About Fred Robledo

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

Columnist thinks La Mirada baseball coach Kim Brooks should be fired

By Frank C. Girardot, Pasadena Star-News
La Mirada High School baseball coach Kim Brooks needs his mouth washed out with soap.
A tongue lashing he gave his ballplayers following an Easter week loss is so foul, that an audio tape of the tirade led to his suspension while the La Mirada-Norwalk Unified School District investigates.

Of course, not everyone agrees …

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Area coaches react to La Mirada baseball coach Kim Brooks’ profanity-laced tirade

BROOKSAREA COACHES REACT TO KIM BROOKS PROFANITY-LACED TIRADE: It’s not only the court of public opinion where opinions are running rampant on the actions of suspended La Mirada High School baseball coach and athletic director Kim Brooks, who was placed on administrative leave earlier this week after his profanity-laden locker room speech went viral. Local baseball coaches also have something to say about it and they weren’t holding back Wednesday while their colleague awaits the results of a Norwalk-La Mirada School District investigation into the matter that could cost the veteran baseball coach his job.

“First, I don’t condone what Coach Brooks said at all. Coach Brooks has never lacked for trying to bring out the best in kids. He’s a true baseball educator. He’s an athletic director, history teacher and when you get involved in teaching that long you have to have a passion for teaching and mentoring kids. He’s a legend there and his big fault is that he used inappropriate language and that’s not acceptable. There are a lot of words in the English language you can use and that he should have used differently.”Bishop Amat baseball coach Andy Niteo.

“It sounded to me like a good, hard-nosed, old-school coach laying into his team. I think we all would like to hope that we didn’t use the language that sometimes comes out, but I’ve stood on a football sideline, too. Things happen in the heat of the moment. I took it as nothing more than a good coach being disappointed in his kids’ effort that day. I don’t think he was asking them to do anymore than wear the jersey with pride. The way he went about it obviously wasn’t perfect.” Monrovia co-head coach Brad Blackmore.

“I played in an environment when I went to Azusa Pacific University where nobody swore over there, so I know coaches can be effective and not use that language. In today’s generation, I tell myself, If they were to play it back, would you be OK with it?’ And that’s just the reality of it, like it or not.”Bonita baseball coach John Knott

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Baseball: West Covina advances with 6-1 vitory over St. Paul; Glendora’s Kale Morton keeps pitching tradition going

mortonMeet undefeated Kale Morton: Glendora High School, since Dan Henley has been head baseball coach, has been a pitching haven.
The Tartans have featured a who’s who of the Valley’s best in recent years, from Brandon Villalobos, to Wes Roemer to Adam Plutko.
Kale Morton is Henley’s latest to carry on the tradition. And like the others, the senior has gone from a limited role to greatness, setting a school record by going 10-0 during the regular season.
Even Henley didn’t really see his latest ace coming, at least not at the rate he’s progressed to this season.
“I knew he was capable of pitching like this,” said Henley, who is likely to turn to his latest protege when the No. 4 seed Tartans host Rio Mesa in the first round of the CIF-Southern Section Division 2 playoffs Thursday at 3:15 p.m. “He had been very consistent for us. I’d be lying if I said he would be (10-0), and this dominant. He’s been extremely dominant. I knew that he had a quality arm. He didn’t pitch a whole lot last year, but the innings he did pitch where key moments and at times, he was electrifying.”
Morton has gone from that limited role to arguably the best pitcher in the area. He’s been a key for the Tartans’ run to their third Baseline League title in four seasons after going 10-0 with two saves during the regular season. He also has a 1.72 ERA in 12 appearances.

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West Covina advances: West Covina and St. Paul baseball teams had to win its last regular-season game last week just to qualify for the postseason.
It was back to win or go home on Wednesday.
West Covina will continue its season with a 6-1 victory over visiting St. Paul in a CIF-Southern Section Division 3 wild-card game.

TODAY’S CIF-SS BASEBALL WILD CARD GAMES
Division 3

West Covina 6, St. Paul 1
Rialto 6, Walnut 0
Division 5
Cerritos Valley Christian 7, El Monte 2
Lompoc Cabrillo 9, Gladstone 0
St. Bernard 4, Azusa 0

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LISTEN TO AUDIO: Legendary La Mirada baseball coach Kim Brooks on leave after explosive audio ripping his team

COMMENTARY: It wasn’t the foul language that made Brooks’ tirade so troubling. Every player who was in that room hears or says many of those same words every day at school, at practice, walking from class to class or at lunch. They hear worse in the music that blares from car stereos. They hear worse on a nightly basis on HBO or Showtime.

BROOKSMUST READ: By Dave Felton
Longtime La Mirada High athletic director and baseball coach Kim Brooks has been suspended by the Norwalk-La Mirada Unified School District after a profanity-laced audio tape of Brooks screaming at his team following a loss was released.

“I’ve been here a long time,” Brooks said calmly at the beginning of the recording, “and I will tell you that was probably the most PATHETIC (EXPLETIVE) BASEBALL GAME I’VE EVER SEEN A GROUP PLAY!”

The 17-minute recording features Brooks repeatedly cursing at his players, questioning their dedication to the program and inviting players to transfer to another school.

Note: Audio excerpt is two-minutes of a 17-minute profanity laced-tirade from coach Kim Brooks to his players following a game.

Brooks has his supporters on twitter, many of whom are using the hashtag, #freetheredman … Here is what a few have to say

The Brooks story is everywhere, including at the Houston Press, which had this commentary from one of its blogs. I don’t know much about Brooks, other than his mustache game is strong, his first name is unfortunate, and his passion for high school boys baseball is disturbingly unchained. Based on the audio below following an 8-4 loss on April 26 to something called a Los Osos, Brooks might also be currently trying to quit smoking because he seems more than a little peeved at his team’s performance in that game:

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Baseball/Softball: Los Altos softball shocks South Hills 1-0; Damien baseball wins wild card, 3-2; Nogales coach John Romano’s 35-year career ends with 16-4 loss to Ramona

Coaches/Fans: Tweet updates to @sgvnscores and @sgvnsports and call in results to 626-544-0992 after the game to get your result in the paper and online.

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By Stephen Ramirez
steve.ramirez@langnews.com
@SteveRRamirez on Twitter


HACIENDA HEIGHTS – Celeste Wood wasn’t dominant Tuesday. She just got the job done, which is all that’s regarded in the CIF-Southern Section softball playoffs.
Wood tossed a four-hit shutout to lead host Los Altos to a 1-0 victory over South Hills in a Division 2 first-round game.
The Conquerors, who scored the game’s only run on a throwing error in the first inning, improved to 15-6 and advanced to Thursday’s second round against Moorpark at a site to be determined. Freshman sensation Natalie Lugo gave up three hits and struck out 10 for the Huskies, who finished 21-8.
Wood, who improved to 12-1, turned away three scoring chances for the Huskies, who where 0 for 7 with runners in scoring position.
Los Altos’ Celeste Wood: “I pitched for my team. It was a team win. I was focused on holding (South Hills), not letting them score, and helping my defense out. I just wanted to pitch with my best effort.”

Los Altos coach Nacho Hernandez: “We figured if we could get any type of run, my defense would come through. It did. It was an amazing game to watch.”

South Hills coach Brandon Gonzalez: “We just didn’t execute at the plate. You have to give the pitcher credit. She pitched a good game. Mine did to, but they got the run.”

TODAY’S CIF-SS PLAYOFF SCHEDULE
BASEBALL
DIVISION 2
Wild Card

Damien 3, St. Joseph 2
DIVISION 4
Wild Card

Wilson at Santa Ana Calvary Chapel, 3:15 p.m.
Ramona 16, Nogales 4
Patriot 4, Baldwin Park 1
SOFTBALL
DIVISION 2
First Round

Mission Viejo 13, Diamond Bar 0
Capistrano Valley 7, Charter Oak 1
Los Altos 1, South Hills 0
Yucaipa 3, Bonita 0
DIVISION 3
First Round
Bishop Amat 6, Burroughs/Burbank 3
DIVISION 4
First Round
South El Monte at Patriot, 3:15 p.m
Heritage 10, Arroyo 0
DIVISION 5
First Round
Sierra Vista 8, Alhambra 3
San Dimas 11, Lompoc 0
Marlborough 14, Azusa 6
Paraclete 4, Edgewood 3
Ontario Chr. 4, Northview 0
Anaheim 2, Duarte 1
Cabrillo/Lompoc 6, Covina 5

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CIF Football Division proposals for 2014-16 cycle are set … Monrovia AD says Rio Hondo likely to appeal move to Central

The football proposals were released today and the two to pay attention to locally are the Central and Mid-Valley Division. For football fans, putting the Hacienda, Palomares and Rio Hondo in the Central division is a dream for area public heavyweights. We’ve wanted West Covina, Charter Oak, South Hills, Monrovia, Diamond Bar, Los Altos and Glendora all in the same football division for years, and now we’ve got it. There’s no more debate, the best area public school WILL be decided on the field. The Mid-Valley Division is led by second-tier area public schools led by defending champion San Dimas from the Valle Vista, and including the Montview and new Hacienda. Of course, the divisions aren’t set in stone yet. League’s will have a chance to appeal. There might be some in Southeast that do not like the inclusion of the Mission League, which includes St. Francis and other Catholic school teams on the rise that fought recently to keep some of its teams from the Pac-5. Now they’re competing with leagues from the Pacific, and Del Rio. Wow, expect St. Francis to have the same type of success that Monrovia had in the Mid-Valley. If they don’t win at least two championships over the next three years it will be a huge disappointment.
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Parochial A
Bishop Amat, Serra, Loyola, Notre Dame, Alemany, Chaminade, Crespi
Baseline League
Chino Hills, Damien/St. Lucy’s, Etiwanda, Los Osos, Rancho Cucamonga, Upland
Palomares League
Ayala, Bonita, Claremont, Diamond Bar, Glendora, South Hills
Hacienda League
Charter Oak, Chino, Diamond Ranch, Los Altos, Walnut, West Covina
Mt. Baldy League
Alta Loma, Chaffey, Colony, Don Lugo, Montclair, Ontario
Valle Vista League
Nogales, Covina, Northview, Rowland, San Dimas, Wilson
Montview League
Azusa, Duarte, Gladstone, Baldwin Park, Sierra Vista, Workman
Miramonte League
Bassett, Edgewood, Ganesha, Garey, La Puente, Pomona

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News divisions for baseball, softball, boys/girls soccer and girls volleyball set for 2014-16

Baseline League
Chino Hills, Damien/St. Lucy’s, Etiwanda, Los Osos, Rancho Cucamonga, Upland
Palomares League
Ayala, Bonita, Claremont, Diamond Bar, Glendora, South Hills
Hacienda League
Charter Oak, Chino, Diamond Ranch, Los Altos, Walnut, West Covina
Mt. Baldy League
Alta Loma, Chaffey, Colony, Don Lugo, Montclair, Ontario
Valle Vista League
Nogales, Covina, Northview, Rowland, San Dimas, Wilson
Montview League
Azusa, Duarte, Gladstone, Baldwin Park, Sierra Vista, Workman
Miramonte League
Bassett, Edgewood, Ganesha, Garey, La Puente, Pomona

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CIF-SS Baseball pairings: Bonita No. 2 in D-3; Glendora No. 4 in D-2; San Dimas No. 3 in D-4

The CIF-SS baseball pairings are released at 9 a.m. We’ll post the local schedule here as soon as we get it.
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STORY: Glendora, Bonita and San Dimas earned seeds in its respective divisions following the CIF-Southern Section baseball pairings Monday.
After running away with the Baseline League title, Glendora earned the No. 4 seed in the competitive Division 2 playoffs and will host the winner of Tuesday’s wild-card between Rio Mesa and Arroyo Grande in Thursday’s first-round.
Damien, which finished fourth in the Sierra League, earned an at-large berth in Division 2 and will travel to Santa Maria St. Joseph for a wild card on Tuesday, with the winner advancing to face Redlands East Valley.
South Hills, which finished second to Chino Hills in the Sierra League, will host Pacific League runner-up Oxnard in a Division 2 first-round game Thursday.

CIF-SS AREA BASEBALL PLAYOFF SCHEDULE
DIVISION 2
Tuesday’s wild card

Damien at St. Joseph, 3:15 p.m.
Thursday’s first-round
Rio Mesa-Arroyo Grande winner at No. 4 Glendora, 3:15 p.m.
Damien-St. Joseph’s winner at Redlands East Valley, 3:15 p.m.
Oxnard at South Hills, 3:15 p.m.
DIVISION 3
Wednesday’s wild card

St. Paul at West Covina, 3:15 p.m.
Walnut at Rialto, 3:15 p.m.
Friday’s first-round
Diamond Bar at West Torrance, 3:15 p.m.
St. Paul-West Covina winner at No.4 Santa Monica, 3:15 p.m.
Rialo-Walnut winner at Downey, 3:15 p.m.
Elsinore-Palos Verdes winner at Bishop Amat, 3:15 p.m.
Lancaster-Cathedral City winner at No. 2 Bonita, 3:15 p.m.
DIVISION 4
Tuesday’s wild card

Wilson at Santa Ana Calvary Chapel, 3:15 p.m.
Nogales at Ramona, 3:15 p.m.
Patriot at Baldwin Park, 3:15 p.m
Thursday’s first-round
Northview at Fullerton, 3:15 p.m.
Wilson-Santa Ana Calvary Chapel winner at Don Lugo, 3:15 p.m.
Ramona-Nogales winner at Victor Valley, 3:15 p.m.
Grand Terrace-Godinez winner at No. 3 San Dimas, 3:15 p.m.
Baldwin Park-Patriot winner at No. 2 Sonora, 3:15 p.m.
DIVISION 5
Wednesday’s wild card

Cerritos Valley Christian at El Monte, 3:15 p.m.
Gladstone at Lompoc Cabrillo, 3:15 p.m.
St. Bernard at Azusa, 3:15 p.m.
Friday’s first-round
Cerritos Valley Christian-El Monte winner at No. 1 Santa Ynez
Linfield Christian at Sierra Vista, 3:15 p.m.
Rosemead at Citrus Hill, 3:15 p.m.
Lompoc Cabrillo-Gladstone winner at No. 4 Woodcrest Christian, 3:15 p.m.
La Puente at Templeton, 3:15 p.m.
Azusa-St. Bernard winner at Arroyo, 3:15 p.m.

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Today’s CIF-SS softball wild card games: South Hills, Bishop Amat, Northview, Diamond Bar, Azusa all home

Coaches/Fans: Tweet updates to @sgvnscores and @sgvnsports and call in results to 626-544-0992 after the game to get your result in the paper and online.

bulldogs
TODAY’S AREA CIF-SS SOFTBALL WILD CARD GAMES
DIVISION 2
Ontario at Diamond Bar, 3:15 p.m.
Tesoro at South Hills, 3:15 p.m.
West Covina at Redlands, 3:15 p.m.
DIVISION 3
Lancaster at Bishop Amat, 3:15 p.m.
DIVISION 5
Workman at Katella, 3:15 p.m.
Barstow at Northview, 3:15 p.m.
Edgewood at Immaculate Heart
Nipomo at Azusa, 3 p.m.
Wilson at Notre Dame/Riverside, 3 p.m.

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Breaking News: Diamond Ranch coach Roddy Layton resigns amid allegations

roddy

By Aram Tolegian
Roddy Layton resigned late last week as Diamond Ranch High School varsity football head coach as accusations swirl that the Panthers coaching staff hacked into rival Diamond Bar’s Hudl account to obtain important scouting information during the week of their game on Oct. 18, 2013.

Layton said his resignation is not related to a letter obtained by this publication and sent to the CIF-Southern Section last week by Diamond Bar that alleges Diamond Ranch coaches obtained Diamond Bar’s account information on Hudl and used video archives and notes to help prepare for the game.

Diamond Ranch won the game 34-20, but the night was marred by a benches-clearing brawl that led to the suspensions of several players from both teams. Diamond Bar forfeited its following game because it could not field a team. Diamond Ranch went on to win the league with a 6-0 record.

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VIDEO: East wins seventh straight Hall of Fame game over East, 24-13; La Serna’s Frankie Palmer named MVP

Photo gallery of 35th annual Hall of Fame All-Star game

palmerBy Aram Tolegian
For a few moments early in the second half, it appeared the East might be in jeopardy of seeing its domination in the Hall of Fame All-Star Game come to an end.
Then, La Serna’s Frankie Palmer took over.
Palmer led two second-half touchdown drives and the East boosted its winning streak in the series to seven with a 24-13 win over the West on Friday night at West Covina High. The East leads the overall series 23-10-2.
“It’s an awesome experience,” said Palmer, who was named East Most Valuable Player. “To be among all these great players and I got (MVP), it’s just an awesome experience.”
The West led 7-3 at halftime and was moving the ball well on its first drive of the second half when disaster struck. Bishop Amat safety Michael Gonzales picked off an errant pass and returned it 64 yards for a 10-7 East lead.

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San Dimas serves up the hit of a lifetime for Pomona’s Tim Collins

San Dimas High School pitcher Peter Lambert threw a one-hitter to beat Pomona 10-0 in a mercy shortened six-inning game to close out the Valle Vista League on Thursday — but the lone hit is worth a lifetime of memories for Red Devils senior Tim Collins.

Collins is a mentally challenged special needs student who has been on varsity for the past two season’s. Thursday’s hit was the only hit of his high school career.

“Tim is on our team but he’s only had four or five at bats this season,” Pomona coach Jason Albaugh said. “San Dimas asked us before the game if they could do something nice for him. It was an incredible gesture, because their kid (Lambert) could have thrown a no-hitter, but they did this and it meant everything to (Collins).”

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East Meets West in Tonight’s annual SGV Hall of Fame All-Star Senior Football game that almost didn’t happen

What: 35th annual Hall of Fame All-Star Football Game
When: Friday
Where: West Covina High School, 7 p.m.
paytontd
By Aram Tolegian
Which side of the Valley, and surrounding parts, plays the best high school football will be decided Friday when East meets West in the 35th San Gabriel Valley Hall of Fame All-Star Senior game at West Covina High School. Kickoff is at 7 p.m.
In recent years, the answer has been crystal clear that the East holds all the cards when it comes to the prep gridiron. The East will try to extend its series win streak to seven and bolster the all-time series lead which stands at 22-10-2 favoring the East.
For all of the great memories and large crowds that the game has produced over the years, it almost went the way of the dinosaur this year.
The National Football Foundation, which used to sponsor the game, abruptly pulled out after adopting a national policy to not put on any all-star games due to insurance concerns.

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Celeste Wood rallies Los Altos to 4-3 victory over West Covina to share Hacienda League title with Bonita

Los Altos, West Covina photo gallery
losaltos

By Fred J. Robledo
WEST COVINA
– There figured to be a dramatic ending to the Hacienda League softball title and Los Altos, West Covina and Bonita provided every bit of it entering the final day in a three-way tie for first.
Trailing West Covina by a run entering the top of the seventh, Los Altos junior Celeste Wood provided the spark with a game-tying solo home run, and Berlynne Delamora singled and later scored on a one-out passed ball to rally the Conquerors to a 4-3 victory.
Wood, who earned the victory in the circle, got West Covina clean-up hitter Maddy Tickey to ground out with the tying runner on second in the bottom of the seventh to earn the Conquerors (14-6, 10-2) a share of the league title.
Bonita (17-6, 10-2) hung on to share the title with Los Altos, getting out of a bases-loaded jam in the bottom of the seventh with a double play to hang on for a 10-8 victory over Diamond Ranch.
A coin flip will determine who enters the CIF-Southern Section Division 3 playoffs as the league’s top entry with West Covina (16-11, 9-3) finishing third.
Wood talked about her homer that gave the Conquerors life.

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Bonita baseball wins Hacienda League title in dramatic fashion, rallying from five runs down for 6-5 victory over Diamond Ranch; Diamond Bar second, West Covina gets third playoff spot

Bonita’s fifth come-from-behind win clinched the Hacienda League title in dramatic fashion with a 6-5 victory over Diamond Ranch in eight innings. Bonita (22-7, 10-2), the CIF-SS Division 3s second-ranked team, trailed 5-0 early and 5-3 in the seventh, but rallied to tie it and win in extra innings. Danny Gelalich’s RBI single scored Alex Gonzalez and Gelalich later scored on an error to tie the score, 5-5 in the seventh. Gonzalez’s walk-off RBI fly out brought in the game-winning run in the eighth inning to clinch the crown.
Diamond Bar (18-9, 9-3) clinched second with an 18-8 victory over Walnut (15-12, 6-6), dropping the Mustangs in a tie for third with West Covina (15-12, 6-6), who defeated Los Altos. Because West Covina swept Walnut, it earns the automatic third-place entry, leaving Walnut hoping for an at-large berth.

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Chino Hills baseball clinches Sierra, ending South Hills’ bid for 12th straight league title; Damien finishes fourth

Chino Hills (21-5, 12-3) baseball won the Sierra League title outright with a 16-9 victory over Damien (16-9, 8-7). South Hills, which needed Chino Hills to lose to earn its 12th straight league title, beat Ayala 4-2 behind a strong pitching performance from Gavin Velasquez, giving South Hills (20-5-1, 11-4) sole possession of second. Damien finishes in a tie for third with Ayala (15-12, 8-7), but Ayala won the season-series 2-1 and gets the third playoff spot. Unless Damien gets an at-large berth in the Division 2 playoffs, its season is over.

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Did Adam Muema quit football to become a boxer or ultimate fighter? Nobody seems to know for sure

muemaWhere is former Charter Oak running back and area player of the year Adam Muema? Who really knows. After finishing San Diego State, Muema made national headlines for skipping the NFL combine because “God” told him to do it. He also said he would be drafted by the Seattle Seahawks but went undrafted and unsigned over the weekend. So what now? An ESPN story Tuesday quoted Muema saying he is done playing football and plans to try boxing or ultimate fighting. “I don’t like being a slave to money or coaches,” Muema told ESPN. “I prefer an individual sport.” A Sports Illustrated article today reports that Muema denied wanting to become a boxer or ultimate fighter, and that for the last two months, he has tweeted about traveling to Mexico, where Rayel has summoned his followers, the Rayelites, to gather in anticipation of the world ending. Based on his social media posts and brief interview with the San Diego Union Tribune this week, Muema appears to be there now. Whatever happens or whatever he decides to do, let’s hope he’s safe and happy. There are too many strange stories out there about him, and reason for so many close to him to be concerned, especially with this tweet and his insensitive words …

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Nothing like the final day of league action for baseball and softball; we’ve got your league-by-league breakdown

Several league titles and playoff spots will be determined today for baseball and softball and here are a few scenario’s to follow this afternoon. I will be at West Covina softball hosting Los Altos for the wild finish in the Hacienda but I will try and update as many as the scenario’s as I can tonight. Help by tweeting updates to @sgvnsports today so I can share it and follow everything as it happens

hillsrally

BASEBALL
SIERRA LEAGUE

Chino Hills (20-5, 11-3) is in the drivers and can clinch the league title outright with a victory at Damien (16-8, 8-6) today at 3:15. South Hills’ (19-5-1, 10-4) only shot at sharing the league title, which would be its 12th straight, is by winning at Ayala (15-11, 8-6) and hoping Damien beats Chino Hills. There is also a huge race for third. Damien and Ayala are tied, but Ayala owns the tiebreaker because of a 2-1 series edge over Damien. For Damien to guarantee it makes the playoffs, it needs to win and hope Ayala loses. If they finish in a tie for third, Damien must hope it has done enough to earn an at-large berth in D-2.

HACIENDA LEAGUE
Bonita (21-7, 9-2) finishes at home against Diamond Ranch and needs a victory to clinch the title outright. Diamond Bar (17-9, 8-3) has already clinched second but can earn a share of the title with a victory at home against (Walnut (15-11-2, 6-5) coupled with a Bonita loss. West Covina (14-12, 5-6) will host Los Altos (13-14, 5-6) and the winner will finish in a tie for third with Walnut only if Walnut loses to Bonita. Tiebreakers for teams that finish third are head-to-head first, followed by a coin flip.

VALLE VISTA LEAGUE
San Dimas (20-6-1, 10-1) already has clinched the league title. Only thing left to determine is second and third with Northview (16-10, 8-3) tied with Baldwin Park (15-6-1, 8-3). Baldwin Park will host Wilson today while Northview visits Nogales in the final league game for legendary coach John Romano, who is retiring as the Nobles coach after 35 years. If they finish in a tie for third, a coin flip will determine playoff entries.

MISSION VALLEY LEAGUE
Nothing like having the league title decided outright on the final day and that’s what you have with Rosemead (13-8, 12-2) at Arroyo (13-7, 12-2) today at 3:15 for all the marbles.

MONTVIEW LEAGUE
Sierra (19-3, 13-1) is finished and has wrapped up the league title. La Puente (14-6, 10-3) hopes to clinch second outright visiting Gladstone (11-8, 12-5). Azusa (12-6, 9-4) is home against Bassett and can clinch third outright with a win or a tie for second should it win, and Gladstone knock off La Puente.

SOFTBALL
HACIENDA LEAGUE

Talk about coming down to the wire, Bonita (16-6, 9-2), West Covina (16-10, 9-2) and Los Altos (13-6, 9-2) are tied for the league lead on the final day. Bonita is in the drivers seat hosting struggling Diamond Ranch and will clinch a share with a victory. West Covina is hosting Los Altos with the winner at least tying for the title and the loser likely finishing third.

SIERRA LEAGUE
Chino Hills (25-5, 8-1) has clinched its fourth straight league title. Charter Oak (18-7, 6-3) is in second and can finish there with a win over struggling Claremont. South Hills (19-7, 5-4) will host Ayala (16-12, 5-4) today with the winner making the playoffs and losing likely staying home.

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CIF swim finals Thursday through Saturday in Riverside; Glendora aims for D-2 title on Saturday

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Above: Glendora celebrates team title in 2011. Can it win again?

There will be no surprises this swimming season.

Flintridge Sacred Heart Academy and Glendora and La Serna high schools are among the area teams that will try and contend for CIF-Southern Section team titles when the three-day finals begin today at the Riverside City College pool complex.

The Tartans are among the favorites to win Division 2 while the Tologs, in Division 1, and the Lancers, in Division 3, are shooting for top-three finishes. The Division 3 finals are today at 5 p.m., Division 4 on Friday at 5 p.m., Division 2 on Saturday at 10 a.m. and Division 1 on Saturday at 5 p.m.

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Nogales baseball legend John Romano to coach his last regular season game Thursday after 35 years at the school

Nogales baseball coach John Romano at Nogales High School in La Puente on Tuesday, May 13, 2014. Romano will be retiring after 35 years of coaching. (Photo by Watchara Phomicinda/ San Gabriel Valley Tribune)

Nogales baseball coach John Romano at Nogales High School in La Puente on Tuesday, May 13, 2014. Romano will be retiring after 35 years of coaching. (Photo by Watchara Phomicinda/ San Gabriel Valley Tribune)


By Stephen Ramirez
steve.ramirez@langnews.com
@SteveRRamirez on Twitter


LA PUENTE – The clock for John Romano’s time at Nogales High School is winding down.
The long-time Nobles baseball coach, who built the program nearly from the ground up to one of the area’s best, had said previously that his season would be this last, and that leaves Thursday’s regular season finale at home at 3:15 p.m. vs. Northview and any possible CIF-Southern Section playoff games in the coming weeks before he walks away, which he does so with no regrets.

“It’s bitter sweet,” he said. “It’s the last week. I’m not looking forward to it ending, but everything has to come to an end. My baseball career at Nogales High School will end after the playoffs, and I’m OK with that.
“Will I coach baseball again? I hope so. Will I coach high school baseball again? Possibly, or something else. But it’s been a wonderful journey. I’ve been very fortunate to have very supportive parents, a very lovely wife of 27 years. There’s an outstanding young man for a son, Christopher, who will graduate from Michigan State in 2016. I’ve been very fortunate in that respect, but also I’ve been fortunate that I’ve had some good players over the years, and some unselfish players from Danny Garcia (2006), who was the best player I’ve ever coached, to the bullpen catcher who didn’t get to play more than a couple of innings. They’ve all been unselfish and put the team first.”
But Romano was definitely the pilot for the Green and White ship, guiding it to be one of the top programs in the area. Romano, who was at Yucca Valley before moving to Nogales, comes into today with a record of 620-321-9 record in 34 seasons at Nogales, with an overall mark of 634-333-9. He was inducted into the California Baseball Coaches Hall of Fame in 2006.
His resume will feature six league and 11 tournament championships, with 18 of his players drafted by Major League Baseball teams and 29 receiving four-year university scholarships. He also had three players play in the Mexican Leagues.
romanoringFor most in the area, Romano is Nogales baseball. But he said he did not do it alone. He credited his coaching tree, which includes former assistant Tim Ward, now Chaffey Union High School assistant superintendent; Chis Conlin, baseball coach at Irvine University; former Ventura coach Paul Togneri, who was Romano’s first star player, and Don Montanez, his assistant the past 29 seasons. All, among others, played a big part in what Romano has accomplished at Nogales.
“In 37 years, I’ve built a lot of relationships,” Romano said. “Those relationships were during good times, during bad times. But they were all positive, whether with the players or coaches. What people need to understand is that John Romano as he sits here today would not have been as successful if Don Montanez hadn’t been an assistant coach for 29 years. Don’s desire to be here 29 years allowed me to have two head coaches, and hopefully Don will be the next head coach here.”
Romano said another key person behind the scene in his success has been athletic director Bruce Alley.
romanobanner“I can’t say enough about Alley as our athletic director,” he said. “Before Alley, we had no batting cages. He knew baseball was important for this community and he made it important at the school. Before him, Nogales was a football, a basketball school.”
Romano also coached three high school All-Americans — Cecil Fielder (1981), who later became a Major League star for the Detroit Tigers; Mate’ Borgogno (1987) and Danny Garcia (2005, 2006) — and one Olympian — Bert Reyes, who played for the Mexican National team at the 1992 Olympics.
Romano said Andrew Melchor (2009) was his best pitcher, with Garcia his best player, even over Fielder.
“Cecil and me are going to be tagged at the hip for the rest of our lives,” Romano said. “Cecil is a great human being who has opened up many doors for me in my life. That relationship is a special relationship between me and him. I hope he reads this down in Atlanta, but Danny Garcia is the best player I’ve ever coached.
“There were three high school All-Amecians. Cecil was the first, Mate’ Borgogno in 1987 and Danny was the third.”
Now Romano will wait for the end to come, whether it be Thursday against Northview, or in the CIF-SS playoffs, which begin next week. Either way, he’s ready to end this part of his life.
“It’s been great,” he said. “I can’t thank people enough.”

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La Serna’s “Frankie Football” returns for first time since “The Pass” at Friday’s Hall of Fame All-Star football game

WHAT: 35th Annual Hall of Fame All-Star Senior Football game
WHERE: West Covina High School
WHEN: Friday, 7:30 p.m.
WHO: East vs. West (Rosters posted by clicking the thread)
palmerBy Aram Tolegian
The last time local fans saw Frankie Palmer on a football field, he was throwing the biggest pass in La Serna High School history.

That was early December and the memories still burn bright. Palmer connected with Matthew Rosales on a 19-yard touchdown pass on fourth down in double overtime to beat Norwalk, 41-38, and win the CIF-Southern Section Southeast Division championship.

Talk about a dream ending to a stellar career. On Friday night, Palmer will be back in game uniform for the first time since “The Pass” when he leads the East team in the 35th Hall of Fame All-Star game. Kickoff is 7 p.m. on Friday at West Covina High.

“I talk about that play with Matt Rosales all the time,” Palmer said while thinking back to the pass that made him a local legend. “It couldn’t have gone any worse throughout the game to make it any better of an ending. If I decide not to play in college, I would be totally happy with the way my career ended.”

And that’s the conundrum for Palmer as he prepares for Friday’s game. Like many of his teammates, this might be his last game. Some will go on to play high-level college football. Others will try to extend their playing days at a community college. For many, Friday is it and Palmer doesn’t know what his future holds.

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Baseball: South Hills’ loss to Ayala could snap Huskies’ bid for a 12th straight league title

South Hills has won or shared 11 straight league titles, but getting its 12th straight is in jeopardy under first-year coach Dareen Murphy after a surprising 8-3 loss to fourth-place Ayala Tuesday. South Hills drops to 19-5-4 and 10-4 in league to fall a full game behind Chino Hills (20-5, 11-3) with the final games on Thursday. For the Huskies to clinch a tie and keep the streak going, it must win at Ayala and hope Damien wins at home against Chino Hills.

lasorda
Above: Tommy Lasorda was at Tuesday’s Chino Hills-Damien game.

Chino Hills earn share of crown: You couldn’t have asked for a better pitching matchup in a big game Tuesday.
Chino Hills had its ace, Baily Falter, on the mound. Damien answered with Grant Hockin, who has signed with UCLA but probably will be selected in the top three rounds of the next first-year player draft.
The game lived up to its billing as Jake Taylor lined a bases-loaded single with one out in the bottom of the eighth to give the Huskies a 3-2 victory. The win, coupled with Ayala’s 8-3 upset of South Hills, gave Chino Hills at least a share of the Sierra League title with one game left.
“It was like a heavyweight fight,” Chino Hills coach Kyle Billingsley said. “Both teams had their top guy out there. We were really trying to stay with them and maybe get to their bullpen.”

Ayala 8, South hills 3 – The Bulldogs put a major dent in South Hills chances at a Sierra League Title and moved into a tie for third place in league. Jordan Abernathy held the Huskies to just one run over five innings for his second win of the season and struck out four. Ayala scored five runs on three errors in the second inning and handed Ryan Mauch his first loss in seven decisions. Matt Acosta went 3 for 4 with a double and run for Ayala and Tim Turpen went 2 for 3 with two RBIs. John Ayala led South Hills with three hits and an RBI and Corey Cadek went 2 for 3 with a run. South Hills (19-5-1, 10-4) dropped a game out of first place in league with one game left in the regular season.

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Of the Tribune area teams, who has the best chance of winning a CIF-SS baseball title? Glendora, San Dimas, Bishop Amat


I was looking at the final baseball polls before Monday’s pairings and believe one of the Tribune area teams will win this thing. Which one? That’s what we’re discussing here. I love Glendora and South Hills’ chances in Division 2, even though it’s a ridiculously tough division with no gimmies in any round. But they both have pitching and are built for tournaments. If I had to pick one, I would go with Glendora having the best shot at the D-2 crown. Pitcher Kale Morton (9-0) is undefeated and I like undefeated. In Division 3 Bonita is No. 2 with Bishop Amat just off the board. Not ranked are teams like Diamond Bar and Walnut. For what it’s worth, because of who Amat’s played and played tough and what’s it’s done in the last couple weeks, I like their chances to go the furthest. Can they win it all? Possibly, but what I agarciahope to get out of Division 3 is a Bonita-Amat matchup along the way. Nothing like settling it on the field and I’ve been waiting for a Bonita-Bishop Amat playoff match-up forever. San Dimas in Division 4 is your best bet to win a CIF title. Why? Because of the division. San Dimas can play with all the area heavyweights, but put them in D-4 and you’ve got the best legitimate title possibility. Don’t count out Northview either, they’re a sleeper. Sierra Vista is ranked eighth in Division 5 but if history means anything, they never do much with it. They’re built for the Montview, that’s about it. La Verne Lutheran could be a sleeper in Division 6. They’ve come out of nowhere and some have tweeted and blogged that they’re really legit. If Lutheran is all that, they’re in a division to win it. Those are my choices, who you got?

cifpoll

I love Glendora’s chances because of this dude …

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