About Steve Ramirez

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

Host Covina in semifinals of Covina girls basketetball tourney tonight; Duarte in Azusa girls final

Covina Girls Basketball tournament
Friday’s Semifinals:
Chino vs. South Torrance, 6::30 p.m.
Covina vs. Roosevelt, 8 p.m.
Championship: Saturday, 8 p.m.

Duarte Girls Basketball
Friday’s championship

Duarte vs. Louisville, 7 p.m.

By Stephen Ramirez
WEST COVINA — Cantwell-Sacred Heart of Mary High School dug itself a hole Wednesday. But unlike it’s one-point win over South Hills on Monday, the Cardinals couldn’t climb out of it.Stephanie Custodio scored 29 points and Alyssa Gonzalez had 21 to lead Chino to a 68-63 victory over Cantwell in a Covina Classic girls basketball tournament quarterfinal at South Hills High School.Rebecca Navar also had 10 points for the Cowboys, who improved 3-1. They will face either Bishop Amat or South Torrance in Friday’s semifinals at 6:30 p.m. at Covina High School.
Valeria Lizarraga had 21 points and Lily Perkins 18 for the Cardinals, who slipped to 5-1.
“I take nothing away from Chino,” Cantwell coach Matt Zamora said. “They played a very good game. We just have a knack of putting ourselves in holes, and sometimes you run out of time.
“It happened again today. Again, taking nothing away from them, it’s a result of some of our own actions. We need to stop doing that stuff.”
Cantwell rallied from a 10-point deficit in the first half to lead 51-49 early in the fourth quarter following a putback by Perkins. But Chino countered with a 3-pointer by Navar and an inside basket and two free throws by Custodio to lead 56-53 with four minutes to play.
The Cowboys then outscored Cantwell 12-10 down the stretch.
Wednesday’s Quarterfinals
Top Half
South Torrance 43, Bishop Amat 43
Chino 68, Cantwell-Sacred Heart of Mary 63
Bottom Half
Covina 45, Bonita 40, 2OTs
Roosevelt 57, El Rancho 45

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Girls Tennis Playoffs: Maranatha, Arcadia, Alhambra receive top four seeds

By Stephen Ramirez
There were no surprises when the CIF-Southern Section released its girls tennis playoff pairings Monday.
Maranatha, Arcadia and Alhambra all received top four seeds as expected.
The trio will now begin the march to The Claremont Club, which begins Tuesday with wild-card rounds. The first round is scheduled for Wednesday, with the quarterfinals and semifinals slated for Nov. 9 and 11, respectively. The finals will be Nov. 13 at The Claremont Club.
Maranatha, which won the Division 5 title, is again the favorite in that division after receiving the No. 1 seed. The Minutemen, who are 13-3 and went 9-0 in winning the Olympic League, host either Heritage or Beaumont, who meet in the wild-card round, in the first round on Wednesday. They were the No. 3 seed last year and beat No. 4 Thacher in the final, 11-7.
Also in Division 5, Whittier Christian (11-5), arguably the top team from the Whittier area, is at Vista del Lago. The Heralds finished second to the Minutemen in the Olympic League.
Arcadia, which lost in the second round last season, is the No. 2 seed in Division 2. The Apaches, who are 17-0, will also host a wild-card winner, facing either La Reina or St. Joesph, of Santa Maria. Arcadia went 12-0 in winning the Pacific League.
Also in Division 2, Glendora, which finished second in the Palomares League, hosts San Luis Obispo.
Alhambra, which won the Almont League, is No. 4 in Division 4. The Moors, who are 14-1, face either St. Joseph, of Lakewood, or Bolsa Grande in the first round.
Other first-round matchups in Division 4 feature St. Lucy’s at Valle Vista champ Wilson, of Hacienda Heights; California at Arroyo and La Quinta, of Westminster, at Rowland. Del Rio League champ La Serna will host either Chaminade or Torrance.
Traditional area power San Marino, which won the Rio Hondo League, will host Xavier Prep in Division 1. La Canada is at Northwood, also in Division. I. South Pasadena, which was third in the Rio Hondo League, is at Dos Pueblos in a Division 1 wild-card match. The winner advances to No. 2 Corona del Mar.
Division 3 features Walnut, which is hosting Pacifica, of Garden Grove, and Mayfield, which is at Oakwood.
There are some area matchups in the wild-card round. Charter Oak hosts Pasadena Poly in Division 3, with Schurr at Bishop Amat; San Dimas at Marshall and La Salle at Rosemead in Division 4.


La Canada at Northwood
Xavier Prep at San Marino
San Luis Obispo at Glendora
Camarillo at Ayala
La Reina-St. Joseph’s winner at No. 2 Arcadia
Pacifica/GG at Walnut
Mayfield at Oakwood
La Quinta/W at Rowland
California at Arroyo
San Dimas-Marshall at Flint. Sacred Heart
St. Joseph-Bolsa Grande at No. 4 Alhambra
St. Lucy’s at HH Wilson
Chaminade-Torrance at La Serna
Heritage Chr-Beaumont at No. 1 Maranatha
Edgewood-Montclair at Gladstone
Whittier Christian at Vista del Lago

South Pasadena at Dos Pueblos – at No. 2 Corona del Mar
South Hills at Simi Valley – at Laguna Beach
Pasadena Poly at Charter Oak — at No. 4 Yucaipa
Schurr at Bishop Amat — at No. 1 South Torrance
San Dimas at Marshall — at Flintridge Sacred Heart
Santa Fe at J.W. North — at Notre Dame/Riverside
La Salle at Rosemead — at Garden Grove
Highland at Keppel — at Bishop Montgomery
Edgewood at Montclair — at Gladstone
Arroyo Valley at La Puente — at Foothill Tech
Duarte at Fairmont Prep — at No. 4 Maganolia
Shadow Hills at Azusa — Rim of the World

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Nogales’ John Romano, St. Paul’s Marijon Ancich receive their CIF-SS Hall pass

Former St. Paul football coach Marijon Ancich, right, with Former Nogales High School baseball coach John Romano after being inducted into the CIF-SS Hall of Fame at the Grand Long Beach Event Center in Long Beach, Calif., on Wednesday, Oct. 14, 2015. (Photo by Keith Birmingham/ Pasadena Star-News)

Former St. Paul football coach Marijon Ancich, right, with Former Nogales High School baseball coach John Romano after being inducted into the CIF-SS Hall of Fame at the Grand Long Beach Event Center in Long Beach, Calif., on Wednesday, Oct. 14, 2015. (Photo by Keith Birmingham/ Pasadena Star-News)

By Stephen Ramirez
LONG BEACH — Very few high school coaches have won like St. Paul’s Marijon Ancich and Nogales’ John Romano.

Both received their just rewards Wednesday for their accomplishments.
Ancich, the face of St. Paul football for more than 30 years, and Romano, Nogales’ baseball coach for 34 seasons, were inducted into the CIF-Southern Section Hall of Fame in a ceremony at The Grand Long Beach Event Center.
Former Diamond Bar athletics director Ray Moore, who is now at Vista Murrieta, and former Arcadia athletic director Doug Speck, who died in 2010, were honored with Distinguished Service awards.
“It’s fitting I’m (being inducted) with coach Ancich,” Romano said. “When I got into coaching, I wanted to be like (him). I wanted to share that.”
There’s a good reason to emulate Ancich, who retired in 2012. He is the winningest football coach in the section with a record of 360-134-4 and ranks second in the state behind De La Salle’s Bob Ladouceur (399-25-3).
Ancich won three section titles at St. Paul in 1968, ‘72 and ‘81. He also won two state titles and one mythical national championship. He also coached eight seasons at Tustin, before finishing with two stints at St. Paul, from 1993-2005 and then in 2009-12.
“I’m happy I’ve been able to obtain (the honor),” Ancich said. “I hope I can carry it on for anyone else who comes through.
“I would have liked to have had a few more victories at the right time, but just being out there was special for me. We had a great time, with great people. I was there at the right time.”
Romano, who spent one season at Yucca Valley before spending his last 34 seasons at Nogales, retired in 2014 with a record of 635-334-9. He guided his teams to six league titles and 30 CIF playoff appearances.
He was inducted into the California Baseball Coaches Association Hall of Fame in 2006 and the San Gabriel Valley Coaches Hall of Fame in 2014. He is a member of the CIF baseball coaches advisory committee.
Romano’s legacy is with his players, 18 of which were drafted by Major League teams and 29 received scholarships to four-year universities or colleges.
“This is an accumulation of an athletic department and a group of friends that are here today to celebrate with me that made it possible,” Romano said. “It could have easily been somebody else, but I was always fortunate to have enough people around me that made me look good.
“That’s basically what it was. A lot of people covered for me at Nogales. I had a lot of people helping me. This award should be shared by everybody.”
Romano said he will always be linked with Nogales alum and former Major Leaguer Cecil Fielder, but his legacy was obtained due to Paul Togneri, his first star.
“In 1982, I was asked to start winning, or sell insurance,” he said. “Togneri got me over the hump. Then in 1994, he came back (as a coach) and we won a (league) championship.”

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Water Polo Smudge Pot goes to Bonita, 14-6

San Dimas High water polo vs. Bonita High Sept. 22, 2015. (Photo by Leo Jarzomb/San Gabriel Valley Tribune)

San Dimas High water polo vs. Bonita High Sept. 22, 2015. (Photo by Leo Jarzomb/San Gabriel Valley Tribune)


SAN DIMAS — Bonita High School has held a competitive advantage in boys water polo over intra-district rival San Dimas over the years, and the Bearcats continued the trend Tuesday.
Mitchell Montenegro and Alex Mkrtchyan had three goals each and the Bearcats rallied for a 14-6 victory over the host Saints in a nonleague game.
Greg Fusco, Bryan Plat and Ian Schubert had two goals each for Bonita, which improved to 5-4. Robbie Simpson and James Hull had two goals each for San Dimas, which slipped to 5-5.
San Dimas looked held the early advantage, leading 3-2 after the first quarter. But Bonita put the clamps on the Saints the rest of the way, limiting San Dimas to three goals over the final three quarter to win by eight.
The key point for Bonita came in the second quarter when it scored four goals during the first five minutes to turn a 3-2 deficit into a 6-3 lead.
Bonita coach Art Villalpando: “It means a lot (to beat San Dimas). It was a nonleague game, but our schools do share a rivalry, so it’s nice to see the boys compete against someone, maybe they are not used to playing, but feel obligated to have good games (against). I felt we played well. We started out a little bit slow, but we were able to pick it up. I was real happy with that.”
Bonita’s Mitchell Montenegro: “It was a close game at the very beginning. But by the second quarter, we were able to turn it on and just dominated the rest of the game.
“We turned on our defense and they couldn’t score.”
— Stephen Ramirez

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SGV Tribune All-Star Game ends in 4-4 tie

By Stephen Ramirez
@SteveRRamirez on Twitter
The talent gap in the Valley was razor thin this season, so it made sense the inaugural SGV Tribune Senior All-Star baseball game ended in a tie.
Chino Hills’ Justin Bardwell had a RBI single in the ninth as the SGV MVPs tied the SGV Stars at 4 at Mt. San Antonio College.
Bonita’s Danny Gelalich had two hits and West Covina’s Alex Carrillo had two RBIs for the Stars.
Pasadena’s Frank Garriola led off the ninth with a single. He advanced to second on a wild-pitch before Bardwell singled with two outs to tie the score.
Both teams where held scoreless in the 10th.
Garriola and Bardwell had two hits each for the MVPs.
The Stars, who had just one hit through the first four innings, led 4-2 after six innings. They rallied for a 3-2 lead in the fifth.
The Stars strung together four consecutive hits in the inning. South Hills’ Gabe Chavez and Gelalich, who will attend Brigham Young, had singles before a two-run double by Carrillo tied it at 2.
Bonita’s Justin Gomez followed with a RBI single to make it 3-2.
Charter Oak’s Oscar Osorio had a sacrifice fly in the sixth to make it 4-2.
The MVPs cut it to 4-3 in the seventh on singles by Arcadia’s Matt Jung and Damien’s Andrew Garcia and a sacrifice fly by San Dimas’ Logan Muratala.
The MVPs took a 2-0 lead in the first. Garriola had a lead-off single before Chino Hills’ Chris Ceballos and Damien’s Grant Woodward had RBI doubles.
Northview’s Manny Armendariz was solid on the mound, striking out four in two innings.
The Stars had a shot to extend their lead in the seventh. Carrillo walked and Bishop Amat’s Aaron McCann doubled with one out. But Armendariz finished the inning with back-to-back strike outs.
In the underclassmen game, the SGV Elites beat the SGV Bests, 8-1.
West Covina’s Andrew Sanchez had a two-run double to lead the Elites.
Bassett’s Frankie Villanueva had a triple and Bishop Amat’s Jayson Gonzalez had a RBI single for the Bests’ only run.

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Redondo routs Walnut for Division 3 title, 10-0

By Stephen Ramirez
For two months, the Walnut High School baseball team was living a dream.
Saturday was a nightmare.
Marco Valenzuela had three RBIs and Gallion Copper tossed a two-hit shutout as Redondo Union ended the Mustangs’ 18-game winning streak and dream of a CIF-Southern Section title with a 10-0 victory over Walnut in the Division 3 title game at San Manuel Stadium.
Duncan McKinnon also had two RBIs for the Sea Hawks, who finished 29-7 and won the school’s first baseball division title.
Andy Rodriguez and Maxwell Masana had singles for the Mustangs, who finished 21-8-2. Walnut was seeking its second baseball title and in its first championship game since 1982. It was also their first title game appearance since winning in 1982.

“I give credit to (Redondo),” said Walnut coach Paul Acosta, whose team upset USA Today No. 1 San Dimas in the semifinals. “We prepared well. We were ready to play today; Cody Dye was ready to pitch today. I’ll take him any day. I’ll take him tomorrow and the next day, I’ll take him too.
“It’s just credit to those guys. Their reputation was that they hit the ball, and we saw with our own eyes that they hit the ball well. “
Redondo Union all but put it way before Walnut had a chance to bat, scoring five runs on four hits in the first.
Dye, who brought a 9-0 record and 0.83 earned run average into Saturday, got behind early, giving up a walk on four pitches and a single by Jacob Springman to start the game.
Brady Dorn followed with an RBI single for a 1-0 lead before Dye walked in run and Jason Clebowicz followed with a sacrifice fly for a 3-0 advantage. Valenzuela then hit a two-run double to left-center field to make it 5-0.
Dye needed 33 pitches.

“I got behind a lot,” Dye said. “They are a good hitting team and when you get behind hitters, it’ll happen.”
Walnut never really recovered.
Cooper retired the first 10 batters before a walk to Andre Alvarez in the fourth. He finished with the two-hitter and struck out four.
The Mustangs, trailing 5-0, did have a shot to get back in it in the fourth. Quinn Cooper followed Alvarez’s free pass with a walk and then Rodriguez singled to load the bases.
But Michael Mora lined out to right field, ending the threat and Walnut’s chances.
“That would have been a break,” Acosta said. “Michael Mora hit it hard, hit it on the button. He just hit it right at someone. Unfortunately, that was our only threat throughout the game.”
Redondo put it away in the fifth. Valenzuela had a RBI single and McKinnon a two-run triple for a 10-0 lead.
“We were anticipating more base runners, so we could apply more pressure,” Acosta said. “But you have to tip your hat to Gallion. He threw the ball well, kept us off-balance. That’s all you can do. Redondo was the better team today.”

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