LA Dodgers and NY Yankees First MLB Teams to Reach 80 wins on Same Day

| Sports | August 15, 2019

by Diego Marquez

The Los Angeles Dodgers and the New York Yankees are in familiar company after both teams got their 80th win of the 2019 MLB season on Tuesday.

Earning a 15-1 win over the Miami Marlins in Miami, the Dodgers become the first National League team to complete the feat. The Yankees accomplished the goal earlier in the day in a 8-3 home win against the Baltimore Orioles.

According to Joel Sherman of the New York Post, the major league teams match each others’ win total for the third time in the teams’ history by reaching the 80-win mark on the same night since the 1947 season and again in the 1953 season.

The Dodgers earned an even more impressive conquest by launching six balls over the fences for home runs and are the first team to reach 200 home runs in a season, in dominant fashion, for a third year in a row. The Dodgers home run total is at 203.

Justin Turner and Corey Seager each hit two-run home runs in the seventh and in the fourth, respectively. Cody Bellinger hit a solo home run in the seventh and Matt Beaty a solo in the eight inning. Will Smith had the biggest night, hitting a solo and a two-run home run in the fourth and sixth innings in the Dodgers’ win.

With a solo homer in the seventh, Bellinger’s home run total now comes to 39 on the year, which ties him for MLB lead with crosstown rivals Angels Mike Trout, and the Milwaukee Brewers, and California-native, Christian Yelich.

Smith recorded his first multi-home run game of his career and passed Bellinger with 26 RBIs in 23 games for most RBIs in their first 23 games in the franchise’s history.

Los Angeles Dodgers After Trade Deadline

| Sports | August 8, 2019

by Diego Marquez

The MLB trade deadline came and went on Wednesday, July 31, but did the team with the best record in the big leagues make any significant additions to increase their chances of going to a third straight trip?

The Achilles heel of the Dodgers this season, and quite frankly for the past couple seasons, has been the ineffectiveness of their bullpen as a whole. The Dodgers picked up Joe Kelly and signed him to a three-year $25 million deal from the Boston Red Sox over the offseason. Adding Kelly to a bullpen that already has Kenley Jansen and Pedro Baez, who have both had their shares of woes over the past couple campaigns, still left Los Angeles needing work.

Before the deadline, the Dodgers added five players: Jedd Gyorko, Kristopher Negron, Tyler White and picked up Tampa Bay’s reliever Adam Kolarek. Kolarek was the only addition to the adequate bullpen rotation, but will figure to shoulder some of the load in the later innings
Since Kolarek’s debut in 2017, he has compiled an ERA of 4.17 while striking out 56 batters in 86.1 innings. This year Kolarek has an ERA of 3.92 through 43.2 innings of work and struck out 36 batters in 56 appearances.

With Jansen, Kelly, Baez, Julio Urias and now Kolarek, the Dodgers’ front office will have to wait and see if the moves that they made before the trade deadline were fruitful or just another whiff.

The “Freeway Series” – Dodgers vs. Angels

| Sports | July 26, 2019

by Diego Marquez

The “Freeway Series” at Chavez Ravine lived up to the hype as the Angels were able to stave off a ninth inning comeback by the Dodgers to win 5-4 on Tuesday night.

The Angels handed the Dodgers the third straight loss to their rivals thanks to Mike Trout and Kole Calhoun. The pair of Angels’ sluggers each finished the contest with a home run and key defensive plays to keep the Dodgers from obtaining the win.

Trout delivered his home run blast in the fifth inning off of Kenta Maeda and threw Max Muncy out at home plate in the second inning to keep the Dodgers off the board.

Calhoun also delivered at the plate, going 3-for-5 with two doubles and a leadoff home run in the seventh inning off of Yimi Garcia. But Calhoun’s biggest contribution of the night wasn’t his bat, it was his arm.

In the bottom of the ninth inning, with two outs and Cody Bellinger on second base, Dodgers Kike Hernandez sent a ball into right field, Calhoun got the ball and hurled a blazing throw to home plate. As Bellinger rounded third, it looked as if he would be called safe at home, but Calhoun’s throw made it in time to end the game with an Angels’ victory.

Paseo Aquatics Setting Pace as a Recognized and Accredited Safe Sport Club

| Sports | July 12, 2019

In March of 2019, Paseo Aquatics became one of the first sanctioned swimming clubs in the nation to be recognized by USA Swimming as a Safe Sport club and the first in Southern California Swimming. To date, less than 40 clubs out of some 2500 clubs nationwide have been able to satisfy the requirements set forth by USA Swimming to be recognized.

Paseo Aquatics worked through an accreditation process offered by USA Swimming set forth by the US Center for Safe Sports to ensure clubs are meeting requirements to educate families, coaches and athletes in the preventative measure that can be taken to create a safe environment for kids.

This badge found on Paseo Aquatics website (www.paseoaquatics.org) represents that Paseo Aquatics is a Safe Sport compliant swim club.

“Being such an advocate of youth sports, I was eager to help guide Paseo Aquatics on this most pivotal certifica
tion of becoming an accredited Safe Sport Club,” said Kelly Zancanaro, who serves as Paseo Aquatics Safe Sport representative. “The protection, mentally and physically, of our athletes is imperative to their continued growth, progression and love for the sport of swimming.”

Paseo Aquatics is currently working very diligently to satisfy the Minor Athlete Abuse Prevention Policy (MAAPP), another part of the U.S. Center of Safe Sport.
Paseo Aquatics has been in existence for eight years and for the last six years a USA Sanctioned Swim Club.

As summer approaches and the pools get busy, give Paseo Aquatics a call at (661) 388-5301 to set up an evaluation for your kids to enter the program. Paseo Aquatics offers private lessons, group lessons, pre-competitive swim and competitive swim programs for all ages.

Los Angeles Angels Pitcher Tyler Skaggs Passes Away

| Sports | July 3, 2019

by Diego Marquez

The Los Angeles Angels Baseball organization received devastating news that their left-handed pitcher, Tyler Skaggs, 27, died in a Southlake, Texas hotel on Monday. The Angels were scheduled to play the Texas Rangers, but the game was postponed as a result of the day’s events.

Skaggs was pronounced dead at the scene after police received a distress call of an unconscious man at a hotel room. There is no foul play suspected and an autopsy was scheduled to determine the cause of death.

“It is with great sorrow that we report Tyler Skaggs passed away earlier today in Texas,” said the Angels organization in a statement. “Tyler has, and always will be, an important part of the Angels Family. Our thoughts and prayers are with his wife, Carli, and his entire family during this devastating time. There are no other details at this time, please keep Tyler’s family in your thoughts and prayers.”

It was a somber scene at the Texas Rangers’ ballpark as both teams arrived and left before either clubhouse were open and no players or coaches made any comments to the media before leaving the stadium.

Skaggs was drafted by the Angels in the first round of the 2009 MLB Draft with the 40th selection out of Santa Monica High School. He was traded to the Arizona Diamondbacks ahead of the 2010 season and made his MLB Debut with Diamondbacks on Aug. 22, 2012. Skaggs was traded back to the Angels after the 2013 season.

There will be a moment of silence held before today’s game against the Rangers at Globe Life Park. First pitch is set for 7:05 p.m.

U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team Prepared to Take on France

| Sports | June 27, 2019

by Diego Marquez

In a highly-anticipated 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup match, the U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team will take on France in the quarterfinals in Paris at 12 p.m. on Friday.

The USWNT has picked up some detractors along the way, because of how they beat their first three opponents in the group stages, beginning with a 13-0 thumping of Thailand, a 3-0 shutout against Chile before rounding out with another shutout against Sweden, winning 2-0.

Then, in the Round of 16, the USWNT conceded its first goal of the tournament, defeating Spain 2-1 in what most would call the Americans’ first real test to advance to the quarterfinals.

“Hopefully a complete spectacle. Just an absolute media circus,” said Megan Rapinoe in a postgame interview with USA Today’s Nancy Armour about the match with France. “I hope it’s huge and crazy. That’s what it should be. This is the best game, this is what everybody wanted.”

Similarly, France has defeated all four of its opponents thus far, beating South Korea 4-0 in the opening match of group stages before defeating Norway 2-1 and Nigeria 1-0 in the third group stage match.

Drawing Brazil in the Round of 16, France came away with a narrow 2-1 win in extra time to defeat the South American nation and advance to play the USWNT on Friday. If the USWNT were to defeat France, they would match the World Cup record of 15 straight games without a loss set by Germany over the course of games played between 2003-11.

Special Olympics

| Sports | June 27, 2019

The Special Olympics Southern California’s 50th anniversary celebration began June 8 with the 49th annual Summer Games at Cal State Long Beach. More than 1,100 athletes from across Southern California competed for gold, silver, and bronze medals and ribbons in five summer sports, including athletics, basketball, bocce, flag football, and swimming.

Santa Clarita brought home the gold in basketball, swimming, flag football, athletics and bocce ball.

long be

Coaches: Tyler Burns, Cliff Penick, John Muse
Athletes: Bodey Waldeck, Jonah Stacey, Leon Wilson, Shawn Kuder, Chase Hubbard, Jason Muse

Pictured are the coaches and athletes of the Santa Clarita Valley Sharks, a first-year flag football team, who brought home the gold from their first Summer Games competition. Congratulations to all!

Lakers Turn Their Attention to Signing Other Key Free Agents

| Sports | June 20, 2019

By Diego Marquez

The Los Angeles Lakers finally completed one of the most anticipated trades that’s been lingering over the franchise’s head since about halfway into the season. They acquired All-Star power forward/center Anthony Davis from the New Orleans Pelicans in exchange for the majority of their “young core” that the Lakers had intended to groom, sending players: Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram, Josh Hart along with three first round picks, including this year’s No. 4 overall pick in tomorrow’s draft.

Signing Davis was a high priority for the Lakers front office, and now that it’s complete, they can turn their attention to thinning out the rest of the roster and the signing of another max free agent like Kawaii Leonard, Jimmy Butler and Kemba Walker.

“Lakers are trying to expand Anthony Davis trade and create ability to open max salary slot on July 6, sources tell @BobbyMarks42 and me,” said ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski via Twitter. “Lakers offering contracts of Mo Wagner/Jemerrio Jones/Isaac Bonga to additional teams, so L.A. can satisfy CBA rules on creating $32M in space.”

In order to complete the third signing of a max player, Los Angeles’ General Manager Rob Pelinka must have Davis waive his $4 million trade kicker so that the Lakers can free up $32 million in cap space to offer potential free agents. Then the organization can turn its attention to filling out the rest of the roster with complementary role players, with names like Patrick Beverly, JJ Redick and other notable key free agent shooters.

U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team Facing Scrutiny after Record Win against Thailand

| Sports | June 13, 2019

by Diego Marquez

The U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team is in some hot water after defeating Thailand 13-0 in the first match of group play in the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup on Tuesday.

Defeating Thailand by such a huge margin, the USWNT has been awarded the title of the biggest blowout in the tournament’s history. Alex Morgan tied the tournaments record with five goals, Rose Lavelle and Samantha Mewis each added two goals each while Lindsey Horgan, Megan Rapinoe, Carli Lloyd and Mallory Pugh also contributed with a goal of their own on this historic night.

What people took offense to was the manner and fashion that the U.S. Women celebrated even after they had the game in hand. It became evident as Twitter blew up after Rapinoe’s celebration after scoring the ninth goal.

“0.0 problem with the score line as this is THE tournament BUT celebrating goals (like #9) leaves a sour taste in my mouth like many of you. Curious to see if anyone apologizes for this postgame. #USWNT #FIFAWWC,” tweeted Taylor Twellman, an ESPN soccer analyst and former U.S. men’s national team player.

“I would tone down the celebration on the 9th goal, but that’s just me,” tweeted Max Bretos, an ESPN analyst and the play-by-play announcer for LAFC.

Entering the tournament, the U.S. Women won six straight matches and were 7-1-2 overall in 2019, and according to head coach Jill Ellis didn’t want to let up because it would be disrespectful to their opponent. The previous World Cup margin of victory was in 2007 when Germany defeated Argentina 11-0.

The USWNT continue­­s group play against Chile at 9 a.m. on Sunday on FOX.

Athletes of the Week

| Sports | June 13, 2019

The Special Olympics Southern California’s 50th anniversary celebration began June 8 with the 49th annual Summer Games at Cal State Long Beach. More than 1,100 athletes from across Southern California competed for gold, silver, and bronze medals and ribbons in five summer sports, including athletics, basketball, bocce, flag football, and swimming.

Santa Clarita brought home the gold in basketball, swimming, flag football, athletics, and bocce ball. The SCV Blue Sharks competed for two days, playing five games. They fought hard, winning 3 and losing 2, and they brought home the silver.

Pictured: The SCV Blue Sharks pose with their silver medals after competing at the 49th annual Summer Games at Cal State Long Beach.

Athletes of the Week

| Sports | June 6, 2019

Tiffany Cross is 36 years old and has been competing in Special Olympics (SO) since high school. The first sport she tried was bocce ball, followed by swimming, tennis, bowling, floor hockey, volleyball and basketball.

“Everyone at Special Olympics is very helpful,” Tiffany said. “We are one big family.”

SO has helped Tiffany lose over 170 pounds. When she first started SO she could not run, but now she runs up and down the floor while playing basketball with her team, the Diva Sharks.

Aside from Special Olympics, Tiffany is writing a book, works in a local day program, and does office work with her friends.

Sam Heyrat has been involved with Special Olympics since 2002. He started in swimming and eventually moved on to bowling, snow boarding, flag football and basketball.

Sam feels happy when is with his friends and is comfortable trying any sport he is offered, because he knows he has the support of his coaches and teammates.

During the week, Sam works in a local day program. Sam aspires to be an actor and has been in involved in acting classes in the San Fernando Valley.

Los Angeles Lakers Add Lionel Hollins to Coaching Staff

| Sports | June 6, 2019

by Diego Marquez

Adding to the already star-studded coaching staff on Tuesday, the Los Angeles Lakers have agreed to hire Lionel Hollins to the bench as an assistant coach after hiring new head coach Frank Vogel on May 13.

The Lakers first addition to Vogel’s staff was the hiring of Jason Kidd, who is already the NBA’s highest-paid assistant coach. He was fired from the Milwaukee Bucks during the 2017-18 season after posting an overall record of 23-23 through 45 games.

Hollins served as the Memphis Grizzlies’ head coach for seven seasons before serving as the Brooklyn Nets head coach and compiled a 262-272 record in the eight and a half years as head coach. Coincidently, the two assistant coaches linked up after Hollins took over for Kidd when he left for Milwaukee in 2014.

Kidd’s coaching career began in 2013-14 with the Brooklyn Nets, leading them to a second-place Atlantic Division finish and an Eastern Conference Semifinals appearance.

The addition of Hollins to the Lakers bench gives Los Angeles a veteran coach with playoff experience, as he guided the Grizzlies to their first-ever Western Conference Finals appearance and exited as Memphis’ all-time winningest coach.

The Lakers preseason begins on Oct. 5 as they travel to San Francisco to take on the Golden State Warriors at 5:30 p.m.

UCLA Baseball Gets Top Overall Seed in NCAA Tournament

| Sports | May 30, 2019

by Diego Marquez

The 2018-19 NCAA Baseball season was long and arduous for the University of California, Los Angeles baseball team, but the hard work and perseverance has paid off, as the team comes out on top as the top overall seed in the NCAA Baseball Championships set to begin Friday.

For the first time in program history, the Pac-12 Champions won every series they played this year, finishing the regular season with a 10-game winning streak to hold a 47-8 overall record and being awarded the No. 1 overall seed in the tournament.

The Bruins rounded out the regular season with a batting average of .294 and were inside the top 10 in fielding, hits allowed through nine innings and shutouts. Leading the nation in earned run average (ERA) boasting a 2.59 team ERA, the Burins top throwers: Ryan Garcia and Jack Ralston combine to be a perfect 20-0 this year.

Their bullpen is pretty handy; Nathan Hadley finished with an 8-1 record and closer Holden Powell led the Pac-12 Conference with 16 saves. The Bruins’ arms get 10.5 strikeouts per nine innings with a 3.12 strikeout-to-walk ratio.

Backing up the throwing with some hitting, UCLA averages 6.6 runs scored per game and has multiple batters hitting over .300 and has been atop the Division 1 standings for the past 10 weeks as they head into the NCAA Tournament and will open up play against Nebraska-Omaha (31-22-1 overall) who is making their first Division 1 tournament appearance.

The Bruins are the top-overall seed in the Los Angeles Regional and will host the Mavericks on the UCLA campus. The game will be aired on ESPN3 at 7 p.m. on Friday.

Athletes of the Week

| Sports | May 30, 2019

Kayla Livermore is 18 years old and has been in the Special Olympics for five years. She plays on the women’s Diva Sharks basketball team.

“I have great girlfriends on the team and (I) like that my mom helps coach the Divas,” said Kayla. “I always try my hardest to make good shots.”

“I am so proud of Kayla and the Divas,” said Valerie, Kayla’s mother and coach. “The girls are all very positive and they try their hardest.”

Kayla will be graduating from Canyon High School very soon and will be attending COC, and she is really looking forward to her senior trip to Disneyland.


Darci Price has been in the Special Olympics (SO) for four years. She plays soccer, softball, and is on the women’s basketball team, the Diva Sharks. She is known to always listen and give 100 percent to the game.

Darci loves being on the Diva’s basketball team because, “I enjoy my teammates. We are buddies and we work together.”

Special Olympics is a way of life for the Price family, as David, Darci’s husband, is an SO coach.

During the week, Darci works at a local grocery store.

Gary Peterson: COC’s Wildly Successful Golf Coach

| Community, Sports | May 30, 2019

No California junior college coach has been more successful than Gary Peterson. He has guided College of the Canyons golf teams to 12 state titles (nine men, three women) in his 35 years. On the men’s side, that includes four in the last seven years and includes 2019, when the Cougars beat the field by 18 strokes. That matches what the women did last fall.

That’s not all. The men haven’t finished lower than second in seven years.

“We’ve had a pretty good run,” Peterson said.

Like any wildly successful coach, there is a method to his genius. John Wooden had his pyramid of success. Peterson has a three-pronged approach. Without giving away any trade secrets, Peterson said golf is a metaphor for life.

“You have to be honest, work hard and practice to be good,” he said.

A look at the three points:


“It’s easy to cheat in golf,” Peterson said. “Look at our president. He cheats all the time.”

But at Canyons, as is often the case on in golf, it is up to the individual to keep his or her own score, not drop a ball or kick it back into bounds. The honor system is in effect.

That doesn’t mean there isn’t any cheating going on. From time to time, a player will confidentially tell Peterson he or she saw a teammate do something outside the rules. Peterson will investigate by closely watching that player. He also will tell him/her that the behavior has been brought to his attention. If Peterson catches it, one of two things happen. If it’s during a practice, he will “rip them a new one, and if it happens again, they’re off the team.” If it’s during a match, the termination is immediate.

Peterson has kicked one player off a squad – not for cheating but for burying a putter on a green. The termination was still immediate.


Once, Peterson’s rosters were almost entirely made of local golfers. That was the case when the Cougars won their first men’s state title, in 1993. Four of the six that carded 792 at Monterey Peninsula Club were from Hart or Saugus high schools.

Earlier this month, none of the golfers were local; the winner was from Japan, two were Frenchmen, one was Australian and one was from Lancaster. There was only one Santa Clarita player on the roster.

“If I didn’t have to go international, I wouldn’t go international,” Peterson said. “If I could be assured of a local team, I wouldn’t go outside the neighborhood.”

The reason is simple: As the valley got bigger and golfers got better, they started receiving NCAA Division I and II scholarships. This makes Peterson have to work harder to fill a roster.

Not that he’s having too much trouble. He carried 23 this year, although not everyone played (more on that later).

Peterson also has to figure out where to play. Very few courses let the golfers tee off for free, meaning Peterson have to figure out how to stretch his $10,000 green-fee budget across two programs. He said golfers typically are charged between $10 and $18 per round, a deep discount to be sure, but if each player typically is on a course three to four days a week, fundraising is a must.

Of the 10 courses Peterson said the teams frequent, only Sand Canyon and Valencia country clubs allow free rounds. He said Sand Canyon has granted 10-12 days of free rounds, but Valencia only twice a month for a maximum six players.

“We have to watch it carefully,” he said. “I smile a lot and say, ‘Thank you, sir.’ ”

Players also are expected to volunteer at various events and tournaments, often at Valencia. Peterson said the men’s team typically engages in long-drive and beat-the-pro competitions but also might act as witnesses on certain holes or fill groups that have no-shows.


With 23 on the men’s roster but only six on the course for any tournament, the competition to actually play is fierce. Only the toughest can play, and only 12 played in tournaments this season.

It really is a survival of the fittest. In Peterson’s system, all the golfers play five days a week for four weeks, and every score is counted. The golfers with the six lowest scores play in the first tournament, which for the men is often COC’s lone home contest, the start of February at Valencia. Of the six, the three with the lowest scores automatically compete in the next match; the other three go back into what Peterson calls “the pit,” which is made up of all the golfers who averaged 76 strokes or better.

For the rest of the season, rounds on Wednesday and Friday are counted toward which six will play the next tournament. Again, the top three play the following match and the bottom three go back into the pit.

“You start out and go bogey-bogey-bogey, a young man’s inclination is to just give up,” Peterson said. “But to say, ‘I’m not going to give up. I’m going to focus. I don’t want to go into the pit,’ it hardens them. It will make them aware of their ability to recover. It makes them a strong individual because they don’t give up.”

This year, only four golfers competed in every match, but the competitiveness had its intended effect. By the time the state tournament came around, they were so battle-tested that the pressure of a state tournament was just another leisurely stroll around the course.

It also makes champions. Four times has a COC golfer won an individual state title (one woman, three men, including Nobuhiko Wakaari this year), and COC has become like a breeding ground for Division I and II schools.

It’s normal now for Peterson to recruit an international player who will come for one or two years – or in the case of Jones Comerford last year, one semester – and move on to a larger school. Comerford is now at South Dakota State, but Peterson said he has sent numerous players to San Diego State, San Jose State, Cal State Northridge, Cal State East Bay and Cal Poly.

“D-I coaches know we have an extremely internal competitive team,” Peterson said. “They have to compete against themselves to compete in a match. That’s why we’re so good.”

Lakers Hire Frank Vogel as Head Coach

| Sports | May 24, 2019

by Diego Marquez

In a stunning move amidst disheartening comments Magic Johnson made about the Lakers organization, and more importantly General Manager Rob Pelinka, the Los Angeles Lakers have signed former Indiana Pacers and Orlando Magic head coach Frank Vogel to a multi-year contract with the terms not released on Monday.

“We are excited to add Frank Vogel as the next head coach of the Lakers,” Pelinka said in a statement sitting alongside the new Laker. “Coach Vogel has a proven track record of success in the NBA Playoffs, and he reflects the core qualities we were looking for in a head coach – including, detailed game preparation, extreme hard work, and holding players accountable to the highest basketball standards.”

Vogel was a career record of 304-291 in 595 games coaching the Pacers from 2010-16 and the Magic from 2016-18. In his time at Indiana, Vogel had the opportunity of coaching and building up an Eastern Conference contender, with the likes of Paul George, Roy Hibbert, David West, George Hill and Lance Stephenson leading them to five playoffs appearances and two straight Eastern Conference Finals between 2013-14.

Vogel will have his work cutout for him after rumors of LeBron James being a bit disgruntled with the antics of the front office and organization. He will have opportunity to mold and shape young players like Lonzo Ball, Kyle Kuzma, Josh Hart and Brandon Ingram into strong defensive minded team like he did for Indiana.

“I am very excited for this opportunity to join the Lakers, a prestigious organization that I have long admired,” Vogel said. “I look forward to coaching such a phenomenal talent and bringing my strategic vision to the team.”

Athletes of the Week

| Sports | May 23, 2019

Alli Hill has competed in several sports for Special Olympics, including swimming, tennis, floor hockey, bowling, and she is currently on the Diva Sharks basketball team. On May 11, 2019, Alli helped her team earn the gold medal at the Spirit Games.

“Basketball with my teammates!” Alli said. “I love my girls and my coach. Shooting hoops, making shots, and the Shoot-A-Thons! I made 50 baskets for the fundraiser.”

During the week, Alli works in a local day program and volunteers at the food pantry. She is also an actor in the Major Impact Theater group.


Tamara Wilson was previously highlighted as one of the Athletes of the Week from the June 22 issue of the Gazette. For the past two years, she has been a member of the Special Olympics Diva Sharks basketball team.

On May 11, 2019, Tamara helped the Divas take the gold medal at the Spirit Games.

“Tam always wanted to be part of the Divas, but due to health concerns, she had to wait,” said Tamara’s mother, Terri. “She loves being on the team and the other girls have been so helpful and kind in helping Tamara understand the game.”

Athletes of the Week

| Sports | May 16, 2019

Stefanie Silvers began competing in Special Olympics (SO) when she attended Saugus High School. She competed in track, softball and basketball. She took a break from SO for two years while she attended the Taft College Transition to Independent Living program, but returned to SCV after she completed the program.

Stefanie is a point guard on the Diva Sharks basketball team.

“I love hanging out with my friends. We are family and we have a whole lot of fun,” said Stefanie.

During the week, Stefanie works at a local SCV grocery store.

Jean Garong, now 37, joined Special Olympics (SO) at the age of 17. She has competed in soccer and is currently part of the Diva Sharks basketball team.

In 2003, Jean earned an invitation to attend and compete in the Special Olympics World Games in Dublin, Ireland for basketball. There, she competed against athletes from all over the world, including Africa, Japan and Guatemala.

In 2011, Jean was awarded “Athlete of the Year” by Special Olympics SCV.

Jean loves SO because, “I get to meet a lot of people. I was very shy and SO has made me more confident. It helps people to become who they really are. I don’t know where I would be without sports.”

Stefanie Silvers

Jean Garong

Balls Fall in Lakers’ Favor, Move up to No. 4 in 2019 NBA Draft

| Sports | May 16, 2019

by Diego Marquez

The Los Angeles Lakers did something that made most of the NBA world cringe at the 2019 Draft Lottery last Tuesday. Jumping seven spots, the Lakers organization landed the No. 4 pick for the impending June 20 NBA Draft.

The Lakers entered Tuesday’s draft lottery with a 2 percent chance of getting the No. 1 overall pick and a 9.4 percent chance of getting inside the top four picks. The Lakers had one thing on their side that the other 29 NBA franchises didn’t have — Kyle Kuzma. The New Orleans Pelicans wound up getting the No. 1 overall pick, who will most likely be none-other-than Duke freshman Zion Williamson, while the Lakers made a surprising jump and secured the No. 4 overall pick.

“We had scouting meetings with (Director of Scouting and Assistant GM) Jesse Buss and our scouts, and of course our focus was more around 11, because that’s where the huge probability was resting,” said Lakers general manager Rob Pelinka in an interview with Lakers Reporter Mike Trudell. “But now it shifts, what we can get at four. I will tell you there are some incredibly talented, impact players there that we’re going to study deeply. And then of course we’ll canvas the league and see what value that pick has. But either of those options is an extraordinary win for the franchise… I already talked to Jeanie Buss and she is just thrilled. I think it should really be exciting for our fans. It’s an unexpected event for the Lakers and we’re certainly really blessed.”

The projected top three picks will be a variation of Williamson, Ja Morant (Murray State) and R.J. Barrett (Duke). With that being said, the Lakers should have their eyes on Texas Tech sophomore shooting guard Jarrett Culver who has the ability to score at will and has elite defensive abilities that should translate into a great defensive stopper.

National Champion, sophomore forward De’Andre Hunter of Virginia is another option at the No. 4 spot. The 6-foot-7 forward adds immediate versatility to whatever organization drafts him with his 7-foot-2 wingspan that makes him a gaudy defender and a low post presence that can pop out around the perimeter and knock down long-range shots. Vanderbilt freshman guard Darius Garland seems to be flying on the storied franchise’s radar after tearing his meniscus five games into his NCAA college career. The 6-foot-3 heady guard is an excellent shooter, with the ability to command and control the offense with ease either off the fast break or in half-court situations.

It should be exciting to see who the Lakers draft or if they use the draft pick as trade bait to acquire another superstar to play along LeBron James. The NBA Draft will be held on Thursday, June 20, and until then, we will have to see where this whirlwind takes the Lakers.

COC Men’s Golf Wins State Competition

| Community, News, Sports | May 16, 2019

College of the Canyons won the 2019 California Community College Athletic Association (CCCAA) State Championship by a whopping 18 strokes at the Silverado Resort & Spa on May 13.

The Cougars completed the day with a five-man, 36-hole score of (734-371/363) to finish 14-over-par. Canyons topped the eight-team field followed by runner-up Santa Barbara City College (752-381/371), third place Cypress (766-383/383) and fourth place Folsom Lake College (768-384/384).

The state championship is the program’s ninth overall (1993, 2000, 2002, 2006, 2008, 2013, 2015, 2017, 2019), all coming under head coach Gary Peterson. COC has now won four state titles in the last seven years. The Cougars also finished runner-up at the state tourney in 2018, 2016 and 2014.

“This was not a year I expected to win a state championship,” said Peterson, about his team which featured four freshmen and two sophomores with limited tourney experience. “With six new guys it was surprising. I thought we would be building for next year, now I’m hoping we get some of these guys back.”

COC Freshman Nobuhiko Wakaari (142-73/69) won the individual state title after finishing two-under par for the tourney. His final round of 69 came after back-to-back bogeys on the final two holes but still represented the low score of the day.

“Nobu came into the clubhouse with a big smile on his face,” said Peterson, about the golfer from Niigata, Japan who he also described as a humble hard worker that always puts the team first.

His final round score capped a season in which Wakaari was named the Western State Conference (WSC) Player of the Year before finishing fourth at the Southern California regional tourney.
Wakaari becomes the third individual state champion in program history joining former Cougars Sidney Wolf (2014) and Ben Campbell (2016). Prior to Monday’s championship run Canyons had never won team and individual state titles in the same season.

Freshmen Jules Lavigne (146-72/74) and Anguerrand Voisin (146-75/71) finish third and fourth, respectively, in the final standings, with Lavigne’s opening round of 72 serving as the difference maker. Lavigne and Voisin both hail from France.

Wakaari, Lavigne and Voisin all earned All-State team honors. Sophomore Tom Sims (150-75/75) placed 12th and sophomore Matthew Mansholt (150-76/74) was 13th in the field of 60. Freshman Jack Greene (158-78/80) finished 40th overall.

“I can’t recall another state championship event where we had so many high individual finishes,” commented Peterson. “But this team has the ability to play all aspects of the game. They’re a great example of what we’ve tried to do here for a long time.”

The Cougars’ nine state titles are the most of any program in CCCAA history. The college has also won seven Southern California regional titles and 25 Western State Conference (WSC) championships.

Last fall, COC’s women’s golf program, also led by Peterson, won its third state championship. The Lady Cougars also have two individual state titles to their credit.

“We’ve had a really good run,” Peterson added, “I think the last 10 or 12 years have been a great success.”

The College of the Canyons Athletics department now boasts a combined 34 state championships (18 team and 16 individual) across 17 intercollegiate sports programs.

2019 CCCAA State Championship Final Scores:

1. Canyons (734-371/363) 2. SBCC (752-381/371) 3. Cypress (766-383/383) 4. Folsom Lake (768-384/384) T5. Mt. SAC (771-382/389) T5. Reedley (771-381/390) 7. San Jose City (788-398/390) 8. Fresno City (794-402/392)

Canyons Individual Scores:

Nobuhiko Wakaari (142-73/69); Jules Lavigne (146-72/74); Anguerrand Voisin (146-75/71); Tom Sims (150-75/75); Matthew Mansholt (150-76/74); Jack Greene (158-78/80).

Stay up to date on all this season’s action by following the College of the Canyons Athletic department on social media at @COCathletics on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and YouTube.

Athletes of the Week

| Sports | May 9, 2019

Lindsay Kautianen is 33 years old and has been in Special Olympics since she was 13 years old. She’s competed in bowling, soccer, floor hockey and is part of the all-women’s Diva Sharks basketball team.

Lindsay likes being in Special Olympics because “we have a good time and I am with my friends.”

Lindsay has been on the Divas for nine years. “Scott Norton is our coach and he does a good job,” said Lindsay.

In 2012, Lindsay was bicyclist Aaron Hasson’s inspiration to raise funds for Special Olympics. He cycled 4,600 miles in support of people with disabilities in a cross-country summer-long commitment with Push America, a nonprofit still run exclusively by the fraternity with the purpose of “instilling lifelong service in our fraternity members and serving people with disabilities,” according to its website.

During the week Lindsay works at a local SCV grocery store.

Patty Murdock is 35 years old has been in Special Olympics (SO) since she was 13. So far, she’s competed in soccer, softball and basketball. She is a guard on the all-women’s basketball team the Diva Sharks.

Patty likes SO because, “I get to meet other athletes from other teams.”

Patty’s mother, Deirdra Beller, encouraged her to be an athlete. “She has been my support my whole life, and if it hadn’t been for, her I wouldn’t be in sports. Thank you, mom.”

Patty is so dedicated to SCV SO that she commutes from the San Fernando Valley so she can practice with the Divas every week.

During the week, Patty works as a caregiver.

About the Special Olympics

According to sosc.org, “Special Olympics Santa Clarita & Tri-Valley Regions enrich the lives of 1,400 athletes with intellectual disabilities and their communities through sports, education, and athlete health.

“Special Olympics is the world’s largest sports organization for people with intellectual disabilities: with 4.4 million athletes in 170 countries – and millions more volunteers and supporters. Special Olympics is also a global and social movement.

“Through the power of sports, people with intellectual disabilities discover new strengths and abilities, skills, and success. Our athletes find joy, confidence and fulfillment –on the playing field and in life. They also inspire people in their communities and elsewhere to open their hearts to a wider world of human talents and potential.”

For more information about Santa Clarita Special Olympics, visit https://www.sosc.org/sctv.

Los Angeles Dodgers Hyun-Ryu and Justin Turner Have Memorable Nights

| Sports | May 9, 2019

by Diego Marquez

The Los Angeles Dodgers had a lot to cheer for after Tuesday’s 9-0 shutout of the Atlanta Braves at Chavez Ravine. Hitting his first homer since April 30, third baseman Justin Turner continued his hitting dominance going yard three times in the shutout win. Equally impressive, Ryu pitched his third-ever career complete game and Los Angeles’ first complete game since Rich Hill did it back in 2017 in a 10-inning loss to Pittsburgh.

Turner’s three home run monster night makes him the fourth MLB’er to homer this season and breaks his drought of 146 appearances with only one homer. He has been heating up, as of lately reaching base safely in nine of the 10 past games and overall this season the Los Angeles third baseman has batting average of .302, on-base percentage of .391 and a slugging percentage of .434 with four home runs and 17 RBIs.

Ryu did his part on the mound throwing a gem of a shutout game in a 93 pitch, four hit and six strikeout performance. The Dodgers pitcher now has five quality starts under his belt and an ERA of 2.03 this season. What is even more impressive is that Ryu hasn’t walked a batter at home since Aug. 26 and stretch that spans 63 innings and nine starts.

The truth of the matter is, with the pitching rotation that the Dodgers have and the dominant hitters that they have on the roster, it should be no shock as to if the Dodgers will have another pitching and hitting performance like the one Ryu and Turner delivered, but when the next one will be.

The Diva Sharks

| Sports | May 4, 2019

Meet the Diva Sharks, the all-women’s Special Olympics basketball team. They play any team they are paired up against – and this is how they became the “Divas.”

Wendy Ellet, Senior Manager Sports and Programs for Special Olympics Central Division, explained how it all began.

“Special Olympics had a women’s basketball team when I started in 2003. Three of our female basketball athletes went to World Games Ireland for basketball. The team dissolved for a few years, but as soon as we had 10 female basketball athletes, we brought it back,” said Ellet.

“When we started the team, Scott Norton was the head coach. I wanted to name the team the Diva Sharks and Scott wanted to name them the Land Sharks. I said, ‘I’ll make you a deal, after the first practice, if you don’t think the Diva name fits, we will call them the Land Sharks.’ Next day, Scott emailed me and said ‘Diva Sharks.’”

The women’s teams compete at SOSC (Special Olympics Southern California) Summer Games every other year. Each player of the Diva Sharks will be highlighted in the coming weeks.


Front row, left to right: Stefanie Silvers, Patty Murdock, Tamara Wilson
Back row, left to right: John Austin (coach) Alli Hill, Valerie Middleton (coach), Kayla Livermore, Darci Price, Tiffany Cross, Jean Garong, Lindsay Kautiainen, Scott Norton (head coach)

Ronnie Wald: The Voice of High School Baseball

| Sports | May 2, 2019

If you were to call Ronnie Wald the Vin Scully of high school baseball, he’d be flattered.

Wald has found his calling as a play-by-play man doing high school and junior college football, basketball and baseball. Those affiliated with West Ranch High know Wald well, as he has called all 28 Wildcat games this season, plus 16 other fall and winter ball games. West Ranch was scheduled to play at Foothill in the first-round of the California Interscholastic Federation-Southern Section Division I playoffs on Thursday.

This is Wald’s sixth season behind the West Ranch mike. Fans know he’s the guy who has a “press box” on a scaffold above the bleachers behind the plate. It’s just him, sitting on a chair at a table, speaking into his microphone and broadcasting the game over the internet, usually on Facebook Live.

“A high school game being broadcast?” West Ranch coach Casey Burrill said. “He’s a topic of conversation. People ask who he is.”

Wald, 59, grew up in the San Fernando Valley and felt spoiled listening to Scully, Chick Hearn and Dick Enberg calling Dodgers, Lakers and Angels games. He went to Cal State Northridge and got a political science degree, but his love was broadcasting, and he later worked as a news reporter for KGIL-AM 1260.

At first, the idea of doing play-by-play scared him. “That was off the radar for me. It was the hardest thing to do,” he said. “I’d rather read a script.”

But he grew to love the drama of a live event. Now, 37 years later, he has done hundreds of games “that feel like hundreds of years,” he joked.

It wasn’t an easy gig. He had to contract with radio stations in which he would pay to broadcast the games, and then he would have to sell his own ads to make money.

Then came the internet and the ability to turn a telephone into a microphone. Suddenly, it was cheaper to broadcast.

What brought him to West Ranch was the Wildcats reaching the sectional semifinals in 2012. Wald had secured the rights from the Southern Section office to broadcast the semifinals and finals, so he called West Ranch’s game.

Ever the hustler, he contacted Burrill about possibly calling more Wildcat games. Burrill was interested but wasn’t sure how to pay for it. Nor was he sure a public high school could afford it. But in 2014, Wald started calling West Ranch games. At first, he only did audio broadcasts because, as Burrill discovered, the CIF charged nothing for audio but $150 for video of regular-season games (playoff games cost $150 for audio and $250 for video, Burrill and Wald said).

There also were some growing pains, Burrill said. Players complained they could hear Wald as they batted. Burrill responded, “Isn’t it a distraction for the other team, too?”

Parents also sometimes objected to Wald describing that their minor sons committed an error, even though Wald would describe it as neutrally as Scully. One time during a road game, a mother didn’t like how her son the pitcher was being described (he was giving up a lot of runs and hits), so Wald stopped, and Burrill decided to have Wald work only home games until the playoffs.

In 2014, Wald called another West Ranch playoff game, at Chaminade. Burrill was still impressed, and it finally became clear the parents liked it, too. The next year, he started calling all the games, and it’s become so popular that Valencia and Saugus also have sought him to call their games.

Wald also dabbles in football, calling El Rancho High games in Pico Rivera, and Bakersfield College basketball games. He’s also worked for Hawaii- and Alaska-based teams that travel here but don’t bring their broadcast personnel. And he’s in talks to broadcast College of the Canyons men’s basketball games next year, he said.

“I found a nice little niche,” he said.

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