Los Angeles Preps: Steve Garvey

Bishop Amat takes down Palm Desert for Div. 4 baseball title, 7-0

June, 3, 2011
6/03/11
8:42
PM PT


LOS ANGELES — Rio Ruiz felt a rush of emotions as he trotted around the bases Friday afternoon at Dodger Stadium.

The La Puente Bishop Amat junior third-baseman had just slugged a two-run homer into the right-field seats to give the Lancers their first runs in a 7-0 victory against Palm Desert in the Southern Section Division 4 championship game.

His excitement bubbled over as he touched third base and headed for home, but he was also still absorbing the loss of a close friend earlier in the day, Austin Lacy, who succumbed to an undisclosed illness while undergoing treatment in Maryland.

“I was like, ‘That’s for you, man. I know you’re watching down on me and my team and I know you’re going to help us get through this game,’ " Ruiz said.

Lacy played football with Ruiz during the 2009 season before suffering a heart ailment in March of last year and then transferring to Pasadena at the start of this school year. Ruiz and several teammates had remained close despite Lacy’s departure.

They received the news of his death shortly before the game.

“We all wanted to win it for him,” Ruiz said.

The second-seeded Lancers escaped two scoring opportunities by top-seeded Palm Desert in the first two innings, throwing out Palm Desert center-fielder Ryan Garvey at the plate to end the first and getting a bases-loaded double play to end the second.

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LA North and Inland Empire: Garvey's making the trip to Dodger Stadium

May, 31, 2011
5/31/11
7:51
PM PT


PALM DESERT — Steve Garvey was part of numerous clutch victories in his 19-year Major League Baseball career but he couldn't recall feeling this emotional after a win.

The legendary Dodgers first baseman was briefly at a loss for words Tuesday after watching the Palm Desert High School baseball team score twice with two outs in the bottom of the seventh to defeat Westlake Village Oaks Christian, 2-1, in a Southern Section Division 4 semifinal at College of the Desert.

Garvey’s son, Ryan Garvey, is a senior center fielder for the top-seeded Aztecs, who advanced to the championship game Friday afternoon at Garvey’s place of employment for 14 years, Dodger Stadium. Palm Desert will meet the winner of tonight’s semifinal between La Puente Bishop Amat and Torrance.

“It has been destiny, just to get back to Dodger Stadium,” Steve Garvey said with a shaky voice and glistening eyes. “This is what champions do, champions never give up.”

Then he dropped a little secret on what to look for in the championship game, something the casual observer might not notice but would be an especially proud moment for the 1974 National League MVP.

“You might see Ryan at first base for an inning,” Garvey said before hurrying off to congratulate the team and photograph the on-field celebration.

In the other dugout, the son of another Los Angeles sports luminary, Oaks Christian first baseman Trevor Gretzky, tried to make sense of his team’s collapse.

“They had a good last inning,” Gretzky said of the Aztecs. “Hats off to them.”

Gretzky, the son of Hall of Fame hockey player, Wayne Gretzky, drove in the only run for Oaks Christian with a one-out double over Garvey’s head in the first inning. He later used his 6-foot-4 frame to reach over the fence to snare a foul pop fly off the bat of Garvey, leaving the Lions just three outs from the championship game.

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Inland Empire: Garvey vs. Gretzky in Division 4 showdown in the desert

May, 29, 2011
5/29/11
6:07
PM PT
CIF-SOUTHERN SECTION BASEBALL SEMIFINALS

TOP CHOICE

Palm Desert vs. Westlake Village Oaks Christian at College of the Desert in Palm Desert, Tuesday, 3:15 p.m.

Even if this Division 4 semifinal didn’t feature two of the most recognized last names in Los Angeles sports history, it still stands as a pretty good match up. But the selling point, no doubt, will be Palm Desert outfielder Ryan Garvey, the son of legendary Dodgers first basemen Steve Garvey, trying to lead the Aztecs over visiting Westlake Village Oaks Christian and first baseman Trevor Gretzky, the son of—you guessed it—all-time great hockey player Wayne Gretzky, who spent 7 seasons with the Kings. Garvey, who signed with USC and should go high in next month’s MLB draft, is hitting .374 with a team-high nine home runs and 44 RBIs. Garvey would like nothing more than to win this game and return to his father’s former place of business, Dodger Stadium, for the championship game Friday at 4:30 p.m. Gretzky, who signed with San Diego State, is hitting .394 with 31 runs scored and 26 RBIs. He had two doubles and two runs scored in a 6-3 quarterfinal victory Friday against fourth-seeded Laguna Beach.

SECOND BEST

Riverside North vs. Lakewood at Blair Field in Long Beach, Tuesday, 4 p.m.

The dream season continues for North. A year after finishing last in the Big VIII League and two years removed from a 4-24 season, the Huskies won their first league title in 14 years earlier this month. They haven't let up either, advancing to the Division 1 semifinals, their first trip past the quarters since winning the Division 2 title 1994. That season they were led by the division’s player of the year and future Angels second baseman Adam Kennedy. North has been leaning on its pitching during this postseason run, and the Huskies will have junior left-hander Jack Johnson rested and ready for Lakewood. Johnson (6-2) threw a one-hitter in a 3-0 second-round victory against fourth-seeded JSerra and was the winning pitcher in the league-clinching victory two weeks ago against Riverside King. Lakewood has history on its side and a pretty good familiarly with the wind and spaciousness of Blair Field. The Lancers have won five section titles, most recently in 2006, and are coming off a 3-1 victory Friday against one of the best prep southpaws in the nation, Henry Owens of Huntington Beach Edison.

THE REST

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Inland Empire: Five things from the weekend

May, 9, 2011
5/09/11
3:29
PM PT
1. Heading into this final week of the regular season, a number of baseball teams are still in the hunt for league titles (we'll take a closer look at that in the next post). One race that deserves special recognition is in the Mt. Baldy League. Chino entered last week ranked No. 7 in Southern Section Division 4, but was upset for the second time this season by Ontario Colony, 8-3, creating a tie for first place. Colony (18-6, 8-2) would own the tiebreaker for playoff seeding due to head-to-head results against the Cowboys (22-5, 8-2). All the Titans need is to beat fourth-place Montclair today and sixth-place Ontario on Wednesday and they'll be co-champions and the No. 1 seed out of their league.

2. The baseball team to watch heading into the Division 4 playoffs is No. 1 Palm Desert. The Aztecs won three games last week by a combined score of 50-0. Of course, two of those games were against Coachella Valley (1-18, 0-12), but then Palm Desert pounded out 17 runs Saturday against Riverside Arlington (12-14, 7-5) in a pool-play game at the Corona Centennial tournament. Leading the way last week was Ryan Garvey, the son of former Dodgers first baseman Steve Garvey, who was 8-for-12 with two home runs and eight RBIs. Garvey, who signed with USC, has nine homers on the season, tied for fifth-best in the state.

3. Bloomington Christian softball player Tyler Hernandez swiped 10 more bases last week, giving her a state-leading 63 on the season and 122 for her career. Hernandez, a junior middle infielder, should make a run at the Southern Section career stolen base record next season. With two regular-season games and the playoffs still remaining this season, Hernandez is 80 stolen bases behind the section record set by Jenny Pahl of Temecula Linfield Christian in 1995-98.

4. The Eastvale Roosevelt girls’ track and field team dominated the Big VIII League championships Thursday at Riverside King High. The highlight of the Mustangs’ performance was their 400-meter relay team, as Chasity Ducre, Akia Armstrong, Kaelynn Greene and Iris Chijioke won the one-lap race in 46.54 seconds, the second-fastest time in the state this outdoor season. Roosevelt should only get faster as the postseason continues. If the Mustangs can avoid dropping the baton, look for them on the starting line at next month's state championships at Buchanan High School in Clovis.

5. The Vista Murrieta boys’ track and field team won the Southwestern League title Thursday, but the best news was Jovonte Slater and Bernard Quinn were back on the track after missing the last month with injuries. Slater has the best long-jump mark in the state this season at 24 feet-1 inches, and is No. 2 in the 100-meter dash (10.62). Quinn is second in the state in the 400 (47.71) and third in the 200 (21.22). Together, they have the potential to provide the Broncos huge points in defense of their Southern Section Division 1 team title and a run for for state championship.

Inland Empire: Top baseball prospects of 2011

May, 5, 2011
5/05/11
7:39
PM PT
The Inland Empire has been well represented during the last few Major League Baseball drafts.

Chino Hills first baseman Chris Parmelee was selected 20th overall by the Twins in 2006, Riverside Patriot catcher Kyle Skipworth was chosen sixth overall in 2008 by the Marlins, and Norco right-hander Matt Hobgood went fifth overall to the Orioles two years ago.

A number of other I.E. high school players were selected in the latter parts of the first round in recent drafts.

This season’s crop of seniors might not have a sure-fire top 10 pick like Skipworth and Hobgood, but there should be a few local names called out during the this year’s draft June 6-8 in New Jersey.

Here’s a look at some of the top prospects from the region.

The Elite

Jacob Anderson, Chino: Slick, speedy and powerful, Anderson can play a corner outfield spot or first base. He madea name for himself by winning the home run derby at the Under Armour All-American Game last August at Wrigley Field in Chicago and might just be the first I.E. player drafted next month. Anderson has committed to Pepperdine but it’s more likely he’ll be playing minor-league ball next spring.

Daniel Arellano, Corona Centennial: At 6 feet 2, 205 pounds, pro scouts like Arellano’s size and raw power. A right-handed hitter and left-handed thrower, Arellano slammed 12 home runs as a junior at Centennial, splitting time between first base, the outfield and the mound. He committed to Long Beach State prior to his junior season.

Ryan Garvey, Palm Desert: As the son of Steve Garvey, the legendary Dodgers first baseman, Ryan has inherited his father’s smooth swing and natural power. An outfielder and first baseman, Garvey has seven home runs for a Palm Desert team that’s ranked No. 1 in Southern Section Division 4. Garvey has signed with USC.

Brandon Martin, Corona Santiago: Martin’s soft hands and strong, accurate arm has placed him in the upper echelon of middle infield prospects. He also passes the speed test with ease, but needs to continue cutting back on his strikeouts. Martin signed with Oregon State in November after de-committing from Cal State Fullerton.

Best of the Rest

Austin Bailey, Temecula Great Oak: A lean middle infielder with a lightning-quick release, Bailey entered the week hitting .493 with a team-high three home runs after connecting twice last week against Vista Murrieta. He signed with San Diego.

Scotty Burcham, Palm Desert: Another member of a star-studded team, Burcham plays shortstop for the Aztecs, hitting .329 with three homers and 20 RBIs. He has signed with Sacramento State.

Kevin Davidson, Yucaipa: Davidson, the younger brother of 2009 supplemental first-round draft pick Matt Davidson, came into the week hitting .525 in 24 games. In addition to playing third base, the UC Riverside recruit also owns a 6-1 record on the mound with a 1.94 ERA.

Kyle Ferret, Corona Santiago: Ferret is another big-bodied catcher who hits more for average than power. He’s smooth and steady behind the plate as well.

Steven Pallares, Corona Santiago: Another top player for the Sharks, Pallares came into the week hitting .473 while splitting time between third base and the mound. He has signed with San Diego State.

Chris Rabago, Riverside Poly: Rabago has seen his numbers dip after hitting .425 with five home runs as a junior and then signing with UC Irvine last fall. The shortstop came into the week hitting .292 with one home run for the 12-10 Bears.

Michael Jordan, Murrieta Valley: A 6-1 right-handed pitcher who signed with Pepperdine, Jordan has a 2.18 ERA in 45 innings this season.

Dave Schuknecht, Palm Desert: Another steady catching prospect, Schuknecht usually bats behind Garvey and came into the week hitting .390. He signed with Arizona.

Next year’s crop

R.J. Ybarra, Riverside Poly, C
Cody Bruder, Corona Santiago, 2B
Vahn Bozoian, Chino Hills Ayala, OF

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