About Steve Ramirez

Steve Ramirez has covered prep sports for San Gabriel Valley Newspapers since 1989.

Boys Water Polo: Los Altos to get second chance, beats La Serna to advance to second consecutive final

Los Alto’s Guillermo Ocasio reacts after scoring his second goal in a row against La Serna in the second half of a prep water polo semifinal at Diamond Bar High School in Diamond Bar, Calif., Wednesday, Nov. 19, 2014. Los Altos won 16-11. (Photo by Keith Birmingham/Pasadena Star-News)

Los Alto’s Guillermo Ocasio reacts after scoring his second goal in a row against La Serna in the second half of a prep water polo semifinal at Diamond Bar High School in Diamond Bar, Calif., Wednesday, Nov. 19, 2014. Los Altos won 16-11. (Photo by Keith Birmingham/Pasadena Star-News)

By Stephen Ramirez

DIAMOND BAR – All the Los Altos High School boys water polo team, after losing in the CIF-Southern Section finals last season, was a second chance.
The Conquerors will get it.
Justin Contreras scored six goals and George Millard had five to lead Los Altos to a 16-11 victory over La Serna in a Division 5 semifinal at Diamond Bar High School.
Guillermo Ocasio had three goals for Los Altos, which improved to 21-8 and will face Claremont in Saturday’s final at William Woollett Aquatic Center in Irvine. The time will be announced Thursday morning. The Conquerors lost to Glendale in last season’s title game.
George Mooney had three goals for La Serna, which finished 20-12. The Lancers also got two goals each from Perry Louwers, Elias Acosta and Steven Marcy.
The key moment came early in the fourth quarter when it used back-to-back turnovers to score three consecutive goals for a 13-9 advantage. Contreras followed with two back-hand shots to push it to 15-10.
Los Altos’ Justin Contreras: “I said in the beginning of the year we’re going back to the finals to get that ring. I mean it. I really wanted to get back to the finals. It’s my senior year, and I’m going out with a bang.”
Los Altos co-coach Bobby Contreras: “I told the kids before the game that we’re going to make mistakes. But its what we do to fix the mistake. Getting down 3-0, it was a mistake. As long as we kept making the effort to correct the mistake, we were going to be OK. I thought the boys played a very good defensive game against (La Serna’s) attackers.”
La Serna coach Jim Armstrong: “We knew that even though we beat than twice this year we were going to see a different energy out of them tonight. We saw it. Sad part, from our perspective, is that we had them down 3-0, and, after falling behind, came back to lead 7-6 and had momentum. But we had some untimely mistakes and bad passes and they took advantage.”

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Girls Volleyball: San Dimas wraps up ninth consecutive Valle Vista title with sweep of Wilson

San Dimas' Hannah Doonan (C), right, hugs teammate Genna Henderson (C) after defeating Wilson 25-17, 25-19, 25-15 to win the league title during a prep volleyball match at San Dimas High School in San Dimas, Calif., Tuesday, Nov. 4, 2014. (Photo by Keith Birmingham/ Pasadena Star-News

San Dimas’ Hannah Doonan (C), right, hugs teammate Genna Henderson (C) after defeating Wilson 25-17, 25-19, 25-15 to win the league title during a prep volleyball match at San Dimas High School in San Dimas, Calif., Tuesday, Nov. 4, 2014. (Photo by Keith Birmingham/ Pasadena Star-News

By Stephen Ramirez
@SteveRRamirez on Twitter


SAN DIMAS – San Dimas High School has fielded the dominant girls volleyball team in the Valle Vista League in recent years, and that didn’t change this season.
Lea Fischbach had 14 kills and the host Saints won their ninth consecutive league championship with a 25-17, 25-19, 25-15 victory over Wilson on Tuesday.
Hannah Doonan had 10 kills for San Dimas, which improved to 20-5 overall and 10-0 in league play. San Dimas has won the title outright eight of the past nine seasons. They shared the championship with former league member Ganesha in 2008.
Scarlette Sun had seven kills for Wilson, which slipped to 16-6 and 8-2.
San Dimas’ Lea Fischbach: “I think this was one of our best (matches). We were really excited (to play). We all wanted really bad to be league champions. That’s what pushed us to play really hard. This was our best (match) in league.”

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Girls Volleyball: Glendora rallies for four-set win over Bonita; Tartans stay undefeated in Palomares League

Glendora's Jessica Garcia (C) (23) along with Becca Lowden (C) (12), Marissa Montoya (16) and Sarah Smith (10) reacts after scoring against Bonita in the second game of a prep volleyball match at Bonita High School. Glendora won, 23-25, 25-23, 25-17, 25-9. (Staff photo by Keith Birmingham)

Glendora’s Jessica Garcia (C) (23) along with Becca Lowden (C) (12), Marissa Montoya (16) and Sarah Smith (10) reacts after scoring against Bonita in the second game of a prep volleyball match at Bonita High School. Glendora won, 23-25, 25-23, 25-17, 25-9.
(Staff photo by Keith Birmingham)


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

LA VERNE >>
Glendora High School, after four years of being banished to the Baseline League, finally has a reasonable chance at a league title, and the Tartans are not wasting the opportunity.
Becca Lowden had 16 kills and Glendora took another step toward a Palomares League girls volleyball title with a 23-25, 25-23, 25-17, 25-9 victory over host Bonita on Tuesday.
The Tartans, also getting 12 kills from Marissa Montoya, improved to 17-6 overall and 8-0 in league play. The Bearcats, getting 17 kills from Riley Inman, slipped to 11-10 and 3-5.
Glendora, after a sluggish start, dominated the last two sets. The Tartans, getting four kills from Jade Brockett and two each from Lowden and Montoya, scored 12 of the first 15 points in the third set before closing with a 6-3 surge to win 25-17.
Lowden then had seven kills as the Tartans secured the match by scoring 15 of the first 20 points and 10 of the final 14 to easily win set four, 25-9. Lowden had a cross shot to make it 24-9 before a mis-hit gave Glendora the match.
Glendora’s Becca Lowden: “It’s great. It’s like we finally are where we need to be, with the competition (in this league). It’s great that all of our hard work pays off.”

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Tribune Football Rankings: Bishop Amat still the one

amatfans
TRIBUNE TOP TEN FOOTBALL RANKINGS
1. Bishop Amat (5-3) — League title within its grasp
2. Glendora (7-1) — Showdown vs. South Hills looms
3. West Covina (6-2) — Dismantled Los Altos
4. Northview (7-1) — Rival Covina standing in the way
5. Charter Oak (4-4) — Can it challenge West Covina?
6. Pomona (4-4) — 5-2 on the field
7. Diamond Ranch (6-2) — Don’t sleep on the Panthers
8. South Hills (4-4) — Has found it at the right time
9. San Dimas (5-3) — Will be rooting for Covina this week
10. Damien (3-5) — Slippin’ and a slidin’

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Girls Volleyball: Los Altos beats Walnut in five to move into share of Hacienda League lead


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

Walnut's Kuuipo Vaimaona, #4, left, and Jaceylin Tan, #8, right, jump up to block an incoming ball on Tuesday, October 21, 2014 at Los Altos High School. Los Altos High School Girls Varsity Volleyball hosted Walnut High School on Tuesday, October 21, 2014 at Los Altos High School. The Los Altos Conquerors led the game with a 2-0 win over the Walnut Mustangs. (Correspondent photo by Shilah Montiel/ San Gabriel Valley Tribune)

Walnut’s Kuuipo Vaimaona, #4, left, and Jaceylin Tan, #8, right, jump up to block an incoming ball on Tuesday, October 21, 2014 at Los Altos High School. Los Altos High School Girls Varsity Volleyball hosted Walnut High School on Tuesday, October 21, 2014 at Los Altos High School. The Los Altos Conquerors led the game with a 2-0 win over the Walnut Mustangs. (Correspondent photo by Shilah Montiel/ San Gabriel Valley Tribune)


HACIENDA HEIGHTS >> Los Altos High School has been the dominant girls volleyball team in the Hacienda League the previous two seasons, and the Conquerors aren’t quite ready to give up the title.
Mireya Rojo and Esmeralda Reynoso had 14 kills each and host Los Altos withstood a late charge from Walnut to get back in the league race with a 25-23, 25-19, 13-25, 22-25, 15-11 victory on Tuesday.
The Conquerors, also getting eight kills from Danielle Hernandez and seven from Sahra Chavez, improved to 11-9 overall and into a first-place tie with the Mustangs, each at 4-1 in league play. Diamond Ranch was 3-1 going into a league match vs. West Covina on Tuesday.
Kuuipo Vaimaona had 18 kills and Shirley Zhao 12 for Walnut, which slipped to 11-9 and 4-1.
Los Altos came up big late. The Conquerors, after giving up sets 3 and 4, broke a 10-10 in the fifth set and took a 14-11 lead following an ace by Vanessa Cuenca and consecutive kills by Rojo.
Vaimaona, who had 10 kills in the third and fourth sets to force a fifth, then mis-fired on a spike that went wide, giving the match to Los Altos.
Los Altos’ Mireya Rojo: “This win was amazing. We needed it so much. It was five sets, but we got it.”
Walnut’s Kuuipo Vaiamaona: “I was really surprised we came back. It was going to be hard, but I knew we could do it. We have enough heart to come back. I’m really proud of my team.”

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Girls Volleyball: Chino Hills takes first round from St. Lucy’s, 3-1

Chino Hills' Meghan Buzzerio (C) (10) reacts after scoring against St. Lucy's in the second game of a prep volleyball match at St. Lucy's High School in Glendora, Calif., Tuesday, Oct. 14, 2014. Chino Hills won 23-25, 25-12, 25-15, 29-27 (Photo by Keith Birmingham/San Gabriel Valley Tribune)

Chino Hills’ Meghan Buzzerio (C) (10) reacts after scoring against St. Lucy’s in the second game of a prep volleyball match at St. Lucy’s High School in Glendora, Calif., Tuesday, Oct. 14, 2014. Chino Hills won 23-25, 25-12, 25-15, 29-27 (Photo by Keith Birmingham/San Gabriel Valley Tribune)

By Stephen Ramirez
@SteveRRamirez on Twitter


GLENDORA >> The goals for the Chino High School girls volleyball team are pretty simple this season: Win league and CIF-Southern Section championships and taste victory at rival St. Lucy’s.
The Huskies crossed the latter off their list Tuesday.
Meghan Buzzerio had 19 kills and eight aces and Chino Hills took control of the Baseline League race with a 23-25, 25-12, 25-15, 29-27 victory over the host Regents.
Cherise Hennigan had 11 kills and Alexis Cardoza 10 for the Huskies, who improved to 14-5 overall and 3-0 in league. Loryn Carter had 21 kills for St. Lucy’s, which slipped to 9-6 and 2-1.
St. Lucy’s, which split the season series with Chino Hills last season, looked like it might force a fifth set after scoring 14 of the first 23 points in the fourth. But the Huskies, ranked No. 7 in Division 1A, put together an 8-3 surge to tie it at 17. Chino Hills, after falling behind, 24-21, got consecutive kills from Buzzerio, Hannigan and Cardoza to tie a second time.
Buzzerio followed with back-to-back spikes to win it, 29-27.
Meghan Buzzerio: “It feels great. We’ve never beaten them at their place, so this is our first. We started a little rough, but we finished strong. We all played great. Yeah, it feels really good.”
St. Lucy’s coach Sean Douglas: “They have weapons at all places and obviously had us on a size advantage, so I’m really proud of where we’re at. But we play to win. We’re disappointed, but we did a lot of things we can grow on, too.”

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South Hills High School to hold benefit for alum, former Covina wrestling coach Randy Aguirre

South Hills High School will hold a benefit dinner Saturday for alum and former Covina wrestling coach Randy Aguirre, who is battling brain cancer.
Fellowship of Christian Athletes is sponsoring the dinner, which is scheduled for Saturday at the South Hills gym from 6-9 p.m.
Aguirre was a 4-year letterman at South Hills and was captain his senior season. He also wrestled at Mt. San Antonio College and San Francisco State University. He was an assistant at South Hills before becoming the head coach at Covina and later Palisades.
The dinner will include door prizes and a silent auction. The cost is $20 for adults and $10 for kids ages 5-12. All proceeds are for for coach Aguirre and his family.
Tickets can be purchased at the door or in advance at the South Hills ASB office.

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Girls Volleyball: Walnut sweeps Nogales

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

Walnut's Pauline Mendoza (3) reacts after scoring against Nogales in the first game of a prep volleyball match at Walnut High School in Walnut, Calif., on Tuesday, Sept. 23, 2014. (Photo by Keith Birmingham/ Pasadena Star-News)

Walnut’s Pauline Mendoza (3) reacts after scoring against Nogales in the first game of a prep volleyball match at Walnut High School in Walnut, Calif., on Tuesday, Sept. 23, 2014. (Photo by Keith Birmingham/ Pasadena Star-News)


WALNUT – Walnut High School is getting hot at the right time.
The Mustangs, after going through a five-match losing streak a few weeks ago, won for the fourth time in five matches Tuesday, sweeping Nogales, 25-14, 25-14, 25-21, in a nonleague match at home.
Kuuipo Vaimaona had eight kills and Pauline Mendoza seven to lead the Mustangs, who improved to 7-7. They face Wilson next week before opening up Hacienda League play vs. West Covina on Oct. 7.
Julianna Purcell and Annjoree Calvero-Sunga had five kills each for Nogales, which slipped to 4-2. The Nobles open Valle Vista League play next week at rival Rowland.
Walnut’s Pauline Mendoza: “We started out kind of rough. But finally we got our rhythm and were able to succeed and get the lead. One main thing for us to work together is that we have to talk to each other. We continue talking, who is going to get the ball, calling for the ball, then we are able to overcome our (mistakes).”

Nogales’ Julianna Purcell: “I’m happy with the way my team played. We had a good match against Walnut, but they had good solid hits, but so did we. I think if we would have fought a little harder, we might have won.”

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Jesse Garcia helps South Hills run by Covina, 38-29

By Stephen Ramirez
steve.ramirez@langnews.com
@SteveRRamirez on Twitter
SAN DIMAS >>
The gap may have closed a bit, but the South Hills High School football team is still king of the Covina Valley Unified School District.
Jesse Garcia rushed for 233 yards and two touchdowns to lead the Huskies to a 38-29 victory over intra-district rival Covina Saturday at San Dimas High School.
Garrett Fonseca threw for 60 yards and two touchdowns for the Huskies, who beat the Colts for the second consecutive season. Joe Benavidez threw for 178 yards and a score and Pearnell Smalley rushed for 120 and touchdown to lead Covina.

South Hills’ Jesse Garcia: “It’s a pretty big game. We’re cross-town rivals. We were prepared for them and they prepared for us. They took it to us early, but we pulled it out. It’s a good win for us.”

Covina coach Joe Brown: “We were able to punch back a little bit this year. We have some great kids, just came up on the wrong end of it. I give South Hills credit. (Garcia) just ran his tail off. We really had no answer for him. Every time we would make a play, they’d come back. They just made a few more plays than we did.”

South Hills coach Albert Rodriguez: “We gave them a few plays (in the first half). We were able to get off the field after kicking off (to begin the second half), and then we went down and scored, which was huge. We wanted to chew clock tonight, and get out of here with a win, and we did that.”

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Steve Ramirez, Northview coach Marcel Perez answer the #IceBucketChallenge for ALS; St. Francis’ Jim Bonds and Wilson’s Greg Gano receive the challenge

The #IceBucketChallenge for ALS started on Monday at San Dimas High School and Wednesday the tour took us to Northview, where sports writer went to his alma mater to take the the challenge and he was joined by Vikings’ coach Marcel Perez, who both took the bath.
After Ramirez called showed “some love” to the Westside, calling out St. Francis coach Jim Bonds to take the challenge. Perez did the same to his former coach Greg Gano, who is now the head guy at Wilson. You guys have 24 hours to take the ice bucket or dig in to your pocket, all for a good cause.

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Fundraiser for former South Hills wrestler Randy Aguirre set for Friday

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

As a wrestler, Randy Aguirre was one of the area’s best.
Now the South Hills High School graduate is in the toughest match of his life. He was recently diagnosed with Stage 4 Glioblastoma, which effects the brain, and his family and friends have come to his aid.
Fans of Los Angeles City Wrestling are hosting a fund-raiser for Aguirre this week. The event is scheduled for Friday at 8 p.m. at the Jon Lovitz Comedy Club.
The night for Aguirre will include comedians Adam Hunter, Aldo Juliano and John Diresta.
The Jon Lovitz Comedy Club is located at 1000 Universal Studios Blvd, Suite 222, in Universal City.
Aguirre wrestled at South Hills before competing at the collegiate level at San Francisco State. He is now the coach at Palisades High School in Los Angeles.
More information on the event can be found at https://www.facebook.com/events/816534431700486/

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What’s in a league name?

TRESIDNEY

OK, I’m confused…Bishop Amat is now in the Mission League, and St. Francis is in the Serra League…No Amat is still in the Pac-5, but because Serra moved up to the league Amat and Alemany and the rest called home, officials thought it wasn’t right, so they gave the league the Mission name, and transferred the “old Mission” to the Serra. We heard it might be the Angelus League, but have not heard any official word.
From a historical perspective, I don’t see any reason why they just couldn’t call the “old Serra” the Angelus League, which has the tradition of being a D-1 league, and then keep the Mission League, which has tradition as a D-3/4 league.
What do you think?

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All-Area Boys Tennis: Damien’s David Washington, Angelo Mollo are co-players of the year

Damien High's Angelo Mollo, left, and David Washington have been selected as the SGV Tribune's Boys Tennis Players of the Year. (Staff photo by Leo Jarzomb/San Gabriel Valley Tribune)

Damien High’s Angelo Mollo, left, and David Washington have been selected as the SGV Tribune’s Boys Tennis Players of the Year.
(Staff photo by Leo Jarzomb/San Gabriel Valley Tribune)


CO-PLAYERS OF THE YEAR:
DAVID WASHINGTON/ANGELO MOLLO, Damien

Damien High School boys tennis coach Bill Urquhart had an idea of putting his two best players — seniors David Washington and Angelo Mollo — together on doubles.
It turned out to be a magical pairing. Washington and Mollo enjoyed a monster season, going 40-1, winning the Sierra League title and becoming the only area representatives to advance to the round of 32 at the CIF-Southern Section individual tournament.
For their efforts, Washington and Mollo are Tribune co-Tennis Players of the Year.
“Coach came up with the idea of having us play doubles this year and it worked out really well,” said Washington, who also plays basketball at Damien. “Angelo and myself are not just good tennis players, but we’re also really good friends.
“We get along really well, and I think that showed in a lot of the matches. They didn’t work as well together as he and I did. It worked really well. It took us to CIF and we had a really good season.”
The duo was dominant in the Sierra League. They not only went 30-0 in league play, but only lost three games in any one match once. They went on to win the league tournament before advancing to the round of 32 at the CIF-SS tourney by upsetting top seed Jona Malkin and Emilio Yera, of Beverly Hills.
Their season ended with a 6-3, 6-2 loss to Parker Braverman and Darren Nguyen, of Fountain Valley.
“Doubles is all about coming together,” Mollo said. “We were really good friends off court, so there were no personality clashes. We were able to come together better, and it worked better as a team.”

hamel
COACH OF THE YEAR:
DAVE HAMEL, DIAMOND BAR

Hamel, who took Diamond Bar to the Division 2 finals in 2007, has been one of the area’s top coaches. This season was one of his best. It included the Brahmas advancing to the Division 2 semifinals and playing the CIF State Southern California Regionals for the first time. Diamond Bar also upset No. 3 seed Beverly Hills in the quarterfinals and pushed Palisades before losing in the first round of the regional tournament.
“The team did a great job,” said Hamel, who is in his 15th season at Diamond Bar. “They worked hard and it paid off in the end. We got a big win over Beverly Hills, which was unexpected. It was a lot of fun, the boys had a great time and we’re looking forward to next year.”
FIRST TEAM
SINGLES
KEVIN VUONG, Rowland

Vuong went 57-2 and won the Hacienda League for the third consecutive season. He also advanced to rounds at the CIF-SS Individual tournament, losing in the third round by tiebreaker. Vuong was Hacienda League Singles MVP after helping Rowland to a 17-1 record and the Hacienda League title.
NEIL TENGBUMROONG, Diamond Bar
Tengbumroong went 52-9 and was runner-up in the Hacienda League tournament. He also advanced two rounds in the CIF-SS tournament and helped Diamond Bar to the CIF-State Southern California Regional tournament for the first time.
QUONG TRAN, Rosemead
Tran was a key piece in Rosemead winning the Mission Valley League and advancing to the CIF-SS Division 5 quarterfinals. Tran was Mission Valley League MVP. He also advanced two rounds at the CIF-SS tournament.
DOUBLES
MINSONG HSU/KENNY SAKATA, Diamond Bar

Hsu and Sakata went 52-16 and won the Hacienda League title. They also advanced two rounds at the CIF-SS tournament. The duo were a key piece in Diamond Bar advancing to the Division 2 semifinals and the state tournament.
HANS YU/JEFF ALIDINA, Rowland
The duo went 54-3 and were runner-up in the Hacienda League tournament. They also advanced three rounds at the CIF-SS individual tournament. Yu and Alidina helped Rowland to its second consecutive league title for the first time in school history. The Raiders were 17-1 before losing in the CIF-SS quarterfinals.
SECOND TEAM
SINGLES

Victor Paitimasa, Covina
Noah Brink, Duarte
Adrian Chau, Rowland
DOUBLES
Andy Phan/Billy Wen, Wilson
Ryan Chao/Henry Zhou, Arroyo
HONORABLE MENTION
SINGLES

Kimlong Pham, San Dimas
Ray Donato, Sierra Vista
Tommy Tin, Rosemead
DOUBLES
Peter Marquez/Alex Reyes, San Dimas
Daniel Pichardo/Nathan Jaimes, Gladstone
Calvin Ha/Eric Thai, Rosemead

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Looking ahead: Monrovia at San Dimas, Covina-South Hills highlight openers

It’s never too early to look ahead, so what a better time during the summer downtime than to look at the opening week of the prep football season. And while most colleges rarely go the marquee route on week one, some area coaches have taken the opposite approach as we will have some intriguing matchups during the first week.
saintscrowd

The highlight is likely Monrovia visiting San Dimas, which has been sort of a rivalry in recent years. Some of the luster is likely off now that the two are in different divisions, but it should be a great one. Both lost some talent, but these two simply reload.
Other key games will be Arroyo at San Marino; Steve Bogan’s debut at Maranatha at home vs. Bassett; Bishop Amat vs. Santa Margarita and South Hills renewing its long-time rivalry with South Hills, which is scheduled for Saturday.
The season kicks off on Aug. 28 when Northview hosts Rosemead at San Dimas High School.

Thursday, August 28
Rosemead (CA) vs. Northview (Covina, CA) at San Dimas HS, 7:00pm
Friday, August 29
Alta Loma (CA) at Rowland (Rowland Heights, CA), 7:00pm
Arroyo (El Monte, CA) at San Marino (CA), 7:00pm
Baldwin Park (CA) at El Monte (CA), 7:00pm
Bassett (La Puente, CA) at Maranatha (Pasadena, CA), 7:00pm
Bonita (La Verne, CA) at Schurr (Montebello, CA), 7:00pm
Diamond Bar (CA) at Montebello (CA), 7:00pm
Diamond Ranch (Pomona, CA) at Nogales (La Puente, CA), 7:00pm
Duarte (CA) at Valley Christian (Cerritos, CA), 7:00pm
Gladstone (Covina, CA) at Jurupa Hills (Fontana, CA), 7:00pm
Monrovia (CA) at San Dimas (CA), 7:00pm
Pasadena (CA) at South El Monte (CA), 7:00pm
Santa Margarita (Rancho Santa Margarita, CA) vs. Bishop Amat (La Puente, CA) at Saddleback College (Mission Viejo, CA), 7:00pm
Santa Monica (CA) at Los Altos (Hacienda Heights, CA), 7:00pm
Sierra Vista (Baldwin Park, CA) at La Puente (CA), 7:00pm
Walnut (CA) at Don Lugo (Chino, CA), 7:00pm
West Covina (CA) at Colony (Ontario, CA), 7:00pm
Wilson (Hacienda Heights, CA) at Workman (City of Industry, CA), 7:00pm
Green Valley (Henderson, NV) at Charter Oak (Covina, CA), 7:00pm
Saturday, August 30
Covina (CA) vs. South Hills (West Covina, CA) at San Dimas HS, 7:00pm

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Justin Garza earns Team USA invite

garza

Cal State Fullerton’s Justin Garza, who was 2012 area Baseball Player of the Year from Bonita, was one of 29 college underclassmen invited to the Team USA Training Camp in Cary, N.C.
The final roster will feature 24 players who will part of the team’s summer season, which features the Friendship Series against Chinese Taipei and Japan, as well as trips to Honkbal Week in Haarlem, The Netherlands and a five-game series in Cuba.
Garza, who led Bonita to the 2012 CIF-Southern Section Division 3 title, became the fourth Cal State Fullerton pitcher to throw a no-hitter, tossing a no-no against Cal State Northridge on May 23. He finished the season with a 5-4 record and a 3.22 ERA. He also had 60 strikeouts in 72 innings.

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Los Altos baseball coach Andrew Formano resigns

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

You can add Los Altos High School to list of area schools looking for a baseball coach.
Andrew Formano, the Conquerors coach since 2007, resigned Wednesday, citing burn out from the year-long grind of coaching.
He’s the third area coach to leave his position in the past few weeks. Andy Nieto resigned at Bishop Amat last week, and Damien’s Al Leyva was fired earlier this week.
“It’s a little of a burnout, so I felt it was time to take some time off from coaching,” Formano said. “I’d like to focus on my family and some other things. That’s the major reason why.”
Formano built Los Altos into an area top 10 team. He was 121-93-1 in his eight seasons at the Hacienda Heights school. The Conquerors made the CIF-Southern Section playoffs in six out of his eight seasons. They advanced to the quarterfinals in 2009 and 2012.
Los Altos was 13-15 this season.
During his tenure, several Los Altos players advanced to the next level. They include Joe Munoz, who is now playing Single-A for the Arizona Diamondbacks; James Mendez (Cal State Los Angeles); Steven Camberos (Hawaii Pacific); Ronnie Blagg (Valley City State, North Dakota) and Evelio Ahumada (William Penn, Iowa).
“I’m proud of what we accomplished,” Formano said. “We competed every year in our league, and unfortunately we had Bonita ahead of us. But most of those years we had some really good teams during my time.
“We always competed. That’s the legacy I wanted to leave behind. We made a couple of nice runs. We had kids make it to the next level. Munoz is doing well, so I’m proud of what we were able to accomplish.”

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CIF-SS chief Rob Wigod says a new playoff format is in the works that could change the playoffs as we know it

CIF-SS chief Rob Wigod sent out his year-end message to all schools, basically congratulating the teams on a great year, but there was also this interesting tidbit:
“Playoff Groupings – With the completion of this most recent Playoff Groupings process, we would like to begin exploring a new format for divisional placement for all of our sports. This potential new format would emphasize placing individual schools into playoff divisions based on their performance in each particular sport, not placing entire leagues into specific divisions, as we are doing now. Our staff is committed to examining this concept this year, so stay tuned for updates as we get more information on the possibilities of changes for the 2016-2018 Playoff Groupings Cycle.”

Steve Ramirez’s take: This is good news to here. I’ve never really understood why playoff groupings, for the most part, were based on league competitiveness. If this plan does go into effect, we could see where on those occasions were say Bishop Amat has a really good baseball team, the Lancers could be placed in Division 1, where second-place St. Paul, for sake of argument, is in Division 3, or even Division 4. In football, Monrovia could be placed in say the Southeast, while the other Rio Hondo League members, like San Marino or Temple City, could stay in the Mid-Valley. Yes, it would be confusing and make CIF-SS’ task much for difficult, but it would be more fair to the member schools.

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Blue beats the streak, ends seven-year losing skid to Red in San Gabriel Valley All-Star baseball game

Diamond Ranch's John Picazo (#13) tries for a fly ball as they play in the annual San Gabriel Valley All-Star Game at Mt. San Antonio College in Walnut on Monday June 9, 2014. (Photo by Keith Durflinger/San Gabriel Valley Tribune)

Diamond Ranch’s John Picazo (#13) tries for a fly ball as they play in the annual San Gabriel Valley All-Star Game at Mt. San Antonio College in Walnut on Monday June 9, 2014. (Photo by Keith Durflinger/San Gabriel Valley Tribune)

By Stephen Ramirez
steve.ramirez@langnews.com
@SteveRRamirez on Twitter
WALNUT —
The Red team has held the advantage over its Blue counterparts in the annual San Gabriel Valley All-Star baseball game.
Until now.
The Blue team, which hadn’t won since 2006, broke the streak Monday at Mt. San Antonio College.
Diamond Bar’s Alek Jimenez beat out a ground ball for an RBI single in the second inning and Charter OaK’s Kory Brown and Monrovia’s Nick Esparza had RBIs in a three-run sixth to lead the Blue to a 4-3 victory before an over-flow crowd at Mazmanian Field.
“We definitely were thinking (of the streak),” said Esparza, who was game MVP. “I came out here wanting to win, have fun.”

The Red team tied it at 1-1 in the sixth, but Blue scored three runs in the bottom of the inning for a 4-1 advantage. Los Altos’ James Mendez led off with a single and the Blue then loaded the bases on back-to-back fielding errors. Charter Oak’s Kory Brown hit a sacrifice fly to right for a 2-1 lead. Esparza singled with two outs for a 3-1 advantage and a wild pitch made it 4-1.
“I was just trying to get an RBI there and break the game open,” Esparza said. “I got it done.”
La Canada’s Johnny Selsor doubled in two runs with two outs in the top of the eighth to cut the lead to 4-3. Diamond Bar’s Chris Sanchez struck out Baldwin Park’s Christian Barraza to end the threat.
The Blue earlier took a 1-0 lead in the second inning. Pasadena’s Alex Baer singled with one out, stole second and scored on an infield hit by Diamond Bar’s Alek Jimenez. Baer was running on the play and scored easily as Jimenez beat the throw to first.
The Red tied it in the sixth. La Canada’s Justin Lewis led off with a single and Shun Tsunoda followed with an infield single, but a three-base throwing error allowed Lewis to score, with Tsunoda taking third.
La Salle’s Jordan Rodgers got the next three batters to keep the game tied at 1-1.
Former area coaches Kevin Smith of South Hills and John Romano of Nogales were inducted into the San Gabriel Valley Coaches Hall of Honor before the game.
Smith, now head coach at Mt. SAC, won almost 500 games and two CIF-Southern Section titles in a 35-year career.
Romano, who retired at Nogales this season after 37 years in coaching, won 635 games, including 621 with the Nobles.
Game awards were received by Diamond Ranch’s John Picazo (Defensive MVP), La Verne Lutheran’s Layne Henderson (Pitching MVP), La Canada’s Selsor (Most valuable hitter) and Esparza (MVP).

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SGV All-Star baseball games set: Underclassman game Sunday at Alhambra; Senior game Monday at Mt. SAC

UNDERCLASSMAN GAME
When, Sunday, June 8
Where: Alhambra High School, 2 p.m.
SENIOR GAME
When: Monday, June 9
Where: Mt. SAC, 7 p.m.

BELOW: Scott Hurst, center, will play in Monday’s all-star game after helping the Lancers to the Division 3 title on Friday.
amatcele

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

Rosters for the annual San Gabriel Valley senior and underclassmen all-star games have been released.
The senior game is scheduled for Mt. San Antonio College at 7 p.m. on June 9, with the underclassmen game slated for Alhambra High School at 2 p.m. on June 8.
The Senior Blue Team will be led by pitchers Andrew Eppenbach, of Bishop Amat, and Grant Hockin, of Damien. Eppenbach has been a key for the Lancers reaching Friday’s CIF-Southern Section Division 3 quarterfinals. He’s 4-5 with a 2.92 ERA and has 47 strikeouts in 56 innings. Hockin was 9-3 with a 1.49 ERA for Damien.
Other key players on the Senior Blue team are Amat’s Scott Hurst, Charter Oak’s Kory Brown, Damien’s David Banuelos, Pasadena’s Sergio Rey and La Salle’s Jordan Rodgers.
The Senior Red team, which has won the past seven games, including 5-4 last season, is also pitching deep with Alhambra’s Marco Briones, Glendora’s Kale Morton and Sierra Vista’s Erik Gutierrez. Briones was arguably the top pitcher in the West Valley, with a 9-0 record and 0.40 ERA for the Moors. Morton topped East Valley pitchers with a school-record 12-0 mark, with a 1.58 ERA to help the Tartans win the Baseline League title. Gutierrez is 9-1 with a 1.22 ERA for the Dons, who are in the CIF-SS quarterfinals for the first time in two decades.
Other players for the Red team are Bonita’s Joe Quire, Glendora’s D.J. Peters, Northview’s Alex Labor and San Dimas’ Elias Orona and Daniel Millwee.
The Underclassmen Blue team features Bonita’s Danny Gelaclich, Glendora’s Alex Briggs, Pasadena Poly’s Griffen Carter; Rosemead’s Angel Lopez; San Dimas’ Peter Lambert and South Hills’ Gavin Velasquez.
The Underclassmen Red Team features Arcadia’s Ryan Tuck, Amat’s Christian Moya; La Salle’s Ryan Garcia, Monrovia’s Isaiah Ramos and Nogalez’ Chris Lopez.
The coaches for the games are Alhambra’s Steve Gewicke (Senior Red); West Covina’s Drew Lorenger (Senior Blue); Schurr’s Houston Hernandez (Underclassmen Red) and Walnut’s Paul Acosta (Underclassmen Blue).
Former area head coaches John Romano, of Nogales, and Kevin Smith, of South Hills, will be inducted in the the Coaches Hall of Honor at the Senior game.
Here are the complete rosters:
SENIOR BLUE TEAM: Joey Harmon (Arcadia), Alex Garcia (Bishop Amat), Andrew Eppenbach (Bishop Amat), Scott Hurst (Bishop Amat); Kory Brown (Charter Oak), Ian Evans (Charter Oak), Anthony Moreno (Covina), Grant Hockin (Damien), Davide Banuelos (Damien), Johnny Alvarez (El Monte), Alex Jimenez (Diamond Bar), Chris Sanchez (Diamond Bar), John Picazo (Diamond Ranch), Matt Arguello (La Puente), George Medina (La Salle), Jordan Rodgers (La Salle), Esteban Ortega (Los Altos), James Mendez (Los Altos), Jeffry Oki (Maranatha), Nick Esparza (Monrovia), Nicholas Carino (Monrovia), Calvin Christiansen (Pasadena), Alex Baer (Pasadena), Sergio Rey (Pasadena), Ryan Arias (San Gabriel), Cameron Legrand (Temple City), Ryan Viramontes (West Covina).
SENIOR RED TEAM: Marco Briones (Alhambra), Jordan Palacio (Alhambra), Christian Barraza (Baldwin Park), Jordan Palacio (Baldwin Park), Joe Quire (Bonita), Koty Redielbach (Bonita), Drew Valdez (Duarte), Justin Cage (Glendora), D.J. Peters (Glendora), Kale Morton (Glendora), Johnny Selsor (La Canada), Justin Lewis (La Canada), Layne Henderson (La Verne Lutheran), James Ward (La Verne Lutheran), Alex Labor (Northview), Kyle Beerman (Pasadena Poly), Zach Bern (Pasadena Poly), David Orndorf (Pasadena Poly), Armani Garcia (Rosemead), Elias Orona (San Dimas), Daniel Millwee (San Dimas), Larsen Cobb (San Marino), Eric Gutierrez (Sierra Vista), Erik Hernandez (Sierra Vista), Jon Ayala (South Hills), Shun Tsunoda (Wilson).
UNDERCLASSMEN BLUE TEAM: Danny Gelalich (Bonita), Justin Gomez (Bonita), Alex Gonzlaez (Bonita), Nicholas Hernandez (Charter Oak), Gerardo Ramirez (Diamond Bar), Adrian Rodriguez (Diamond Ranch), Alex Briggs (Glendora), Gavin Coppin (Glendora), Griffen Herrera (Glendora), Zach Scrademeir (Maranatha), Frankie Garriola (Pasadena), Sumner Smith (Pasadena), Griffen Carter (Pasadena Poly), Angel Lopez (Rosemead), Brandon Buna (Rosemead), Jacob Castillo (San Dimas), Jonathan Longtin (San Dimas), Peter Lambert (San Dimas), Ryan Mauch (South Hills), Gavin Velasquez (South Hills), Francisco Ramirez (South Hills), Cody Dye (Walnut), Christian Longoria (Walnut), Alex Carrillo (West Covina), Anthony Deeter (West Covina).
UNDERCLASSMEN RED TEAM: Ryan Tuck (Arcadia), Christian Maciel (Alhambra), Andrew Prieto (Alhambra), Michael Guzman (Baldwin Park), Isaac Archer (Bishop Amat), Christian Moya (Bishop Amat), Sergio Robles (Bishop Amat), Isaiah Carranza (Damien), Ryan Franco (La Puente), Ryan Garcia (La Salle), Jake Gaudet (La Salle), Brandon Jenkins (La Salle), Brandy Lange (La Verne Lutheran), Anthony Cuevas (Los Altos), Isaiah Ramos (Monrovia), Juan Quionez (Monrovia), Adam Rubio (Montebello), Manny Armendariz (Northview), Jacob Amaya (Northview), Anthony Guadardo (Nogales), Chris Lopez (Nogales), Miles Glazier (San Marino), Tyler Spitzer (San Marino).

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