyo (19-5)
9. Covina (16-8-1)
10. Sierra Vista (17-5-2)
SGV TRIBUNE ALL-AREA PHOTO GALLERY
By Stephen Ramirez
PLAYER OF THE YEAR: Scott Hurst, Bishop Amat, Sr.
Bishop Amat High School features arguably the richest baseball tradition in the area.
It includes winning nine CIF-Southern Section divisional titles and a good list of former players who went on to play Major League Baseball, including recently retired Michael Young, of the Texas Rangers, Philadelphia Phillies and the Dodgers, and pitcher Dan Haren, who is on the Dodgers’ starting staff this season.
But of the Lancers nine CIF-SS titles, this season’s road to championship glory was the most unexpected. It included a four-game losing streak to end the season and was capped by three come-from-behind wins, including a 4-3 victory over top-seeded Palm Desert in the Division 3 title game.
A key component for the Lancers’ run to the title was senior outfielder/pitcher Scott Hurst, who was one of the area’s better offensive players and arguably the top closer. But it was his role as a leader that turned the tide for Bishop Amat.
“The season was a roller coaster,” Hurst said. “A lot our guys got down on themselves and us five seniors just tried to keep the team motivated. It brought us all the way to Dodger Stadium and we wound up (winning). It was a heckuva season, one I’ll never forget.”
For his efforts, Hurst, who will play at traditional power Cal State Fullerton next season, is Tribune Baseball Player of the Year.
Bishop Amat, which opened the season with four losses, appeared dead in the water a little more than a month ago after losing back-to-back games to rival St. Paul. But the Lancers, helped by Hurst’s leadership, strung together 10 wins to close the season. They capped the run with three come-back victories, including a 4-3 win over top seed Palm Desert to win the Division 3 title.
It was Bishop Amat’s ninth division title, and its fourth since 2007.
Hurst keyed surge, ranking among area leaders with a .419 batting average, with 25 RBIs and 15 extra-base hits, including six triples. He finished off the final three victories with saves in the quarterfinals, semifinals and finals. In three innings, he retired nine of 10 batters, givng up just a walk while striking out five. He finished the season with 19 strikeouts in 11 innings.
“I was just trying to pound the zone all year,” Hurst said. “It was my first year closing. I was trying to get the hang of it all year. It wound up working out well for our team.”
Now Hurst begins the next state of his baseball career, signing with Cal State Fullerton.
“I feel real confident going to Fullerton, which is another great program,” Hust said. “I still have some things to work on, but I think I’ll fit right in.”
COACH OF THE YEAR: Andy Nieto, Bishop Amat
Andy Nieto, in eight seasons, has arguably become the area’s top coach. He’s won four divisional titles while also scoring some marquee wins titles. But this might be his best effort. The Lancers lost their first four games and looked in danger of missing the playoffs after a lost week against rival St. Paul. But Nieto was able to keep the team motivated and eventually the Lancers caught fire and finished the season with a 10-game win streak, including ending the season with three come-back victories to win the school’s ninth division title.
For his efforts, Nieto is Tribune Coach of the Year.
“Our guys(were) extremely resilient,” Nieto said. “They never quit. We had a lot of doubters. But those doubters learned an important life lesson — never doubt the spirit of the team. I’m proud of our guys. They deserved everything they’ve received and they deserve to be (champions).”
GAVIN VELASQUEZ, South Hills, Junior, Pitcher
Not a lot was expected from Velasquez to begin the season, but he turned out to be a hidden gem for South Hills. He was 10-1-1 with a school-record 0.67 ERA. He had five shutouts and gave up just one earned run during his first 29 innings. He also had 75 strikeouts in 83 innings. He was first team All-Sierra League.
ALEX GARCIA, Bishop Amat, Senior, Pitcher
Garcia was the money pitcher for the Lancers, and a key factor in Amat rallying to win the school’s ninth CIF-SS title. He was 8-3 with a 2.72 ERA. The senior also had 105 strikeouts in 76 innings.
KALE MORTON, Glendora, Senior, Pitcher
Morton finished his career on the same level of past Tartan pitchers, including Wes Roemer and Adam Plutko. His 11-0 record was the best in school history. He also had a 1.58 ERA, while striking out 76 in 71 innings. The senior also hit .383 with nine RBIs as a designated hitter. He was Baseline League MVP.
DAVID BANUELOS, Damien, Senior, Catcher
Banuelos was an offensive machine for the Spartans. He hit .395 to rank among the area leaders. Ha also had 24 RBIs and had four home runs. The senior, who was first team All-Sierra League, was also solid defensively.
DANIEL MILLWEE, San Dimas, Senior, Utility
Millwee was a key contributor for the Saints, who advanced to the CIF-SS quarterfinals for the second consecutive season. The senior, who was San Dimas’ lead-off hitter, hit .330 and ranked among the area leaders with 30 runs scored. He also had 13 RBIs and had eight extra-base hits. He was first team All-Valle Vista League.
PETER LAMBERT, San Dimas, Junior, Infielder
Lambert keyed San Dimas to its second consecutive CIF-SS quarterfinal appearance. He was Valle Vista League MVP, going 11-1 with a 0.55 ERA. He also had 95 strikeouts in 76 innings. On offense, he hit .351 with 23 RBIs. Lambert also tossed a 1-hitter, flirting with a perfect game, in the playoffs.
ALEX GONZALEZ, Bonita, Junior, Infielder
Gonzalez keyed the Bearcats to another Hacienda League title. He ranked among area leaders with a .389 batting average and 28 RBIs. The junior was also one of the top defensive second basemen’s in the area. He was first team All-Hacienda League.
GRANT HOCKIN, Damien, Senior, Infielder
Hockin, the grandson of Pro Baseball Hall of Famer Harmon Killebrew, was Damien’s ace in the hole. He was one of the top pitchers in the area, going 9-3 with a 1.49 ERA. At the plate, he hit .379 with 15 RBIs and two home runs. The senior was co-Sierra League MVP. He was drafted in the second round by the Cleveland Indians. He signed with Cleveland, forgoing to play at UCLA.
ERIC GUTIERREZ, Sierra Vista, Senior, Infielder
Gutierrez played a major role in the Dons enjoying one of the better seasons in school history, which included their first appearance in the CIF-SS quarterfinals in 20 years. He was 9-1 with a 1.22 ERA. He also hit .466 with 18 RBIs. Gutierrez was Montview League MVP.
DJ PETERS, Glendora, Senior, Outfielder
Peters was Glendora’s offensive leader and a key factor in the Tartans winning the Baseline League title. He hit .359 with 20 RBIs. He also had four home runs and 11 doubles. Peters, who will play at traditional power Cal State Fullerton next season, was first team All-Baseline League.
ALEX LABOR, Northview, Senior, Outfielder
Labor played a major role in the Vikings advancing to the CIF-SS quarterfinals for the second consecutive season, including upsetting Division 4 top seed Kaiser in the second round. He ranked among area leaders, hitting .543. Labor was All-Valle Vista.
ELIAS ORONA, San Dimas, Senior, Outfielder
Orona was one of the top center fielders in the area. He was solid on offense, ranking among area leaders with a .344 average. He also had 20 RBIs. The senior played a big role in San Dimas advancing to the CIF-SS quarterfinals for the second consecutive season. He was All-Valle Vista League.
P: Nick Johnson, Bonita, So.
P: Isaac Archer, Bishop Amat, Jr.
P: Anthony Deeter, West Covina, Sr.
UT: Gerardo Ramirez, Diamond Bar, Jr.
C: Justin Cage, Glendora, Sr.
C: Kory Brown, Charter Oak, Sr.
INF: Michael Palos, Bishop Amat, Sr.
INF: Derek Martin, Arroyo, Sr.
INF: Jon Ayala, South Hills, Sr.
INF: Ryan Viramontes, West Covina, Sr.
OF: Jonathan Longtin, San Dimas, Jr.
OF: Justin Gomez, Bonita, Jr.
OF: Anthony Cuevas, Los Altos, Jr.
Glendora: Eric Flores, Sr., Inf/P
Bishop Amat: Adryan Ramirez, So. INF; Christian Moya, So. OF
Bonita: Joe Quire, Sr., INF; Ethan Muro, Sr. INF
Diamond Bar: Josh Sanchez, Sr. C
Walnut: Brennan McKenzie, So. INF
Sierra Vista: Christian Novelo, Sr. C
Damien: Jordan Abernathy, Sr. OF
San Dimas: Michael Starns, Sr. OF/P
FINAL TOP 10
1. Bishop Amat (21-11)
2. Glendora (21-7)
3. South Hills (21-6-1)
4. San Dimas (23-7-1)
5. Bonita (23-8)
6. Northview (18-12)
7. Diamond Bar (19-11)
8. Sierra Vista (22-4)
9. Walnut (15-13-2)
10. Arroyo (14-8)
Conspiracy theorists will have a field day with what allegedly has gone on behind the scenes over the past few weeks in regards to Bishop Amat baseball and coach Andy Nieto. If you think Nieto resigning Thursday after winning his fourth championship at the school was a surprise, you haven’t been reading our blog. First, the big news. A day after Nieto resigned, sophomores Anthony Walters and Christian Moya, two huge pieces to their championship team, left the school according to sources. Moya is reportedly transferring to South Hills. Back to Nieto and Amat baseball. I don’t normally pay close attention to comment speculation and predictions, except in this case, what has been rumored for weeks came to fruition, and what’s been rumored to follow is curiously taking shape. On the same day Nieto resigned, Bishop Amat principal Richard Beck confirmed that El Rancho junior varsity coach Gabe Lopez was at the school droping off his resume and inquiring about the opening that just became vacant a few hours earlier. For the record, Beck said Thursday the position wouldn’t be floated until today, would close on June 20 with a decision hopefully by June 30. It’s also interesting that two days before Nieto resigned, a well-placed source in Whittier told me that Lopez already was set to take over once Nieto made it official. Beck said that isn’t true. “Anyone that applies will have just as good a shot as the next one. There are others who have applied already as well. There isn’t one person we have in mind.” Beck said. However, if Lopez gets the job, folks are going to wonder if this was a backroom deal all along, and if new applicants ever had a chance. Although Nieto understandably denied it, sources have been emailing and calling me the past month suggesting he was ready to leave Amat, and that he would wind up at St. John Bosco. Sources have confirmed Nieto already has had cursory conversations with Bosco about its opening. There are also rumors Nieto could wind up at Damien, but there is one problem with that, Al Leyva is still the coach there. Want more fun speculation, Nogales’ John Romano, who just retired after more than 30 years at the school and more than 600 victories, said he is absolutely interested in Amat’s opening and will also be leaving his resume. Also, for those wondering if Bishop Amat softball coach Kristen Dedmon was returning after her first year, the answer is yes, she’ll be back. In football news, Aram Tolegian posted this on his In the Huddle Blog...
QB Steven Nava leaves Rosemead for Bishop Amat. http://t.co/d6ZrLWG4Sg
— Aram Tolegian (@aramtolegian) June 13, 2014
Bishop Amat’s next quarterback also could be junior-to-be Ryder Ruiz, the brother of Amat Hall of Famer Rio Ruiz
By Fred J. Robledo, Staff Writer
LA PUENTE – Bishop Amat baseball coach Andy Nieto, one of the winningest baseball coaches in Southern California over the last decade, announced Thursday he is resigning less than a week after earning his fourth championship in eight years at the school.
Bishop Amat started the season with four losses and was on the verge of not making the playoffs, but ended with ten straight victories culminating with last week’s stunning come-from-behind 4-3 victory over top-seed Palm Desert for the CIF-SS Division 3 title at Dodger Stadium.
Who will be the next baseball coach at Bishop Amat following Andy Nieto's resignation today?
— Fred J. Robledo (@SGVNSports) June 12, 2014
There was speculation for weeks that Nieto was considering leaving, and Thursday he told his team he was resigning both as coach and teacher at the school to pursue other opportunities.
“For me, I’m always seeking new challenges and new experiences,” Nieto said. “After a lot of thinking for me personally and my family, there couldn’t be a better time in terms of the timing.
“Things are at a very high level in where the program is and how I’m leaving it, and I wish everyone at Amat all the success in the future.
“In terms of what’s next for me, God willing, everything will work out.”
Whether Nieto is eyeing openings at St. John Bosco or Servite, which both compete in the tough Trinity league or a return to college remains to be seen.
“There are things out there, but for me nothing is concrete and nothing is on the table,” Nieto said.
Nieto was asked a few times during the playoffs if he was considering leaving, but said on multiple occasions he had no intention of resigning, repeating it again soon after the championship, but also noting that he never says never.
Bishop Amat boys basketball and football camps are both this month.
HIT AND HUSTLE: Bishop Amat’s Hit and Hustle Football camp with head coach Steve Hagerty and crew is Saturday, June 21, from 9-3 p.m. (forcing you to miss World Cup Football, I know, I know). Applications for the camp can be found a bishopamat.org under boys athletics/football. $75 gets you six hours of instruction, lunch, a group photo, shirt and a camp certificate.
BOYS BASKETBALL: Coach Brandon Ertle, his staff and members of the Lancers varsity basketball team is conducting their annual boys basketball camp from June 16-19 from 1:30 to 4:30 p.m., at Bishop Amat. The camp is open to anyone entering grades 5-9. The camp is for both the experienced and inexperienced player, provided you’ve got the $100 bucks to cover the four days. For more info contact coach Ertyle at (626) 962-2495 ext. 5822, email@example.com
MLB TRADE RUMORS: The Indians have reached an agreement with second-round pick Grant Hockin on an above-slot $1.1MM bonus, according to MLB Daily Dish’s Chris Cotillo (on Twitter). The 61st overall selection in the draft had been assigned a value of $928.7K, according to Baseball America.
Opinions on the 6’3″, 195-pound Hockin varied, as ESPN’s Keith Law ranked him 49th among draft prospects, while MLB.com’s Jim Callis and Jonathan Mayo ranked Hockin 91st and Baseball America ranked him 109th in the draft. Law feels that Hockin, a client of MVP Sports Group, flashes four above-average pitches with a clean arm slot. BA feels that only three of his pitches have above-average potential, also noting that he doesn’t have a wipeout offering.
Sources: #Indians have agreement with 2nd-rounder (61) Grant Hockin. He gets a $1.1M bonus, more than $928.7K slot value.
— Chris Cotillo (@ChrisCotillo) June 10, 2014
Bishop Amat rallied to beat Palm Desert, 4-3, to give Amat its fourth championship under coach Andy Nieto in eight years, and ninth title all-time. Steve Ramirez’s story is below.
By Stephen Ramirez
@SteveRRamirez on Twitter
LOS ANGELES >> A little more than a month ago, the Bishop Amat High School baseball team looked all but dead, losing three consecutive games and was in danger of missing the CIF-Southern Section playoffs.
Today, the Lancers are champions.
Michael Palos had a RBI double to tie it and Bryan Menendez followed with an RBI single for the lead and the Lancers rallied late for the fourth consecutive game to win the school’s ninth CIF-SS championship with a 4-3 victory over top seed Palm Desert in the Division 3 title game Friday at Dodger Stadium.
Christian Moya and Palos had two hits each for the Lancers, who finished 21-11, closing the season with a 10-game winning streak and its fourth CIF-SS title since 2007.
Andrew Clark, Gil Sauceda and Kyle Kabeary had two hits each for Palm Desert, which finished 27-7. It was also the Aztecs second loss to Amat in a championship game, losing 7-0 here in 2011.
“Winning a CIF championship is sweet, but winning it this way is even better,” Palos said. “It speaks volumes of the character of our team. We had our backs against the wall the whole time (during the playoffs), but we never gave up on ourselves.
“We always believed we could come back. We just picked each other up, rallied around each other. It just makes the victory that much more sweeter.”
Former Arcadia High School football coach Dick Salter passed away at his Covina home surrounded by his family on Friday. He was 87.
Salter was head coach at Arcadia from 1970-89. During that time he led the Apaches to CIF championship game appearances in 1977 and ’78. Prior to Arcadia, he also had a long stint as head coach at Cathedral. Salter later won CIF championships as an assistant coach at Bishop Amat and Upland.
Count another longtime San Gabriel Valley baseball coaching legend as gone.
Gladstone High School said Friday that Rich Remkus has retired after 30 years at the helm of the Gladiators’ baseball program.
“It’s just time,” Remkus said. “I’m retiring from teaching this year and I just wanted to make a clean break of it. I’m reaching the age where I’m slowing down and I just want to be able to devote some time some of my other hobbies in life while I’m still able to do it.”
Remkus joins other area baseball coaching stalwarts John Romano of Nogales and Monrovia’s Dave Moore, who ended lengthy careers following the end of the 2014 season.
During Remkus’ 30 seasons, Gladstone made the CIF-Southern Section playoffs 24 times and won a CIF championship in 1986. Remkus’ teams also won 12 league championships and played on one of the best-kept fields in the Valley.
“He had a reputation for having the nicest-manicured field in the area,” Gladstone athletic director Chuck Shore said of Remkus. “That didn’t come without a lot of sweat and hard work and time commitment. The district will only do so much with a facility but he wanted it to be the best, so he put the work in.”
“He has put Gladstone on the map in many ways. The players who came out of his program, when they went to college, they knew how to play the game.”
Remkus, 63, enjoyed one of the biggest moments of his career this spring when he won his 600th game on Mar. 12 against Rosemead. Remkus finished with 609 wins.
He had been considering retirement for some time, but stuck on 597 wins before the season started, Remkus said his family and friends pressured to come back and surpass the 600-win plateau.
Remkus cited the 1986 CIF championship and being able to coach his son Tommy in the 2010 San Gabriel Valley All-Star Game as the two biggest highlights of his career.
“Standing on that field with him (Tommy) that day was not only a big thrill as a coach, but as a father,” Remkus said. “The CIF championship and that one particular All-Star game, were the absolute highlights of my career.”
Remkus, who lives in Chino, also retired from teaching and enjoyed his last day at the school on Friday. The veteran coach said anyone looking for him going forward will likely find him on a golf course or in the mountains.
“I want to try and get my golf game back in shape and I really love the mountains,” Remkus said. “I want to spend a lot of times doing some hiking and camping up in the Sierras. It’s kind of a personal passion of mine. But I’m also going to like sleeping in everyday.”
Gladstone will begin the process of finding Remkus’ replacement immediately. A party with Remkus’ former players is also being planned. Former players interested in attending are encouraged to contact Shore for details at CShore@azusa.org.
Update, Hockin to Indians: Damien High School senior Grant Hockin was indeed the first local player chosen in the Major League Baseball Free Agent draft, going in the second round to the Cleveland Indians. He was the only area player taken on the first day of the annual draft.
The 6-foot-2 right-hander was predicted to go somewhere between the middle of the second round to early in the third round. The Indians chose him with the 61st overall selection, the 19th pick in the second round.
The Major League Baseball Amateur Draft gets underway with two rounds today and the third through seventh rounds on Friday. Hockin, a 6-foot-1 right-handed pitcher, will likely be the first local player selected.
“I’m excited, a littler nervous. Every emotion you can think of,” he said. “I worked hard and I am hoping that all pays off.”
Hockin, 18, is in a no-lose situation. He already has signed with UCLA and can go that rout if he isn’t satisfied with where he is selected or the contract negotiations that follow.
Bishop Amat High School girls’ basketball coach, Richard Wiard, is holding his annual Lady Hoopster Basketball Camp June 23-26 from 1:30-5:00 daily. The camp is open to girls entering the 5th-9th grades. Girls will receive instruction in basketball fundamentals, a camp t-shirt, and the chance to win daily prizes. The cost of the camp is $90. For more information, contact Coach Wiard at firstname.lastname@example.org or 626-962-2495 ext. 5868
SGV ALL-STAR PHOTO GALLERY
WHEATON SHINES: San Dimas’ Janelle Wheaton, who took second place in the home run derby with five, was a triple away from the cycle, including a two-run home run in the bottom of the eighth, to lead the North to a 9-6 comeback victory over South in the San Gabriel Valley softball all-star game on Monday afternoon.
“It’s pretty awesome to get to play with all the girls I played against all season,” said Wheaton, who was named the game’s MVP. “Today we got to become teammates, and to end if off with a home run was great.”
Northview’s Hayley Gomez wins HR Derby with 8 … watch a few of them here
Northview’s Ana Mejia hits an HR for the North, then talks about it
The Rio Hondo and Monrovia, who won three Mid-Valley championships over the past five years, will join the best public schools in the San Gabriel Valley after losing its appeal today to avoid the Central Division in football, which includes the likes of Charter Oak, Glendora, West Covina, Bonita and South Hills, who hail from the Palomares and Sierra Leagues, and will be part of the division starting in the fall. There was a time while winning their Mid-Valley titles that Monrovia fans thought they were better than them all, including Bishop Amat in the Pac-5. Well, now they get their chance to prove it on the field.
The Rio Hondo League appeal of their movement to the Central Division in football has been denied 7-0-2.
— CIF Southern Section (@CIFSS) May 28, 2014
So, the Rio Hondo league and Monrovia can't escape the Central. Welcome to facing the East San Gabriel Valley's best … finally.
— Fred J. Robledo (@SGVNSports) May 28, 2014
IS MONROVIA’S FOOTBALL DYNASTY OVER?: Some of the luster was already off the Monrovia High School football program when the CIF-Southern Section proposed that the Wildcats, along with the Rio Hondo League, be moved to the Central Division.
Monrovia had just come off a season in which it was walloped by St. Francis in the area’s biggest nonleague game of the season and later lost in the semifinals of the Mid-Valley Division playoffs despite a being prohibitive favorite to win its fourth consecutive division title.
Then came word that head coach Ryan Maddox, who had guided the program to one of the most successful runs in area history, resigned to focus on other career goals. Maddox’s departure led to a longer-than-expected job search that saw some very high-profile local coaches say “thanks but no thanks” to being the next head coach.
By Fred Robledo
BALDWIN PARK — Talk about paying it forward.
The last time Sierra Vista High School’s baseball team reached the CIF-Southern Section divisional quarterfinals was in 1993 led by pitcher Pedro Flores, who went on to play at East L.A. College and was later drafted in the 18th round by the Los Angeles Dodgers in 1996, where he spent over 10 years in the minors with several different organizations, reaching Triple-A on many occasions.
Dons head coach Brett Stevens has been in charge 26 years and coached Flores, who he still considers the Dons’ all-time best and who holds most of the Dons’ pitching records.
Fittingly, Stevens and Flores are back at it together, leading Sierra Vista back to the quarterfinals for the first time in 21 years.
Sierra Vista (21-3), which set a school record for wins in a season, will take on top-seed Santa Ynez (26-1) on the road in Saturday’s Division 5 quarterfinals at 2 p.m., with a chance to earn its first semifinal berth in history.
Flores, who threw four consecutive shutouts when he was dominating in the 90s for the Dons, has been the pitching coach at Sierra Vista for nearly a decade, and has done a remarkable job grooming senior pitchers Eric Gutierrez (9-1, 1.22 ERA) and Andrew Luna (7-0, 1.79 ERA).
“Pedro was my number one pitcher three years in a row when he was here and most of the credit goes to him when you talk about our pitchers, and what we’ve done with our pitchers over the last few years,” said Stevens, who started at Sierra Vista in 1989. “He’s an incredible coach and the players respect him.”
The 6-foot-3 guard averaged 22 points, five rebounds, five assists and two steals for the Spartans (22-7), the Sierra League runners-up to Chino Hills.
He stepped up when it mattered most with a season high of 37 points against Mayfair and Temecula Great Oak, both teams that made extended playoff runs. He also had 33 points against Chino Hills.
The San Gabriel Valley senior all-star softball game was a huge success last year at Diamond Bar High School and event coordinator and West Covina coach Jesse Mendez, along with help from other area coaches, are finalizing plans for Monday’s game at Diamond Bar HS at 5 p.m. This years game will also feature the first-ever HOME RUN DERBY, so it should be an exciting event. We will post rosters and a story tomorrow and publish it in the paper on Friday.
CLUTCH: Northview’s Jake Amaya’s belts a walk-off homer in the eighth inning to lead Northview to a 2-1 victory in eight innings over No. 1 Kaiser in the second round of the Division 4 playofs. Northview rallied to tied the score, 1-1 in the bottom of the seventh.
STORY: It might not be the Northview High School baseball team’s biggest win its history, which includes two CIF-Southern Section championships, but it’s certainly high on the list.
Jose Urbina hit a run-scoring double with two outs in the seventh inning tied it and Jake Amaya hit home run in the bottom of the eighth as the host Vikings ousted top-seeded Kaiser 2-1 in a Southern Section Division 4 second-round game Tuesday.
“I’m feeling great,” Amaya said. “I got that high pitch and did what I had to do, and that was the outcome. I’m just speechless right now.”
TUESDAY’S CIF-SS BASEBALL PLAYOFFS
La Mirada 4, Glendora 2
Temecula Valley 4, South Hills 1
Warren 4, Diamond Bar 1
Bishop Amat 4, Orange 3
Redondo 6, Bonita 4
Northview 2, Kaiser 1
San Dimas 9, Granite Hills 1
Sierra Vista 9, Hemet 3
Tahquitz 10, Arroyo 0
Bishop Amat at Quartz Hill, 3:15 p.m.
California at Northview, 3:15 p.m.
Torrance at San Dimas, 3:15 p.m
Sierra Vista at Santa Ynez, 2 p.m.
GLENDORA FALLS TO La Mirada, 4-2
By Fred J. Robledo
GLENDORA – After assistant coach Jimmy Zurn finished his post-game speech following La Mirada’s come-from-behind 4-2 victory over Glendora in the second round of the CIF-Southern Section Division 2 baseball playoffs, the Matadores players turned toward left field, pointing and waving.
They were saluting head coach Kim Brooks, who waved back, then turned and walked away.
Brooks was placed on administrative leave last week prior to the playoffs after a profanity-laced audio of him screaming at his team following a spring break tournament game surfaced and made national headlines.
Columnist Frank Girardot apologized to high school coaches in today’s column, titled “No excuses for throwing all coaches under the bus.” Girardot took a lot of heat for last week’s column when he addressed the profanity-laced tirade that made La Mirada baseball coach Kim Brooks famous for all the wrong reasons. But what seemed to touch the wrong nerve for most, especially high school coaches, was a sentence in the column that read, “Seriously, who grows up wanting to be a high school baseball coach.”
By Stephen Ramirez
@SteveRRamirez on Twitter
LA VERNE — There are times when the Bonita High School baseball team looks dominated, but the Bearcats always seem to recover when it’s least expected.
Bonita, which had late come-back wins against Walnut and Diamond Ranch during Hacienda League play, did it again Friday, pulling out victory from the defeat by rallying for a 3-2 win over visiting Cathedral City in a Division 3 first-round game.
Sophomore Anthony Cascarano hit a two-out, two-run triple to tie it in the seventh and sophomore Noah Williams singled in the winning run in the ninth as No. 2 seed Bonita improved to 23-7 and will face Redondo, a 1-0 winner over La Salle, in Tuesday’s second round. The site will be determined by coin flip.
Sabino Ramirez gave up six hits and struck out seven for the Lions, who finished 12-13.
Bonita’s Anthony Cascarano: “This team has a lot of heart. We don’t stop from bleeding. I really wanted to do it for my team, for the seniors. I didn’t want this to be their last game. When I got down 0 and 2, I got scared. I just tried to put the bat on the ball. When I saw the ball fall and saw coach (John) Knott’s face, I was really happy. Nothing can feel better than that. It was great.”
Bonita’s Noah Williams: “I was just trying to get a base hit and bring it back to our team I didn’t want to see our seniors go down like that. It was just a great feeling.”
BISHOP AMAT 11, ELSINORE 0
By John Honell
LA PUENTE – Every coach, in every sport, wants his team to get hot heading into the playoffs.
The Bishop Amat baseball team appears to be hot at the right time, winning its sixth consecutive game, an easy 11-0 victory over Elsinore in the first round of the CIF-Southern Section Division 3 playoffs.
The Lancers (17-11) will play the winner of the La Quinta/Orange contest next Tuesday at a site to be determined.
Jayson Gonzalez had two hits and three RBIs and Alex Garcia pitched a four-hit shutout for the Lancers.
Bishop Amat’s Alex Garcia: “The first (playoff) game is always the toughest. Once you get it under your belt I’m sure it’ll be fine. We had a good scouting report on these guys and I was able to throw pitches where the coach called them. Our defense was great and we’re playing championship ball right now and that’s what we need to be doing.”
Bishop Amat coach Andy Nieto: “Our Achilles heel has been getting on a team early then losing focus. We let teams get back in the game but today we got them on the ropes and applied the knockout punch, that’s the difference.”
FRIDAY’S CIF-SS BASEBALL PLAYOFF SCORES
Diamond Bar 4, West Torrance 3
Santa Monica 5, West Covina 0
Bishop Amat 11, Elsinore 0
Bonita 3, Cathedral City 2
Sierra Vista 3, Linfield Christian 2
Citrus Hill 6, Rosemead 0
Templeton 3, La Puente 0
Arroyo 12, St. Bernard 4
Tuesday’s second round
La Mirada at Glendora, 3:15 p.m.
South Hills at Temecula Valley, 3:15 p.m.
Warren at Diamond Bar, 3:15 p.m.
Bishop Amat at Orange, 3:15 p.m.
Bonita at Redondo, 3:15 p.m.
Kaiser at Northview, 3:15 p.m.
San Dimas at Granite Hills 3:15 p.m.
Sierra Vista at Hemet, 3:15 p.m.
Tahquitz at Arroyo, 3:15 p.m.
By Stephen Ramirez
@SteveRRamirez on Twitter
SAN DIMAS – If the San Dimas High School baseball team is to have a lengthy stay in the CIF-Southern Section playoffs, the Saints are going to need solid efforts from pitcher Peter Lambert.
The junior showed why Thursday.
Lambert took a perfect game into the seventh inning before finishing with a 1-hit shutout to lead host San Dimas to a 6-0 victory over Grand Terrace in a Division 4 first-round game.
San Dimas, also getting two RBIs from Elias Orona and two hits each from Jonathan Longtin and Michael Starns, improved to 22-6-1 and advanced to face either Granite Hills in Tuesday’s second roun. The site will be determined by coin flip on Friday.
Josh McPherson had the only hit for the Titans, who finished 14-12-1.
San Dimas’ Peter Lambert: “It’s a great win. Obviously, it’s the first round, but it’s a great win and we’re on to the next one. This was really on the defense. They made great plays. I only struck out six, so I put this one on the defense.”
San Dimas coach Mike Regan: “That was a tough one (to give up in the seventh). We always think our guy should have made the play. We did very, very well.”
Grand Terrace coach Mike Reh: “Lambert was excellent today. Obviously, when you’re getting perfect-gamed, it’s extremely difficult to get anything going. His tempo was phenomenal. Sometimes you just have to tip your cap to an outstanding performance.”
CIF-SS Baseball Playoffs
Glendora 8, Rio Mesa 0
Crescenta Valley 6, Damien 1
South Hills 1, Oxnard 0, 8 innings
Northview 5, Fullerton 3
San Dimas 6, Grand Terrace 0
Diamond Bar at West Torrance, 3:15 p.m.
West Covina at Santa Monica, 3:15 p.m.
Elsinore at Bishop Amat, 2:30 p.m.
Cathedral City at Bonita, 3:15 p.m.
Linfield Christian at Sierra Vista, 3:15 p.m.
La Puente at Templeton, 3:15 p.m.
St. Bernard at Arroyo, 3:15 p.m.
By Aram Tolegian, San Gabriel Valley Tribune
Former Diamond Ranch High School assistant football coach Matt Johnson says that he, along with former Panthers head coach Roddy Layton and other members of the coaching staff, accessed rival Diamond Bar’s Hudl.com account in order to gain an advantage before last fall’s rivalry game.
Johnson, a 2008 graduate of Diamond Ranch and a team captain on the Panthers’ ‘07 team, said Layton and his staff obtained Diamond Bar’s Hudl log-in information from a former Brahmas player who transferred to Diamond Ranch last fall and used it to scout the week leading up to a 34-20 win on Oct. 18, 2013.
“We were actually watching their practices (on Hudl),” Johnson said. “We were watching what they were planning on doing to us. Roddy said we can’t tell anybody. He said let’s just watch it and see what happens. I was there. I’m not trying to spare myself. I was in there.”