East County
These are capsules; click link (next line) for full stories on each sport
MLB Draft 2015

Final day of the MLB Draft sees four more drafted

By Bill Dickens
© East County Sports.com

EL CAJON (6-11-15) — Four more East County athletes were selected in the third and final day of the Major League Baseball free agent draft on Wednesday (June 10).

Longtime East County baseball standout FRANK CALIFANO, a product of Steele Canyon, has been a record breaker at Youngstown State University (Ohio). The junior southpaw was drafted as a centerfielder by the Chicago White Sox with the 562nd pick in the 19th round.

Other East County athletes selected in the final round include Granite Hills third baseman JORDAN VERDON, who was the 719th pick in the 21st round by the New York Mets.

The list continues with El Capitan-Southwestern College graduate KEVIN GINKEL, who was taken as the 771st pick in the 26th round by the Boston Red Sox.

Not to be overlooked was ROBBY NESOVIC, a 6-foot-4, 210 pound corner infielder off the UC Santa Barbara campus in the 27th round by the Atlanta Braves. In his last season with the Gauchos he batted .342 with 40 RBI.

Nesovic played 3 years of varsity baseball and basketball for the Grossmont High Foothillers. As a pitcher in his junior year he posted a 1.02 ERA with an 11-0 record and hit .418 with 6 HRs. He helped Grossmont to 3 league championships and a CIF Section championship his sophomore year.

Under the leadership of MICKEY DEUTSCHMAN, Nesovic was a standout pitcher-infielder for the San Diego Stars semi-pro baseball team.

“We just try to make ballplayers. That’s all we care about,” said Deutschman. “Nesovic could make it as a pitcher or an infielder.”

During the 40-round draft, seven East County baseball players heard their name called. KYLE HOLDER went to the Yankees in the first round; pitcher CODY POTEET was selected in the fourth round by the Miami Marlins; catcher JESSE JENNER was the seventh round choice of the St. Louis Cardinals.

Poteet and Jenner both go on day two of the MLB Draft

© East County Sports.com
EL CAJON (6-10-15) — When CODY POTEET was a freshman at Christian High in 2009, he was one of the hardest throwing pitchers in San Diego County. Strikeouts was the name of his game as he registered 78 punchouts in 71 innings en route to a 9-1 record as a freshman. That was the spark of a bright future.

Poteet eventually received a scholarship to UCLA for the last three seasons.

The junior right-handed pitcher was selected on day two of the 2015 Major League Baseball Draft on Tuesday (June 9). The 6-foot-1, 188-pound Poteet was selected by the Miami Marlins as the 116th overall pick in the fourth round.

Poteet set career-bests in wins and ERA this season at UCLA, posting a 7-1 record with a 2.45 ERA in 27 appearances (13 starts). His 68 strikeouts ranked second on the team and he held opposing batters to a .230 average over 73.1 innings. A two-time Pac-12 All-Academic honorable mention selection, Poteet has racked up 14 wins in his career at UCLA and currently ranks second on the team in career starts (39).

A Bonita native, Poteet was previously selected out of high school in the 27th round of the 2012 MLB Draft by the Washington Nationals.


Former Steele Canyon High and Grossmont College standout JESSE JENNER, a senior catcher at the University of San Diego, was selected by the St. Louis Cardinals with the 221st pick in seventh round of Tuesday’s (June 9) second day of the 2015 MLB Draft.

Jenner, an All-WCC selection the past two seasons, posted a .314 batting average in 2015 with two home runs and 27 RBI, while playing exceptional defense (.995 fielding percentage).

Jenner, who resides in Jamul, batted .348 in his junior season, his first with the Toreros. He began his career at Cal State Fullerton, then transferred to Grossmont College, before winding up at USD for his final two years.

The final day featuring rounds 11-40 will be tomorrow, June 10, beginning at 9:00 a.m. PT. The final day can be watched live on MLB.com.

Holder Drafted in First Round by Yankees

Photo courtesy of USD Athletic Communications.

© East County Sports.com
SAN DIEGO (6-9-15) — University of San Diego junior shortstop KYLE HOLDER, a product of Grossmont College, was selected in the first round, No. 30 pick overall, in the 2015 Major League Baseball Draft by the New York Yankees.

Holder is the seventh San Diego student-athlete to capture West Coast Conference Player of the Year honors since 2007 and the third consecutive.

Named to the 30-player Golden Spikes Award Watch List, Holder hit .387 with 13 doubles, two triples, one home run and 19 RBI during league play. The junior shortstop turned in a .976 fielding percentage, committing just three errors in 127 chances and contributed to 10 double plays during WCC games. Overall, Holder hit .348 with 78 hits, 14 doubles, two triples, four home runs, and had 31 RBI.

Holder is also currently a semi-finalist for the Brooks Wallace Award, which honors the nation's best collegiate shortstop.

If he elects to sign, Holder could make up to $1-million dollars signing bonus.


Gross stroking her way to National award

Photo courtesy of Bob Solorio/Sacramento
State Athletic Communications

© East County Sports.com
SACRAMENTO (6-4-15) — Sacramento State senior KIM GROSS, a product of Santana High, was the recipient of the National Scholar-Athlete Award announced by the Collegiate Rowing Coaches Association (CRCA).

The award recognizes rowing student-athletes with a 3.5 or higher cumulative grade point average, are at least a sophomore athletically and have competed in an NCAA eligible boat in ­­­75 per cent of the team’s races.

In addition, Gross has received the honor three consecutive seasons, or every year she’s been eligible for the award. She became the sixth Hornet rower to earn the award three times.

Gross sat at stroke with the varsity eight with the first six races of the season, despite battling injuries. After missing two regattas due to injuries she returned during the final weekend of the season to stroke the second varsity eight to a Bronze Medal at the American Athletic Conference Championship.

A second team All-WIRA (Western Intercollegiate Rowing Association) pick last year, Gross has competed with the varsity eight or second varsity eight each of the last three years. She has won a number of academic accolades over that time, including being names to Conference USA’s Honor Roll last year.

Gross was a Grossmont Conference Player of the Year in girls basketball while at Santana.

Former Granite Hills star receives Tony Gwynn Award

Photo courtesy of John Bryne, Nevada athletic communications.

Special to East County Sports.com
RENO, Nev. (6-3-15) — Former Granite Hills High star now at Nevada has been named Mountain West Player of the Year, receiving the inaugural award named for former San Diego State head baseball coach.

Nevada sophomore outfielder/pitcher TRENTON BROOKS was selected for the Mountain West's Tony Gwynn Player of the Year trophy.

Brooks helped Nevada to the Mountain West regular season championship this season. The 6-foot, 170-pound Brooks batted .364 with three home runs and 51 RBIs. In addition, the left-hander went 4-1 on the mound with a 3.23 ERA.

"It's an absolute honor to receive this award," Brooks said. "Growing up in San Diego and looking up to Tony Gwynn makes it extremely special to me. I'm at a loss for words right now. I am just extremely thankful."

Utah baseball: Freshman pitcher Jayson Rose earns Pac-12 honorable mention

Photo courtesy of Univeristy of Utah. Jayson Rose (Granite Hills) lead Utah in ERA (3.54) and strikeouts (68) during the 2015 season.

By Matt Piper and Kyle Goon
Special to East County Sports.com

SALT LAKE CITY (6-3-15) — Utes starter and former Granite Hills standout JAYSON ROSE was the only Ute to earn Pac-12 honors on the heels of a 16-36-1 season (7-22-1 for last place in the Pac-12). Rose led the team with 68 strikeouts, No. 8 in the conference, and had a team-best 3.54 ERA. He earned Pac-12 pitcher of the week earlier in the season.

In another down season for Utah baseball, there's a ray of hope: The Utes have young talent, and one of their most promising hurlers earned all-conference honors this year.

The youthful Rose (3-5) as Utah's Sunday starter this season, earned all-Pac-12 honorable mention as the league announced its top players and coaches.


Reliever Andrew Bellatti impresses again for Rays

By Marc Topkin, Staff Writer
Courtesy Tampa Bay Times

MINNEAPOLIS (5-22-15) — Rookie RHP ANDREW BELLATTI, former Steele Canyon standout, impressed again Saturday in his second solid outing since his unexpected call-up to the Tampa Bay Rays.

And though the end result was being sent back to Triple-A Durham, as the Rays are activating infielder Nick Franklin off the disabled list, Bellatti certainly showed worthy of further opportunity.

"He came up here and did everything he could possibly do to showcase himself really well," manager Kevin Cash said. "I would definitely envision (that) he put himself in that mix when we need arms."

Bellatti, 23, who got the win in his May 9 debut, came on in the fourth Saturday with the Rays down 3-1 and kept it there, working 2 2/3 scoreless innings, most impressive in the sixth when he allowed a walk and a double then struck out the next three.

"I've just tried to kind of come in and go for it," Bellatti said. "Not really hold anything back, not really shy away from anyone. I feel like I've held my own pretty well."


Holder named WCC Player of the Year

By Chris Davis
© East County Sports.com
SAN BRUNO (5-21-15) — Former Grossmont College shortstop KYLE HOLDER (University City/Grossmont College) was awarded the West Coast Conference Player of the Year award on Wednesday (May 20). Holder and JESSE JENNER are both former Griffins to be playing for the WCC Coach of the Year Rich Hill for the 2015 WCC regular season champions.

Holder led the Toreros with a .357 average over his 213 at bats while playing in all 52 games this season. Kyle was second on the team with 13 doubles to go along with a pair of triples and a trio of home runs. Holder was involved in 25 of the 34 double plays that USD turned this season.

Jenner (Steele Canyon/Grossmont College) was third this regular season on the Toreros in batting average in slightly limited play this season. The senior catcher hit .327 (48-147) in a limited 41 games (39 starts) for the Blue and White. Jenner was slow to start this season due to injuries he sustained at the end of summer ball last year. The two time All-East County Sports.com member had 10 extra base hits with 35 RBI. Defensively, Jenner threw out over a quarter of runners attempting to steal against him.

USD (32-20, 19-8 WCC) is the top seed in this weekend’s WCC tournament being held at Banner Island Ballpark on the Stockton riverfront. Banner Island Ballpark is celebrating its 10th anniversary season this year and is the home of the Stockton Ports (Oakland A’s affiliate) of the California League.


Cole in NCAA Big Dance

© East County Sports.com
NORTHRIDGE (3-30-15) — Former West Hills High girls basketball standout EMILY COLE, now a sophomore at Cal State Northridge, is the 6th man on a team with five senior starters.

She played for the second year in a row in the NCAA tournament. CSUN was a 13 seed and played 4th seed Stanford. The CSUN Matadors lost 73-60 but led by one point at the half.


Bauer goes record deep

Photo courtesy of
SDSU Athletics/

© East County Sports.com
BOISE (3-30-15) — LORENA (KLOPP) BAUER set a San Diego State single game record with three home runs and seven RBI to lift the Aztecs softball team to a 16-2 five inning rout of Boise State Saturday (Mar. 28) in Idaho.

A graduate of Steele Canyon High School, Bauer, a pitcher-first baseman, went 4 for 4 at the plate with three runs. She is batting at a .400 clip and has 10 homers and 38 RBI this season. She has 51 career home runs in 185 games.

Her second inning home run was her second grand slam of the season.


Ogden goes back-to-back

By Chris Davis
© East County Sports.com
SAINT GEORGE, UT (3-5-15) — Former Grossmont College Griffin forward MARK OGDEN, JR. captured his second consecutive conference championship on Saturday (Feb. 28).

Image courtesy of Dixie State University

Last year (2013-14) Ogden help lead the Griffins to the Pacific Coast Athletic Conference Northern division title. And in his first season at the NCAA Division II level, he captures another title, this time the Pacific West Conference's title (Co-title with Azusa Pacific) and the top seed in the upcoming PacWest Tournament.

Ogden started all 26 games that he appeared in this season. He averaged 27 minutes per contest while hitting on 51.6 percent of his 190 shots. He averaged 10.7 points and seven rebounds per contest for the Red Storm.

Dixie State will face BYU-Hawai’i in the semi-finals tonight (March 6). If Dixie passes that test, they will probably face Azusa Pacific who is led by TROY LEAF from Foothills Christian.

Tournament finals are Saturday (Mar. 7) at 4:15 p.m. at Concordia University in Irvine.


© Special to East County Sports.com
KANSAS CITY, Kan. (12-21-14) — Former Grossmont College Griffin quarterback CHRIS BONNER has helped CSU-Pueblo win its first NCAA Div. II football championship.

Colorado State-Pueblo’s seven-year climb to the national championship podium is complete.

And the ThunderWolves didn't wait until the final gun to begin the celebration of their NCAA Division II title with a 13-0 victory over Minnesota State on Saturday.

With about 35 seconds remaining, when it became apparent the ThunderWolves would not be required to take another snap, the players and coaches on their sideline spilled onto the field, arms raised in triumph.

Later, head coach John Wristen fought back tears explaining the program’s remarkable journey from restoration to national title.

"I wanted to be part of something special to Pueblo, Colorado," Wristen said. "We just put our head down and went to work."

PRO FOOTBALL: Mills signs with CFL's Blue Bombers

© East County Sports.com
WINNIPEG, Manitoba (7-14-14) — Former University of San Diego quarterback MASON MILLS, the 2013 Pioneer League player of the year, has been signed to the practice roster of the undefeated Winnipeg Blue Bombers of the Canadian Football League.

COLLEGE WOMEN'S FASTPITCH: Gators' Gourley fires no-hitter in NCAA opener

© East County Sports.com
GAINESVILLE, Fla. (5-18-14) — In her first appearance for the University of Florida back in February, El Capitan High product DELANIE GOURLEY established a school milestone with the program's 800th all-time victory.

On Friday, the left-hander achieved a personal milestone.

In the opening game of the NCAA Regional, Gourley tossed a no-hitter in her first collegiate postseason outing, leading the Gators past Florida A&M, 8-0. With the victory she raised her record to 14-1.

COLLEGE BASEBALL: Gold Glove for Foothills Christian alum Lewis

© East County Sports.com
KANSAS CITY, Mo, (5-17-14) — Foothills Christian High graduate CODY LEWIS, a former catcher, finished his junior season at Avila University of the Heart of America Athletic Conference with a 1.000 fielding percentage in 20 chances, helping him earn the Rawlings Gold Glove Award as a pitcher.

COLLEGE WOMEN'S FASTPITCH: Beintema to be enshrined in Rider Hall of Fame

© East County Sports.com
LAWRENCEVILLE, N.J. (5-14-14) — Former Grossmont High spftball player HEATHER "Cali" BEINTEMA, who also played for a variety of club and travel ballclubs in the East County at the turn of the century, is the classic case of a late bloomer.

Despite limited playing time as a non-descript ballplayer as a teenager, one minor opportunity to pitch transformed Beintema's life into a career in softball, leading to next month's induction into the Athletics Hall of Fame at Rider University (NCAA Division I).

COLLEGE WOMEN'S FASTPITCH: Johnson 'ramms' to Utah State strikeout record

© East County Sports.com
LAS VEGAS (5-13-14) — Former West Hills High standout NOELLE JOHNSON has established a new single-season strikeout record for Utah State.

Johnson, a sophomore, needed to go down to the final weekend of the regular season, yet reached the Aggies milestone in a season-finale loss at UNLV at Eller Media Softball Field. The record-breaking strikeout came in the 2nd inning, when Emily Haslinger struck out swinging for the second out. The strikeout was Johnson's 218th of the season, passing Mary Lou Ramm who had 217 in 1980.

COLLEGE BASEBALL: Cederoth Earns Second MWC Pitcher of the Week Award

© East County Sports.com
SAN DIEGO (5-13-14) — San Diego State junior right-hander MICHAEL CEDEROTH has been named the Mountain West Conference Pitcher of the Week for games played from May 5-11. It marks the second such honor of the season for Cederoth, a Steele Canyon High alum, who made three appearances out of the bullpen last week recording a win and a pair of saves.

PRO FOOTBALL: Vaqueros seeking berths with NFL Cardinals

© East County Sports . com
GLENDALE, Ariz. (5-8-14) — A pair of El Capitan High graduates are making an impact for the Arizona Cardinals of the National Football League.

Quarterback RYAN LINDLEY is taking snaps for the Cardinals in spring drills, while 6-foot-4, 309-pound TOMMIE DRAHEIM is toiling as an offensive lineman in his second season.

COLLEGE BASEBALL: Jenner receives National player of the week laurels

© East County Sports.com
INDIANAPOLIS (4-7-14) — JESSE JENNER, a recent member of the San Diego Stars semipro baseball team, has been named the NCAA National Player of the Week, as selected by Collegiate Baseball.

Jenner, a catcher for the University of San Diego, was also named West Coast Conference player of the week.

COLLEGE WOMEN'S FASTPITCH: Vanguard duo star in homecoming

By Nick Pellegrino
© East County Sports.com

SANTEE (3-30-14) — A pair of East County products – Grossmont High's RACHEL STALFORD and West Hills' TAYLOR HALLAHAN – who both captured CIF softball championships, are finding success at Vanguard University.

On Saturday (Mar. 29), the pair held a homecoming in front of family and friends, as the Lions played a Golden State Athletic Conference doubleheader against San Diego Christian College at Sportsplex USA.

Troy Conyers
Delanie Gourley
Kalob Hatcher
Kat Canciller-Petty
Madison Labshere

Michael Cederoth

Lance Hurdle

COLLEGE BASEBALL: Conyers stays on roll, clouts walkoff homer in Top 25 battle

© East County Sports.com
ALCALA PARK (3-13-14) — Former El Capitan High standout TROY CONYERS, the 2012 CIF San Diego Section player of the year, came through in the clutch in Tuesday's (Mar. 12) Top 25 showdown. VIDEO/INTERVIEW

Conyers, a sophomore, clouted a walk-off 2-run homer in the bottom of the 10th inning, lifting the No. 24 USD Toreros past No. 8 Cal State Fullerton, 5-3, in a non-conference game at Fowler Park.

COLLEGE BASEBALL: Conyers garners WCC pitcher of the week laurels

© East County Sports.com
SAN BRUNO (3-6-14) — University of San Diego pitcher TROY CONYERS, a product of El Capitan High, has been named the West Coast Conference pitcher of the week for the period ending Sunday (Mar. 2).

Conyers, a sophomore left-hander, posted a strong start against Baylor, helping the Toreros gain a berth in the Baseball America national rankings. Conyers carried a no-hitter into the sixth inning against the Bears.

COLLEGE WOMEN'S FASTPITCH: Gourley moves to 9-0 for top-ranked Gators

© East County Sports.com
GAINESVILLE, Fla. (3-10-14) — Former El Capitan High standout DELANIE GOURLEY captured the series-clinching victory to open Southeast Conference play, keeping her University of Florida Gators on top of the national women's fastpitch rankings.

On Sunday (Mar. 9), Gourley, a freshman, ran her national-leading record to 9-0 after blanking OIe Miss, 2-0, at KSP Stadium. The lefty allowed three hits over seven innings with two walks and four strikeouts, tossing her second shutout of the year.

COLLEGE WOMEN'S FASTPITCH: Yanitor propels McNeese State past No. 7 Alabama

© East County Sports.com
TUSCALOOSA , Ala. (2-25-14) — Former Steele Canyon High standout TORI YANITOR is heavily contributing to a renaissance in McNeese State women's softball, helping the Cowgirls race past 7th-ranked Alabama, 5-3, Sunday (Feb. 23).

Yanitor collected two hits, then laid down a perfect suicide bunt which produced the ho-ahead run against one of the nation's top pitchers, Jaclyn Traina, in the final ballgame of the Easton Bama Bash.

The victory was McNeese State's first-ever over Alabama.

COLLEGE MEN'S BASKETBALL: Hatcher warming to home cookin'

Special to East County Sports.com
PORTLAND, Ore. (2-19-14) — It’s no secret that the Montana State-Billings men’s basketball team has fared well on the road this season, but until last weekend it was difficulty on their home court of Alterowitz Gym that had bogged down the Yellowjackets.

MSUB’s hopes of earning a berth in the Great Northwest Athletic Conference championships were restored on Thursday (Feb. 13), when senior point guard KALOB HATCHER (Foothills Christian) led the ‘Jackets past visiting Western Washington in a 102-101 overtime thriller that snapped a 5-game losing skid and kept MSUB in the postseason conversation.

COLLEGE WOMEN'S SOFTBALL: Canciller-Petty makes Hawks history
Scores game-winning run in debut contest

© East County Sports.com
SANTEE (2-18-14) — The debut of the new San Diego Christian College women's softball program proved to be a success... with an East County flavor.

The Hawks scored the game-tying run in the bottom of the 7th inning, then Santana High product KAT CANCILLER-PETTY rambled to score the game-winning run during International Tiebreaker play in the 8th en route to a 6-5 decision over Embry-Riddle University.

COLLEGE WOMEN'S SOFTBALL: Labshere is UVa's ray of sunshine

© East County Sports.com
CONWAY, S.C. (2-17-14) — The University of Virginia women's softball team continues to re-build thanks to Valhalla High product MADSION LABSHERE.

Participating at the Coastal Carolina's Kickin' Chicken Tournament, Labshere batted 4-for-4 with an RBI, although the Cavaliers (1-7) dropped a 7-2 decision to Towson. For her effort, Labshere was the lone UVa player selected to the all-tournament team.

COLLEGE BASEBALL: Aztecs pitcher Cederoth named preseaon All-America

© East County Sports.com
SAN DIEGO (2-17-14) — San Diego State and former Steele Canyon High pitcher MICHAEL CEDEROTH has been named to preseason All American team by Baseball America.

LOCAL PROS: Another Hurdle to the NBA

© East County Sports.com
SANTA CRUZ (2-16-14) — Following a successful season playing professional basketball in Australia, Helix High alum LANCE HURDLE has climbed another step on the ladder to the NBA, coming to California next week as a member of the Springfield (Mass.) Armor of the NBA Development League (the 'D' League).

The Armor will appear in Santa Cruz for a two-game series with the West Division co-leading Warriors (18-12) on Thurs.-Fri., Feb. 20-21, then come to the Southland to meet the Los Angeles D-Fenders (also 18-12), the farm team to the L.A. Lakers, on Mon., Feb. 24.

COLLEGE WOMEN'S BASKETBALL: Williamson pouring home the points

Special to East County Sports.com
LAS CRUCES, N.M. (2-10-14) — Two of her best scoring efforts by former Mount Miguel High guard DANESIA WILLIAMSON included a career high 36 points, marking her fourth game this season to score 30 or more points for New Mexico State as the Aggies edged Seattle, 86-81. on Saturday (Feb. 8).

COLLEGE WOMEN'S FASTPITCH: It only takes one game for Gourley to reach Florida record book
Freshman from El Capitan registers save in Gators' 800th all-time victory

© East County Sports.com
TAMPA , Fla. (2-8-14) — The collegiate debut of University of Florida pitcher DELANIE GOURLEY ( El Capitan ) came 24 hours sooner than expected.

Slated to start Saturday (Feb. 8) against Michigan in the USF Wilson-DeMarini Tournament, instead Gourley was called upon to make a piece of Gators history.

With Florida clinging to a 3-2 lead, Illinois State loaded the bases with no outs in the 7th inning, so Gurley was summoned from the bullpen. The freshman registered three straight outs – a pair on strikeouts – to garner the save in a triumph over the Redbirds.

COLLEGE WOMEN'S FASTPITCH: Day to remember in Hutchison's debut

East County Sports.com
TEMPE, Ariz. (2-7-14) — Following an explosive opening debut to her collegiate career, perhaps former Steele Canyon High standout MOLLY HUTCHISON should immediately quit NCAA play and immediately take another step up to National Pro Fastpitch.

On Thursday (Feb. 6), Hutchison smashed a pair of home runs for North Carolina State, which is participating in the Kajikawa Classic.

COLLEGE WOMEN'S BASKETBALL: Miller calls out her attack as UNLV leader

By Todd Dewey
Las Vegas Review-Journal

LAS VEGAS (2-7-14) — UNLV junior guard DANIELLE MILLER (43) is being counted on as stopper, scorer and leader this season for the Lady Rebels (9-12, 6-3 Mountain West).

As a freshman reserve, UNLV shooting guard Miller’s role was to be a defensive stopper. As a sophomore starter, she was expected to help carry the scoring load for the Lady Rebels.

One of four team captains for UNLV (9-12, 6-3 Mountain West), the fiery junior mostly leads with her voice.

Frank Foster
COLLEGE FOOTBALL:Norsemen alum Foster heading to NC A&T

By David Dickens
© East County Sports.com

GREENSBORO, N.C. (1-23-14) — When you think about all around success in an athlete, former Valhalla High and Southwestern College quarterback FRANK FOSTER comes to mind. Foster finished a brilliant season with the Jaguars and has accepted a football scholarship to North Carolina A&T, an NCAA-1 FCS of the Mid Eastern Conference.

Emily Cole
COLLEGE WOMEN'S BASKETBALL: Cole ignites Northridge into title chase

© East County Sports.com
NORTHRIDGE (1-17-14) — The season had been a sluggish one for the Cal State Northridge women's basketball team – until West Hills High product EMILY COLE was given the basketball.

Cole, a three-time first-team All-East County performer, drained a pair of key 3-point shots to not only gain an important victory, her shooting may have turned around the Matadors' season.

In a showdown with first-place Cal Poly, Cole turned an early 12-11 nail-biter into a big lead with her treys, as CUSN down the visiting Mustangs, 81-76, Sunday (Jan. 16) at the Matadome.

Since that victory, Northridge (10-12 overall, 6-2 conference) has captured five of six contests, now trailing Cal Poly by just one game in the Big west Conference. The rematch is Feb. 13 in San Luis Obispo.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: DeMartino, Utah State surprises
No. 24 Northern Illinois in Poinsettia Bowl, 21-14

By Nick Pellegrino
© East County Sports.com

SAN DIEGO (12-27-13) — Utah State running back JOEY DeMARTINO, a product of Mt. Carmel High and Grossmont College , found his homecoming to be an excellent way to cap his collegiate career.

The senior rushed 23 times for 143 yards Thursday (Dec. 26), including a bowl record 58-yard romp, powering the Aggies to a 21-14 upset of No.24 Northern Illinois in the 9th annual Poinsettia Bowl at Qualcomm Stadium.

DeMartino's long gainer helped Utah State mount a 6-0 lead, but Northern Illinois rallied for a 7-6 halftime lead behind Heisman Trophy finalist Jordan Lynch. However, DeMartino registered the second of two second-half touchdowns on a 1-yard run, to fuel the rally.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: Former Griffins standout DeMartino leads Utah State to Poinsettia Bowl

© East County Sports.com
SAN DIEGO (12-24-13) — Former Grossmont College running back JOEY DeMARTINO, who led the Griffins in rushing in 2009, will return to San Diego with his Utah State teammates to face Northern Illinois in the Poinsettia Bowl at Qualcomm Stadium on Thursday (Dec. 26).

Garret Campbell
COLLEGE FOOTBALL: Another national All-Academic honors for Campbell

© East County Sports.com
PERU, Neb. (12-23-13) — For the second straight year, former Foothills Christian High football player GARRET CAMPBELL, senior marketing major, has been honored as a 2013 Daktronics-NAIA Scholar-Athlete.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: Harris' Buffaloes advance to NCAA D-2 quarterfinals

© East County Sports.com
COLUMBUS, Ohio (11-30-13) — Former standout East County running back AARON HARRIS, a product of Granite Hills High and Southwestern College, is the starting tailback for the West Texas A&M Buffaloes.

West Texas A&M, the No. 6 seed, has advanced to the third round of the NCAA Division II national playoffs by defeating the No. 3 seed Indianapolis University 27-14 and then knocking off No. 2 seed Ohio Dominican University 34-27 on Saturday (Nov. 30).

Falcons' Toilolo in line for start vs. Bills

© East County Sports.com
TORONTO, Ontario (11-29-13) — Atlanta Falcons tight end LEVINE TOIILOLO, a former Helix High standout, may be in line for his first NFL start when future Hall of Fame tight end Tony Gonzalez was listed as questionable for Sunday's (Dec. 1) game against the Buffalo Bills.

Gonzalez, the league's career leader in receptions by a tight end (1,300), has missed just three starts since becoming a starter with Kansas City in 1998, but a nagging toe injury could sideline the star.

Toilolo has played in all 11 games for the Falcons this season. He has 10 catches, two good for touchdowns.

Miller leads CSUSM to Classic crown

© East County Sports.com
REDDING, Calif. (11-25-13) — Former West Hills High standout SHERIKA MILLER, a three-time All-East County honoree, is enjoying her new home at Cal State San Marcos.

Miller, a transfer from San Francisco State, started her second season with the Cougars by tossing in a game-high 15 points, powering the Cougars to the championship of Simpson College's TCSA/DAP Hoops Classic by stopping Corban ( Ore. ) College, 63-59, Saturday (Nov. 23).

Santana Athletics Hall of Fame inductees
Santana High celebrated the induction of its inaugural class to the school's
new Athletics Hall of Fame during a dinner held prior to Friday's (Nov. 1)
homecoming football game against Mount Miguel. A total of 20 of the Sultans
greatest athletes and coaches from the school's first 44 years were named.

The list of inductees were: Rebecca Aase, Mike Bass, Leon Bender,
Brien Bickerton, D.J. Busch, Mary Daniels, Terry Forster, Nelson Gerhart,
Todd Harper, Jerry Henson, Kyle Hypes, Eileen Maul, Laura Moir,
Shirley Moir, Jackie Turpin, Chris Sherman, Wade Vickery,
Desiree Weimann and Joe Whipple.

In addition, GUHSD board member Vic Hoy, a former Santana instructor,
announced the construction of a new events center, to be placed in front
of the campus in front of the 100 Building along Magnolia Avenue.
(Photo by Rhoads Brian)
finalist for Walter Payton Award

© East County Sports.com
PHILADELPHIA (11-13-13) — University of San Diego quarterback MASON MILLS (Christian/Coronado high schools) has been named among the finalist for the 27th annual Walter Payton Award, given to the nation's top player in the FCS (NCAA Division 1-A).

Mills made the list among with Bryan Bennett of Southeastern Louisiana and Princeton's Quinn Epperly. All three have guided their respective schools into first place.

Mills, a 6-foot, 195-pound redshirt senior, hopes to lead the Toreros to the Pioneer Football League's first automatic bid to the FCS playoffs - something that would happen with a Toreros win on Saturday. USD's careerpassing leader, Mills ranks seventh nationally with 317.6 passing yards per game, having thrown for 3,176 yards and 32 touchdowns and only five interceptions with 66.6 percent accuracy (227-of-341). A four-year starter, Mills has passed for 10,817 yards and 92 touchdowns in his career.

nominated for Ray Guy punting award

© East County Sports.com
AUGUSTA, Ga. (10-27-13) — San Diego State's JOEL ALESI, a former standout at Christian High, has been announced as a nominees for the 2013 Ray Guy Award, which identifies the nation’s top collegiate punter. Among the 85 candidates are 2012 finalist, Kyle Christy of Florida, and 2011 finalist Steven Clark of Auburn. The award is coordinated by the Augusta Sports Council

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: Larceval returns to SJSU following illness

By Bill Dickens
© East County Sports.com

EL CAJON (10-23-13) — San Jose State defensive tackle ANTHONY LARCEVAL is the weekly nominee for the 2013 Discover Orange Bowl-FWAA national Courage Award that will be announced at the end of the season.

As a junior in 2012, the 6-foot-2, 284-pound Helix High graduate, Larceval was named second team All-Western Athletic Conference, but he never made it to the team's bowl practices. On Dec. 14, 2012, he was admitted to the hospital and diagnosed with viral meningoencephalitis, a virus that infects and causes swelling in the brain.

After slipping into unconsciousness, he didn't awake until Jan. 5, 2013 and completely missed San Jose State 's 29-20 Military Bowl victory over Bowling Green on Dec. 27, 2012. Larceval lost 40 pounds and needed outpatient speech, physical, occupational and recreational therapy to recover. Although the San Jose State medical staff said he would miss the 2013 season, Anthony defied the prognosis and was back with the team at the start of preseason camp in August.

NASCAR Chase standings thru Sept. 29
1. Matt Kenseth (2,149 points) +/-0 positions
2. Jimmie Johnson (2,141 points, -8) +1
3. Kyle Busch (2,137 points, -12) -1
4. Kevin Harvick (2,110 points -39) +2
5. Jeff Gordon (2,110 points, -39) +3
6. Greg Biffle (2,108 points, -41) -1
7. Ryan Newman (2,101 points, -48) +2
8. Clint Bowyer (2,098 points, -51) +2
9. Kurt Busch (2,094 points, -55) -2
10. Dale Earnhardt Jr. (2,092 points, -57) +1
11. Carl Edwards (2,084 points, -65) -7
12. Joey Logano (2,083 points, -66) +/-0
13. Kasey Kahne (2,071 points, -78) +/-0
AUTO RACING: Johnson goes max for record 8th win at Dover

Special to East County Sports.com
DOVER, Del. (9-30-13) — El Cajon native JIMMIE JOHNSON earned maximum points in his No. 48 Kobalt Tools Chevrolet SS on Sunday (Sept. 29) at Dover International Speedway, leading the most laps en route to his record eighth career victory at the 1-mile concrete oval. The win moved him to second in the NASCAR Chase for the Sprint Cup Championship, just eight points behind leader Matt Kenseth.

“I still think it’s too early to say somebody can make a move,” said Johnson, who has three top-five finishes in the first three Chase races. “You just don’t want to give points up. Today we got max points, so we didn’t leave any on the table, and we will go to Kansas next week and see what we can do.”

Johnson started the 400-lap event from the eighth position and never fell out of the top-10. He had minimal complaints about his car and led five times for a race-high 243 laps. As he cruised around the track with fewer than 50 laps remaining, only a final, green-flag pit stop stood between him and Victory Lane.

PRO FOOTBALL: NFL rookie Toilolo finds the end zone

© East County Sports.com
MIAMI (9-23-13) — Former Helix High and Stanford standout LEVINE TOILOLO, who caught his first NFL pass last week, did one better this week for the Atlanta Falcons.

Toilolo, a rookie tight end, caught his first touchdown pass as a professional Sunday (Sept. 22), although his Falcons surrendered a 10-point lead in falling to the Miami Dolphins, 27-23.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: Former Griffins All-American impacts Nevada in D-1 debut

© East County Sports.com
RENO, Nev. (9-8-13) — After missing the season opener against UCLA due to injury, former Grossmont College All-America linebacker IAN SEAU made the most of his major college debut Saturday (Sept. 7) for the Nevada Wolf Pack.

Seau ranked third on the team in tackles, including a game-high 2.5 stops for losses, leading the Nevada defense in a 36-7 decision over UC Davis at Mackay Stadium.

Elias begins television
broadcasting career

© East County Sports
FARGO, N.D. (8-12-13) — Former Santana High basketball standout JAIME ELIAS is a long way from the bright lights of Hollywood, but everyone needs to start somewhere.

On Monday, Aug. 12), Elias will debut reporting the news on KVRR-TV Chl. 15, the Fox network affiliate serving Fargo, N.D., and Moorhead, Minn.

Jaime Elias (left) on signing day with Biola.
(East County Sports file photo)

Padres' O'Sullivan
returns as a Friar father

© East County Sports.com
SAN DIEGO (8-1-13) – The San Diego Padres today announced that they have reinstated right-handed pitcher SEAN O’SULLIVAN from paternity leave and have optioned right-hander Miles Mikolas to Triple-A Tucson. Executive Vice President/General Manager Josh Byrnes made the announcement.

O’Sullivan, 25, was placed on paternity leave on July 30. He and his wife, Sabrina, welcomed their first child – a baby girl, Hailey Marie -- on Wednesday (July 31).

Valhalla's Havird honored 
among state's top athletes 

© East County Sports.com
EL CAJON (7-18-13) — Valhalla High graduate SPENCER HAVIRD has been named a State D2 Senior Athlete of the Year by Cal-HiSports.com for his outstanding performance in football and basketball last season.

The 6-foot-2, 185-pound Havird was a record-breaking tackler for the Norsemen. The 2012 East County Defensive Player of the Year will attend Gardner-Webb University, an NCAA I-FCS institution in Boiling Springs, N.C.

A three-sport letterman for Valhalla, Havird led the Norsemen to a 9-4 record in 2012 and a number 45 ranking in the state. He earned All-State second team honors from Cal-HiSports.com as one of the state’s top 24 defensive players. He paced the Norsemen with 163 tackles (112 solo), 11 interceptions, 8 tackles for loss, 2 forced fumbles and 4 fumble recoveries as a safety. The highlight of his career is he has 23 tackles against Morse.

Havird was also a standout in basketball and volleyball. He was the hub of the Valhalla basketball team, averaging 16.8 points per game, 10.0 rebounds, 3.4 assists and 3.7 steals.

He also anchored the Norsemen’s volleyball team.

Santana alum Kim Gross switched from basketball
to rowing for the Sacamento State Hornets
(Sacramento State courtesy photo)
Sac State's Gross, former Santana
basketball standout, embarks on
New Orleans volunteer service effort

Courtesy, Sacramento State media relations
NEW ORLEANS (7-19-13) — Sacramento State sophomore rower KIM GROSS recently embarked upon a one-week volunteer service trip to New Orleans with SALSC (Student-Athletes Leading Social Change). The group, which consisted of 18 student-athletes from eight different Universities around the country, lent a helping hand to an area of New Orleans still recovering from the devastation of Hurricane Katrina. The group stayed in a Bunkhouse from July 8-14, and fulfilled numerous service duties throughout the week such as painting a school, building benches, weeding gardens, and sorting through and recycling Mardi Gras beads. Gross documented each day of her stay in New Orleans and was kind of enough to share with hornetsports.com.

Monday, July 8
Today was a great first day. After our first meeting and orientation with HandsOn (organization that provides volunteer service opportunities in New Orleans), we got to see a little bit of New Orleans and learn more about how it was affected by Hurricane Katrina. It's amazing, from one block to another, you can go from million dollar homes to houses that haven't been touched since the day families were forced to evacuate in 2005. We drove through the Lower Ninth Ward where Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie have donated to rebuilding. It was nice to see that these people were getting help. I liked that, in order to get a new home, they needed to apply and do community service as a type of payment. It's sad to think how much has changed for that neighborhood. Those families grew up in the same houses for generations and to see how much it has changed must be hard. We also got to walk around the French Quarter and see Bourbon Street. Life is different here, and you can tell that people have a more laid back approach.

Tuesday, July 9
Today was our first day of work at Sylvanie Williams College Prep Elementary. Before we started, the dean gave us background information on the school. He mentioned that last year was the first time they had a student get accepted to college. That amazed me. For work, we were split into two groups: one worked on demolishing benches and a gazebo in their playground area while the other painted the third story hallway of the only building. I thought that demolishing benches wouldn't be that hard. I was definitely wrong. After working, we left the school and went to Mardi Gras World, a warehouse/museum where they make the floats for the largest crews in New Orleans. It's so different than what people make it out to be. Hearing the history opened my eyes to the true culture of New Orleans. Seeing how much time, effort, and money goes in to this celebration is truly spectacular.

Wednesday, July 10
Today we went back to the school and finished the projects that we were working on yesterday. My group worked on the first floor hallway, while the other group finished demolishing the gazebo. Once we switched groups after lunch, our group began sanding all the lumbar and started the process of building new benches. I was really nervous about messing up the benches. They just handed me a piece of paper and power drill, and told me to go for it. I had never done anything like this and either had the other two girls that were with me. It turned out great! Its an amazing feeling to know we're really helping this school. I can tell that all the athletes here are doing this because they genuinely care and want to help people. Its inspiring to be around a group of such humble young adults that care more about other people than themselves.

Thursday, July 11
Entering the day, I was nervous that we wouldn't finish our work at the school. We still had to paint two coats on the second floor hallway, finish building four benches, and stain all of them as well. I don't know why I was even nervous…we got done early! I spent most of the day staining benches and then also helped in the hallways. Before we left, all the teachers thanked us and showed us a cheer that they do at their school with their students. All of them were so thankful, it was great to see how enthusiastic they were about starting their school year with better facilities.

Friday, July 12
Today, we worked at the Vintage Farms at the Arc of Greater New Orleans. The facility was one of the enterprises that Arc has built to create jobs for adults with disabilities. Today, I was put in a group with five other girls and we were in charge of weeding the gardens that surrounded the main building. It was overwhelming, but I had a blast. We got to work with Carry, one of the adults with a mental disability who works there. He was so happy to garden, doing a job that many people probably wouldn't enjoy. Yet, there he was sweating four days a week and loving every second of it. It was fun talking to him and seeing how much he knew about all the plants there. After we finished at the Arc, we went to another part of Louisiana and went on an airboat tour of one of the swamps. It was awesome! Now, I know way more than I need to know about alligators. The swamp was a different kind of beauty than I'm used to seeing in Sacramento and San Diego (her hometown). The houses on the swamp were amazing and it was great to see that part of Louisiana.

Saturday, July 13
Today was a great way to end the trip. We worked with the Arc organization again at one of their other enterprises, sorting and recycling Mardi Gras beads. Everyone had a really good time doing this, and naturally, we were all competing to sort the most beads. As a whole, we sorted through 2,000 pounds of beads! I think we all wanted to stay longer and see how much we could get done, but you could tell everyone was really happy with how much we did. To end the day, we went to the French Quarter and got to see the last of the French Market before it closed down for the day. While we were there, a few of us tried alligator on a stick. I feel weird saying this, but it was actually very good. We also got to have a nice dinner at Manning's, Peyton Manning's restaurant. Sitting down at dinner, it was neat to see how close everyone had become. It was like I was having dinner with old friends, not people that I had just met six days ago. Overall, I am very thankful for this experience. I think being student-athletes, we have a great platform to help throughout our communities where our schools are located. I know this has opened my eyes, and I can't wait to explore some ways to help in Sacramento.

PRO BASEBALL: O'Sullivan named Padres starting pitcher vs. Giants

© East County Sports . com
EL CAJON (7-11-13) — The San Diego Padres announced SEAN O'SULLIVAN (Valhalla High/Grossmont College/San Diego Stars) will have his contract purchased from Tucson (AAA) and he will be the starting pitcher for Friday's (July 12) game against the World Champion San Francisco Giants at Petco Park at 7:10 p.m.

The 6-foot-1, 240-pound right-hander posted a 7-4 record with a 3.88 ERA for the Tucson Padres in the Pacific Coast League. He posted 90 strikeouts and walked only 29 in 102 innings for the Padres’ AAA club.

O’Sullivan, who previously pitched for the Angels (2009-10), Kansas City Royals (2010-12) and Toronto Blue Jays (2012), signed a Minor League contract with the San Diego Padres. This will be his first time to shine in front of his home fans.

Sarah (Dawson) Kerr
COLLEGE WOMEN'S FASTPITCH: Dawson Kerr honored as greatest Southland pitcher

© East County Sports.com
FRISCO, Texas (6-10-13) — SARAH (DAWSON) KERR, arguably the greatest softball pitcher from the East County in the 20th Century, gained another honor nearly two decades after gaining Player of the Year laurels in National Pro Fastpitch.

Kerr, the former Christian High standout, was named the Southland Conference's all-time pitcher as part of its 50th anniversary team. Pitching for Northeast Louisiana University (now Louisiana-Monroe), she established records which still stand today while powering the Redhawks to their lone NCAA Tournament appearance in 1997.

"The Southland Conference has a storied softball history, and our collective success is a big part of the Conference's 50th anniversary celebration," said conference commissioner Tom Burnett. "All members, past and present, have played a big role in our competitive and academic achievements."

In her ULM career, Kerr was a four-time all-Southland choice from 1994-97, and was the 1994 and 1997 Player of the Year, and earned 1996 and 1997 all-Tournament honors. She is the Southland and ULM's all-time wins leader in a season (45) and career (120), and also holds the circuit's strikeout marks in a season (445) and career (1,280) among many other marks.

Nicole Randle
COLLEGE WOMEN'S FASTPITCH: Randle gains Missouri Valley honors

© East County Sports.com
DES MOINES, Iowa (5-25-13) — Former Steele Canyon High standout NICOLE RANDLE, who now stars for Drake University, has been named to the All-Missouri Valley Conference first team, as voted by conference coaches.

Randle, a junior left fielder, led the Bulldogs with a .373 batting average (.467 in MVC action) and 41 RBI, the third-highest total in school history.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: Bonner gains starting QB berth in Colorado

By Joe E. Cervi, The Pueblo Chieftain

PUEBLO, Colo. (4-25-13) — Grossmont College alum CHRIS BONNER was congratulated by Colorado State-Pueblo head coach John Wristen after being named outstanding quarterback during the ThunderWolves spring practice sessions Saturday (Apr. 20) during halftime of the team's spring game at the ThunderBowl.

Bonner had such a good spring at quarterback for CSUP that he won the Mick McCall Award honoring the position.

LOCAL PROS: Lakeside's Draheim signs with KC Chiefs

By Bill Dickens
© East County Sports.com

LAKESIDE (4-5-13) — Former El Capitan High offensive line standout TOMMIE DRAHEIM has signed with the Kansas City Chiefs.

The 6-foot-4, 309-pound Draheim played left tackle and center at San Diego State, earning All-Mountain West Conference honors in 2011.

Draheim was originally signed as a free agent by the Green Bay Packers but was one of the final cuts two years ago. He also spent a season on the practice squad for the Seattle Seahawks but is looking for a new beginning with the Chiefs.

LOCAL PROS: Bogotay signs with NFL Browns

By Bill Dickens
© East County Sports.com

CLEVELAND (4-3-13) — Former Grossmont College kicker BRANDON BOGOTAY has signed a contract with the National Football League’s Cleveland Browns.

The 6-foot-3, 207-pound Bogotay, a product of Patrick Henry High who kicked for the Griffins in 2008, concluded his collegiate career on a football scholarship to the University of Georgia.

Bogotay is much like the infamous Grossmont College Griffins graduate BRAD DALUISO. Neither one of them made a big splash in high school, let alone the collegiate ranks. In fact both were soccer superstars.

COLLEGE WOMEN'S SOFTBALL: Another Grabowski homer lifts Lahitte, USD to win

© East County Sports.com
MORAGA (3-31-13) — Former Christian High standout MARY GRABOWSKI, the 2011 East County player of the year, smashed a 2-run homer in the 9th inning Saturday (Mar. 30), lifting the University of San Diego to a 4-2 triumph over Saint Mary's in a Pacific Coast Softball Conference game at Cottrell Field.

The blast gave USD (17-18, 2-6) a split of the doubleheader, and made a winner of pitcher JENNY LAHITTE, the former Granite Hills standout, who allowed two early runs in the first, then tossed 8.1 innings of shutout ball. She allowed just five hits.

COLLEGE WOMEN'S BASKETBALL: CSUSM's Miller named all-conference

© East County Sports.com
SAN MARCOS (3-13-13) — Former West Hills High standout SHERIKA MILLER became one of four first-time selections from the Cal State San Marcos women's basketball team named to the all-conference team.

Miller was named first team in the A.I.I. The junior from Santee, led the Cougars in scoring at 10.9 points per game. She scored a career-high 23 points against Menlo on Dec. 1 and logged her first double-double against The Master’s on Jan. 2 with 16 points and 10 rebounds.

COLLEGE MEN'S BASKETBALL: Azusa Pacific's Leaf named all-conference

© East County Sports.com
AZUSA (3-14-13) — Azusa Pacific’s starting backcourt tandem of sophomore guard TROY LEAF, a former Foothills Christian standout, and senior guard B.J. Porter earned All-Pacific West Conference honors, with Leaf named first team while Porter earned third team recognition.

'Wrighteous' — Sockers capture 14th indoor soccer championship
The San Diego Sockers won
their 14th championship (and
fourth straight), when Chiky Luna tallied a late goal to
snap a 6-6 tie, claiming another
PASL Ron Newman Cup crown.
Grossmont High alum Paul
Wright, 43, also scored after
announcing his retirement.

(Photo by Philip Brents)

COLLEGE WOMEN'S FASTPITCH: No. 1 CSUSM Extends Win Streak to 11

© East County Sports.com
LA MIRADA (3-10-13) — Former West Hills High standout ALEX MILLER drove in runs in both games, while All-American Cortney Allen extended her pitching streak to just one earned run over her last 73.2 innings, leading Cal State San Marcos to Saturday's (Mar. 9) doubleheader sweep.

The NAIA top-ranked Cougars (20-3) ran their winning streak to 11 after blanking both William Jessup, 2-0, and host Biola, 8-0, at Freedom Field.

Casey Healy
Dan Eberhardt
Former Griffins help Cal Maritime to first national tournament win

© East County Sports.com
POINT LOOKOUT, Mo. (3-8-13) — A pair of former Grossmont College basketball players are making a splash at the NAIA Division II national basketball championships.

Cal Maritime, which includes former Griffins standout DAN EBERHARDT as an assistant coach, saw CASEY HEALY pour home a team-high 15 points, upsetting No. 4 seed Northwestern (Iowa), 76-54, in a first-round victory.

For Cal Maritime's Keelhaulers (25-6), it was the school's first-ever win at the national championships, being held this year at Keeter Gymnasium at the College of the Ozarks.

COMMUNITY COLLEGE WOMEN'S FASTITCH: Smith, Koria fuels Howard to 16-1 start

© East County Sports.com
BIG SPRING, Texas (2-24-13) — Howard College is expected to be named the top-ranked women's softball team in the nation in the initial NJCAA poll of the regular season following an astounding 16-1 start by the Hawks.

And former Helix High all-state player CLAUDETTE SMITH is one of Howard's key performers, along with West Hills product MICHERIE KORIA.

COLLEGE WOMEN'S BASKETBALL: Mount Miguel alum Williamson tabbed WAC player of the week

© East County Sports.com
LAS CRUCES, N.M. (2-22-13) — New Mexico State guard DANESIA WILLIAMSON, a product of Mount Miguel High, has been named Western Athletic Conference Women’s Basketball Player of the Week for the period ending Sunday Feb. 17). This is her first-ever WAC Player of the Week honor.

COLLEGE BASEBALL: Frank gains UCR's first victory

© East County Sports.com
PALM SPRINGS (2-19-13) — Former Valhalla High pitcher TREVOR FRANK was in line for his first save of the season when an error allowed the tying run to score. However, the senior right-hander was vindicated.

UC Riverside answered back with two runs in the bottom of the 8th, allowing Frank to claim the victory in an 8-7 decision over Utah Valley in Saturday's (Feb. 16) game at the Palm Springs Baseball Tournament.

COLLEGE BASEBALL: Aztecs' Cederoth gains pitching win in debut of USD's Fowler Park

© East County Sports.com
ALCALA PARK (2-16-13) — Former Steele Canyon High standout MICHAEL CEDEROTH will be remembered as the winning pitcher in the debut of USD's Fowler Park.

The sophomore right-hander struck out six batters and yielded just one earned run over five innings, leading visiting San Diego State past the 12th-ranked Toreros, 8-1, to kick off the 2013 season before a sellout crowd of more than 1,700 fans Friday (Feb. 15) night.

COLLEGE WOMEN'S FASTPITCH: USD's Lahitte spins 4-hitter at Fresno State

© East County Sports.com
SANTA BARBARA (2-15-13) — Former Granite Hills High standout JENNY LAHITTE tossed a complete-game 4-hitter, pacing the USD women''s softball team to a 2-1 triumph over Fresno State in the Gaucho Classic at UC Santa Barbara's Campus Diamond.

Fresno State was the 1998 NCAA national champions.

COLLEGE WOMEN'S FASTPITCH: Brown finds success at Dominguez Hills

© East County Sports.com
CARSON (2-14-13) — Posting a solid 8-2 mark to open the season, Cal State Dominguez Hills will meet Chico State in its home opener Thursday (Feb. 15) in a doubleheader.

Helping lead the Toros charge is starting center fielder CATHERINE BROWN, who has started in all 10 ballgames after transferring from Concordia. The El Capitan High grad is batting .289 for Dominguez Hills, including a 2-for-3 outing against Dixie State.

COLLEGE WOMEN'S BASKETBALL: Watkins making splash at Saddleback

© East County Sports.com
MISSION VIEJO (2-14-13) — Former Mount Miguel High point guard MYISHIA WATKINS is making waves as a freshman at Saddleback College, one of the premier women's basketball programs in the state under head coach Fentriss Winn.

COLLEGE WOMEN'S FASTPITCH: Miller, Allen, both perfect for CSU San Marcos

© East County Sports.com

SAN MARCOS (2-11-13) — West Hills High alum ALEX MILLER equaled a Cal State San Marcos record by going 6-for-6 at the plate in a doubleheader, yet her effort was overshadowed by a perfect game by pitcher Cortney Allen, as the No. 1 ranked Cougars swept an A.I.I. twinbill from La Sierra, both games finishing 8-0 on walkoff, run-rule hits.
COLLEGE WOMEN'S FASTPITCH: East County alums aid USD in openers

© East County Sports.com
ALCALA PARK (2-9-13) — A pair of East County products contributed to a season-opening doubleheader split by the University of San Diego women's fastpitch team.

Hosting McNesse State, Christian High alum MARY GRABOWSKI, the 2011 East County player of the year, starting the campaign with a bang, driving in USD's first run of the season with an RBI double to left-center field.

In game two, Santee resident CASSIDY COLEMAN (Horizon HS) tossed a 5-hit shutout in a 2-0 triumph. She overcame six walks with five strikeouts, including one after McNeese State loaded the bases in the 5th inning.

ECVHS product Ussery nails game-winner for Point Loma Nazarene's first PWC victory

© East County Sports.com
POINT LOMA (2-5-13) — Life has been rough in its debut season at the NCAA Division II level for Point Loma Nazarene University , winless over its initial 10 Pacific West Conference contests.

But all that changed thanks to A.J. USSERY, an El Cajon Valley High product.

Ussery finished with 17 points, including a driving layin with 13 seconds remaining, giving the Sea Lions a dramatic 57-56 triumph over Notre Dame de Namur on Monday (Feb. 4) at historic Golden Gymnasium.

CSU San Marcos takes opener
with East County help

© East County Sports.com
IRVINE (2-2-13) — Former Grossmont College all-conference third baseman KENNY BELZER (Granite Hills) and Grossmont High product KYLE SECCIANI each registered an RBI single, backing the 4-hit pitching of James Dykstra, lifting Cal State San Marcos to a 4-1 upset of 11th-ranked Concordia in Friday's (Feb. 1) NAIA baseball opener. MORE
CSU San Marcos opens campaign ranked No. 1 in NAIA

© East County Sports.com
TURLOCK (2-3-12) — The top ranked Cal State San Marcos softball team impressed in their season debut Saturday (Feb. 2), taking 2 out of 3 games at the Best of the West Invitational hosted by Cal State Stanislaus.

Included was an impressive 4-hit shutout of Chico State, an NCAA Division II school, in a 4-0 win. The Cougars (2-1) also defeated Holly Names, then fell to San Francisco State.

Among East County players, centerfielder ALEX MILLER (West Hills) walked to load the bases for NAIA second-team All-America outfielder KAITLIN McGINLEY, who snapped the scoreless tie with a 2-run single. Miller later added a 2-run double in an 8-1 win over Holy Names. MORE

East County products collide at PLNU

© East County Sports.com
POINT LOMA (2-1-13) — Two former East County high school standouts will face off Monday (Feb. 4) when Point Loma Nazarene University hosts Notre Dame de Namur of San Francisco at 7:30 p.m. on the peninsula at Golden Gym.

GEOFF HARTMAN, a 6-foot-3, 205-pound junior out of Monte Vista High, will lead the Northern California based Argonauts against the Sea Lions. Hartman, who played in the paint during his high school career and at Ohlone Community College, is making the adjustment as a shooting guard. Presently he’s averaging 5.2 points per game during the transition.

On the flip side, PLNU forward A.J. USSERY, a 6-foot-9 junior out of El Cajon Valley High, is averaging 4.7 ppg, 6.2 rebounds and has 22 blocked shots. As a sophomore, Ussery led the team with 24 blocks.

Leaf lifts Azusa Pacific into first place

© East County Sports.com
AZUSA (1-9-13) -- The red-hot Azusa Pacific offense from three days ago screeched to a halt against Point Loma Nazarene’s conference-leading scoring defense. However, thanks to former Foothills Christian High standout TROY LEAF, the Cougars remained unbeaten in the Pacific West Conference.

Leaf, a sophomore guard, scored 21 points and grabbed 10 rebounds, both game-highs, to register his first career double-double and power Azusa Pacific to a 52-43 win Tuesday (Jan. 8) at Felix Event Center. The win allowed the Cougars (6-4 overall, 3-0 PWC) to sweep the season series from the Sea Lions.

Franey creating success at Cal Lutheran

© East County Sports.com
THOUSAND OAKS (1-16-13) — Following two seasons as a graduate assistant coach at Whittier College, JORDAN FRANEY now serves as an assistant for rising Cal Lutheran University . The Regals roster includes East County products SABRINA JIMENEZ (Granite Hills), a junior transfer from San Diego Christian College , and senior TAYLOR AUTRY (El Capitan).

Cal Lutheran recently assumed first place in the Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference following a breakout game with second-place La Verne . On Saturday (Jan. 12), the Regals (13-2 overall, 6-1 SCIAC) scored their most points in 17 years in a 110-95 triumph in Gilbert Arena.

Passentino: Finding Love in South America

By Nick Pellegrino
© East County Sports.com

CARTAGENA, Colombia (1-16-13) — Former Santana High standout GABBY PASSENTINO, an All-East County selection who helped the Sultans to the 2004-05 CIF San Diego Section Division III basketball championship, continues her connection in the sport in the northern-most country in South America.

According to her family in Santee, Passentino is now engaged to ANDRES ARCILA, a former guard on the Colombia National Team who recently retired following a 9-year career in the country's pro league playing for Arrieros de Medellin. He helped the national team to a 5th-place finish in the 2008 continental championships, the country's best finish since hosting the FIBA World Championship in 1982.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: USD quarterback Mills tabbed team's MVP

© East County Sports.com
ALCALA PARK (12-15-12) — USD quarterback MASON MILLS, a former standout for Christian and Coronado high schools, was named the Toreros' most valuable player at the team's annual awards banquet held Friday (Dec. 15).

Mills, who now resides in Coronado, was given the award by the USD coaching staff after leading the Toreros to a share of the Pioneer League championship.

PRO BASEBALL: O'Sullivan signs with Padres

© East County Sports.com
SAN DIEGO (12-13-12) — Pitcher SEAN O’SULLIVAN is hoping for a homecoming as he signed a minor league contract with the San Diego Padres on Wednesday (Dec. 12).

The 25-year old right-hander who was a multi-award winner at Valhalla High and Grossmont College could be a key signing for the Padres.

PRO INDOOR SOCCER: Medina, Wright score in Sockers' 43rd straight win

© East County Sports.com
QUEEN CREEK, Ariz. (12-9-12) — Former Valhalla High standout ANTHONY MEDINA registered a pair of goals, while PASL scoring leader KRAIG CHILES added a hat trick and a pair of assists, powering the unbeaten San Diego Sockers to a 9-3 triumph over Real Phoenix in Saturday's easy 9-3 victory at the Barney Sports Complex.

Chiles has a league-leading 28 goals and 33 points in six games.

Meanwhile, 43-year-old midfielder PAUL WRIGHT (Grossmont HS) also netted a power play goal, San Diego's 12th man advantage tally in 20 tries this season. Chris Toth (3-0) won in goal and is 11-0 lifetime.

Old rivals Aztecs, BYU, tabbed for Poinsettia, Dec. 20
SDSU advances after first conference title since '98
Family Ticket Four-Packs
Toreros earn share of Pioneer League crown
Quarterback Mills: 23-of-34, 422 yards, 2 TDs
Helix alum Taylor receives double honor

© East County Sports.com
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (12-7-12) — Chadron State (Neb.) junior safety TRELAN TAYLOR, a product of Helix High, was twice granted postseason football awards for the 2012 season.

After receiving a first-team berth on the all-Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference team, Taylor joined teammate Kevin Lindholm on the Daktronics All-Super Region 4 Football First Team, which was announced Thursday (Dec. 7).

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: More awards for Campbell

© East County Sports.com
PERU, Neb. (12-1-12) — The awards continue to pile up for former Foothills Christian High standout GARRET CAMPBELL.

For October, Campbell was named the male athlete of the month at Peru State College. Then in November, the Heart of America Athletic Conference named him as both Special Teams player of the week for his performance vs. Central Methodist on Nov. 10, then a week later placed him among the honorable mention to the HAAC all-conference team for his play at defensive back.

Helix High alum Lance Hurdle of the Wollongong (AUS) Hawks
(Courtesy photos)
Hawks climbing to NBL crown
Helix alum Lance Hurdle loving
life on the beaches of Australia

© East County Sports.com
WOLLONGONG, New South Wales, Australia (11-26-12) — Life on the beachfront has been good for former Helix High standout LANCE HURDLE, the 2004-05 East County co-player of the year.

From San Diego County, Hurdle registered collegiate stops at UC Santa Barbara and Miami. Now the shooting guard is marking his first year as a professional in first place -- in Australia.

Hurdle is the fourth-leading 3-point shooter in the National Basketball League, Australia's pro circuit, helping his Wollongong Hawks (7-1) earn first place nearly the midway point of the summer season. Hurdle is scoring at a 10.3 clip in the league, which features seven teams in Australia, plus the New Zealand Breakers, which are a game back in second.
San Diego whips Toros de Mexico for USA record 41st consecutive win
Chiles scores Sockers record 8 goals SOCKERS BOX

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: SDSU collects 500th program win in downing Air Force
San Diego State sophomore defensive lineman Sam Meredith regstered his first
career fumble recovery and a pair of solo tackles Saturday (Nov. 10), helping the
Aztecs (8-3) to a 28-9 decision over Air Force for the program's 500th all-time win
in their final Mountain West Conference home game; they join the Big East in 2013.
(Photo by Philip Brents, Chula Vista Star News)
Local products produce record effort for CSU San Marcos

© East County Sports.com
OCEANSIDE (11-14-12) — Heather Thompson registered a double-double with 20 points and 17 rebounds, while a pair of East County products – SHERIKA MILLER and JESSICA HARRIS – heavily contributed in a record-setting night for the Cal State San Marcos women's basketball team, sliding past previously unbeaten Arizona Christian, 113-49, Tuesday (Nov. 13) at MiraCosta College.

Miller, a transfer from San Francisco State out of West Hills High, scored 13 points. Meanwhile, Harris, a Granite Hills product, hit 4-of-7 shots from the outside for a season-high 10 points.

Leaf leads Azusa Pacific in overtime,
claim school's first-ever NCAA game

© East County Sports.com
SEATTLE (11-11-12) — The season-opener will go down in the books as Azusa Pacific University’s first men’s basketball game in its NCAA era, as the Cougars rallied from 16 down against Central Washington in a 102-99 overtime win Friday (Nov. 10) afternoon at the Sodexo Tip-Off Classic hosted by Seattle Pacific University.

Former Foothills Christian High standout TROY LEAF scored a team-high 27 points, senior guard B.J. Porter hit five-of-eight 3-pointers after halftime in a 24-point performance, and true freshman forward Will Ward scored seven of his 19 points in overtime to help lead Azusa Pacific to the victory.

Leaf scored 17 of his 27 points in the first half, and he also posted seven rebounds, nine assists, and a pair of steals to lead the Cougars, which played at the NAIA level for decades before its recent switch.
COLLEGE FOOTBALL: Chicken & Stars for Campbell

© East County Sports.com
PERU, Neb. (11-4-12) — Foothills Christian High alum GARRET CAMPBELL was a big part of the Peru State win over Central Methodist last Saturday (Nov. 3), where he had an impact on defense and specials teams. His efforts earned him both the Heart of America Conference’s Special Team Player of the Week citation and the Bobcats' Male Athlete of the Month award for October.
PRO INDOOR SOCCER: Grossmont alum Wright returns to Sockers

© East County Sports.com
SAN DIEGO (10-27-12) — PAUL WRIGHT, a standout at Grossmont High School more than a quarter-century ago, will enter his 24th season of professional soccer after signing to return to the San Diego Sockers. Wright, 43, the only player to win both MISL and PASL championships with the Sockers, signed a 1-year deal after playing last season for the Anaheim Bolts.

Rare volleyball ride

© East County Sports.com
EL CAJON (10-25-12) —Grossmont High graduate JAKE HAAR was an outstanding basketball player for the Foothillers as well as at Cuyamaca College . Haar found a new course to finish his college career on scholarship as a volleyball player at Missouri Valley College in Marshall, Mo. He will be the starting middle-blocker.

Haar considered offers from Concordia-Irvine, which will field a volleyball team for the first time this spring, plus basketball offers from Cal Maritime and Holy Cross (Ind.). He will study accounting.

Helix alum Toilolo helps Stanford to Big Game victory over Cal

By Bill Dickens
© East County Sports.com

EL CAJON (10-25-12) — Six-foot-8 Helix High graduate, tight end LEVINE TOILOLO helped No. 22-ranked Stanford win the “Big Game” with a 21-3 victory over Cal last week. Toilolo contributed to the scoring with a 9-yard TD catch from backup Kevin Hogan – normally a read-option QB – to put the Cardinal ahead 14-3 on the first throw of his career.

Toilolo, a junior, has tallied 15 catches for 288 yards and 3 touchdowns, starting in all seven of Stanford’s football games this season.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: Campbell enjoys the other side of football

© East County Sports.com
PERU, Neb. (10-9-12) — Former Foothills Christian High standout GARRET CAMPBELL, who set a national record with 11 career kickoff return touchdowns with the Knights, is now enjoying life on the other side of the ball at Peru State (Neb.) University.

On Saturday (Oct. 6), Campbell, now a college junior, posted his best defensive outing since signing with the Bobcats by blocking a pair of punts and registering an interceptions, leading to a 47-21 conquest of Trinity Bible College at Oak Bowl.

Anthony Larceval
COLLEGE FOOTBALL: Sixty years later, San Jose State wins in San Diego

© East County Sports.com
SAN DIEGO (9-23-12) — In a wild, frantic fourth quarter which saw four lead changes, San Jose State quarterback David Fales fired his third touchdown pass of the quarter with 50 seconds remaining, lifting the Spartans past San Diego State, 38-34, in Saturday's (Sept. 22) non-conference shootout at Qualcomm Stadium.

Fales connected with wide receiver Chandler Jones on a 14-yard reception, giving SJSU (3-1) its first victory in San Diego in 10 tries since 1952.

The Aztecs had one last gasp, but Spartans defensive end Travis Johnson recorded the team's fifth sack of the game on fourth down on SDSU's final offensive play. Also registering a sack for San Jose State was Helix High product ANTHONY LARCEVAL, a third-year starter at defensive end.

Sept. 18 Update
Six days later, Draheim was cut by Seattle, which had five O-line players on its practice squad. He is now in New England, being looked at by the Patriots.
PRO FOOTBALL: Draheim cut by Packers, yet signs with Seahawks

© East County Sports.com
RENTON, Wash. (9-12-12) — Former El Capitan High and San Diego State standout TOMMIE DRAHEIM has been picked up by the Seattle Seahawks and signed to the NFL team's practice squad.

Draheim, an offensive lineman, was one of the final cuts by the Green Bay Packers, who originally signed him as a free agent following the NFL Draft until being let go on Aug. 31.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: Mills beats the clock, USD tops Western NM

© East County Sports.com
ALCALA PARK (9-9-12) — USD quarterback MASON MILLS, who prepped at both Christian and Coronado high schools, passed for 303 yards and four touchdowns, including the game-winning score with exactly one minute remaining, lifting the Toreros to a dramatic 34-27 decision over Western New Mexico in Saturday's (Sept. 8) non-conference game at Torero Stadium.

Mills, who completed 27-of-37 passes, connected with Reggis Bell on a 28-yard TD strike, completing a rally from a 27-20 fourth-quarter deficit.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: Invasion of the locals
Saturday: Western NM at USD

© East County Sports.com
ALCALA PARK (9-6-12) — Former East County football standout ADAM CLARK brings his Western New Mexico University football team to town on Saturday (Sept. 8), as the Mustangs meet the University of San Diego in a 6 p.m. contest at Toreros Stadium.

PRO BASEBALL: O'Sullivan joins Phillies

© East County Sports.com
LOS ANGELES (8-21-12) — Former Valhalla High standout RYAN O’SULLIVAN has been traded to the Philadelphia Phillies to complete a deal with the Los Angeles Dodgers for the Joe Blanton deal executed earlier this month.

O’Sullivan is rated the 18th best prospect in the Dodgers’ minor league system.

PRO BASEBALL: Needy climbing Padres ladder

By Bill Dickens
© East County Sports.com

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (8-1-12) — In these summer days of musical chairs conducted by the San Diego Padres, former Santana High standout JAMES NEEDY has pitched for all of San Diego’s top three minor league ballclubs.

In his latest outing, Needy, a 6-foot-6, 205-pound right-hander, gave up one run and struck out two in 2 1/3 innings for the Fort Wayne TinCaps during Tuesday's (July 31) 5-4 Class A Midwest League victory over the Great Lake Loons.

PRO BASEBALL: The man with the Golden Eye

© East County Sports.com
WINNIPEG, Manitoba (7-23-12) — Former Santana High and Grossmont College slugger JOSH MAZZOLA, a 26-year-old corner infielder, is swinging a hot bat for the Winnipeg Goldeyes of the independent Can-Am Baseball Association.

Mazzola extended his personal hitting streak to 18 games on Sunday (July 22) as Winnipeg edged the Sioux Falls (S.D.) Pheasants, 5-2. A one-time draft choice of the San Francisco Giants, Mazzola raised his season average to .301.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: Campbell gains early honors

© East County Sports.com
PERU, Neb. (7-23-12) — Former Foothills Christian High football player GARRET CAMPBELL has been named a preseason All-American for Peru State College of the Heart of America Conference.

PRO BASEBALL: Musgrove inserted in massive 10-player trade

By Bill Dickens
© East County Sports.com

HOUSTON (7-21-12) — Former Grossmont High pitcher JOE MUSGROVE is changing directions in his professional baseball career. The 6-foot-5, 225-pound right-hander was part of a 10-player trade between the Toronto Blue Jays and Houston Astros on Friday (July 20).

Musgrove, 19, was among seven players picked up by the Astros in the deal. He was Toronto's first pick in the first compensation round of the 2011 draft,

PRO INDOOR FOOTBALL: Ex-Foothiller helps Express advance to title game

By Brent Wasenius, Fremont Tribune
Special to East County Sports.com

FREMONT, Neb. (7-16-12) — Midland University will be well represented in Saturday night's (July 21) American Professional Indoor Football League championship game.

Five former Warriors will be competing for the Council Bluffs Express, including former Grossmont High School standout KHALID WATERS, as they look to derail defending champion Sioux City at the Tyson Events Center in Sioux City, Iowa.

COLLEGE BASEBALL: Reed returns from Cuba

© East County Sports.com
LA MESA (7-12-12) — University of Oregon pitcher JAKE REED, a former standout at Helix High, is playing with the National Collegiate USA baseball team on a summer tour.

The team recently played five games in Cuba – the first US sports team to go to the island nation in 16 years. The Americans came away with a 2-3 record in Cuba.

Having returned to the United States on Tuesday (July 10), the group is on its way to the Netherlands, where they will be a part of an international tournament.

Rookies power A's past Giants, 4-2, in Griffin's debut;
first MLB homer by Norris is a walk-off, game-winner

Courtesy, San Francisco Chronicle
OAKLAND (6-25-12) — Derek Norris came to the big leagues for the first time Thursday. A.J. GRIFFIN (Grossmont High/ USD) made his major-league debut Sunday (July 24). Together, the 23-year-old catcher and the 24-year-old right-hander combined to prevent the Giants from sweeping the A's in a three-game series at the Coliseum.

Leaf, former Mr. Basketball in CIFSDS, transferring from UCSB to Azusa Pacific

By Nick Pellegrino
© East County Sports.com

AZUSA (6-18-12) — TROY LEAF, the CIF San Diego Section's all-time scoring leader and the 2009-10 all-division Player of the Year, will transfer from UC Santa Barbara and play for Azusa Pacific, one of three West Coast schools which recently obtained NCAA Division II status.

Leaf, a 6-foot-3 combo guard who powered Foothills Christian High to four consecutive Division V section championships, was a first-team All-State selection by Cal-Hi Sports after finishing third in California with a 28.1 scoring average.

Sacramento River Cats pitcher A.J. GRIFFIN (Courtery, River Cats' PR)
Griffin making his move to the top

© Special to East County Sports.com
FRESNO (6-15-12) — When former Grossmont High standout and now Oakland A’s minor league pitcher A.J. GRIFFIN jogged toward the visiting dugout after an inning-ending strikeout in the 8th inning of Wednesday’s (June 13) Pacific Coast League game against the Fresno Grizzlies, he tried as hard as he could to avoid Sacramento manager Darren Bush. After all, the River Cats’ skipper had never sent a starter back out for the 9th inning during his managerial career that spans six teams and stretches back almost a decade.

But when Sacramento pitching coach Scott Emerson told Griffin – Oakland ’s No. 12 prospect – to stay loose, the 6-foot-5, 215-pound right-hander did not ask any questions.

The 24-year-old Griffin surrendered one run on six hits while striking out six batters over nine innings to lead the Triple-A River Cats to a 6-1 victory at Fresno.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: Molzen on D-2 watch list

© East County Sports.com
LIBERTY, Mo. (6-15-12) — Although the summer heat has yet to reach furnace-like levels, talk of football is already in the breeze.

Former El Capitan High and Grossmont College standout JON MOLZEN, a 6-foot-4, 220 pound senior wide receiver at William Jewell College, is among the NCAA Division II football players to watch for the 2012 season. He is rated the No. 2 Great Lakes Valley Conference player to watch by the BSN College Network (Beyond Sports Network), which also made the Division II preseason pick.
COLLEGE WOMEN'S FASTPITCH: Elliot finishes as top frosh at OCU

© East County Sports.com
OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. (6-13-12) — Former Christian High standout MONIQUE ELLIOTT recently closed out her freshman season at Oklahoma Christian University with an 11-game hitting streak, powering the Eagles deep into the playoffs.

Helix alum Reed advances Oregon to within one game of College World Series berth

COLLEGE BASEBALL: Balough blows away the Windy City

© East County Sports.com
ELGIN, Ill. (6-8-12) — Former Santana High standout CAMERON BALOUGH has been named to the All-Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference second team for Judson University. Balough was one of six teammates named (three on the first team) after the Eagles set a school record with 46 victories, capturing their first-ever conference title and an automatic bid to the NAIA national championship after closing the regular season winning 12 of 13 contests.

COLLEGE BASKETBALL: Hatcher accepts bid to MSUB

© East County Sports.com
BILLINGS, Mont. (6-8-12) — Former Foothills Christian High standout and CIF state record-holder KALOB HATCHER has signed to play for Montana State-Billings, an NCAA Division II school. The Yellowjackets' media relations department stated an official announcement will come on Monday after just receiving his National Letter of Intent.

Over the past two seasons, Hatcher was one of the scoring leaders for Irvine Valley College, advancing to the state tournament this past spring. The guard was second among the Lasers (20-6) with a 10.7 scoring average and 37 steals, while also topping IVC with 110 assists.

COLLEGE BASEBALL: Reed named Frosh All-America by Collegiate Baseball

© East County Sports.com
EUGENE, Ore. (6-7-12) – University of Oregon right-hander JAKE REED (Helix High) was named to the Louisville Slugger Freshman All-America team, as announced Wednesday (June 6) by Collegiate Baseball newspaper.

Reed, who was named to the NCAA Eugene All-Regional team last Sunday, enters this weekend with a 2.93 ERA and 7-4 record. He is expected to start on Sunday as the Ducks will host Kent State in an NCAA Super Regional at PK Park, qth the winner advaning to the College World Series.

Scotties alum Reed, Oregon Ducks, host NCAA regional

© East County Sports.com
EUGENE, Ore. (5-31-12) — Former Helix High standout JAKE REED gained honors Thursday (May 31) as an honorable mention selection to the All-Pac-12 baseball team.

Reed, a freshman right-handed pitcher, also will be working this weekend, when the Ducks host an NCAA Division I baseball regional. Joining the Ducks are Cal State Fullerton, Austin Peay (Tenn.) and Indiana State for the double-elimination event running June 1-4.

Reed owns a 6-4 record in 15 starts as a frosh, sporting the team's second-best ERA at 3.14 over 100 1/3 innings.

COLLEGE WOMEN'S BASKETBALL: Autry tabbed Cal Lutheran co-captain

© East County Sports.com
THOUSAND OAKS (5-31-12) — Former El Capitan High girls basketball player TAYLOR AUTRY has been named the co-captain of the Cal Lutheran women's basketball team for the 2012-13 season.

Autry, a senior next season, is a shooting guard for the Regals (18-10 overall), which captured the Southern California Intercollegiate Athletics Conference Tournament for the first time ever after defeating Redlands, 61-58.

COLLEGE WOMEN'S FASTP{ITCH: Balough blossoms in Tennessee, named NAIA All-America

© East County Sports.com
CLEVELAND, Tenn. (5-30-12) — Former Santana High standout BRITTANY BALOUGH received NAIA All-America second team honors as a pitcher for Lee University.

Balough, a senior, won 25 games against just three losses, with an earned run average of 1.26. She also received the same honor from CoSIDA, a national group of college athletics public relations representatives.

Balough helped the Lady Flames gain a berth in the NAIA Tournament, then was solid in her lone appearance at the event, working a five-inning complete game, allowing no runs on just two hits, while striking out four and walking none.

COLLEGE BASEBALL: Granite Hills alum Coleman named conference MVP

© East County Sports.com
SAN MARCOS (5-28-12) — The Cal State San Marcos Baseball team walked away with a handful of A.I.I. First-Team selections, led by Conference Player of the Year Austin Coleman and Pitcher of the Year James Dykstra.

Coleman, an alum of Granite Hills High, is a sure-gloved third baseman led the Cougars with 13 homeruns and 53 RBIs, in addition to hitting .351 on the season. A senior in 2012, Austin was 15th in the NAIA in total home runs and 17th in doubles.

Another junior, first baseman Kenny Belzer also received first team recognition after hitting .306 with 23 extra base hits on the year, in addition to some solid innings on the mound. Belzer plays for the San Diego Stars semipro baseball team, too.

PRO FOOTBALL: Hobbs, former Matadors standout, signs with Chargers

By Bill Dickens
© East County Sports.com

LEMON GROVE (5-17-12) — Former East County standout ARTHUR HOBBS has signed a 3-year deal with the San Diego Chargers.

“Arthur is a true warrior,” Hobbs ’ high school coach at Mount Miguel TOM KARLO said. “He has fought every step of the way and now is in 'The League.' What an amazing story.”

A 2007 All-East County first team pick for the Matadors, Hobbs advanced to Grossmont College and then rode a scholarship to Neb.-Kearney. As a Loper, Hobbs recorded 50 tackles, logged 8 pass breakups, intercepted three passes and blocked two kicks.

COLLEGE BASEBALL: Former Foothiller Griffin helps stop No. 18 USD

© East County Sports.com
ALCALA PARK (5-16-12) — Grossmont High product AARON GRIFFIN was one of five relief pitchers to help Loyola Marymount take down 18th-ranked University of San Diego, 8-6, in Saturday's (May 12) West Coast Conference baseball game at Cunningham Stadium.

The victory clinched the series for the visiting Lions (23-22 overall, 11-6 WCC). For the Toreros (37-13, 13-7), it was just their second 2-game losing streak of the season.

COLLEGE WOMEN'S FASTPITCH: Ball State's Carpenter named All-Mid-American Conference

© East County Sports.com
CLEVELAND (5-15-12) — Ball State University saw six members of its women's fastpitch team gain All-Mid-American Conference laurels Monday (May 14), including former Santana High standout AMANDA CARPENTER. The junior center fielder received a second team berth.

COLLEGE BASEBALL: It took a century for Regis to win RMAC crown
Former Foothillers Brault, Hemphill, contribute to rare victory

© East County Sports.com
PUEBLO, Colo. (5-14-12) — Founded in 1877, Regis University of Denver, Colo., was a charter member when the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference was created in 1909.

On Saturday (May 12) – more than a century later – the Rangers finally captured their first RMAC baseball championship.

A pair of former Grossmont High standouts in STEVEN BRAULT and MATT HEMPHILL contributed, as Regis defeated tournament host Colorado State-Pueblo (formerly Southern Colorado), 9-2, at Rawlings Field.

PRO FOOTBALL: Lindley, Draheim (El Capitan/SDSU) headed to the NFL

© East County Sports.com
LAKESIDE (4-29-12) — A pair of former East County high school stars who continued on to be standouts at San Diego State earned opportunities to play in the National Football League.

Quarterback RYAN LINDLEY, who guided El Capitan High to an 11-1 record in 2006, was selected in the sixth round by the Arizona Cardinals. Meanwhile, 6--foot-4, 305-pound offensive lineman TOMMIE DRAHEIM, also of the Vaqueros and Aztecs, reached a free agent deal with the Green Bay Packers.

Colorado Christian's Hannah Rapoport

COLLEGE WOMEN'S SOFTBALL: Rapoport, CCU, place second at RMAC
Waiting begins for NCAA Division II bid

© East County Sports.com
GOLDEN, Colo. (4-29-12) — After falling in the opening game of the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference tournament, former Grossmont High and Grossmont College standout HANNAH RAPOPORT and her Colorado Christian University Cougars ran off five consecutive victories to force a play-back final. However, Fort Lewis College (Durango, Colo.) hung on to take the tournament championships after the third-seeded Skyhawks beat the fourth-seeded Cougars, 7-4, at the Colorado School of Mines Softball Complex.

Rapoport named RMAC player of the year

© East County Sports.com
LAKEWOOD, Colo. (4-24-12) — The last piece to the building of the new women's fastpitch program at Colorado Christian University proved to be the most important one.

On Tuesday (Apr. 24), the first-year Cougars announced that former Grossmont College and Grossmont High School standout HANNAH RAPOPORT was named the player of the year in the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference.

Rapoport, the leadoff batter, led all RMAC hitters with a .482 batting average – also the fourth-best nationally among NCAA Division II schools. The sophomore pitcher/outfielder also ranked among the national leaders in hits and runs scored.

COLLEGE WOMEN'S SOFTBALL: Adame bunts to success in North Dakota

© East County Sports.com
DICKINSON, N.D. (4-10-12) — For former Steele Canyon High standout VANESSA ADAME it was a simple enough play. Put down a bunt and sacrifice her Dickinson State teammate to second base.

However, when the catcher's throw to first base sailed toward what seemed like Canada, Adame was almost caught by surprise.

“I was in shock,” Adame recalled after reaching second base. “As soon as I’d seen (head coach Kristen Fleury) waving me around, I was like, ‘OK, this is what you want? Alright.’”

Adame not only scored the game-tying run, her Blue Hawks went on to an 8-3 victory over Black Hills State in Monday's (Apr. 9) game at Gress Softball Complex. It was the team's sixth consecutive victory.

WOMEN'S SEMIPRO FOOTBALL: Surge semipro women's football coming to Santee
National runners-up kickoffs season on April 21

By Nick Pellegrino
© East County Sports.com

SANTEE (4-5-12) — The San Diego Surge, the national runners-up in the 62-team Women's Football Association, is making a move and will play its 2012 spring schedule at Santee Community Stadium on the campus of Santana High School.

The Surge, which has played under others nicknames (Sunfire, Scorpions) over the past decade, posted 11 consecutive victories to capture the American Conference crown last season before falling in Dallas to the Boston Militia for the national title.

The season opener will be at home against the Silver State Legacy of Las Vegas on Sat.,Apr. 21. Kickoff is at 5:30 p.m.

WOMEN'S COLLEGE SOFTBALL: Rapoport gets a Rocky Mountain high

© East County Sports.com
LAKEWOOD, Colo. (4-4-12) — Former West Hills High and Grossmont College standout HANNAH RAPOPORT received her second player of the week citation in the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference for the period ending Apr. 1.

Rapoport, a pitcher/outfielder, had a monster week at the plate, going 15-for-22 (.681) with fire runs and five RBI, lifting Colorado Christian University to within one full game of first place Fort Lewis (Colo.) in the RMAC standings after a 4-game sweep of Colorado State-Pueblo as she posted multiple hits in each contest.

COLLEGE BASEBALL: Homecoming at Montezuma Mesa
Gwynn returns to Aztecs dugout; Frank, Young start for UC Riverside

By Nick Pellegrino
© East County Sports.com

SAN DIEGO (3-28-12) — In a welcome homecoming on multiple levels, San Diego State was pleased by the return of head baseball coach TONY GWYNN to the stadium which bears his name to Tuesday's (Mar. 27) ballgame.

Meanwhile visiting UC Riverside saw two of its ballplayers – starting pitcher TREVOR FRANK (Valhalla) and shortstop EDDIE YOUNG (Christian) – get the start before family and friends against the hometown Aztecs.

COLLEGE BASEBALL: Haar, No. 24 USD sweep WCC opening series

© East County Sports.com
ALCALA PARK (3-27-12) — Former Grossmont High standout BRYAN HAAR was part of an important rally by the University of San Diego, allowing the 24th-ranked Toreros to complete a rain-delayed sweep of Santa Clara, 12-4, in Monday's (Mar. 26) series finale at Cunningham Stadium to open West Coast Conference play.

COLLEGE WOMEN'S FASTPITCH: Carpenter named MAC player of the week

© East County Sports.com
MUNCIE, Ind. (3-27-12) — For the second time this season, the Ball State University softball team swept the Mid-American Conference West Division's weekly awards with junior outfielder AMANDA CARPENTER (Santana High) earning player of the week and senior Audrey Workman (Wickenburg, Ariz.) garnering pitcher of the week.

COLLEGE WOMEN'S FASTPITCH: Hallahan, Stalford capture East County alumni battle

© East County Sports.com
COSTA MESA (3-25-12) — In a battle of East County alumni, former West Hills High standout TAYLOR HALLAHAN blasted a tie-breaking, 2-run triple in the 5th inning, powering Vanguard University past visiting Ottawa (Kan.), 3-1, in a non-conference, intersectional contest at The Pitt.

Hallahan, the leading hitter for the Lions this season, recorded her hit off the Braves' ASHLEY RENALDI, the former Grossmont High pitcher who is the career strikeout leader for Ottawa.

In the second game of the teams' doubleheader, another former Grossmont standout, RACHEL STALFORD, pitched a complete game in a 2-1 verdict to complete the sweep.

Stalford, the 2011 East County pitcher of the year for the CIF Division I champion Foothillers, also drove in the winning run with a triple when Vanguard (22-15) scored twice in the bottom of the 5th to offset a 1st-inning run by Ottawa (11-14).

Braves softball visits The OC

Former Foothillers collide in Saturday doubleheader

© East County Sports.com
COSTA MESA (3-22-12) — Already ranking among the school's leaders in every important offensive category, Grossmont High product ASHLEY RENALDI will be visiting the Southland this weekend playing for Ottawa University (Kan.).

Included will be a Saturday (Mar. 24) doubleheader against Vanguard University, which features another former Foothiller in RACHEL STALFORD, plus West Hills grad TAYLOR HALLAHAN.

COLLEGE MEN'S BASKETBALL: Brooks named Stark Award winner as Dartmouth player of the year

© East County Sports.com
HANOVER, N.H. (3-20-12) — Dartmouth freshman J'VONTE BROOKS, a product of Foothills Christian High, has been named the recipient of the A.D. “Dolly” Stark Award as the Big Green men's basketball most valuable player, head coach Paul Cormier announced during the team awards gathering for the 2011-12 season.

COLLEGE WOMEN'S FASTPITCH: CSU San Marcos tops national softball rankings

© East County Sports.com
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (3-20-12) – Buoyed by a trio of East County products – plus a school-record 19-game winning streak – the Cal State San Marcos women's fastpitch team moved to the top of the NAIA Softball Coaches Top 25 Poll in results released Tuesday (Mar. 20).

The Cougars (28-2) garnered 11 of 20 first-place votes, gaining its first-ever appearance as the nation's top-ranked program, placing among the national leaders in both pitching (1.04 ERA) and offense (201 runs scored).

COLLEGE WOMEN'S FASTPITCH: Rapoport, Colorado Christian, grab RMAC lead

© East County Sports.com
SILVER CITY, N.M. (3-18-12) — In a battle among East County alumni, HANNAH RAPOPORT (Grossmont High/Grossmont College) and her Colorado Christian University Cougars took over first place in the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference following Saturday's (Mar. 17) doubleheader sweep of RICKI GENTRY (Christian High) and her Western New Mexico University Mustangs, 6-5 and 15-12, at WNMU Softball Complex.
COLLEGE MEN'S BASKETBALL: Hatcher earns honors in The OC

© East County Sports.com
IRVINE (3-18-12) — Former Foothills Christian High standout KALOB HATCHER, a sophomore guard at Irvine Valley College, earned first team honors in the Orange Empire Conference men’s basketball team.

PRO INDOOR SOCCER (3-11-12): San Diego Sockers claim record 13th title
Down 2-0, Valhalla High grad Anthony Medina scores twice for 5-2 halftime lead
en route to another PASL Ron Newman Cup crown
COLLEGE MEN'S BASKETBALL: Brooks earns fourth Ivy League citation

© East County Sports.com
HANOVER, N.H. (3-7-12) — Former Foothills Christian High standout JVONTE BROOKS completed his freshman season at Dartmouth in style, earning a fourth citation as Ivy League rookie of the week. In fact, the youthful Big Green saw their players win the award 10 times, the third-highest total since the award was instituted in 1984-85.

Terrell Owens upstages Staback debut

© East County Sports.com
ALLEN, Texas (2-27-12) — Former West Hills High standout PHILIP STABACK threw for two touchdowns and ran for another, but was upstaged in his Indoor Football League opener Saturday (Feb. 25).

While Staback propelled the Wichita Wild to early 10-3 lead, former NFL star Terrell Owens caught three TD passes, allowing the Allen (Texas) Wranglers to rally for a 50-30 triumph before a record crowd of 5,711 at Allen Events Center.

Jenner gains game-winner for CS Fullerton

© East County Sports.com
FULLERTON (2-27-12) — Former Steele Canyon High standout JESSE JENNER delivered the game-winning hit Saturday (Feb. 25), lifting Cal State Fullerton to a 3-2 triumph over TCU at Goodwin Field.

Jenner, called up as a pinch hitter, blooped a basehit to left field in the bottom of the 8th inning.

Failla, Wright, aid Chico State explosion

© East County Sports.com
ARCATA (2-29-12) — Former Santana High standout RACHEL FAILLA was part of a record-breaking weekend by the Chico State women's softball team, which scored 57 runs on 69 hits in a 4-game sweep of host Humboldt State.

Failla, an All-East County performer when leading the Sultans to the San Diego CIF Division III crown in 2008, started her senior with the Wildcats in style, smashing a pair of home runs against the Lady Jacks, moving within a bomb for third place on the school's career list.

CSUSM to meet NPF champion Pride

© East County Sports.com
CATHEDRAL CITY (2-22-12) — The No. 2 ranked Cal State San Marcos women's fastpitch team, which features East County standouts in senior ALYSSA DRONENBERG and sophomores ALEX MILLER and KAITLIN McGINLEY, will get a treat while being tested on the field at the same time.

On Thursday (Feb. 23), the Cougars will meet the best team in the nation in an exhibition ballgame, facing the USSSA Pride, defending champions of Women's Pro Fastpitch.

Former Hillers guard Putras = 'Mesanity'

© East County Sports.com
KEARNY MESA (2-23-12) — Former Grossmont High sharp-shooter CHANEL PUTRAS ranked among East County's 3-point shooting leaders as a senior back in 2008-09. But now playing for San Diego Mesa College, she is shooting the trey at a near-record rate.

On Wednesday (Feb. 22), Putras equaled a school postseason record with seven 3-point goals, while also equaling her own personal best with a game-high 24 points, fueling the Olympians offense in an 80-61 pasting over visiting Barstow in the opening round of the CCCAA women's basketball championship.

COLLEGE BASEBALL: Oregon frosh Reed opens strong in Hawai'i

© East County Sports.com
HONOLULU (2-19-12) — Former Helix High pitcher JAKE REED, a true freshman at the University of Oregon, made his collegiate debut Saturday (Feb. 18) at the University of Hawai’i. Although the right-hander did not figure in the decision in a game the Ducks won 3-2 in 12 innings, he was none the less impressive.

In a six-inning outing, Reed scattered 5 hits and allowed only one earned run. He walked 3 and struck out 4.

Reed is rated the 23rd-best freshman in college baseball by Baseball America.

Strasburg won't be AWOL from Nats camp
San Diego State to retire his No. 37 this Friday

© East County Sports.com
SAN DIEGO (2-13-12) — At least two internet blogs were in panic mode over the weekend, learning that Washington Nationals pitcher STEPHEN STRASBURG may miss the opening of spring training, with pitchers and catchers scheduled to report this Monday (Feb. 20) to Space Coast Stadium in Melbourne, Fla.

Don't worry, Strasburg will be okay – there's something else on his agenda.

This Friday (Feb. 17), when San Diego State opens its baseball season against Washington (The University of, not the Nats), the former Aztecs All-America pitcher will have his number retired (37) in pregame ceremonies at Tony Gwynn Stadium.

Klopp gains SDSU home run record

© East County Sports.com
TEMPE, Ariz. (2-12-12) — The San Diego State women's fastpitch team gained a split of games at the Kajikawa Classic on Saturday's (Feb. 11), with former East County pitcher of the year LORENA KLOPP responsible for the victory in record-setting fashion.

Following a close 6-5 loss to No. 9 Tennessee, the Aztecs bounced back to take down No. 23 Georgia Tech, 3-2, as Klopp drove in all three runs for SDSU (3-2).

Klopp's first at-bat against the Yellow Jackets was a deep, 2 -run homer to also bring home Hayley Miles (double), giving the Steele Canyon High product her school-record 18th of her career. She eclipsed the career record formerly held by four-year players Megan McDonald (2005-08) and Erryn Gutjahr (1996-99).

By the way, Klopp is just five games into her second season with the Aztecs.

Freshman Miller solid in homecoming

Former East County player of the year scores career high vs. SDSU

© East County Sports.com
SAN DIEGO (2-12-12) — The homecoming for former East County player of the year DANIELLE MILLER of Mount Miguel High was an individual success, but not one for her team.

Despite coming off the bench to produce a career-high nine points, Miller's UNLV Rebels fell to host San Diego State, 77-64, in a Mountain West Conference contest Saturday (Feb. 11) afternoon at Viejas Arena.

Another triple-double for Dartmouth's Brooks

© East County Sports.com
PRINCETON, N.J. (2-12-12) — Life in the Ivy League has been grand for Dartmouth freshman JVONTE BROOKS. The forward isn't just the leading candidate for Rookie of the year honors, the former Foothills Christian High standout is making a bid for an all-conference berth.

On Friday (Feb. 10), Brooks registered his third triple-double of the season, although the Big Green fell at Princeton, 59-47, at Jadwin Gym.

Mount Miguel alum Miller returns home for SDSU 'Pink' game

Annual fundraiser to fight cancer renamed for late NC State coach Yow

© East County Sports.com
SAN DIEGO (2-9-12) — Former Mount Miguel High standout DANIELLE MILLER, a member of the UNLV Rebels women’s basketball team, will be coming to San Diego on Saturday (Feb. 11) for a Mountain West Conference game against the SDSU Aztecs (17-5, 7-1) at 2 p.m. in the Viejas Arena. Tickets are $6.

SDSU is joining over 1,000 schools in the Play 4 Kay initiative, which was renamed this year to keep the story and legacy of former North Carolina State head coach Kay Yow, who lost her fight with breast cancer in January 2009, at the forefront. Aztec head coach Beth Burns served as an assistant coach under Yow at NC State from 1988-89.

Another season, another Dronenburg bomb

Helix alum's 40th career HR is game-winner
in Cal State San Marcos' season opener

© East County Sports.com

TURLOCK (2-5-12)— The senior year for Cal State San Marcos slugger ALYSSA DRONENBURG started with a bang in her very first game of the season.

Dronenburg, the former Helix High standout, belted a game-winning, 2-run homer Saturday (Feb. 4), leading the Coyotes to a 3-2 verdict over Cal State Dominquez Hills at the Bank of the West Tournament.

Her 3rd-inning blast snapped a 1-1 deadlock for the first baseman's 40th career homer.
Arthur Hobbs
COLLEGE FOOTBALL: All-America honors for Hobbs

© East County Sports.com
KEARNEY, Neb. (2-3-12) — Former Mount Miguel High and Grossmont College defensive back ARTHUR HOBBS of Nebraska-Kearney has been named to the 2011 Associated Press' Little All-America Team.

The A.P. Little All-America team dates back to the early 1930's and includes players from NCAA Division II and III schools, as well as NAIA institutions.

Hobbs, a resident of Lemon Grove, recently named to the Daktronics/Sports Information Directors All-America team, is just the ninth Loper selected to the A.P. squad. Of the nine chosen, seven have come since UNK joined Division II in 1990.

Preseason WCC honors for Griffin at LMU

© East County Sports.com
LOS ANGELES (1-27-12) — Former Grossmont High pitching standout AARON GRIFFIN has been tabbed as a Preseason All-West Coast Conference selection according to College Sports Madness. The 6-foot-4, 190-pound Loyola-Marymount junior right-hander took home WCC honorable mention honors a year ago.

Griffin emerged as a dominant Sunday starter over the course of the year, finishing the season with a 7-3 record and a 2.99 ERA over nine starts and 19 appearances.

Report: Valhalla alum Thomas moving to NC State

© East County Sports.com
RALEIGH, N.C. (1-26-12) — According to published reports by CBS.com on Wednesday (Jan. 25), former Valhalla High passing phenom PETE THOMAS is transferring from Colorado State to North Carolina State. The move was also confirmed by Thomas’ personal quarterback coach George Whitfield.

Pros eye Lindley at Senior Bowl

© East County Sports.com
MOBILE, Ala. (1-26-12) — Former El Capitan High and San Diego State standout RYAN LINDLEY will be one of three quarterbacks playing for the South All-Stars in Saturday’s (Jan. 28) Senior Bowl. The game will be televised by the NFL Network (Cox Chl. 332) at 1 p.m.

Former Foothills Christian forward J'Vonte Brooks vs. Notre Dame.
(Dartmouth courtesy photo)

COLLEGE BASKETBALL: Brooks gains Ivy laurels

© East County Sports.com
HANOVER, N.H. (12-29-11) — Former Foothills Christian High standout J'VONTE BROOKS, one of only 10 players named first-team All-San Diego County covering all divisions in 2009-10, was been named Ivy League rookie of the week for the period ending Dec. 25 playing for Dartmouth.

It was the second league citation for the Big Green freshman forward.

Brooks, a native of Santee, averaged 12.0 points and 9.3 rebounds over the three games during the week before Christmas for Dartmouth (3-10), all coming on the road.

He first registered his second double-double of the season with a dozen points and a personal-best 12 rebounds in a 61-55 overtime loss at Colgate. Two nights later, he contributed 13 points, equaling a season high, while snagging eight boards in another close game, this time a three-point loss at Army. Finally, he scored 11 points and hauled in eight rebounds in an 82-74 defeat at Albany on Friday (Dec. 23).

Draheim, Parker win major honor

© East County Sports.com
SAN DIEGO (12-9-11) — Two former East County football standouts, now at San Diego State, have been named to the All-Mountain West Conference first team.

Senior tackle TOMMIE DRAHEIM, a product of El Capitan High, was selected to the first team offense, while senior corner LARRY PARKER, who played his freshman season at Grossmont College, was chosen to the first team defense.

   COLLEGE FOOTBALL: Mills claims All-Pioneer League berths
Quarterback led USD to conference championship;
Toreros' Oliaro named Defensive Player of the Year

© East County Sports.com
ALCALA PARK (12-4-11) — University of San Diego sophomore quarterback MASON MILLS, a transfer from New Mexico State, has been named to the All-Pioneer Football League team after leading the Toreros to a share of the conference crown.

Mills, who played locally at both Christian and Coronado high schools, earned a second team berth. He was also tabbed the Toreros' Offensive Player of the Year after leading the team to a 9-2 mark (5-0 at home).

Sockers lose Wright, claim Velez

© East County Sports.com
DEL MAR (11-17-11) — The San Diego Sockers saw 42-year old forward PAUL WRIGHT, a standout at Grossmont High in the 1980s, bolt as a free agent for the expansion Anaheim Bolts of the Professional Arena Soccer League during the offseason. But they quickly found a replacement.

This Saturday (Nov. 19), in their home opener, the Sockers will feature the return of midfielder Eduardo Velez, who agreed on a 1-year contract last month.

Velez was the leading scorer in PASL-Pro play as a member of Revolucion Tijuana last season. He registered a league-best 52 points on 30 goals and 22 assists in just 14 contests.

Wolf Pack drive The Chisholm Trail

© East County Sports.com
WICHITA, Kan. (11-17-11) — A pair of East County football products will be joined by two additional players with Grossmont Conference roots as part of the Wichita Wild of the Indoor Football League.

The Wild, already well situated with a pair of West Hills High standouts, recently signed receivers JEREMY YOUNG and ELIJAH "E.J." BROWN.

Young and Brown were two of East County 's top receivers in 2005.

SEMIPRO BASKETBALL: Reed gains Surf spot

© East County Sports.com
MIRA MESA (11-10-11) — Former El Cajon Valley High School and Cuyamaca College basketball standout NATE REED is now playing for the San Diego Surf semipro basketball team. Games are played on Saturdays (7 p.m.) and Sundays (5 p.m.) at Miramar College’s Hourglass Arena.

The season opens on Sunday (Nov. 13) against the Las Vegas Aces. For schedule information check www.SDSurfHoops.com.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: Sultans alums boost Redlands into D-3 playoffs

© East County Sports.com
REDLANDS (11-17-11) — A trio of former standouts at Santana High lifted 13th-ranked University of Redlands into the NCAA Division III playoffs after posting an 8-1 regular-season record.

The former Sultans include senior middle linebacker BRETT ROMERO, and senior receivers KYLE ROMERO, and TYLER AUBREY.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: Bruder gains academic laurels

© East County Sports.com
SPOKANE, Wash. (11-14-11) — Humboldt State kicker MATT BRUDER has received recognition for his success in the classroom. The sophomore out of Steele Canyon High was named to the Great Northwest Athletic Conference Academic all-conference team. Bruder, an Environmental Resources Engineering, posted a 3.50 grade-point-average.

Last season, Bruder established school records by going a perfect 44-for-44 on PATs, including 9 in a single conest. This season, Humboldt State posted a 9-1 record, claiming the GNAC championship.

East County showdown of quarterbacks in the MWC

El Cap's Lindley (SDSU) vs. Valhalla's Thomas (Colorado State)

By Andrew Smith
© East County Sports.com

FORT COLLINS, Colo. (11-9-11) — Any typical November afternoon in this Rocky Mountain town would go unnoticeable to most people in East County. This particular Saturday (Nov. 12), however, has several ties closer to home than usual.

Only five quarterbacks from East County have eclipsed the 2,000 yard mark passing at least twice in their careers in the 21st century and two of them will meet head-to-head when El Capitan High alum RYAN LINDLEY (SDSU) will face off against Valhalla product PETE THOMAS (Colorado State) as the Aztecs travel a mile high for a Mountain West showdown. The game can be seen live at 3 p.m. PDT on The Mountain (channel 320 on Cox) and also on Channel 4 San Diego.

COMMUNITY COLLEGE FOOTBALL: Harris eclipses Jaguars rushing marks

© East County Sports.com
CHULA VISTA (11-02-11) — Former Granite Hills High standout AARON HARRIS has established four rushing and scoring records during his stint at Southwestern College. Latest of his milestones is becoming the all-time career rushing leader, a mark he cleared Saturday (Oct. 29) with 138 yards in a setback to Golden West.
COLLEGE FOOTBALL: Locals shine at other Nebraska football power

© East County Sports.com
KEARNEY, Neb. (10-25-11) — Four East County products are making an impact in the Nebraska-Kearney football program.

Senior corner ARTHUR HOBBS, who played at Mount Miguel and Grossmont College, is the top defensive back in the secondary for the Lopers, who sport a 7-1 record and No. 2 ranking in Region III of the NCAA Division II poll.

PRO BASEBALL: Griffin tabbed A's Minor Leaguer of the Year

© East County Sports.com
EL CAJON (10-12-11) — Former Grossmont High pitcher A.J. GRIFFIN has been selected the Oakland A’s minor league organizational pitcher of the year by MLB.com.

The 13th-round draft pick out of the University of San Diego in 2010, Griffin made stops at all four full-season A's minor league affiliates in his first full season, finishing second in the system with his 3.47 ERA and tied for the lead with 156 strikeouts. The 6-foot-5 right-hander also won a pair of games for Stockton in the California League playoffs.

College Football Notebook (Week 5):
Former Sultan Aubrey is something special

© East County Sports.com
REDLANDS (10-4-11) — Santana High alum senior wide receiver/kick return specialist TYLER AUBREY of the University of Redlands football team has been named as a semifinalist for the 2011 National Football Foundation William V. Campbell Trophy, which honors the sport's best scholar-athlete in the nation. In addition, Aubrey remains in the running as one of possible 16 recipients of the NFF Scholar-Athlete Postgraduate Award of $18,000. The Campbell Trophy, endowed by Health South®, increases the amount of the recipient's grant by $7,000 for a total postgraduate scholarship of $25,000.

College Football Notebook (Week 4): Hardrocker sets rushing record

© East County Sports.com
RAPID CITY, S.D. (9-27-11) — Steele Canyon High alum JAMIE DALE has seen better days during his four-year career at the NAIA South Dakota School of Mines.

While Saturday’s (Sept. 24) loss to the Valley City State (N.D.) Vikings 29-17 was frustrating, it was also a record-breaking afternoon for Dale and quarterback Nick Russell (Catholic Catholic).

Dale, a 5-foot-10, 170-pound senior running back, rushed for 68 yards on 15 carries, raising his career rushing count to a South Dakota School of Mines record 2,997 yards. He also owns the Hardrockers’ career record for all-purpose yardage with 4,747.

PRO BASEBALL: Musgrove promoted for 'zero'

© East County Sports.com
BLUEFIELD , West Va. (9-21-11) — Grossmont High alum JOE MUSGROVE did not log a single pitching win in his rookie season of professional baseball as a No. 1 draft pick of the Toronto Blue Jays this season.

That does not mean the 6-foot-5, 230-pound right-hander failed to make an impact, however, since turning pro in June.

PRO BASEBALL: Sean O’Sullivan rocked in Triple-A final

© East County Sports.com
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (9-20-11) — After a quick, seven-pitch first inning, Omaha starter SEAN O’SULLIVAN allowed six runs on six hits over the next two innings as the Storm Chasers fell to the Columbus Clippers 8-3 in Tuesday’s (Sept. 20) nationally televised Triple-A National Championship game before a paid crowd of 9,569 at Albuquerque's Isotopes Park.

College Football Notebook: Cory in Lock-down mode

© East County Sports.com
YUMA, Ariz. (9-20-11) — Former Granite Hills High quarterback CORY LOCKMAN is making the most of limited playing time as a freshman at Arizona Western College these days.

One of three freshman quarterbacks on the Matadors roster, Lockman delivered scoring strikes of 16 and 22 yards during a 22-point second quarter in Saturday’s (Sept. 17) Western States Football League 55-8 rout of Phoenix College. Lockman clicked on 4 of 7 passes for 46 yards.

College Football Notebook: Mallory gains USAFA appointment

© East County Sports.com
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (9-13-11) — NOLAN “NINO” MALLORY has received an appointment to the Air Force Academy, where he is playing football as a wide receiver for the Falcons.

A 3-year starter at Valhalla High School, Mallory suffered a season ending knee injury his junior year when the Norsemen captured the Grossmont South League and played in the San Diego CIF Division III title at Qualcomm Stadium.

Mallory underwent surgery and was able to complete his senior season at Valhalla in 2009.

Focused on serving his country and continuing his education, Mallory attended Northwestern Prep School (Colo.) where he was awarded a coveted USAF Falcon Foundation scholarship. In the fall of 2010 he received a nomination to the USAFA for the second time, and his long awaited Appointment in March.

Invasion of San Diegans return home, meet USD
Western NM boosted by several county standouts

© East County Sports.com
ALCALA PARK (9-8-11) — More than a dozen players from San Diego County, including three from East County, will return home when Western New Mexico comes to town to meet the University of San Diego in a college football intersectional game Saturday (Sept. 10) at Walter E. Zable Field at Torero Stadium. Kickoff is set for 6 p.m.

Among the Grossmont Conference players to participate for the Mustangs are senior long-snapper DYLAN FITZGERALD (Steele Canyon), freshman linebacker JONATHAN BUTLER (Santana) and freshman running back DAKOTA FURR (El Capitan).

Fitzgerald, a Grossmont Hills League champion in the pole vault with the Cougars, helped Grossmont College to an 8-3 record and a Beach Bowl victory in 2009. Meanwhile, Butler, who broke LEON BENDER’s record for Santana career sacks last year, gained a first team berth on the All-East County team as a senior. Furr was the East County Sports Co-Offensive Player of the Year last season.

Western New Mexico, led by second-year head coach ADAM CLARK – who played locally at West Hills and Grossmont College – opened its season with a 35-28 triumph over Sul Ross State (Texas), scoring in the final 35 seconds to claim its home opener in Silver City, N.M. College Football Notebook

© East County Sports.com
EL CAJON (9-6-11) — East County high school gridiron standouts are beginning to surface at some new places.

Running backs TRAVON VAN (Helix) is now a starter at Marshall University, while ELLIOT TAYLOR (Mount Miguel) made the Arizona travel squad as a walk-on from the Wildcats’ track team.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: Highlanders highlight Stanford-San Jose State clash

© East County Sports.com
PALO ALTO (8-30-11) — Former Helix football standouts ANTHONY LARCEVAL (Class of 2009) and SEAN LINTON ('10) of San Jose State will lead the Spartans against the high-powered Stanford Cardinal and LEVINE TOILOLO (Helix '09) at 2 p.m. Saturday (Sept. 3).

A year ago, the Cardinal soared to new heights, closing an historic 12-1 season as a Top 5 team and returning home as the Discover Orange Bowl champion.

Toilolo saw his season come crashing down to a premature conclusion on the second offensive play of the season in Stanford’s Sept. 4 game against Sacramento State in 2010. The 6-foot-8, 263-pound Toilolo suffered a tear of the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee on the second play of the Cardinal’s 52-17 win over Sacramento State.

   Waters running big for Midland 

© East County Sports.com
FREMONT, Neb. (8-30-11) —Former Grossmont High standout KHALID WATERS opened the college football season with a bang Saturday (Aug. 27), rushing for 200 of Midland University's 293 yards on the ground to power the NAIA 17th-ranked Warriors past visiting Dakota State (S.D.), 47-20, at Memorial Field.

Waters' 200 yards, which included a touchdown romp, are the most by a MLU back since the 2005 season. His score came on a 15-yard handoff up the middle to mount a 21-0 second-quarter lead.

PRO BASEBALL: Thomas needs 72 hours to breakthrough in pro debut

© East County Sports.com
FORT WORTH, Texas (8-24-11) — For CLIFTON THOMAS, the record-setting base stealer out of El Cajon Valley High, only 72 hours were needed before he blossomed in his professional debut for the Fort Worth Cats.

After batting just 1-for-14 in his first three games as a midseason signee, Thomas erupted with a 3-for-5, three RBI performance to fuel the Cats' offense against the South Division rival El Paso Diablos in Wednesday's (Aug. 24) American Association ballgame.

On three occasions with a runner in scoring position, Thomas, a centerfielder, delivered a run-scoring basehit in a 12-3 triumph. The contest opened a season-ending, 8-game homestand for the Cats at LaGrave Field.

COLLEGE BASEBALL: Brault is a Lunker... and an All-Star

© East County Sports.com
BRAINERD, Minn. (8-16-11) — Grossmont High alum STEVEN BRAULT of the Brainerd Lakes Area Lunkers has been selected to the postseason Northwoods League All-Star Team.
Isaacson remains on comeback trail

© East County Sports.com
LAS CRUCES, N.M. (7-29-11) — For players who suffer the type of injury GARY ISAACSON absorbed in the first game of his senior football season at West Hills, it usually spells the end of a career.

That could well have happened to Isaacson had he not had a football scholarship to New Mexico State University dangling in his face. More than that, though, was Isaacson refused to give up. MORE

East County hurlers Karstens, Correia pitch Pittsburgh into NL Central Division lead

© East County Sports.com
HOUSTON (7-16-11) — Pittsburgh Pirates pitchers JEFF KARSTENS and KEVIN CORREIA no doubt crossed paths while growing up in East County. Both played baseball in the Grossmont Conference – Karstens at Mount Miguel and Correia at Grossmont High. They each took a turn at Grossmont College but were not teammates.

Funny, now, how they are now teammates at baseball’s highest level. Fact is, the duo has combined for 19 wins thus far this season which has helped the Pittsburgh Pirates move into a tie for the National League Central Division lead with the St. Louis Cardinals heading into Saturday’s (July 16) action.

Karstens, a 28-year-old right-hander, needed only 83 pitches to propel the Pirates into first place for the first time this late in the season since July 17, 1997. The veteran of parts of six major league seasons, Karstens masterfully and efficiently wove through the Houston Astros lineup on the way to his second career shutout in a 4-0 Pirates win at Minute Maid Park.

Schlein gains Cornell post

© East County Sports.com
ITHACA, N.Y. (7-8-11) — KATIE SCHLEIN, the daughter of former Valhalla High basketball coach LENNY SCHLEIN, has accepted a post as an assistant women’s basketball coach at the Ivy League’s Cornell University.

Schlein spent the past season working as assistant director of women's basketball operations at the University of Denver.

PRO BASEBALL: Former Foothillers sparkle
in Northwoods League

© East County Sports.com
BRAINERD , Minn. (7-9-11) — Led by former Grossmont High pitchers AARON GRIFFIN and STEVEN BRAULT, the Brainerd Lakes Area Lunkers of Minnesota finished the first half of the Northwoods League season in second place in the Southern Division. The Lunkers defeated the Thunder Bay Border Cats 8-5 for their 4th straight win on Wednesday (July 6) before beginning the second round of the summer collegiate baseball season later this week.

Indoor season over for Moss

© East County Sports.com
SAN JOSE (6-18-11) — The Arena Football League season is officially over West Hills High alum MATT MOSS of the San Jose Sabrecats, the former Grossmont College All-America defensive lineman who earned a scholarship to Texas A&M.

QB Staback lifts Wichita Wild
Former West Hills High standout goes 5-2 in IFL
Courtesy, Missouri Sports Magazine
on Maxwell Award Watch List

© East County Sports.com
SAN DIEGO (7-7-11) — Former El Capitan High passing phenom RYAN LINDLEY, who is preparing for his senior season at San Diego State, is one of two Aztecs among the 66 candidates nominated 2011 Maxwell Award Watch List for the annual honor that is presented to the nation’s most outstanding collegiate football player.

Lindley and sophomore running back Ronnie Hillman are the first San Diego State student-athletes tabbed to the watch list since former running back Lynell Hamilton in 2006.

Whitmore named all-tourny at NAIA nationals

© East County Sports.com
LEWISTON, Idaho (6-4-11) — Although his team, Lubbock Christian (50-13), lost to Concordia-Irvine,
9-3, in the 55th annual Avista-NAIA World Series at Harris Field on Friday (June 3), former El Capitan High-Grossmont College pitcher LUCAS WHITMORE was chosen to the all-tournament team.

A junior southpaw, Whitmore finished his junior season with a 10-3 record, 3.48 ERA and 104 strikeouts in 98 1/3 innings.

COLLEGE BASEBALL: All-America honors for Santana alum Smith

© East County Sports.com
SAN DIEGO (6-9-11) — Forget about what kind of bat it is. CODY SMITH has never had difficulty swinging the bat. He ranked among the East County leaders throughout his Santana High career.

He carried that prowess over to the NCAA Division I level as a freshman outfielder at San Diego State University this season.

Smith was named to the 2011 Louisville Slugger Freshman All-America squad by Collegiate Baseball newspaper.

Santana alum Smith tabbed all-Mountain West

© East County Sports.com
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (5-24-11) — Santana High product CODY SMITH, a freshman outfielder for San Diego State, is among four Aztecs to earn second team All-Mountain West Conference baseball honors in balloting conducted by the league's seven head coaches. Juniors Brandon Meredith and Chris Wilson (son of Valhalla baseball coach MIKE WILSON) along with freshmen Cole Swanson were also honored.

Scott gains All-NFCA regional berth

© East County Sports.com
STARKVILLE, Miss. (5-23-11) — Former Christian High standout ALLIE SCOTT, a member of the All-East County team last season, has been named to the All-Northeast Regional team by the National Fastpitch Coaches Association.

Scott, a freshman catcher for Harvard, initially earned a second-team, All-Ivy League berth, then out-voted the senior catcher from Penn to gain the regional award. The honor also included an automatic berth for consideration to the All-America team.

Harvard catcher Scott leads way for NCAA berth

© East County Sports.com
CAMBRIDGE, Mass. (5-10-11) — A key factor in a historic season for the Harvard women's fastpitch team has been the play of former Christian High standout ALLIE SCOTT.

Along with capturing the school's fifth Ivy League championship, and with it an automatic berth to the NCAA Division I Championship, the Crimson set a record with their 36th victory of the season. All of this occurred after Scott stepped on campus and took over as starting catcher as a freshman.

Scott led all Ivy catchers on both offense and defense. Along with a near-perfect .993 fielding percentage, she finished seventh among all Ivy batters with a .421 average, tying for second place in home runs (8), doubles (8) and slugging percentage (.877).

Balough sisters shine at Lee

© East County Sports.com
CLEVELAND, Tenn. (5-23-11) — The Southern States Athletic Conference (SSAC) announced its annual awards Thursday (May 19), naming former Santana High standout DANIELLE BALOUGH to the all-conference team for the third consecutive season.

Balough, a senior for Lee University , hit an even .400 entering the SSAC conference tournament, leading the team with 10 home runs and 44 runs batted in.

The Lady Flames had three players named to the All-Division Team, including junior BRITTANY BALOUGH.

COLLEGE WOMEN'S FASTPITCH: East County players dominate CSUSM picks

Rare double for LMU's Griffin

© East County Sports.com
SAN BRUNO (5-17-11) — Loyola Marymount University sophomore AARON GRIFFIN earned a double honor, named Louisville Slugger National Player of the Week and West Coast Conference Pitcher of the Week.

Griffin made two starts last week, tossing 6 1/3 innings and leaving with a 2-1 lead on Monday versus Cal State Bakersfield. A Grossmont High graduate, Griffin allowed an unearned run on three hits and two walks while striking out a career-high eight batters.

On Sunday (May 15) at Saint Mary's, Griffin tossed his second career complete game, and his first career complete-game shutout, to improve to 6-3. The right-hander threw 116 pitches, allowing six hits and one walk while striking out six hitters. He retired 12 straight hitters from the third out in the second through the second out in the sixth.

Gay tabbed to MCC team

© East County Sports.com
OSKALOOSA, Iowa (5-18-11) — William Penn University junior pitcher DARREN GAY, a former standout at Granite Hills High, Grossmont College and San Diego Mesa College, has been recognized as an honorable mention pick for the All-Midwest Collegiate Conference baseball team.


Whitmore bound for NAIA World Series

© East County Sports.com
LUBBOCK, Texas (5-17-11) — Former El Capitan High and Grossmont College hurler LUCAS WHITMORE pitched a complete game and had a span of 16 consecutive batters retired to help lead No.9 Lubbock Christian University to a 10-3 win over Kansas Wesleyan University on Saturday (May 14), clinching the Lubbock Bracket championship and punching their ticket to the NAIA World Series in Lewiston, Idaho.

Brault earns RMAC postseason honors 

© East County Sports.com
DENVER (5-17-11) — Former Grossmont High standout STEVEN BRAULT earned third team All-Rocky Mountain Conference Athletic Conference at two positions (pitcher and first base) at Regis University in his freshman season.

In addition, the 6-foot-1, 170-pound Brault was selected the 2011 RMAC Baseball Freshman of the Year.

Taijeron voted CCAA Player of the Year
First Cal Poly Pomona recipient in 20 seasons

© East County Sports.com
POMONA (5-13-11) — Former Granite Hills High and Grossmont College standout TRAVIS TAIJERON, now a senior at Cal Poly Pomona, has been named the California Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA) Most Valuable Player.

A candidate for the 2011 NCAA Division II Player of the Year, Taijeron is the fifth CPP player to be named the MVP of the conference and the first since 1991.

A 6-foot-2 center fielder, Taijeron is at the top of the league for most major offensive statistics, including slugging percentage (.731 - 1st), on-base percentage (.516 - 1st), homeruns (14 - 1st) and total bases (122 - 1st). His 14 home runs also ranks 18th nationally. A former catcher and first baseman, Taijeron helped the Broncos (30-19) secure a spot in the CCAA Tournament by batting .459 in the final month of the regular season.

Roth winner Darby named best at SW Oklahoma State

© East County Sports.com
WEATHERFORD, Okla. (5-6-11) — Junior safety JONATHAN DARBY, a product of West Hills High and Grossmont College, has been recognized as the top male athlete of the year at Southwestern Oklahoma State University. The award is based on the student’s athletic achievement, academic standing, community involvement and citizenship.

Darby made an instant impact on the Bulldogs football team this season, leading the Bulldogs with 91 tackles despite missing the last two games with an ankle injury. He was Southwestern's lone representative on the Lone Star Conference’s first-team North Division squad. Darby is majoring in education where he carries a 3.97 grade point average.

Mike McCoy
PRO BASEBALL: Hillers alum McCoy hits first MLB homer

© Special to East County Sports.com
From the Toronto Sun

NEW YORK (5-1-11) — Grossmont High alum MIKE McCOY worked a long time to get to the major leagues so he is entitled to savour his first home run, an impressive swat of more than 400 feet to right field at Yankee Stadium on Saturday (Apr. 30).

"It was pretty cool and to do it here was a special moment," said McCoy who, at 30 years old, is in just his third year in the majors.

Yankee Stadium fans always throw back opposition home runs so McCoy got the ball. Derek Jeter tossed it to Brian Butterfield, who relayed to Jose Bautista. Bautista then pretended to throw McCoy's memento into the stands before handing it over.

Matt Powell

PRO BASEBALL: Powell belongs to the Windy City

© East County Sports.com
CRESTWOOD, Ill. (4-29-11) — Former Grossmont College standout MATT POWELL, who went on to an All-America catching career at Southern Nazarene (Okla.) University, has been signed off the roster of the San Diego Stars semipro baseball team to a professional contract.

On Thursday (Apr. 28) night, the paperwork was faxed verifying Powell is now a member of the Windy City ThunderBolts, one of 12 ballclubs in the independent Frontier League. The T-Bolts are the defending Eastern Division champions.

PRO BASEBALL: Griffin scores with bunny

© East County Sports.com
BURLINGTON, Iowa (4-17-11) — A.J. GRIFFIN, the 2006 East County pitcher of the year for Grossmont High, sat alone in his corner of the Burlington Bees dugout, except for a new friend.

Accompanying Griffin was a large chocolate Easter bunny, complete with a big gold chain around its neck, found during a late-night shopping binge to Wal-Mart. Oddly, Griffin purchased the confection because he thought it looked like Bees teammate Tyreace House.

"It looks just like Tyreace," Griffin told TheHawkEye.com. "It's a bunny dude!"

The rabbit turned into Griffins' good luck charm for Thursday's (Apr. 14) Class A Midwest League ballgame at Community Field.

The right-hander carried a no-hit bid into the 8th inning against the Peoria Chiefs, finally surrendering a base hit to Sergio Burruel with one out. An out later, Grififn yielded to the bullpen as he collected his first victory of the season following a 5-1 decision.

Brault named RMAC Pitcher of the Week

© East County Sports.com
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (4-15-11) — In his finest performance on the mound in his young collegiate career, Regis College southpaw STEVEN BRAULT (Grossmont High) was awarded the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference Pitcher of the Week after allowing just one unearned run in the Rangers 2-1 victory over Colorado School of the Mines on Saturday (Apr. 9).

COLLEGE BASEBALL: Gay makes case with shutout in starting debut

© East County Sports.com
OSKALOOSA, Iowa (3-24-11) — Former Granite Hills High and Grossmont College standout DARREN GAY pitched a shutout in a Midwest Collegiate Conference opening doubleheader for William Penn University last Saturday (Mar. 19).

After the Statesmen dropped the first game to snap a 5-game winning streak, Gay, a junior right-hander, responded with the team's best pitching effort of the season. Following just six appearances in relief, Gay tossed a complete-game 2-hitter, walking just one in allowing just three baserunners all contest.


© East County Sports.com
YUMA, Ariz. (3-24-11) — Former El Capitan High standout AMBER TAYNTON has been named the NJCAA Region I (Arizona) pitcher of the week after a trio of strong outings for Arizona Western College during the week of Mar. 14-20.

Over 25 innings of work, Taynton struck out 23 batters in leading the Matadors to three victories. Taynton allowed just two earned runs in a 10-5 triumph over Scottsdale, and a pair of unearned runs in a 4-2 decision over Paradise Valley among her victories.

PRO BASEBALL: Penn pitching professionally in Japan

© East County Sports.com
SANTEE (3-19-11) — Santana High graduate HAYDEN PENN has been pitching professionally since 2002. Originally a 5th round draft pick of the Baltimore Orioles, the 6-foot-3, 195-pound right-hander has toiled for the Orioles, Florida Marlins and Pittsburgh Pirates in parts of four major league seasons.

The past two years, Penn has been hurling for the Chiba Lotte Marines of the Japanese Baseball League. A year ago, Penn’s lone pitching victory in The Orient came in the Nippon Championships when he worked 5 1/3 innings allowing, 2 runs and 5 hits while striking out three in the Marines 10-4 victory over the Chunichi Dragons. Chiba Lotte went on to win the Japanese version of the World Series.

Klopp homers twice, equals SDSU single-season home run record

Dronenburg hits key Cougar Clash HR, then Miller scores GW run for CSUSM

West Hills alum Sandberg tosses no-hitter, perfect game on same day

Notebook: Former Matadors lineman re-signs with Chargers

© East County Sports.com
MUPRHY CANYON (3-3-11) — Former Mount Miguel High defensive lineman OGEMDI NWAGBUO, who played collegiately for Michigan State, accepted a tender offer and signed a 1-year contract extension with the San Diego Chargers.

Nwagbuo, who will enter his third season with the Chargers, played in 15 games this past season, adding depth to the defensive line as a reserve nose tackle. He recorded a season-high five tackles Week 12 against the Oakland Raiders, then posted a fumble recovery in Week 16 at Cincinnati.

Hot time in the River city

© East County Sports.com
SACRAMENTO (3-1-11) — Former Christian High standout EDDIE YOUNG is off to a fast start as the starting second baseman for UC Riverside.

Over the weekend, Young was instrumental in leading the Highlanders to a 3-game sweep of Sacramento State . Included in Young’s efforts was a leadoff single in the 6th, eventually scoring the tie-breaking run in Sunday's (Feb. 27) series-ending, 4-2 triumph.

Chico's chicas

© East County Sports.com
TURLOCK (2-28-11) — Chico State, a turnaround program which moved to within one victory of a NCAA Division II Women's College World Series berth last season, is off to a flying start thanks to a pair of East County products – BRITT WRIGHT and RACHEL FAILLA.

College Softball Notebook: 'Pearls' for February

© East County Sports.com
SAN MARCOS (2-25-11) — They do things differently in the North County.

Although February has yet to turn into March, Cal State San Marcos already announced its athletes of the month for the year's shortest month, with West Hills High product ALEX MILLER among the honorees.

Collegiate debuts special for Klopp, Gentry

© East County Sports.com
LOS ANGELES (2-13-11/Revised 2-16-11) — Former Steele Canyon High standout LORENA KLOPP, who burst onto the scene with a CIF San Diego Section record for RBI with 60 as a freshman, is doing the same thing in her first season with San Diego State.

Klopp, a two-time All-CIF state selection with the Cougars, slugged a home run and drove in five runs, plus gained a pitching triumph, helping the Aztecs to a pair of victories Saturday (Feb. 12) in the season-opening Stacy Winsberg Memorial Tournament at UCLA.

Meanwhile, former Christian High standout RICKI GENTRY opened her collegiate career by being named Western New Mexico University's student-athlete of the week for the period ending Feb. 13.

Gentry registered an on-base percentage of .500 during the Mustangs' appearance at the Desert Stinger Classic in Las Vegas. Included was a 3-for-3 outing against Lewis University, then Gentry belted home runs against Western Oregon and St. Edward's.

For the season, Gentry, the designated player, leads Western New Mexico (2-9) with a .450 batting average.

Best in the West, but the nation, too?

© East County Sports.com
TURLOCK (2-8-11) — A trio of former East County standouts – led by NAIA All-America pitcher BRENNA SANDBERG – were named to the all-tournament team after leading 8th-ranked Cal State San Marcos to the championship of the Best of the West Invitational held at Cal State Stanislaus.

Sandberg, a West Hills High product, was joined by Cougars infielders ALYSSA DRONENBURG (Helix) and ALEX MILLER (West Hills) on the all-tournament team.

Sherika shines at SFSU

© East County Sports.com
LA JOLLA (2-6-11) — Former West Hills High standout SHERIKA MILLER marked her return to her hometown by producing a career-high 15 points, but her San Francisco State Gators fell to UC San Diego, 59-52, at RIMAC Arena on Thursday (Feb. 3).

Simon West
Simon-West moves Pomona into first-place showdown

© East County Sports.com
LA JOLLA (1-23-11) — Former East County player of the year LA'KENYA SIMON-WEST of Grossmont High School moved into position for a conference championship as a starting forward for Cal Poly Pomona.

Behind 13 points by Simon-West, plus the first career double-double by teammate Charlene Popoff, the Broncos downed host UC San Diego, 82-75, Saturday (Jan. 22) at RIMAC Arena.

Trailing by seven points with just 10 minutes remaining in regulation, the Broncos fired off a 17-0 run for their seventh straight triumph.

Christina Rios
Redlands' Rios tops on court, in classroom

© East County Sports.com
REDLANDS (1-14-11) — The University of Redlands took the first step to claim consecutive regular-season titles in women's basketball for the first time ever after capturing its Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference opener in a 52-46 home decision over Cal Lutheran at Currier Gym on Jan. 8.

And starting point guard CHRISTINA RIOS, a Grossmont High alum, is leading the way for the Bulldogs (7-4, 1-0).

The Robinson gift

© East County Sports.com
STILLWATER, Okla. (1-8-11) — Former Mount Miguel High standout PRECIOUS ROBINSON is relishing her role as the 6th player for nationally-ranked Oklahoma State.

For the second consecutive season, Robinson is one of the top percentage shooters in the Big 12 Conference, helping the Cowgirls (13-1) to a ranking of No. 25 in the nation entering this weekend's conference opener at Kansas State.

Celebrating their 2009-10 PASL-Pro North America championship are (l-r)
the Sockers' Paul Wright, Scott Martin, Aaron Susi and Dan Antoniuk.
(San Diego Sockers courtesy photo)
Wright still gunning at 41
In third stint with San Diego Sockers

© East County Sports.com
DEL MAR (12-17-10) — During the tail end of the San Diego Sockers dynasty of the 1980s, when the franchise captured 10 arena soccer (then simply called "indoor soccer") championships over a 12-year span, one of the team's leading scorers was former Grossmont High standout PAUL WRIGHT.

"It seems every one in San Diego still has great memories of the Sockers from their glory days," said Wright. "Those were great teams."

Paul Wright
More than a decade later, Wright, who turns 42 this season, is still plying his trade with the latest incarnation of the Sockers, which is coming off an 11th North American indoor title last winter.

"I feel like I can still contribute and keep the team winning," added Wright. "Playing for the Sockers still ranks among my favorite moments in soccer."

Still contribute? Wright is known among the top free kick specialists – the David Beckham of indoors – finishing seventh in the PASL-Pro league in scoring. Placing the ball into the net is something Wright has been doing for a long time.

In fact, thanks to a 4-point night against the Louisville Lightning recently, Wright shared player of the week honors with defender Diego Rovira, as announced by Sockers general manager John "The Coach" Kentera.

"When I came to the States, I was 10 and began playing for Derek Armstrong of the La Jolla Nomads," said the native of England. "At Grossmont (High), we were known for scoring a lot of goals."

However, the Foothillers never climbed the mountain to capture CIF crowns, while Helix (1983), Granite Hills (1985) and Valhalla (1986-88) took titles, while Monte Vista was a section runner-up (1989) after falling in a memorable double-overtime thriller to Bonita Vista.

Wright eventually turned professional with the Cleveland Crunch in 1989, then was traded to the Sockers in 1990, taking the MISL (Major Indoor Soccer League) trophy that season.

Wright, now in his third tour of duty in San Diego, credits his training regiment which he continues as founder/operator of Speed To Burn, which provides speed training for enhanced athletic performance.

"We train people to increase their speed," noted Wright. "We handle youngsters, high school and college players, and adults.

Wright's next opportunity to showcase his skills comes Wednesday (Dec. 29), when San Diego (6-1) hosts the Southwest final of the U.S. Open Cup series. Kickoff is at 6:15 p.m. from Del Mar Arena (located next door to the racetrack on the Del Mar Fairgrounds). The winner advances to the Open Cup national Final Four.

The contest will feature a ceremony honoring the Sockers MISL championship team from 1985-96, plus honor former head coach Ron Newman.

El Cajon's Jimmie Johnson claims record
5th consecutive Sprint Cup championship
(NASCAR courtesy photo)
No hard feelings for Leaf

© East County Sports.com
SAN DIEGO (12-19-10) — After originally committing to play for San Diego State basketball coach Steve Fisher, former Foothills Christian High standout TROY LEAF notes there are no hard feelings after he later signed with UC Santa Barbara.

"I still respect Coach Fisher as a man, and he respects me as a player," said Leaf after his Gauchos made a visit to Viejas Arena on Saturday (Dec. 18).

If events followed a different path, Leaf may well have been wearing the hometown whites for the 10th-ranked and undefeated Aztecs. Instead, Leaf, along with more than two dozens family and friends, were wearing the UCSB blue in support of last season's CIF San Diego Section all-division player of the year.

"I don't even think about it anymore," Leaf noted on almost becoming an Aztecs guard. "Right now, everything in Santa Barbara is great as I try to learn playing a college system."

The true freshman has already been making contributions for UCSB, averaging 10 minutes per contest. Leaf scored a career-high five points in a 90-64 loss to SDSU, which followed Santa Barbara 's 68-62 road upset triumph over 22nd-rated UNLV on Wednesday (Dec. 15).

Leaf returns home with UCSB Gauchos
Meet No. 10 SDSU, Saturday at Viejas Arena

© East County Sports.com
SANTA BARBARA (12-15-10) — Former Foothills Christian High standout TROY LEAF, the reigning CIF San Diego Section all-division player of the year, will make his San Diego debut as a collegian on Saturday (Dec. 18) when his UC Santa Barbara Gauchos complete a 3-game roadtrip against 10th-ranked San Diego State at Viejas Arena. Tipoff is slated for 7 p.m. LISTEN

Ekeweozor, Villanova, in FCS national semifinals

© East County Sports.com
CHENEY, Wash. (12-16-10) — For the second year in a row, former Mount Miguel High standout CHIDOZIE EKEWEOZOR will a be a starting offensive tackle for defending national champion Villanova (9-4).

Villanova will play in the FCS semifinals of the Division I-AA Football Championship series against No. 5 seed and host Eastern Washington (11-2) in a game that will take place Friday (Dec. 17) at 5 p.m. at Roos Field. The contest will be nationally televised on ESPN2.

Cavin McCall displays 'the hardware'
McCall captures major SCGA title
Claims Tournament of Club Champions

© East County Sports.com
LA HABRA (12-14-10) — CAVIN McCALL, the reigning club champion at Cottonwood Golf Club in Rancho San Diego, captured the 36th annual Southern California Golf Association (SCGA) Tournament of Club Champions, held Monday (Dec. 13) at Hacienda Country Club.

Cavin McCall
SCGA Story

McCall defeated Daniel Ragsdale from North Ranch Country Club with a par on the fifth playoff hole after each posted even-par rounds of 71 during regulation play.

McCall, a 23-year-old senior at Cal State Dominguez Hills, is a former player and current Assistant Coach of the Toros' men's golf team. He will graduate in May with a communications degree.

McCall is relatively new to the game, having only played for seven years, yet now owns consecutive club championships at Cottonwood. He becomes the first club champion from Cottonwood to win the prestigious SCGA tournament.

“I’ve been playing well and my hope coming in was to finish in the top 10,” said McCall, who outlasted 107 club champions from throughout the Southland.

The triumph earns him an exemption into the 112th SCGA Amateur Championship, slated for July 8-10, 2011 at San Gabriel Country Club, and the SCGA Public Links Championship (formerly the PLGA Amateur Championship), March 25-27 at Brookside Golf Club in Pasadena.

McCall played golf and baseball at Christian High, then played golf for Cuyamaca College before moving on to CSUDH, emerging as the top performer for the Toros during the 2009 season.

All-America citation for Lindenwood's Staback

© East County Sports.com
LIBERTY, Mo. (12-15-10) — Former West Hills High quarterback PHILIP STABACK, who recently signed an indoor football professional contract, was named Tuesday (Dec. 14) to the 2010 NAIA All-America football team by the American Football Coaches Association.

Staback becomes the first Lindenwood University quarterback to receive such a citation after being named the Heart of America Athletic Conference player of the year.

    Staback turns pro

© East County Sports.com
GREEN BAY, Wis. (11-30-10/Revised 12-3-10) — Fresh from receiving NAIA All-American honors for Lindenwood University, former West Hills High quarterback PHILIP STABACK recently signed a professional contract to join the Green Bay Blizzard of the American Indoor Football Association.

Molzen helping William Jewel make strides

© East County Sports.com
LIBERTY, Mo. (12-8-10) — It may be a few baby steps, but for former El Capitan High and Grossmont College standout JON MOLZEN, the 2010 football season must be called a success.

Playing for William Jewel College, an NAIA program, which posted just a single victory in 2009, Molzen and a cast of fresh recruits arrived at the western Missouri campus just outside of Kansas City and posted with three additional triumphs in a 4-7 campaign.

Miller makes the step up

© East County Sports.com
SAN FRANCISCO (12-7-10) — It's not often a true freshman can step into a college starting line-up, yet former West Hills High standout SHERIKA MILLER is doing well in such a role for San Francisco State.

Darby earns All-Lone Star Conference

© East County Sports.com
WEATHERFORD, Okla. (11-30-10) — West Hills alum JONATHAN DARBY, the 2009 Joe Roth Award winner out of Grossmont College, continues to gain honors at Southwestern Oklahoma State.
Bradley, Dale – like dis & like DAC

© East County Sports.com
DICKINSON, N.D. (11-30-10) — A pair of former East County players have gained postseason honors in the Dakota Athletic Conference.

Earning first team honors are Mayville State defensive back DOMINIQUE BRADLEY (Grossmont HS) and South Dakota Mines running back JAMIE DALE (Steele Canyon).
Neal makes strides for Fullerton

© East County Sports.com
ALCALA PARK (11-25-10) — Cal State Fullerton freshman YVONTE NEAL, the reigning East County player of the year out of Mount Miguel High, came off the bench to score five points and grab three rebounds, but the Titans fell to host University of San Diego, 71-60, Wednesday (Nov. 24) at Jenny Craig Pavilion.

Neal, a pure freshman, hit 2-for-4 from the field, while two of her boards were on the offensive glass in her 12 minutes of the court.

Naderhoff enjoying next step at CSUB

© East County Sports.com
SAN DIEGO (11-18-10) — MARILYN NADERHOFF hasn't been on a court for several weeks, yet that hasn't taken anything from her experience with Cal State Bakersfield women's basketball team, which visited Viejas Arena on Wednesday (Nov. 17) night and took out San Diego State, 73-62.

CIF-SDS announces 50th Anniversary Team
East County gains 11 berths among media selections

Special to East County Sports.com
BALBOA PARK (11-10-10) — In recognition of the 50th anniversary of the CIF-San Diego Section, the local section celebrated the milestone by recognizing the top 50 athletes from 1960 to date. The 50 players from a variety of sports were selected by a panel under the auspices of the CIF-SDS. Members of the panel were Steve Brand, Bill Dickens, Kirk Kenney, Joe Naiman and Rick Smith. All have covered high school sports for various media across the region for decades.

Section Commissioner Dennis Ackerman said many of the 50 will attend the high school football championships on Monday (Dec. 6) at Qualcomm Stadium, to be honored between the Division II and Division I title games.

The 11 East County honors include: Sharon Barrett, Monte Vista (golf); Reggie Bush, Helix (football); Tony Clark, Valhalla-Christian (basketball-baseball); Terry Forster, Santana (baseball); Mark Gerardi, Valhalla (wrestling); Greg Louganis, Valhalla (swim-diving); Mark Malone, El Cajon Valley (football-track); Eileen Maul, Santana (gymnastics-diving); Jim Plum, Helix (football-baseball); Tommy Vardell, Granite Hills (football-wrestling); and Bill Walton, Helix (basketball).

50th Anniversary All-CIFSDS Team
Marcus Allen – Lincoln – Football – 1970s
Sharon Barrett – Monte Vista – Golf – 1970s
Brody Barrios – Poway – Wrestling – 1990s, 2000s
Dillon Baxter – Mission Bay – Football – 2000s
Bob Boone – Crawford – Football, basketball, baseball – 1960s
Chase Budinger – La Costa Canyon – Basketball, volleyball – 2000s
Reggie Bush – Helix – Football, track – 2000s
Eric Chavez – Mt. Carmel – Baseball – 1990s
Tony Clark – Valhalla-Christian – Basketball, baseball – 1980s, 1990s
Tim Danielson – Chula Vista – Track, cross country – 1960s
Gail Devers – Sweetwater – Track – 1980s
Lisa Dodd – Mira Mesa-University City – Softball – 2000s
Kris Fillat – Serra – Field hockey – 1980s
Terry Forster – Santana – Baseball – 1960s, 1970s
Oscar Foster – San Diego – Basketball – 1960s
Tyler Gaffney – Cathedral Catholic – Football, baseball – 2000s

Mark Gerardi – Valhalla – Wrestling – 1980s
Milena Glusac – Fallbrook – Track, cross country – 1990s
Adrian Gonzalez – Eastlake – Baseball – 1990s, 2000s
Monique Henderson – Morse – Track – 1990s, 2000s
Charde Houston – San Diego – Basketball – 2000s
Chad Hutchinson – Torrey Pines – Football, baseball – 1990s
Elijah Jefferson – Crawford – Track – 1970s
Kira Jorgensen – Vista-Rancho Buena Vista – Track, cross country – 1980s
Meb Keflezighi – San Diego – Track, cross country – 1990s
Teddy Lawrence – Morse – Football, track – 1980s, 1990s
Ericka Lorenz – Patrick Henry – Water polo – 1990s
Greg Louganis – Valhalla – Swimming, diving – 1970s
Shannon MacMillan – San Pasqual – Soccer – 1990s
Mark Malone – El Cajon Valley – Football, track – 1970s
Terri Mann – Point Loma – Basketball, track – 1980s
Eileen Maul – Santana – Gymnastics, diving – 1980s
Phil Mickelson – USDHS – Golf – 1980s
Brent Noon – Fallbrook – Track – 1980s, 1990s

  Jerome Price – University City – Football, basketball, track – 1980s
Jim Plum – Helix – Football, baseball – 1980s
Carlos Quentin – USDHS – Football, baseball, basketball – 1990s, 2000s
Harry Rudolph, Jr. – La Jolla – Golf – 1980s
Jennifer Saleaumua – Bonita Vista – Volleyball, basketball – 1990s, 2000s
Junior Seau – Oceanside – Football, basketball – 1980s
Jesse Smith – Coronado – Water polo, swimming – 1990s, 2000s
Mike Stamm – Crawford – Swimming – 1960s, 1970s
Allison Terry – USDHS – Swimming – 1980s, 1990s
Alan Trammell – Kearny – Baseball, basketball – 1970s
Tommy Vardell – Granite Hills – Football, wrestling – 1980s
Bill Walton – Helix – Basketball – 1960s, 1970s
David Wells – Point Loma – Baseball – 1980s
Candice Wiggins – La Jolla Country Day – Basketball, volleyball – 2000s
Dokie Williams – El Camino – Football, track – 1970s
Ricky Williams – Patrick Henry – Football, baseball – 1990s

Oakland Raiders tackle Khalif Barnes / Raiders.com courtesy photo
Former Matadors O-lineman Barnes makes key TD catch for Raiders

© East County Sports.com
OAKLAND (11-7-10) — Former Mount Miguel High and University of Washington offensive lineman KHALIF BARNES scored a rare touchdown Sunday (Nov. 7), keying the Oakland Raiders in a 23-20 overtime victory over the Kansas City Chiefs.

Midway through the third quarter, Barnes hauled in a 2-yard TD pass from Jason Campbell on a tackle-eligible pass, giving the Raiders a 14-13 lead in a ballgame that saw the Raiders get shutout in the first half.

In his second season with Oakland, Barnes garnered just two previous starts in 14 appearances after moving to the Bay Area following four seasons as a full-time starter with the Jacksonville Jaguars. The catch was his first career NFL reception.

Lindley vs. Thomas: East County QBs
clash in Saturday shootout at Qualcomm

© East County Sports.com
SAN DIEGO (11-4-10) — In the history of East County football not many shootouts get bigger than Saturday’s (Nov. 6) Mountain West Conference Colorado State versus San Diego State shootout at Qualcomm Stadium.

Kickoff is 7 p.m. when the visiting Rams quarterback and Valhalla High graduate PETE THOMAS takes aim at the Aztecs, who are led by El Capitan High grad and SDSU junior RYAN LINDLEY.

SDSU Red-Black series

© East County Sports.com
SAN DIEGO (11-4-10) — Five freshman out of East County — EVAN POTTER (Grossmont), DYLAN GARCIA (Granite Hills), JARED HUNT (Granite Hills), CODY SMITH (Santana) and KYLE HAYES (Santana) – will participate in the 2nd Annual Aztec Red-Black World Series this weekend at Tony Gwynn Stadium.

One-of-a-kind Triple Crown by Grossmont High grad

© East County Sports.com
MAYVILLE, N.D.(11-3-10) — Mayville State (N.D.) University freshman DOMINIQUE BRADLEY – a graduate of Grossmont High – has pulled off a hat trick of sorts. That is, Bradley carried the ball 26 times for 181 yards and two touchdowns in the Comets' 21-14 win over Dakota State to earn Dakota Athletic Conference Offensive Player of the Week.


Midland Lutheran’s Waters makes like a Comet

© East County Sports.com
FREMONT, Neb. (11-3-10) — Former Grossmont running back KHALID WATERS rushed for a team high 119 yards on 23 carries and scored three touchdowns as Midland Lutheran (Neb.) won its fifth straight by bouncing Briar Cliff (Sioux City, Iowa) University 31-10 on Saturday (Oct. 30). Waters also caught three passes for 27 yards.

Sultans have Redlands rolling

© East County Sports.com
REDLANDS (11-3-10) — Four East County graduates are helping the Redlands University Bulldogs make a run for the Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference football championship this season.

The quartet includes Santana High products TYLER AUBREY, the ROMERO brothers – BRETT and KYLE – and Valhalla freshman MATTHEW SWANGER.

Bradley establishes NAIA national record

© East County Sports.com
MAYVILLE, N.D. (10-25-10) — Former Grossmont High safety DOMINIQUE BRADLEY of Mayville State University was recently named the Dakota Athletic Conference Special Teams Player of the Week for his performance against Jamestown College (N.D.). He was also listed among the honorable mention for the NAIA national award.

The Comets freshman broke a 29-year-old NAIA record with his 99-yard punt return for a touchdown.

Stabach takes "the 5th" for Lindenwood PHOTOS
Lions offense posts school-record 90 points

© East County Sports.com
ST, CHARLES, Mo. (10-19-20) — Former West Hills passing phenom PHILIP STABACH earned his fifth Heart of America Athletic Conference Offensive Player of the Week honor after leading Lindenwood past Culver-Stockton, 90-19, on Saturday (Oct. 16).

CSU's Thomas blasts UNLV
3 TD passes by true freshman

© East County Sports.com
(10-20-10) — Former Valhalla High standout PETE THOMAS, the first true-freshman starting quarterback at Colorado State since at least World War II, completed 10 of 14 passes for 233 yards and 3 touchdowns as the Rams buried visiting UNLV 43-10 in Saturday’s (Oct. 16) Mountain West Conference action.

Colorado State University
quarterback Pete Thomas
celebrates with fans
after leading the Rams
past visiting Idaho
(Photo by Dan Byers,
CSU media relations)
Thomas receives MWC honors

© East County Sports.com
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (9-27-10) — Former Valhalla High standout PETE THOMAS, the first true-freshman starting quarterback at Colorado State since at least World War II, earned Mountain West Conference honors in just his fourth collegiate outing.

On Saturday (Sept. 25), Thomas led the Rams to a last-minute, game-winning drive to defeat Idaho, earning conference player of the week honors. Thomas orchestrated a 12-play, 66-yard drive over the final 2:38 of regulation, setting up Ben DeLine’s 35-yard game-winning field goal at the gun in a 36-34 triumph over the Vandals.

Roadtrip continues for former Patriots center Joaquim
Accepts scholarship to University of Hawai'i

© East County Sports.com

HONOLULU (9-27-10) — The worldwide tour by former Christian High standout VANDER JOAQUIM just gained a new destination.

The native of Luanda, Angola, will play for his fourth school in five seasons after coming to America , accepting an NCAA Division I scholarship at the University of Hawai'i.

After the 6-foot-10, 240-pound center participated in the Lusophony Games as a member of the Angolan National Team in 2006, the then 16-year old was selected to the Basketball Without Borders Africa camp in 2006 and ’07, in which the top 100 players from 28 countries on the continent were selected to participate by FIBA and the NBA.

Mills tabbed starting QB for USD

© East County Sports.com
ALCALA PARK (9-22-10) — MASON MILLS, a former football and baseball standout for Christian and Coronado high schools, has been named starting quarterback for University of San Diego for the balance of the season. The freshman had been playing baseball on scholarship for New Mexico State last season before deciding to switch back to football.

West Hills grad No. 1 passer in NAIA

© East County Sports.com
ST. CHARLES, Mo. (9-21-10) — Former West Hills High quarterback PHILIP STABACK, a senior signal-caller at Lindenwood University, has earned NAIA National Offensive Player of the Week.

Staback completed 27-of-40 passes for 404 yards, the fourth-highest total in Lindenwood history for a game. He threw a pair of touchdown passes in the first quarter and rushed for another touchdown in the third quarter to keep the No. 2 Lions undefeated following a 45-27 victory over No. 8-ranked Missouri Valley.

Matadors making their mark
Ekweozor visits The White House

© East County Sports.com
SPRING VALLEY (9-15-10) — Three graduates of the Mount Miguel High football program continue to excel across the country.

CHIDOZIE EKWEOZOR, a 6-foot-5, 320-pound sophomore, has recovered from a torn ACL suffered during Villanova's 2009 run to the Div. IA National Championship. The big fella has regained his starting spot this season, anchoring the right tackle spot in games against Temple and Lehigh.

No doubt equally as exciting for Ekweozor was being part of Villanova’s visit to the White House on Monday (Sept. 13).


Gruber getting his kicks
at Nebraska-Kearney

© East County Sports.com
KEARNEY, Neb. (9-15-10) — When MICHAEL GRUBER was competing in a three-sport career at Christian High, he probably thought baseball would be his ticket to the next level.

The jury is still out on that option.

At the moment, though, the 6-foot, 180-pound true freshman is handling the place-kicking duties for the Antelopes of Nebraska-Kearney.

Former Grossmont star wins conference honor

© East County Sports.com
MAYVILLE, N.D. (9-14-10) — Mayville State University defensive back DOMINIQUE BRADLEY was named the Dakota Athletic Conference Player of the Week for his performance during the Comets' win over Trinity Bible College on Saturday (Sept. 11) in Ellendale, N.D.

Steele Canyon products doing well at Humboldt State

© East County Sports.com
ARCATA (9-14-10) — Head coach Rob Smith and his Humboldt State Lumberjacks, lost their season-opener against Cal Poly, 23-17, on Sept. 4, but rebounded to win the following week against Dixie State in St. George, Utah, 49-14.

Placekicker MATT BRUDER, a 5-foot-7, 152-pound true freshman out of Steele Canyon High School in Jamul, has emerged as the Jacks' starter at that position. Bruder kicked a 40 yard field goal against SLO, 2 PATs and 4 kickoffs for 221 yards (55.2 average).

Defensive players who flashed signs of readiness include another Steele Canyon alum, JUSTIN HORNSBY, who was knocked out of action by an injury last year, but appears completely recovered in time for his second chance at a senior year on the defensive line.

Stanford's Toilolo out for season

© East County Sports.com
STANFORD (9-9-10) — Helix High graduate and Stanford's promising tight end LEVINE TOILOLO saw his season come crashing down to a premature conclusion on the second offensive play of the season in Saturday’s (Sept. 4) game against Sacramento State.

Q&A: Stanford TE Levine Toilolo

By Rick Jones
© Special to East County Sports.com

PALO ALTO (9-3-10) — With Andrew Luck at quarterback, the Stanford offense looks to be dangerous and two weapons in the Cardinal arsenal will be Helix alum LEVINE TOILOLO, named the starter by (former San Diego Charger quarterback) JIM HARBAUGH, and new wide receiver Corey Gatewood. We caught up with both for a camp Q & A.

Larceval to start vs. No. 1 Alabama

© East County Sports.com
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (9-1-10) — Former Helix High standout ANTHONY LARCEVAL will face the biggest assignment of his life as a starting defensive tackle for San Jose State University when the Spartans open the season Saturday (Sept. 4) against top-ranked Alabama.

It will be the second time in San Jose State's 93-year football history opening against the preseason No. 1 (Nebraska , 2000) as they make the journey to the Deep South and Bryant-Denny Stadium.

Larceval, a 6-1, 265-pound red-shirt freshman, will participate in his first ballgame since falling in the 2008 CIF Division II title game to Oceanside, 23-19, after sweeping to the Grossmont South League title en route to being tabbed the East County Defensive Player of the Year.

Waters brothers capsize Dakota State

© East County Sports.com
MADISON, S.D. (8-29-10) — Junior KHALID WATERS rushed for 197 yards and two touchdowns on 20 carries, while sophomore brother JEFF WATERS scored on a 6-yard run, leading Midland Lutheran (Neb.) to a 38-7 Great Plains Athletic Conference rout of host Dakota State University Saturday (Aug. 28) at Trojan Field.

Homer Mauga
Sticking together
Vandals linebackers connect on field and at home

By Josh Wright
Special to East County Sports.com
From The Spokane Spokesman-Review

MOSCOW, Idaho (8-29-10) — Come Thursday night, Idaho football fans will have a better sense of how the Vandals’ starting linebacker crew has coalesced. Already, though, this much is certain: They fit together splendidly at their off-campus home.

JoJo Dickson and Robert Siavii are from Hawaii, HOMER MAUGA’s family used to live in Honolulu, and all three have carried the laid-back islands’ vibe to their house.

Football, movies, food – there’s little disagreement among them on these and other topics.
Thomas is the man at Colorado State

© East County Sports.com
FORT COLLINS, Colo. (8-21-10) — Quarterback PETE THOMAS knew what he was doing when he worked feverishly to secure his high school diploma in January. Early graduation from high school is already paying dividends.

The 6-foot-5, 218-pound freshman out of Valhalla High has battled his way in to a starting role as the quarterback at Colorado State University.

Mauga makes impact in Moscow

© East County Sports.com
MOSCOW, Idaho (8-16-10) — HOMER MAUGA, a junior transfer from Grossmont College, is making a swift impact at the University of Idaho.

A 6-foot, 225-pound linebacker, Mauga – a Helix High graduate – recorded a team-best 8 tackles in the Vandals’ first intra-squad scrimmage last weekend.

Defense figures to be Idaho’s strength this season as 10 lettermen return from last year’s fourth-place finish in the Western Conference. The Vandals posted an 8-5 record and edged Bowling Green, 43-42, in the Humanitarian Bowl last season.

NAIA All-America honors for trio

© East County Sports.com
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (7-31-10) — A trio of East County products earned berths on the NAIA All-America women's softball team, the association announced.

Gaining second-team berths are Lee (Tenn.) infielder DANIELLE BALOUGH (Santana) and Cal State San Marcos pitcher BRENNA SANDBERG (West Hills), while Dordt (Iowa) first baseman SARAH SEYMOUR (Christian) received an honorable mention citation.

O'Sullivan showcased
Traded to Kansas City

© East County Sports.com 
NEW YORK (7-23-10) — It quickly became apparent that SEAN O'SULLIVAN's start Tuesday (July 20) against the New York Yankees was to fully demonstrate he was ready to fit into the rotation for almost any MLB ballclub

Less than 48 hours following his first MLB victory in a year, O'Sullivan, 22, was one of two pitchers traded to the Kansas City Royals in exchange for third baseman Alberto Callaspo, who was sent packing to the Los Angeles Angels.

O'Sullivan currently owns a career record of 5-2, the same mark as former West Hills High and San Diego State product STEPHEN STRASBURG.

O’Sullivan befuddles Yankees

© East County Sports.com
NEW YORK (7-21-10) — Los Angeles Angels pitcher SEAN O’SULLIVAN made his first major league start in nearly a year Tuesday (July 20) against the world champion New York Yankees in a game televised over the Armed Forces Network from Yankee Stadium.

Of course, the majority of the audience, including the 47,775 fans at Yankee Stadium, was focused on seeking a New York knockout.

After surrendering two runs and two hits in the first inning, O’Sullivan – a product of Valhalla High and Grossmont College – settled in to hold the Yankees hitless over five innings to gain his first pitching decision of the season as the Angels prevailed 10-2.

Nick Longmire
trots the bases
following his first
professional HR.
(Howard Owens
The Batavian)
Longmire's fast pro start

Special to East County Sports.com
BATAVIA, N.Y. (6-28-10) — Although the Batavia Muckdogs (4-6) are off to a so-so start in the Class A New York Penn League, former Grossmont High slugger NICK LONGMIRE is on a hitting rampage.

The Muckdogs’ center fielder and No. 5 pick of the St. Louis Cardinals, Longmire leads the league in six offensive batting categories through 10 games. That includes hits (15), triples (3), home runs (3) and RBI (16). His .405 batting average is No. 2 in the circuit.

Longmire takes first step in pros

Special to East County Sports.com
BATAVIA, N.Y. (6-21-10) — Fresh off signing a professional baseball contract as a 5th round draft choice of the St. Louis Cardinals, former Grossmont High standout NICK LONGMIRE has made an immediate impact for the Class A Batavia Muckdogs of the New York Penn League.

Batavia’s fans fell in love with the East County center fielder instantly.

In the Muckdogs’ home opener on Saturday (June 19), Longmire clubbed a home run, two doubles, and had a sacrifice fly to drive in six runs as Batavia edged the Auburn Doubledays, 7-5.

Phillips picks-up Padres paycheck

© East County Sports.com
SAN DIEGO (6-26-10) — El Capitan High alum KYLE PHILLIPS, 26, is coming home – sort of.

A 10th round draft pick of the Minnesota Twins in 2002, Phillips will now pick up his paychecks from the San Diego Padres organization. The left-hand-hitting third baseman was traded by the Toronto Blue Jays from their Pacific Coast League Triple-A farmclub in Las Vegas to the Padres PCL Triple-A ballclub in Portland on Friday (June 25).

Ex-Griffin signs with Blue Jays

© East County Sports.com
NORTHRIDGE (6-23-10) — Former Grossmont College pitcher BRIAN LONGPRE, who concluded his amateur career with two seasons at Cal State Northridge, has signed a free agent contract with the Toronto Blue Jays.

Longpre, a 6-foot-2, 190-pound right-hander, toiled for the Griffins as a redshirt sophomore during the 2008 season after bouncing back from San Diego State as a freshman. He struck out 37 batters in 31 1/3 innings while compiling a 4.31 ERA.

Van takes detour from Florida to Marshall

© East County Sports.com
HUNTINGTON, W.V. (6-14-10) — Former Helix High running back TRAVON VAN, who was ticketed to attend the University of Florida, has changed course after spending last season at Milford Prep Academy.

The 5-foot-11, 195-pound Van will be eligible to play for the Thundering Herd this season if he clears academic tests. If he fails that test, Marshall first-year head coach John ‘Doc’ Holiday said he will apply for a hardship scholarship to the NCAA for Van

Van rushed for 315 yards and three touchdowns on 86 carries. Serving much of his time as a slotback at Milford, Van also caught 24 passes for 289 yards for the Falcons.

Nick Longmire
Pacific Tigers
Greg Garcia
Hawai'i Rainbows

The next Strasburg?
Five local players tabbed on Day Two of MLB draft

© East County Sports.com
EL CAJON (6-9-10) — Five college athletes with East County ties were selected in Tuesday’s (June 8) second day of the Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft.

At the top of the list is University of Pacific junior outfielder and Grossmont High alum NICK LONGMIRE (VIDEO) who was selected in the 5th round by the St. Louis Cardinals with the 169th overall pick. He is the highest player drafted out of the Stockton-based university since 2007.

A.J. Griffin
USD Toreros
Cameron Selik
Kansas Jayhawks
Longmire is no stranger to the stage of the MLB Draft. As a high school senior, the 6-foot-2, 210-pound then-first-baseman was drafted by Oakland in the 37th round of the 2007 MLB Amateur Draft. His choice to attend college first will definitely pay off should he decide to turn pro this summer.

This season at Pacific, Longmire finished as the top hitter in the Big West Conference games with a .354 average. He hit .327 overall.

In his senior year at Grossmont, Longmire led the Foothillers with a .514 batting average, 15 home runs, 19 stolen bases, 36 RBI and a 1.010 slugging percentage. He was also named the San Diego CIF Division II Player of the Year.

Other Inlanders selected were: Valhalla (University of Hawai'i) product and middle infielder GREG GARCIA (7th round, St. Louis); Grossmont alum and USD senior right-handed pitcher AJ GRIFFIN (13th round, Oakland A’s); Grossmont College ’s (now a Kansas University junior) CAMERON SELIK (22nd round, Washington Nationals); and 6-foot-8 Grossmont College freshman KEVIN KLEIS (27th round, Pittsburgh Pirates).

Laurie Lindow
(UTM photo)
Lindow completes career in style

© East County Sports.com
MARTIN, Tenn. (5-22-10) — Former Santana High catcher LAURIE LINDOW, a member of the 2004 and 2006 All-East County teams, called it a career after 17 seasons of softball following the elimination of her Tenn.-Martin Skyhawks from the Ohio Valley Conference Tournament.

Lindow, a 3-year starter, helped UTM post a solid 47-11 record this season before falling in the OVC championship game to Jacksonville State .

During the tournament awards ceremony, Lindow and two of her teammates were named to the OVC All-Tournament Team. It was Lindow's second such citation. She was also named to the regular-season All-OVC select as a first-team honoree, leading in conference in number of runners picked-off or caught attempting to steal.

Eric Krause
Krause named MCC Pitcher of the year

© East County Sports.com
OSKALOOSA, Iowa (5-22-10) — The awards continue to arrive for former Granite Hills High standout ERIC KRAUSE, who now performs for William Penn University.

Following a Final Four appearance at the California state community college championships for Southwestern College, Krause continued his excellence with the Statesmen, earning Pitcher of the Year award in the Midwest Collegiate Conference.

Krause three-peats

Courtesy, William Penn Media Relations
OSKALOOSA, Iowa (5-12-10) — ERIC KRAUSE, a graduate of Granite Hills High and Southwestern College, concluded his junior campaign with another solid performance, netting him Midwest Collegiate Conference Pitcher of the Week laurels, the league office announced Monday (May 11).

Krause picked up his third league award of the spring as the Statesmen won the game he started on Friday, but lost later that day to end their 2010 season at 25-19.

The junior finished the week 1-0, helping Penn to an 11-2 win over Clarke. In seven innings of work, he gave up two runs (both earned) on four hits, striking out seven with two walks.

Braves' Conrad: PH walkoff slam

© East County Sports.com
ATLANTA (5-21-10) — Nothing has come easy in the long professional baseball career of former Monte Vista High product BROOKS CONRAD.

It took eight long years toiling on bus trips through the minor leagues before Conrad finally advanced to "The Show," breaking in with the Oakland A's in July 2008.

Two years later, Conrad gained an opportunity to do something he had never done in baseball, although the odds were against him.

Batting just .167 without an RBI as a pinchhitter this season, all Conrad could do was grab his helmet in disgust when his long fly ball seemingly landed in the glove of Cincinnati Reds left fielder Laynce Nix in front of the 380-foot sign.

Mauga joins SWC staff

© East County Sports.com
CHULA VISTA (5-18-10) — Southwestern College has added longtime East County star football player MAGNUM MAUGA to its coaching staff.

A three-year starter at Helix High and an all-conference pick for two seasons at Grossmont College, Mauga recently graduated from Utah State.

All-Region honors for Thomas

© East County Sports.com
KINGSVILLE, Texas (5-16-10/revised 5-22-10) — Former All-East County baseball player CLIFTON THOMAS (El Cajon Valley HS/Grossmont College) of Texas A&M-Kingsville was recently named to three different all-region teams.

Thomas was tabbed to the Daktronics All-South Central Region, the Rawlings/American Baseball Coaches Association (ABCA) All-South Central Region team, then was named to the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association All-South Central Region team. On all three, he gained second-team berths.

Thomas led the Javelinas to a 28-25 record and a trip to the Lone Star Conference Tournament this year. Each player also earned First Team all-LSC honors this year, while Thomas also gained an LSC All-Tournament berth.

Thomas posted one of the best seasons in Kingsville history. He batted .388 with 63 runs, 21 doubles, nine triples, 10 home runs, 46 runs batted in and 27 stolen bases.

Former Griffins standout Clark
makes 'Contact' in New Mexico

© East County Sports.com
SILVER CITY, N.M. (5-15-10) — Former West Hills High-Grossmont College linebacker ADAM CLARK has been named head football coach at NCAA Division II Western New Mexico University.

Originally, Clark was hired to be the Mustangs’ defensive coordinator in February of this year before being elevated to the top post.

Individual Pages
Stephen Strasburg
Sean O'Sullivan
Todd Watkins

The 2009 East County Sports
co-Players of the Year share
freshman awards in college.
Jazmin Daigle
(CCU photo)
Amanda Carpenter
(Ball State photo)

Daigle named Frosh of the Year

© East County Sports.com
CONWAY, S.C. (5-15-10/revised 5-22-10) — Coastal Carolina University softball standout JAZMIN DAIGLE (Steele Canyon HS) took home one of the major awards given by the Big South Conference, named as the Division I circuit's Freshman of the Year.

Daigle also gained a second-team berth on the All-Big South team after ranking fourth in the Big South (tops among first-year players) with a .371 batting average.

Daigle ranks fourth in the Big South (tops among first-year players) with a .371 batting average.

Hitting in the third spot for the Chanticleers, the rookie leads her team in several offensive categories, including batting average, hits (59), doubles (9), RBI (28) and total bases (89).

Daigle registered a 14-game hitting streak during the season, hitting .420 during the span. She also tallied 16 multiple-hit games and seven multi-RBI performances during her freshman campaign, including a grand slam in her first collegiate game against USC Upstate.

Coastal Carolina will host the 2010 Big South Championship as the 6th seed against No. 3 Winthrop.

   Carpenter ain't no apprentice

© East County Sports.com
AKRON, Ohio (5-15-10) — Ball State University left fielder AMANDA CARPENTER, a Santana High product, has been named to the All-Freshmen team for the Mid-American Conference, in results announced after balloting by conference coaches.

Carpenter ranks second on the Cardinals with six home runs, and owns the team's fifth-highest batting average with a .305 mark.

She is ranked No. 2 in the conference with 39 runs scored and 40 RBI. In conference play alone, Carpenter is batting at a .324 clip and is tied for first on the team with four home runs. Additionally, she ranks in the top-five in the MAC in three categories – runs scored, RBI and total bases.

At Santana, Carpenter established school and East County records for doubles in a season.

Panthers slugger Jayme Jarvis
(Chapman Univ. photo by David Rubene)

Anything but a lemon
Jarvis tabbed NCAA D-3 All-West Region

Courtesy, Chapman Media Relations
ORANGE (5-14-10) — Chapman University softball player JAYME JARVIS, a product of Steele Canyon High School, has been named to the Louisville Slugger/NFCA Division III All-West Region team.

   A league of their own

© East County Sports.com
CLEVELAND, Tenn. (5-14-10) — "Playing with Fire," the slogan to market the Lee University athletic department, couldn't be any more appropriate for the Lady Flames women's fastpitch team. And the BALOUGH sisters of Santana High – junior infielder DANIELLE and sophomore pitcher BRITTY – are leading the way.

Lee enters the week ranked second nationally in the NAIA with a school record-tying 55 victories in its stellar 55-4 record. Included is a mark of 30-2 for the championship in the Southern States Athletic Conference, then the school swept to the title in conference tournament with a 10-2 decision over Shorter College in the finale.

With the crown, Lee gains the conference automatic bid to the NAIA National Championship, set for May 20-26 in Decatur, Ala.

Another Thomas award

© East County Sports.com
KINGSVILLE, Texas (5-10-10) — CLIFTON THOMAS, the record-setting centerfielder for the Texas A&M-Kingsville baseball team, keeps adding to his trophy case of awards.

After gaining berths to the All-Lone Star Conference team and the LSC All-Tournament teams, Thomas, a product of El Cajon Valley HS and Grossmont College, was named recipient of the Gil E. Steinke Award as the college's Male Athlete of the Year for all Javalinas sports teams.

Thomas shared the honor with football player Billy Garza, and senior softball player Cassie Anderson, the program's Female Athlete of the Year.

Escalante named All-SCIAC for third time

© East County Sports.com
EAGLE ROCK (5-10-10) — Former Grossmont High standout ALYSSA ESCALANTE capped her career at Occidental College with her third All-Southern Californian Intercollegiate Athletic Conference team selection.

Escalante, a senior who split time between catcher and designated player, was voted by the coaches to the second team for the third time in her four seasons with the Tigers. She also landed berths following her freshman and sophomore seasons.

Sandberg, Dronenburg lead
CSU San Marcos to nationals

© East County Sports.com
HOUSTON (5-10-10) — West Hills High alum BRENNA SANDBERG tossed a 5-hit shutout, while Helix High product ALYSSA DRONENBURG batted 3-for-4 and scored three times, leading CSU San Marcos to a 9-0 pasting of Simon Fraser (B.C.) in the title game of the NAIA regional for independent ballclubs.

The victory, the first regional championship in school history, gives the 5th-ranked Cougars (38-14) an automatic berth to the NAIA National Championships, slated to open May 20 in Decatur, Ala.

McCoy finally standing tall with Blue Jays

By John Lott, National Post
TORONTO (5-4-10) — Looking at MIKE McCOY, you would not imagine a kid who once had hoop dreams.

But during his final year at Grossmont High School (1999), he honestly thought he had a future on the hardwood.

"I had a really good senior year in basketball - 23 points a game, six or eight assists a game, 86 three-pointers," he said. "But no recruiters."

To everybody but McCoy, the reason was obvious. Even his father had to call him on it.

"I was short," he said with a chuckle.

He still is. But that was less a barrier in the sport that gave him a long-term job and finally, at age 29, a spot on the opening-day roster of the Toronto Blue Jays.

Watch the Clifton Thomas interview on Javelina Television.
Thomas gains first-team laurels

© East County Sports.com
ABILENE, Texas (5-1-10) — Texas A&M-Kingsville senior centerfielder CLIFTON THOMAS (El Cajon Valley HS/Grossmont College) has been selected to the first team of the All-Lone Star Conference baseball team. The award was announced at Friday's (Apr. 30) banquet held prior to the start of this weekend's LSC baseball championship at Abilene Christian's Crutcher Scott Field.

Thomas has been the mainstay to the offensive production after putting together one of the most exceptional seasons in school history. Thomas batted .381 with 59 runs, 20 doubles, 9 triples, 9 home runs, a .690 slugging percentage and 26 stolen bases, all while playing outstanding defense. In fact, all but one Kingsville starter batted more than .300 this season (the lone exception batted .296).

Mats Mattson
(UNO photo)
Mattson produces landmark triumph
UNO upsets defending national champ LSU

© East County Sports.com
BATON ROUGE, La. (4-30-10) — Following Tuesday's (Apr. 27) landmark victory, perhaps the University of New Orleans should re-think its proposal to the NCAA to drop to a non-scholarship Division III program in a few years.

Backed by a strong relief pitching stint by Grossmont High product MATS MATTSON, the Privateers rallied with four runs over the final two innings to stun 15th-ranked and defending national champion LSU, 7-4, before a Tigers crowd of 10,584 at Alex Box Stadium.

While Mattson shut down the Bayou Bengals, UNO senior Nick Schwaner belted his club-leading 15th home run in the 8th inning for the go-ahead runs to snap the ballclub's 9-game losing streak in one of biggest Division I upsets in the nation this season.

Mattson struck out two Tigers in 1 1/3 innings of relief to garner the victory. Mattson, a junior left-hander, has been one of the few bright spots for the Privateers (11-29).

Despite being a middle-reliever, Mattson now leads the pitching staff in victories (3), now owning a 7-2 overall record in his past two seasons with New Orleans . He is averaging nearly one strikeout per inning (30 Ks in 32.0 IP), while issuing just five walks.

Nick Spears
Shain Stoner
Ryan Brosnan
(SNU photos)
The Sooner Lumber Company

© East County Sports.com
PLAINVIEW, Texas (4-30-10) — In a career outing, former Grossmont College standout NICK SPEARS belted two home runs and knocked in six runs in a 4-for-5 performance, leading Southern Nazarene University to a 24-14 pasting of host Wayland Baptist in a Sooner Athletic Conference contest Tuesday (Apr. 27).

The ballgame featured 11 homers, including seven by the Red Storm (30-13).

Spears, who was named the conference top shortstop as a junior in 2009, continues stroking a hot bat. The senior is now averaging .425 this year.

Meanwhile, Spears' pair of homers gives him 13 for the year, matching West Hills High alumni SHAIN STONER for the club lead. Stoner leads all Southern Nazarene batters with a .479 batting average, while is just one behind Spears for the RBI lead with 56.

Also playing for SNU is RYAN BROSNAN (Santana), who is batting .285 after missing half of his freshman season at Grossmont College with a broken hand after hitting .321 for the Griffins.

Jessie Owens
(PLNU photo)
Owens lone frosh
on All-GSAC team

© East County Sports.com
POINT LOMA (4-30-10) — JESSIE OWENS, a former All-East County player for Christian and Santana high schools, continues to shine for 6th-ranked Point Loma Nazarene University.

Owens, who plays in the outfield for the Sea Lions (26-12), was the only freshman named to the All-Golden State Athletic Conference softball team. The listing of 18 players was voted on by GSAC coaches.

Owens leads all PNLU batters with a .347 batting average – the 9th-best in GSAC – starting in every contest for the Sea Lions this season.

The left-handed hitter (Owens is a righty when pitching) also leads the conference in stolen bases with 24, five more than second-standing AMANDA OMAHEN (Granite Hills), an Alpine resident who is the leading hitter (.326 average) for Vanguard University.
Brenna Sandberg (left/ctr), Alyssa Dronenberg
CSU San Marcos
makes huge jump

© East County Sports.com
HOUSTON (4-28-10) — Earning its highest national ranking of the season, the No. 7 Cal State San Marcos women's softball team earned the top-seed in next week's NAIA regional for independent ballclubs. The 6-team, double-elimination event will be hosted by 21st-ranked University of Houston-Victoria.

The Coyotes (35-13) are led by pitcher BRENNA SANDBERG (West Hills) and power-hitter ALYSSA DRONENBURG (Helix).

Sandberg owns a 33-10 record and a 1.30 ERA, with both totals listed among the NAIA national leaders. Among the junior right-hander's recent victories was a 7-4 verdict over top-ranked Cal Lutheran last Wednesday (Apr. 21) in Riverside.

Dronenburg owns a club-best .440 batting average and an even more impressive .888 slugging percentage, placing her 10th in the nation. Nearly half of the sophomores hits go for extra bases, including 16 home runs, plus 48 RBI.

One of her homers came in back-to-back fashion with teammate Ciera Ashman (Patrick Henry HS) in the win over Cal Baptist.

The Coyotes earned a first-round bye in the regional, meeting the winner between Ohio Dominican and Brithish Columbia. on Thurs., May 6. The other half of the draw features 2nd-seed Simon Fraser (B.C.), plus LSU-Alexandria and host UHV.

The event winner will gain an automatic berth to the NAIA Women's World Series, slated for May 20-26 in Decatur, Ala., although San Marcos seems a lock for an at-large berth.

Adame lifts Blue Hawks into DAC lead

© East County Sports.com
DICKINSON, N.D. (4-26-10) — Paced by some key hits by Steele Canyon High product VANESSA ADAME, Dickinson State University extended its winning streak to 10 games Sunday (Apr. 25) after sweeping its fifth straight Dakota Athletic Conference doubleheader.

Over the weekend, the Blue Hawks (24-9, 15-3 DAC) took four games from visiting Mayville State (N.D.). The ballclub now shares first place with Minot State (15-3) and Jamestown College (12-2) heading into the final week of the regular season.

Adame, the starting centerfielder who has batted 9th most of the season, took advantage of her promotion to the top of the batting order. The sophomore extended her hitting streak to nine consecutive games by going 6-for-13 with a pair of doubles and four RBI over the weekend, and is now batting an impressive .571 (16-for-28) during her hot streak, raising her season average to a club-leading .402 following a 1-for-10 slow start to the season.

Also on the Hawks roster is Grossmont College product CHARNEL ZETSCH, who is red-shirting this season.


Mtn. Empire alum leads NCAA in HRs

© East County Sports.com
RENO, Nev. (4-26-10) — The University of Hawaii is now nationally ranked (23rd and 25th in the both major women's fastpitch polls) after Wahine pitcher Stephanie Ricketts fired a perfect game at Nevada on Saturday (Apr. 24).

Mountain Empire High product KELLY MAJAM, the starting centerfielder, aided the effort by batting 2-for-3 with three runs scored and an RBI as the leadoff batter for first-place Hawai'i (39-11, 17-0 Western Athletic Conference).

Majam, a red-shirt freshman, is now batting .403 this season, leading all NCAA Division I batters with 25 home runs. When Majam hit her 24th homer back on Apr. 17 against Louisiana Tech (coached by former Women's Pro fastpitch MVP and Christian High product SARAH DAWSON), it broke the WAC single-season record.

Beasley sets Aztecs 'K' record

© East County Sports.com
PROVO, Utah (4-26-10) — Former Steele Canyon High standout SAMANTHA BEASLEY struck out 11 BYU batters Friday (Apr. 23), lifting San Diego State to a 9-4 Mountain West Conference victory over the host Cougars.

With the effort, Beasley's career-long 9th consecutive victory, the junior set an Aztecs record for strikeouts in a single season with 277, two more than Christina Ross (2008). Beasley has now won 17 of her last 18 decisions for SDSU (27-11, 5-1 MWC).

Hill to start for Kearney

© East County Sports.com
KEARNEY, Neb. (4-22-10) — Former Grossmont College student KENNY HILL, a 2009 grey-shirt football player who never actually played for the Griffins, still possessed plenty of videotape of his abilities to gain a scholarship with Neb.-Kearney, an NCAA Division II school.

The school was attractive since the Lopers graduated all four starters from their secondary. Now, following spring ball, Hill has been named the starting right-side cornerback for this coming season. The left side will be filled by Ryan Lendrum ( Carlsbad ).

Hill's career including two seasons at St. Augustine High, where he was one of the county's leading tacklers (111 stops, 47 solo) while gaining an all-Eastern League honorable mention berth, He also played two seasons of basketball with the Saints.

The 5-foot-11, 185-pound defender is majoring in broadcast communications (3.50 grade-point average). Hill's cousins are former Lincoln High standout and current Philadelphia Eagles running back Dewayne Wright and retired Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Tony Hill.

Diaz throws no-hitter in Bulls home opener

© East County Sports.com
BUFFALO, N.Y. (4-22-10) — One of the problems playing outdoor sports in the northeast is always the weather. So unlike their Southern California brethren, the University of Buffalo women's softball team didn't hold its home opener until Apr. 14. But it was memorable.

Former Helix High standout TERESE DIAZ established a school record with 16 strikeouts, throwing a no-hitter at St. Bonaventure in a 7-0 victory.

Three times a Lovelady

Ashley Lovelady
© East County Sports.com
CLAREMORE, Okla. (4-21-10) — While a pair of younger sisters were celebrating a championship with Grossmont College on Tuesday (Apr. 20), former Griffins standout ASHLEY LOVELADY is continuing to find success at Northwestern Oklahoma St., an NAIA school located in Alva, Okla.

The 2009 Player of the Year in the Pacific Coast Conference, Lovelady again paced Northwestern's Rangers to a road doubleheader split with Rogers State (Okla.).

In game one, Lovelady batted 2-for-6 in an 11-inning loss, but bounced back in the second contest by going 2-for-4 with two runs and a pair of RBI in a 4-1 triumph. The big blow was a 2-run homer to left field in the 3rd inning, raising her season batting average to .440 with seven homers.

Eric Krause
(WPU photo)
Krause named top dog – again

© East County Sports.com
OSKALOOSA, Iowa (4-20-10) — Former East County standout ERIC KRAUSE was chosen the Midwest Collegiate Conference Pitcher of the Week for the second straight week.

The Granite Hills High alum hurled eight scoreless frames for William Penn (Iowa) University last week, including a complete game six-hit, 7-inning shutout with nine strikeouts in beating Iowa Wesleyan.

Krause raised his season record to 7-1 while lowering his ERA to 2.45. The junior right-hander has 66 strikeouts in 56 innings for the Statesmen (22-13).

Statesmen's Krause makes statement

© East County Sports.com
OSKALOOSA, Iowa (4-17-10) — Former Granite Hills High-Southwestern College pitcher ERIC KRAUSE tossed two strong games to earn Midwest Collegiate Conference Baseball Pitcher of the Week laurels for the league-leading William Penn University Statesmen.

Krause picked up his first career league award as the NAIA Statesmen (20-12, 10-4 MCC) went 5-1 last week. The junior right-hander went 2-0 during his week of honor. He gave up just one run (earned) on nine hits in 13 2/3 innings while striking out 16 with only one walk. Opponents hit only .188 against him.

For the season, the Statesmen’s ace is 6-1 with a 2.81 ERA. His six wins and 57 strikeouts in 48 innings lead all MCC pitchers.

Clifton Thomas
(TA&MK photo)
Thomas was named LSC Player of the Week for this effort.
Ex-Griff Thomas hits for cycle

© East County Sports.com
ADA, Okla. (4-19-10) – Former El Cajon Valley High-Grossmont College outfielder CLIFTON THOMAS hit for the cycle Friday (Apr. 16), leading Texas A&M-Kingsville to a 12-7 Lone Star Conference victory over East Central (Okla.).

Thomas singled in the 1st inning, led off the 5th with his seventh homer, began the 6th with his sixth triple and doubled in the 7th.

In the 7th, it looked like Thomas would not have a chance to hit for the cycle when the first two Hoggie batters made outs. Trent Wagner was then hit by a pitch to give Thomas a chance and the senior center fielder came through with a double to complete the cycle.

The Javelinas finished the game with 15 hits. Thomas went 4-for-5 with four runs and two RBI.

Balough sisters on 22-game win streak

© East County Sports.com
CLEVELAND, Tenn. — The final season of Point Loma Nazarene University softball finds the Sea Lions ranked third nationally in the NAIA. Above them: defending national champion Cal Baptist as a unanimous No. 1 at the top rung of the rankings, followed by Lee University (Tenn.), which features several East County products.

The Lady Flames (36-3) are currently riding a 22-game winning streak, aided by starters DANIELLE and BRITTY BALOUGH of Santana High.

The Flames lead the Southern States Athletic Conference by 4.5 games following Tuesday's (Apr. 6) doubleheader road sweep at Brenau University (Gainesville, Ga.), raising their SSAC mark to 19-1.

CSU San Marcos pair leads DH sweep

© East County Sports.com
SAN MARCOS (3-30-10) — With an influx of players from San Diego County, both Cal State San Marcos and little Simpson College of Redding rank among the winningest NAIA teams in the west this season. The teams met in an important doubleheader with playoff implications on Monday (Mar. 29), heavily influenced by East County products.

Helix High alum ALYSSA DRONENBURG slugged a grand slam in the opener, while West Hills High product BRENNA SANDBERG struck out 14 over both contests, allowing just one earned run, as CSU San Marcos swept the twinbill, 8-1 and 2-1.

Griffin receives WCC honor

© East County Sports.com
SAN BRUNO (3-30-10) — Former Grossmont High standout AARON GRIFFIN shared this week's West Coast Conference pitcher of the week honor following one of the best pitching efforts of the season for Loyola Marymount.

Facing powerful Cal State Fullerton, Griffin , a freshman right-hander, tossed his first career complete game, leading the Lions past the Titans, 4-2. Griffin carried a shutout into the 9th, then hung on to defeat a team which owns three College World Series titles.

Thomas was named the
the IBC Bank Player of
the Week for this effort.
He's now batting .388 with
3 homers and 18 steals.
Thomas continues hitting tear

© East County Sports.com
KINGSVILLE, Texas (3-22-10) – In perhaps the biggest weekend of his collegiate career, former El Cajon Valley High and Grossmont College standout CLIFTON THOMAS batted a smooth .706 (12-for-17) to lead Texas A&M-Kingsville to a 3-1 series victory over Northeastern State (Okla.) at Nolan Ryan Field.

Eagles alum Ward signs pro contract

© East County Sports.com
ESCONDIDO (3-22-10) — The Barona-San Diego Stars semipro baseball team announced that former Granite Hills High and Grossmont College pitcher GABE WARD, who most recently played collegiately at Cal Lutheran, has signed a professional baseball contract with the independent Oakland County Cruisers (Waterford Township, Mich.). MORE
Carpenter Named MAC Player of the Week

© East County Sports.com
MUNCIE, Ind. (3-20-10) — Former Santana High standout AMANDA CARPENTER is building a nice career at Ball State University.

The starting freshman outfielder for the Cardinals capped a big week by being named the Mid-America Conference player of the week for the period ending Mar. 14. It was the left-hander's first career citation for her playing during a two-week, spring break roadtrip to Clearwater, Fla.

Helix alum garners school's first-ever victory

© East County Sports.com
PHOENIX (3-17-10) — It took a lot longer than expected, but the new baseball program at Academy of Art University in San Francisco finally owns its first-ever baseball victory. And the winning pitcher hails from East County.

When the history of Urban Knights baseball is penned, it will be former Helix High standout ALEX ROSENTHAL who will be denoted as gaining the first win after AAU downed host Grand Canyon University, 5-4, in the second game of a Pacific West Conference (NCAA Division II) doubleheader held March 12 at Brazell Stadium.

Beasley Named MWC Pitcher of the Week
Wins third conference award of the season

Courtesy, SDSU Media Relations
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (3-12-10) — San Diego State junior SAMANTHA BEASLEY (Steele Canyon HS) has been named the Mountain West Conference Pitcher of the Week, the league announced Thursday (Mar. 11). It is the third weekly award for the righthander and the seventh of her career. MORE

The following week, Beasley topped former Helix High standout pitcher TERESE DIAZ, as the Aztecs (13-8) won their fifth straight victory after topping the University of Buffalo, 5-0, Wedesday (Mar. 10) at the SDSU Softball Stadium.

Selik: Big 12 pitcher of the week

© East County Sports.com
LAWRENCE, Kan. (3-8-10) — Former Grossmont College standout CAMERON SELIK, who pitched two seasons for the Griffins in 2006-07, has made a remarkable comeback following Tommy John surgery, recently being named Big 12 Conference pitcher of the week for the period ending Feb. 27.


Thomas enjoys big weekend

© East County Sports.com
PORTALES, N.M. (3-8-10) — The college baseball season is only a month old, yet former El Cajon Valley High and Grossmont College standout CLIFTON THOMAS continues to be red-hot while playing for Texas A&M-Kingsville.

Over the weekend, Thomas batted .474 (9-for-19) with seven extra-base hits during a trio of top-notch efforts.

Rios, Redlands claim SCIAC crown,
land first-ever NCAA Division III bid

Face No. 13 Puget Sound in Friday's Far West opener

© East County Sports.com
NEWBERG, Ore. (3-5-10) — The University of Redlands women’s basketball team takes on No. 13 University of Puget Sound (Wash.) on Friday (Mar. 5) at George Fox University in the Bulldogs' first-ever NCAA appearance.

Sharing in that inaugural NCAA Division III playoff debut is former Grossmont High guard CHRISTINA RIOS, currently a sophomore backcourt point guard standout at Redlands.

Failla tabbed Top Cat

© East County Sports.com
CHICO (2-24-10) — Sophomore RACHEL FAILLA, Chico State’s top slugger from a year ago, is already providing the Wildcats with plenty of middle-of-the-lineup production in 2010.

Failla batted .364 over the weekend, collecting a pair of extra base hits – including her first home run of the year – and drove in four runs in Chico State 's four-game series against Cal State Monterey Bay . For her efforts, Failla is the first Chico State softball player this spring to be honored as Wildcat of the Week.

Tanida powers Fullerton past Long Beach St.

© East County Sports.com
FULLERTON (2-24-10) — Former Helix High catcher ZACH TANIDA provided the spark for Cal State Fullerton Sunday (Feb. 21) as the Titans won their first baseball game of the season by beating Long Beach State 8-1.

Making his debut at CSUF, Tanida scored the go-ahead run in the 5th inning after leading off with a double. Tanida scored two runs for the Titans (1-2). He spent the first two years of his college career at San Diego Mesa College.
Haar's slam lifts No. 19 Toreros

© East County Sports.com
SAN DIEGO (2-23-10) — University of San Diego sophomore infielder BRYAN HAAR, a product of Grossmont High, batted at a .438 clip (7 for 16) as the 19th-ranked Toreros claimed a 3-1 opening series edge over visiting Indiana (Feb. 19-22).

After four games, Haar has two home runs and six RBI, including a grand slam in the Toreros' 16-10 victory in the opener.

An All-WCC pick as a freshman when he batted .298 and finished second with 38 RBI, the 6-foot-3 Haar normally plays first base but spends some time as USD’s shortstop.

     Ex-Hiller shines for Palomar

© East County Sports.com
MISSION VIEJO (2-23-10) — Grossmont High alum LEVI STEVENS, a freshman left-hander at Palomar College, has been just short of perfect for the Comets this year.

In Monday’s (Feb. 22) makeup game at Saddleback, Stevens pitched the last four innings in relief as the visiting Comets clipped the Gauchos, 4-1. Stevens gave up one run (unearned) to record the save. He has an ERA of 0.00 for seven innings pitched on the season.

O'Sullivan injured vs. No. 22 Oklahoma

© East County Sports.com
SAN DIEGO (2-20-10) – The first start as part of the weekend rotation on the San Diego State pitching staff for RYAN O'SULLIVAN (Valhalla High) failed to last very long. And it had nothing to do with facing 22nd-ranked Oklahoma.

O'Sullivan, on just his 12th pitch of the evening, walked off the mound with severe elbow pain and was removed from a game eventually won by the Sooners, 9-5, to complete a doubleheader sweep.

According to SDSU media relations to an email statement, "It's something with (O'Sullivan's) right elbow but they're not sure of the extent of the injury. He was supposed to start at shortstop tomorrow, but that won't happen now."
Dronenburg among national leaders

© East County Sports.com
RIVERSIDE (2-21-10) — Former Helix High standout ALYSSA DRONENBURG will be listed among the leaders when the first set of NAIA national batting statistics are released shortly.

Entering Saturday's (Feb. 20) ballgame against top-ranked Cal Baptist at the Southern California Smash tournament, Dronenburg, the starting Cal State San Marcos first baseman, was batting an even .500 following a 2-for-2 outing earlier in the day against Holy Names.

Aztecs drop opener to No. 22 Sooners
O'Sullivan makes '10 debut Saturday

© East County Sports.com
SAN DIEGO (2-20-10) – Addison Reed, the 2009 National Stopper of the Year, made his first collegiate start but took the loss as 22nd-ranked Oklahoma opened the NCAA baseball season by rallying past San Diego State, 7-4, Friday (Feb. 19) at Tony Gwynn Stadium.

Reed, a junior who was a consensus All-American, carried a 3-2 lead into the 5th inning, but allowed a pair of runs before getting lifted following a career-long stint of 4 1/3 innings.

Fastpitch Notebook: Beasley named MWC's best
Fast starts for Daigle, Failla

© East County Sports.com
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (2-16-10) — San Diego State junior SAMANTHA BEASLEY (Steele Canyon HS) was named the pitcher of the week in the Mountain West Conference. It was her fifth career citation.

Beasley, a 2009 all-MWC performer, registered four of the Aztecs' five victories to open the season at the Kajikawa Classic last week, each against ballclubs receiving votes in both major national polls. Over 22 1/3 innings, she struck out 32 batters while posting a 0.31 earned-run average.

Thomas matches school record in A&M opener

© East County Sports.com
KINGSVILLE, Texas (2-7-10) – Former El Cajon Valley High standout CLIFTON THOMAS opened his senior season at Texas A&M-Kingsville in record-setting fashion.

Thomas, the starting centerfielder, equaled a school record by stealing four bases in the season opener, lifting the Javelinas to a doubleheader sweep of University of Houston-Victoria, 8-2 and 10-0, on Friday (Feb. 5) at Nolan Ryan Field.

Dronenburg's blasts, Sandberg's arm,
propel CSU San Marcos in '10 openers

© East County Sports.com
SAN MARCOS (2-3-10) — Former Helix High standout ALYSSA DRONENBURG helped christen the new softball diamond at Cal State San Marcos by blasting a pair of home runs, powering the Cougars to a doubleheader sweep of Redlands on Saturday (Jan. 30).

CSUSM, behind Dronenburg's blasts, captured the opener, 6-1. Former West Hills standout BRENNA SANDBERG, a junior, then captured her second pitching victory of the day with a 4-3 decision in 8 innings in the debut of new Cougars coach Dave Williams, the former long-time skipper at Point Loma Nazarene.

Waters, Brown, tabbed all-Nebraska

© East County Sports.com
OMAHA (12-26-09) — In San Diego, football coaches select all-league and all-CIF divisional teams, while the media chooses regional (e.g., all-East County, all-North County) all-star squads, including the official All-San Diego Section teams.

The same process holds true across the nation, including Nebraska, where the Omaha World-Herald named the state's All-NAIA college team.

Two former East County standouts were honored.

Named to the World-Herald's first team were running back KHALID WATERS (Grossmont HS) and BRANDEN BROWN (Steele Canyon), a defensive back. The La Mesa residents are both sophomores for Midland Lutheran University.

Special teams foils title for Staback

© East County Sports.com
ROME, Ga. (12-20-09) — When the football game's most outstanding player is announced and a kicker is named, two things occurred. There was no one else worthy to select, yet that team probably won anyway.

If you're former West Hills High quarterback PHILIP STABACK, perhaps all you can do is shrug your shoulders when the opposing placekicker Braden Wieking of Sioux Falls won the award.

On Saturday (Dec. 19), Staback threw for 144 yards and a pair of touchdowns against the top-rated defense in NAIA football. Then the defensive unit of his Lindenwood (Mo.) University Lions limited top-ranked and undefeated Sioux Falls (S.D.) to just a single trip into the end zone.

However, special teams proved to be the difference after Wieking booted three field goals and sophomore Adam Lopez returned the second-half kickoff 91 yards for a touchdown, as Sioux Falls (15-0) successfully defended its NAIA national championship after nipping Lindenwood, 25-22, at Barron Stadium.
Harvey plays decoy in Nova's NCAA championship

© East County Sports.com
CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (12-19-09) — With the deep passing game absent due to rainy conditions, former Monte Vista High standout BRANDYN HARVEY was anything but unhappy after going without a reception Friday (Dec. 18).

Instead, Villanova (14-1) went with short passes and the ground game to rally past top-seeded and undefeated Montana, 23-21, for its first NCAA Football Championship Subdivision title at Finley Stadium. MORE

Harvey, Nova advances to FCS finale

© East County Sports.com
CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (12-16-09) — After winning a CIF championship at Monte Vista High in 2003, former Monarchs standout BRANDYN HARVEY will attempt to gain a collegiate crown on Friday (Dec. 17; 5 p.m. PT on ESPN2) at Finley Stadium.

Harvey, the starting wide receiver for Villanova, will play for the NCAA Football Championship Subdivision (formerly Division I-AA) crown against No. 1 Montana. In the semifinals, Nova scored late to nip William & Mary, 14-13, while the Grizzlies eliminated Appalachian State, 24-17.

Blondin tabbed NAIA preseason All-America

© East County Sports.com
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (12-15-09) — It's never too early for baseball, as the NAIA released its preseason rankings and the preseason All-America team – both with a distinctive East County flavor.

Former Grossmont College standout ROSS BLONDIN not only landed a first-team berth along with his Lubbock Christian teammate R.L. Eisenbach, the defending national champion Chapparels gained the No. 1 ranking in the 2010 NAIA Baseball Coaches’ Preseason Top 25 Poll.

Williams leaves SDSU women’s basketball team

© East County Sports.com
SAN DIEGO (12-12-09) – JERICA WILLIAMS, a three-time All-East County pick, and San Diego State junior guard, has decided to leave the SDSU women’s basketball team. A 2006 Mount Miguel graduate, Williams played in eight games as a reserve this season for the Aztecs, averaging 3.5 points per contest.

Staback plays for NAIA title

© East County Sports.com
HELENA, Mont. (12-8-09) — The last time former West Hills High quarterback PHILIP STABACK was involved in postseason play, it was a rather forgettable experience. Starting for Mesa College, the Olympians were shutout by Fullerton, 26-0, as Staback threw for just 166 yards and a pair of interceptions.

Vowing for such a debacle to never occur again, Staback is now within one game of capturing a national championship.

Now the starting quarterback for Lindenwood University of St. Charles, Mo., Staback threw for 374 yards and three touchdowns Saturday (Dec. 5) to lead the 3rd-ranked Lions past No. 2 Carroll College, 42-35, in the NAIA national semifinals.

The winning touchdown came with 49 seconds remaining when Staback capped an 88-yard drive with a 10-yard scoring pass to senior receiver Matt Bramow. The Lions offense finished with 568 total yards against the second-rated defense in the NAIA, as Staback, a criminal justice major, completed 25-of-35 passes.

Wes Davis
What a Treat!
Davis to Emerald Bowl

© East County Sports.com
SAN FRANCISCO (12-6-09) — Former Steele Canyon standout WES DAVIS and his Boston College Eagles were rewarded for a solid 8-4 season, gaining a berth in the Emerald Bowl.

The Eagles will meet the USC Trojans (8-4) at AT&T Park on Sat., Dec. 26, with kickoff on ESPN set for 5 p.m. PT. Executive director Gary Cavalli extended the Emerald Bowl bid to each team today (Sun., Dec. 6).
Memorial for Hoover, former Monarchs standout

Courtesy, Eastern Illinois University
CHARLESTON, Ill. (12-6-09) — A memorial service to honor the life of Eastern Illinois assistant football coach Jeff Hoover was held Saturday (Dec. 5) afternoon in the Grand Ball Room of the Martin Luther King Jr., Student Union on the EIU campus.

Hoover, 41, a 1986 graduate of Monte Vista High School, where he was a standout football player and wrestler, will also be honored with a a memorial service on Dec. 13 at Portland State University, where Hoover coached previously to joining the EIU staff.

Hoover lost his life in a tragic car accident when returning from the Panthers first round FCS playoff game in Carbondale, Ill. Hoover had just completed his third season as a member of the EIU coaching staff.

From near-death injury, Toilolo in NCAA playoffs

© East County Sports.com
THOUSAND OAKS (9-18-09/Updated 11-24-09) — As the starting quarterback for Helix High in 2004, senior JERICHO TOILOLO guided the Scotties deep into the CIF playoffs before finally falling to Oceanside in the championship contest.

In 2009, as a senior at Cal Lutheran University, Toilolo feels fortunate to even having played in Saturday (Nov. 21) NCAA Division III playoffs. Never mind that the Kingsmen lost the game 38-17 to Linfield (Ore.) in McMinnville, Ore. Toilolo completed 18 of 34 passes for 155 yards in the defeat.

Earlier this season, feeling weak following several ballgames, it was Kingsmen teammate Ebere Winston who convinced Toilolo to head for the hospital after he had passed out.

Doctors report the decision came just in time.

Hurdle: A 'Jam' away from NBA

© East County Sports.com
BAKERSFIELD (11-7-09) — Former Helix High standout LANCE HURDLE has been drafted by the Bakersfield Jam of the NBA Development League. Hurdle, a product of Miami (Fla.), was the Jam’s No. 5 selection in an eight-round draft held this week.

A 6-foot-1, 183-pound point guard, Hurdle was among 200 NBA prospects available to the 16 teams in the NBA D-League. Drafted players will join a group of returning and allocated players in NBA the various D-League training camps on Sunday, Nov. 15.

  Franey named candidate
for CLASS Award

UCSB visits USD on Sunday

Courtesy, UCSB Media Relations
GOLETA (11-12-09) — UC Santa Barbara women's basketball player and former Santana High standout JORDAN FRANEY has been selected as one of just 30 candidates nationwide for the prestigious Lowe's Senior CLASS Award.

The winner is selected based on a combination of four areas of excellence - classroom, character, community and competition; the CLASS acronym stands for Celebrating Loyalty and Achievement for Staying in School.


Franey keys Gauchos past USD

Courtesy, UCSB Media Relations
ALCALA PARK (11-30-09) — Former Santana High standout JORDAN FRANEY made keys plays at the end of each half Sunday (Nov. 29) afternoon, while UCSB teammate Emilie Johnson poured in a career-high 29 points, powering the visiting Gauchos past USD, 76-65, at Jenny Craig Pavilion.

Franey, a senior, was the focal point on a rare 5-point play down the stretch to help the Gauchos win for the first time in five starts. The Toreros fell to 3-4.

With the game tied at 56-all with 3:14 left in the game, Johnson nailed a long 3-pointer as Franey was fouled while setting a screen to free up Johnson. The basket counted, then Franey sank both free throws as UCSB then knocked down 10 consecutive free throws in the final minutes for the victory.

Locals help Midland to near upset

© East County Sports.com
FREMONT, Neb. (10-29-09) — Midland Lutheran College, a member of the NAIA Great Plains Athletic Conference, continues to play well with a quartet of East County products on its squad. However, the Warriors keep coming up just short against nationally ranked opponents.

For the third time this season, MLC held a lead against a Top 25 foe. But this latest time, a 21-6 halftime lead disappeared in a 38-27 setback to 5th-rated Morningside College.

Young is ace of Arkadelphia

© East County Sports.com
ARKADEPHIA, Ark. (9-29-09) — Before a packed home crowd, No. 21 ranked Ouachita Baptist turned in the most impressive victory in school history on Saturday (Sept. 26), with a 38-14 win over No. 9 Delta State.

The triumph raised the Tigers' record to 4-0, with JEREMY YOUNG, a senior standout out of El Cajon Valley High, at center stage.

Young put together another stellar night receiving with 151 yards on 12 catches. Young also added three rushes for 39 yards, including a 10-yard touchdown run. He totaled 240 yards of all-purpose yardage on the night.

In his last two games, Young, the NCAA Division II Player of the Week, has reeled in 24 passes for 412 yards in his last two games.

Stanford's Snyder steps above the crowd

© East County Sports.com
STANFORD (9-25-09) — It seems almost yesterday when Monte Vista High graduate CLINTON SNYDER was involved in his final athletic event which was a basketball playoff game at University City.

The University City crowd was raucous to say the least, holding up placards bearing Snyder’s face and continually hollering at him. Although he was angry, Snyder kept his emotions hidden.

Now the Cardinal defensive leader, Snyder, a 6-foot-4, 240-pounder, has a fumble recovery and made 21 tackles – 15 solo – in the three games.

Ex-Foothiller joins Rockies

© East County Sports.com
DENVER (9-22-09) — Former Grossmont High and USD infielder MIKE McCOY has been promoted to the Colorado Rockies for their stretch run for a wild card berth in the National League playoffs.

Former ECV Braves standout sets record

© East County Sports.com
ARKADELPHIA, Ark. (9-22-09) — After setting a school record 261 yards on 13 pass receptions on Saturday (Sept. 19), Ouachita Baptist University senior wide receiver JEREMY YOUNG was named the Gulf South Conference Offensive Player of the Week.

Poinsettia Bowl extends contract with sponsor
Local company to continue support of community enhancement event

Courtesy, Poinsettia Bowl committee
SAN DIEGO (9-15-09) — San Diego County Credit Union has extended its title sponsorship of the San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl, 2009 Bowl President Barbara Warden announced today. The extension is for sponsorship through the 2010 contest, with options for 2011 and 2012. Financial terms were not disclosed. San Diego County Credit Union served as title sponsor since the game’s inception in 2005.

Locals play in Big 5 showdown

© East County Sports.com
PHILADELPHIA (9-2-09) — Two East County graduates will be in Villanova University’s starting lineup Thursday (Sept. 3) when the Wildcats tangle with Temple University in the inaugural Philadelphia Mayor’s Cup Game at Lincoln Financial Field, home of the Philadelphia Eagles.

CS Fullerton tabs Helix alum Tanida

© East County Sports.com
LA MESA (8-31-09) — Cal State Fullerton baseball coach Dave Serrano caught Helix High alum ZACH TANIDA by surprise when he called Highlanders’ baseball coach COLE HOLLAND and offered the catcher out of San Diego Mesa College a chance to catch for one of the nation’s top college programs.

Aztecs’ classic four

© East County Sports.com
SAN DIEGO (8-30-09) – East County will be well represented at San Diego State with four Inlanders wearing pads and helmets for the Aztecs this fall.

El Capitan High graduate TOMMIE DRAHIEM (6-4, 285) is slated to start at left tackle, while his highly-touted El Capitan teammate RYAN LINDLEY handles the quarterbacking chores.

  Fiege transfers to USD

© East County Sports.com
ALCALA PARK (8-30-09) – Former West Hills High standout ERIC FIEGE has left Louisiana Tech University after one season and plans to play football this fall at the University of San Diego

A 5-foot-9, 170-pound sophomore wide receiver, Fiege saw limited playing time for the Western Athletic Conference Bulldogs as a freshman.

Former Griffins making progress

© East County Sports.com
EL CAJON (8-9-09) — Former East County standouts JOSH MAZZOLA, SHANE KAUFMAN, LANCE JANKE and JOHNNIE LOWE, all 2006 graduates of the Grossmont College baseball team, are currently making a strong showing at the minor league level.

The Buzz on Sully

© East County Sports.com
SALT LAKE CITY (7-25-09) — When you're a young pitcher trying to earn a steady gig in the big leagues, throwing well isn't always enough.

For SEAN O'SULLIVAN of the Los Angeles Angels, a 3-0 record through his first five MLB starts is fantastic – including Monday's (July 20) win at Kansas City – but when you hold options while others on the 40-man roster do not, you are the target to be sent back to the minor leagues when the parent club juggles its roster.

  Braves send Conrad back to AAA

© East County Sports.com
GWINNETT, Ga. (7-24-09) — It’s a tough business, this baseball. Just ask Monte Vista High graduate BROOKS CONRAD.

Despite batting .344 (11-for-32) with two home runs and eight RBI in 14 games, Conrad found himself without a position when Atlanta’s veteran second baseman Kelly Johnson was activated from the 15-day disabled list on Thursday (July 23).

Thus, Conrad was sent to the Braves AAA farm club in Gwinnett. Serving as Gwinnett’s designated hitter, Conrad went 0-for-3 in a 5-1 win over Norfolk, Va.

He's back!.... well, on Monday
O’Sullivan to pitch vs. Royals

© East County Sports.com
ANAHEIM (7-17-09) — SEAN O’SULLIVAN, is ticketed to return to the active roster for the Los Angeles Angels on Monday, July 20, when he is slated to start on the road against the Kansas City Royals at Kaufman Stadium.


Strasburg captures 2009 Golden Spikes Award
Aztec hurler honored as year’s top collegiate player

© East County Sports.com
SAN DIEGO (7-15-09) — San Diego State's STEPHEN STRASBURG has been named recipient of the 2009 USA Baseball Golden Spikes Award as the top collegiate player in the nation, USA Baseball announced Tuesday (July 14).

The award caps off a college season that saw the Aztec right-hander win numerous major awards as the top hurler in the NCAA Division I ranks. Strasburg, a product of West Hills High, becomes the second SDSU player to capture the Golden Spikes trophy after former Aztecs first baseman Travis Lee received the award in 1996.

Conrad making contact in Atlanta

© East County Sports.com
ATLANTA (7-14-09) — Former Monte Vista High graduate BROOKS CONRAD has spent the majority of his professional baseball career toiling in the minor leagues.

Oh sure, he had a brief stint – 19 at-bats – with the Oakland ’s A’s during the 2008 season. But then, a .158 batting average is obviously not a high enough caliber to keep one in the big leagues.

The A’s gave Conrad his release following last season and the Atlanta Braves signed him as a free agent on Nov. 18, 2008.

Atlanta manager Bobby Cox sees a positive upside for the switch-hitting Conrad, whose primary position is second base.

“Fans will love this kid," Cox told MLB.com. “He's all-out all the time. He's one of those gritty old-timers. He's not old, don't get me wrong, but he plays like the old-timers."

The 29-year-old Conrad was batting an unspectacular .259 (67-for-259) with 9 home runs and 38 RBI at Triple-A Gwinnett, Ga. Yet, Cox had a feeling Conrad was ready to have a breakout year. The first step of that opportunity came earlier this month when Conrad was called up to the major league club.

The veteran skipper wasted little time putting Conrad in the hot seat, dispatching him as a pinch hitter. And Conrad responded with a three-run home run that gave Atlanta a 9-8 nod over the Nationals in Washington.

Angels keep O'Sullivan in starting rotation
Gains Independence Day assignment vs. Orioles

© East County Sports.com
ANAHEIM (7-3-09) — SEAN O’SULLIVAN was staring at three possibilities this weekend. He could remain one of the Los Angeles Angels’ five starting pitchers or be shuttled to the bullpen for the first time in his brief professional baseball career.

Robinson scores major scholarship from OK State

© East County Sports.com
SAN DIEGO (7-1-09) – Two more graduates of coach ROB SANDOVAL’s highly successful Mount Miguel High girls basketball program have bounced into the NCAA Division I level after two sparkling seasons at the junior college level.

PRECIOUS ROBINSON, a 6-foot National Junior College Athletic Association All-American out of Central Arizona JC, has accepted a basketball scholarship to Big 12 power Oklahoma State University. Robinson will get a quick start to the 2009-10 season, as the Cowgirls were one of 16 teams to play in the women's preseason NIT.

Bellatti signs with Rays

© East County Sports.com
RANCHO SAN DIEGO (6-26-09) — ANDREW BELLATTI, a 12th round pick of the American League champion Tampa Bay Rays, has signed a pro pact.

Bellatti posted a 13-9-1 record with 172 strikeouts in 140 innings in his final two seasons at Steele Canyon.

Former El Cap standout joins Blue Jays

© East County Sports.com
TACOMA, Wash. (6-27-09) — It was pregame warm-ups as usual for KYLE PHILLIPS, the leading hitter for the Triple-A Las Vegas 51s of the Pacific Coast League Friday night (June 26) in Tacoma.

That is, until pitching coach Andy LaRoche hollered to Phillips that Las Vegas manager Mike Basso wanted to see him.

“Since I hadn’t played for eight days I thought it could be one of two things – either I was going home or being dropped to Double-A,” said the 25-year-old El Capitan High graduate.

He was wrong on both accounts. Basso informed Phillips that he’d been called up to the major leagues by the Toronto Blue Jays. He was ticketed for a “red-eye” flight that would allow him to get to the Rogers Centre in the Canadian city in time for Saturday’s (June 27) game against the visiting American League champion Tampa Bay Rays at 10 a.m. (PT).

Dream MLB debut for O'Sullivan

© East County Sports.com
SAN FRANCISCO (6-16-09, 9:59 p.m.) — Rancho San Diego's SEAN O'SULLIVAN will be hard-pressed to select what he liked best about his dream debut in the majors Tuesday (June 16) at AT&T Park.

The 21-year old right-hander out of Valhalla High and Grossmont College allowed just five hits over seven solid innings to collect the victory in his MLB debut. The former East County high school batting champion also registered a basehit, leading the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim to an 8-1 spanking of the San Francisco Giants.

O'Sullivan to make MLB debut Tuesday

© East County Sports.com
SAN FRANCISCO (UPDATED 6-15-09, 7:50 p.m.) — The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim announced that Ervin Santana will not make his scheduled start Tuesday (June 16) against the San Francisco Giants due to elbow problems, calling up former Valhalla High and Grossmont College standout SEAN O'SULLIVAN for his Major League debut at AT&T Park.

O'Sullivan is slated to be added to the 25-man roster by Angels management prior to the contest. However, O'Sullivan (5-2 with Class AAA Salt Lake City) knew something was up as recently as Sunday.

"Once in a while, the pitchers get to take batting practice if there is time, but Sean was told to take BP prior to Sunday's day game at Reno," said PAUL O'SULLIVAN, his father. "That was his first indication something might be happening."

The Bees flew home to Salt Lake City, but O'Sullivan's stay was brief.

"When they arrived at the clubhouse to unpack, the Bees' manager told him not to."

Instead, O'Sullivan was whisked to the airport for a 90-minute flight to San Francisco to join the Angels for an interleague series.

Rare National Double for SDSU Pitching Staff

© East County Sports.com
LUBBOCK, Texas (6-13-09) — Former San Diego State and West Hills High pitcher STEPHEN STRASBURG has been named the inaugural recipient of the College Baseball Foundation's national Pitcher of the Year Award. MORE-1

Concurrenrly, Aztecs relief pitcher ADDISON REED is the 2009 recipient of the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association's Stopper of the Year Award, which the NCBWA announced Saturday (June 13) in Omaha on the opening day of the College World Series. MORE-2

Joining Reed as national finalists also included Kyle Bellamy of Miami (Fla.), Jake Hale of Ohio State, Matty Ott of LSU and Eric Pettis of UC Irvine. All five relief aces helped their respective teams advance to the 64-team field of the 2009 NCAA Baseball Tournament.

In addition, Strasburg was named along with North Carolina first baseman Dustin Ackley, Arizona State pitcher Mike Leake as finalists for the 23rd annual Dick Howser Trophy, emblematic of the NCBWA player of the year. MORE-3

Balough honored twice

© East County Sports.com
MONTGOMERY, Ala. (6-10-09) — Lee University second baseman DANIELLE BALOUGH (Santana HS) has been selected to the National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA) All-Region team for the 2009 season.

Balough, a sophomore, hit .405 for the NAIA 16th-ranked Lady Flames this past year, socking three home runs and 16 doubles. She also scored 31 times and recorded 48 RBI, earning an All-Southern States Athletic Conference berth to lift Lee (39-14 overall) to a second-place finish in the SSAC Tournament.

More honors for Phillips

© East County Sports.com
ORANGE (06-09-09) — Chapman University senior and Grossmont High graduate TRISTAN PHILLIPS has been named to the All-West Region Division III baseball team, as selected by the American Baseball Coaches Association (ABCA).

A second team pick, Phillips batted .416 with a team-high 64 RBI and added eight home runs and 17 doubles. Phillips' RBI total is the most by a Chapman player since 1999.

Powell, Blondin, named NAIA All-America

© East County Sports.com
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (6-5-09) — Former Grossmont College standouts MATT POWELL and ROSS BLONDIN have been selected among a group of 17 players as first-team members of the NAIA All-America baseball team. The team was chosen by the NAIA Baseball Coaches Association selection committee

Powell, a senior catcher who transferred from Cal State Fullerton to Southern Nazarene (Okla.), batted a career-best .451 for the Crimson Storm (37-15), including 12 homers and 65 RBI, starting in all 52 ballgames.

Meanwhile, Blondin helped Lubbock Christian (Texas) to the NAIA national championship.

<< Back

About ECS