UPDATED: Source says Cantwell baseball coach suspended two games for obscene gesture

Staff photographer Keith Birmingham shot this. Cantwell-Sacred Heart third base coach George Robert, center, gestures towards the home plate umpire after being tossed from the game with head coach Larry Patino looking on. The argument stemmed after a Cantwell batter was hit by a pitch, but rather than being awarded first base, the umpire called it a ball, ruling the batter didn’t make an attempt to get out of the way. On social media, there was plenty of opinion.

By Aram Tolegian
Cantwell Sacred Heart High School assistant baseball coach George Robert has been suspended for two games as punishment for making an obscene gesture at an umpire in Tuesday’s 8-3 loss to Bishop Montgomery, according to a source close to the situation.
A photographer from this newspaper captured Robert flipping off the home plate umpire following an exchange in the fourth inning while the umpire was ejecting Robert.
The photo was shared through social media and caused an outpouring of concerned reaction from area fans, but also a flood of support from Robert’s supporters close to the team, many of whom felt it was a teaching moment and nothing more.
“There’s no excuse for what I did yesterday,” a tearful Robert said on Wednesday morning. “I lost my cool. I did something I shouldn’t have done. It was my mistake. I apologized to the boys. I even went and apologized to the Bishop Montgomery coaches. I am supposed to be not only a coach, but a mentor to these kids, and I messed up.
“I’m getting emotional right now, but I love this job. I love those boys. And I feel like I let them down.”
When contacted Wednesday evening for reaction about the suspension, Robert declined to comment. As did Cantwell head coach Larry Patino.
Cantwell, 15-4, is in the midst of another productive season under Patino, who has turned the Cardinals baseball program into an area power. Robert will miss games against Bishop Montgomery on Friday and St. Bernard on Apr. 28.
Robert, a U.S. Army veteran who is on permanent disability following a back injury he suffered while his Humvee was hit by an IED in Iraq, has been an assistant coach to Patino for three years.
Wednesday’s incident took place during the fourth inning. Cantwell hitter Chris Ibarra was hit by a pitch, but wasn’t awarded first base because the home plate umpire said Ibarra didn’t make an attempt to get out of the way, according to Robert. Robert said the next pitch was high and tight, too, further escalating the situation.
Robert said he later asked the umpire for an explanation but was told to get back in his coaching box. That led to an argument and in the midst of being ejected, Robert can be seen walking away from the umpire while extending his middle finger back at him.
“I just lost it,” Robert said. “I don’t know where that came from or why it came out. I was in the wrong. That’s a bad example. Just bad.”
Robert declined to talk in detail about his military service, but did confirm he is dealing with several issues, including a back injury that has prevented him from working. Patino said that Robert’s clear schedule is part of what makes him so invaluable to his coaching staff because he can give more time than most assistants.
Meanwhile, Robert contends that coaching baseball has saved his life and given him a purpose after a life of knowing only military service.
“I do baseball not to get paid,” Robert said. “I don’t do baseball because of money. I do it because baseball changed my life and it keeps me busy. I loved my job with the military. It’s unfortunate I can no longer perform my job because, but this is why I’m now doing baseball.
“In 2005, I was in a really bad spot … I joined the military right out of high school. I had no college education. I joined the military. When they let me go, it kinda put me in a bad a place. If it wasn’t for my son wanting to play baseball, getting me involved in baseball, it took me out of that dark spot.
“But again, my military service is no excuse for what I did yesterday.”
Patino said he has received several phone calls from concerned players that Robert may his lose coaching position since the picture has done the local version of going viral. Patino, the Whittier Daily News’ Coach of the Year in 2014, has also said he’s read people’s responses on social media and wants to set the record straight about himself and his staff.
“I just think when people see the picture they think there’s a couple bad guys right there who are probably ruining this team and have no clue what they’re doing,” Patino said. “Because, the picture looks kind of bad, but it’s far from the truth. We do a lot of mentoring at the high school and youth level and are always trying to give back to the youth community.”

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Sierra Vista baseball continues dominance in Montview, beats Azusa 11-5

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Sierra Vista wins battle of Montview unbeatens: Three-time defending Montview League baseball champion Sierra Vista took sole possession of first place with an 11-5 win over Azusa on Monday afternoon.
The Dons (13-1, 7-0) have won six of the last seven league titles and have won 13 consecutive games since a season-opening loss to West Covina.
The Dons sent 11 batters to the plate in the bottom of the second inning. They had four hits and took advantage of two walks and two Aztec errors to take a 5-0 lead.

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Baseball Rankings: Bonita, Sierra Vista, South Hills, Damien lead way

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Tribune Top Ten Baseball Rankings
1. Bonita (17-2) — Is 6-1 in Palomares with a pair against Glendora next.
2. Sierra Vista (12-1) — Big meeting this week against Azusa for first in the Montview. Both are 6-0.
3. South Hills (12-7) — Won four straight including a sweep over Glendora last week.
4. Damien (8-7) — Big sweep over Rancho Cucamonga, at Upland Tuesday for sole possession off first in Baseline.
5. Walnut (13-5-1) — Mustangs dominating the Hacienda, off to a 7-0 start, but lost both games of doubleheader to Corona.
6. Bishop Amat (8-10) — Lancers making a push to get to .500, and more importantly, still 3-0 in league.
7. Glendora (11-9) — Is only 3-4 in the Palomares with two tough games against Bonita looming.
8. Azusa (8-2) — Aztecs, 6-0 in Montview, put it all on the line at Sierra Vista next.
9. Covina (11-6) — Colts in sole possession of Valle Vista league lead at 6-1.
10. Charter Oak (9-7) — At 6-1 in Hacienda, the only team that can challenge Walnut for the title.

AREA LEADERS
Hitting (Minimum 25 at bats)

1. Ricky Mejia, Bassett, .500, 15-for-30
2. Brennan McKenzie, Walnut, .489, 23-for-47
3. Nick Aguilar, South El Monte, .464, 13-for-28
4. Angel Lopez, Rosemead, .455, 15-for-33
5. Keola Viloria, Diamond Bar, .455, 15-for-33
6. Joshua Chaidez, Rosemead, .452, 14-for-31
7. Dante Castillo, Bishop Amat, .450, 18-for-40
8. Joseph Kim, Diamond Bar, .449, 22-for-49
9. Bryce Wooldridge, Glendora, .426, 23-for-54
10. Gabriel Contreras, Gladstone, .423, 11-for-26

Home Runs
4 – Brennan McKenzie (Walnut); 3 – Jake Bryant (Glendora); 2 – Tommy Delgado (Bonita).
RBIs
18 – Brennan McKenzie (Walnut); 16 – Jake Bryant (Glendora); 14 – Bryce Wooldridge (Glendora); Brandon Bradshaw (Bonita); 13 – Austyn Rivera (Nogales), Justin Torres (West Covina).
Pitching (Most Wins)
Christian Longoria (Walnut), 6-0; Hayden Petrovick (South Hills), 6-2; A.J. Woodall (Bonita) 5-0;
A.J. Woodall (Bonita), 5-0; Emilio Delgado (Ganesha) 5-1; Alfred Arcos (Mountain View) 5-1;
ERA Leaders
1. Mario Huizar (Sierra Vista), 0.29; 2. Ricardo Reyes (Sierra Vista), 0.67; 3. Felipe Lopez (El Monte) 0.70, 4. A.J. Woodall (Bonita) 0.93; 5. Alfred Arcos (Mountain View) 0.95.



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Softball Rankings: Cream rising, Bishop Amat and South Hills on top where it belongs

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Area Softball Rankings
1. Bishop Amat (15-2) — Perfect 5-0 in the Del Rey with a big home game vs. St. Paul on Wednesday.
2. South Hills (12-7) — Florida bound pitcher Natalie Lugo struck out 19 in a 2-0 shutout over Glendora.
3. St. Lucy’s (10-4-2) — Is 2-1 in Baseline after win over Rancho Cucamonga and huge win over Etiwanda.
4. Glendora (11-3) — Tartans are 11-0 against non-league teams and 0-3 in Palomares.
5. Edgewood (10-1) — Numbers look ridiculous with 120 runs scored, 29 against.
6. Charter Oak (11-6) — Tough 5-2 loss in eight innings to Chino.
7. Arroyo (10-3) — Looks like real deal with 5-0 record in MVL.
8. Diamond Ranch (12-5) — Beat West Covina, lost to Charter Oak.
after winning last week’s Whittier tournament.
9. Bonita (9-7) — Look who’s 2-0 in the Palomares.
10. Los Altos (7-8-1) — After slow start is 2-0 in the Hacienda.

Hitting Leaders (Minimum 25 at bats)
1. Berlin Bonilla, La Puente, .686, 24-for-35
2. Alma Lopez, La Puente, .640, 16-for-25
3. Monica Guzman, Workman, .607, 17-for-28
4. Randi Farricker, Glendora, .600, 24-for-40
5. Alyssa Diaz, South El Monte, .593, 16-for-27
6. Melissa Felix, Los Altos, .586, 17-for-29
7. Alyssa Carrion, Walnut, .558, 24-for-43
8. Rebecca Barber, Arroyo, .542, 13-for-25
9. Seanna Jimenez, El Monte, .541, 20-for-37
10. Marina Roski, Diamond Ranch, .524, 22-for-42

Home Runs
7 – Randi Farricker (Glendora), Ciara Granado (Edgewood); 6 – Taylor Tetone (Glendora); 5 – Melysia Ortega (South Hills), Shynia Torrez El Monte); 4– Alison LeNoue (Covina); Marissa Chavez (Charter Oak), Kiara Mills (St. Lucy’s).
RBIs
21 – Randi Farricker (Glendora); 19– Ciara Granado (Edgewood), Sammy Alvarado (Edgewood); 16 – Akyira Wiggins (Duarte), Taylor Tetone (Glendora), Marina Roski (Diamond Ranch).
Pitching: Most Wins
Marina Roski (Diamond Ranch), 9-4; Cambria Keefer (Glendora), 8-2; Natalie Lugo (South Hills), 8-5; Samaria Diaz (Bishop Amat) 7-1; Dakota Casper (St. Lucy’s), 7-2; Alexis Vargas (Bishop Amat), 6-0.
Pitching: ERA
1. Samaria Diaz (Bishop Amat), 0.98; 2. Natalie Lugo (South Hills), 1.19; 3. EmaRae Flores (Charter Oak), 1.97; 4. Trinity Garcia (West Covina), 2.23; 5. Cambria Keefer (Glendora), 2.33.

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Clean sweep for Tribune in Friday’s All-Star Classic

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Photo Gallery: The Tribune earned a clean sweep at Friday’s Tribune/Star News All-Star Classic. The Tribune boys fell behind briefly after blowing a 27 point lead, but came back to win 106-92 behind Damien’s Bryce Peters, the MVP with 22 points and Walnut’s Dwight Ramos with 20 points and 7 rebounds. Bonita’s Tyler Poepping won the boys 3-point conteest and the win gives the Tribune boys a 7-6 lead in the overall series. San Dimas’ Dy’mond Mitchell scored 13 points with 7 rebounds, 4 assists and 4 steals to lead the Tribune girls team to an 80-72 win over the Star-News, cutting the Star-News’ lead in the series to 7-6. Arcadia’s Kristin Shigenaga wins the girls 3 point contest

Story: There was no way Damien High School boys basketball standout Bryce Peters was going out a loser in his final game on his home court.
Peters erupted down the stretch en route to a game-high 22 points and helped the Tribune team post a 106-92 win over the Star-News in the 13th Tribune/Star-News All-Star Classic for local high school basketball seniors.

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South Hills’ Natalie Lugo flirts with no-hitter, strikes out 19 in 2-0 shutout over Glendora

lugoLugo strikes out career high 19: It may only be one game into league play, but South Hills High School softball pitcher Natalie Lugo is in midseason form.
The junior was in total command in the circle as she tied a career high with 19 strikeouts and flirted with a perfect game and no-hitter, before settling for a one-hitter, as the Huskies (11-7, 1-0) defeated host Glendora 2-0 in a Palomares League game Wednesday afternoon.

“They (Glendora) haven’t played in three weeks and I knew their timing would be a little off,” South Hills coach Brandon Gonzalez said. “With her (Lugo) throwing I knew they haven’t seen anything like that.”
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13th annual Tribune/Star-News All-Star boys/girls basketball classic is Friday at Damien

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What: 13th Annual Tribune/Star-News All-Star Classic
Where: Damien High School
When: Friday
Game Time: Girls game 5:30 p.m.; Boys game 7:30 p.m.

Tribune/Star-News Classic Preview: After 12 years, there’s still no clear answer as to which side of the Valley has the best boys prep basketball talent.
Entering Friday’s 13th Tribune/Star-News All-Star Classic for area high school basketball seniors, the series is tied at 6-6. Tip off for the boys game is at 7:30 p.m. at Damien High. The girls game, which the Star-News leads the series 7-5, is at 5:30.
“They seemed to develop good chemistry right away as they got to know each other,” Tribune boys head coah Tim Godley of Bonita said. “They played with a lot of effort in practice. We’re going to play everybody, if it’s close at the end we’ll go for the win. It seemed like they wanted to win it for the area.”

Diamond Ranch big-man Roman Silva ready to go: At 7-foot-1, Diamond Ranch High School center Roman Silva knows all eyes will be on him Friday night in the 13th annual Tribune/Star-News All-Star Classic at Damien High.
After all, it’s not there’s a legitimate 7-foot college prospect around these parts. Silva is hoping to go out a winner while putting on a show to conclude a career that saw him lead Diamond Ranch to a CIF Southern Section championship last month.
“I’ve been dealing with that for the last two seasons, so it’s something I’m used to,” Silva said when asked if he’s ready to be the focal point on Friday. “I’m just really excited to go out there and just play. I know a lot of people on this team and I just want to go out and play.”

Team’s announced for 13th Annual All-Star Game: The debate over which side of the Valley rules the hardwood will be renewed on Friday, Apr. 15 when Damien High School hosts the 13th Annual Tribune/Star-News All-Star Classic for local high school seniors.
So far, there isn’t much splitting the two sides. The boys game is an even split after 12 years with the Star-News winning six games and the Tribune getting the other six. The girls series is almost as tight with the Star-News girls leading 7-5. The Star-News swept last year’s games.
“I think we will have every opportunity in the world to keep the tradition going on the Star-News side and remind them that our side of town is really strong with girls basketball,” said Star-News head coach Sarah Beattie of La Canada.

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