Female Athlete of the Week – Allysa Shipman

| SC Living, Sports | March 27, 2015

Though only a freshman, catcher Allysa Shipman is the force that’s driving the Valencia Vikings Softball team’s success. She was 2-for-3 and drove in two runs in her team’s 5-0 shutout over Camarillo last week. Her double in the fifth inning gave Valencia a 4-0 lead. Valencia improved to 8-5.

“Allysa is batting .511 with 14 RBIs and leads the team in extra base hits,” said Valencia Softball Head Coach Donna Lee. “Allysa is a big contributor to this year’s team. She has helped us on both sides of the ball. She is a hard worker on the field and works equally hard in the classroom. She is vocal on the field in a positive and motivating way to her teammates. Allysa is a special athlete. She has the ability to stay extremely relaxed throughout the game, which allows her natural ability to come through.”

Wolitarsky Family Mourns Loss

| Gazette, Tell Me More | January 30, 2014

When Drew Wolitarsky left for college last summer, he would learn the commitment level expected of college level football players. The record-setting receiver from Canyon High School now attends University of Minnesota, where he had a successful season playing for the Gophers.

Sadly, the Wolitarsky family lost Drew’s grandmother and, since he was thousands of miles away, he had little freedom to mourn with his family. While the other five members of his family flew to Canada for his grandmother’s funeral,  #82 was on the football field, playing the sport he committed to when he signed on for a full-ride scholarship. Players are excused from games for very few occasions — the higher you go, the greater the expectations. How much does the ante increase at the NFL level?!

Sports Capsule

| Gazette, Sports | April 9, 2012

I root for the Dodgers. I root for the Kings and the Lakers, too. I prefer UCLA over USC and I like NASCAR, Indy cars, dragsters and motocross.
I went to Hart when the Canyon football team was one of the best teams in the country, when Harry Welch won three CIF championships in a row and the team had a 46-game winning streak. I was at Hart when Canyon was the only other high school in Santa Clarita. I remember when Canyon and Saugus played in the Golden League and Burroughs and Burbank battled Hart for the Foothill League title in football.
When it comes to the Dodgers, Kings and Lakers, this will be a place to praise their successes and criticize their shortcomings. It will be a place to complain about how the UCLA football team has no chance to beat USC and how the UCLA basketball team should expect better than an NIT invitation.
This will be a place to celebrate the accomplishments of high school athletes throughout Santa Clarita. I have a soft spot for Hart, but I recognize every school has great athletes.
I miss Saugus Speedway.
It looks like Augusta National might have to admit a woman as a member. The CEO of IBM, one of the title sponsors of the Masters Golf Tournament, is Virginia Rometty. IBM runs the Masters.com website and is one of only three sponsors on the Masters telecasts. The four previous CEOs of IBM, all men, were granted memberships to Augusta National, but the golf club does not admit women as members.
I have only three words for Augusta: Stand your ground.
In case you didn’t notice, the Major League Baseball season started in Japan with a series between the Mariners and the A’s last week. That’s right, two teams nobody cares about played two games in a country halfway around the world. It was like opening day in the WNBA.
The Dodgers have new owners, young players, the Cy Young award winner and the National League home run and RBI champion. Magic Johnson, Dee Gordon, Clayton Kershaw and Matt Kemp are nice pieces, but the Dodgers still need a third baseman, a closer, a left fielder and fifth starter. The trade deadline can’t come soon enough.
Remember when New York Mets shortstop Jose Reyes bunted for a single in the last game of the season to win the National League batting title?
Jamie Moyer, the 49-year-old lefty,  will be in the starting rotation for the Colorado Rockies. He was invited to spring training and earned a spot on the team’s pitching staff. Good news for Moyer, but he has been in major league baseball longer than the Rockies.
Remember when Kentucky basketball coach John Calipari took Memphis and Massachusetts to the NCAA Final Four? Neither does the NCAA.
Two athletes to keep an eye on this spring: Abbey Weitzeil at Saugus High and Chris Low at College of the Canyons.
Weitzeil, a freshman swimmer at Saugus, broke the Foothill League record in the 100-yard freestyle in a meet last week. It is still early in the swim season and she should continue to lower her times as the CIF prelims and finals draw near. She set the record in 51.02 seconds, breaking the mark of 51.83 seconds held by Hart’s Chelsea Griffiths in 2009.
Weitzeil broke her own record at the inaugural Santa Clarita Valley Invitational on Saturday, winning the 100 freestyle in 50.91 seconds.
Low, a runner on the COC track and field team, has already set the fastest time in the nation in the 800. It has since been broken by Michael Preble, a runner from Texas A&M, at the USC Trojan Invitational at Loker Stadium.
To think a runner from COC could have the fastest time in the 800 in the nation – that includes NCAA runners – is, well, unthinkable.
The first round of the Foothill League baseball season is in the books. West Ranch, as expected, is in first place in the league standings.
Valencia, on the other hand, is not in the mix. Hart and a surprising Saugus team are tied with West Ranch in first place in the Foothill League standings. All three teams have 4-1 records in league.
Hart is young and playing a little bit above expectations. West Ranch has talented senior leadership in J.C. Cloney, Justin Hovis and Josh Heinz.
Saugus is the hottest team in the league, though. After losing its first Foothill League game to Hart, the Centurions have rattled off four wins in a row. The most impressive came against West Ranch last week.
Justin Donatella pitched six strong innings and kept the explosive West Ranch bats in check in a 6-4 win at West Ranch.
Saugus, Valencia, Canyon and West Ranch are in the La Palma Kennedy tournament this week for spring break. Hart is in the Anaheim Lion Club Tournament. Golden Valley is in the Coachella Valley Rotary Tournament.
Tim Haddock is the sports director at KHTS AM-1220 and writes for the ESPN Los Angeles web site. You can e-mail Tim Haddock at tim@hometownstation.com.  Follow him on Twitter @thaddock.

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