Saturday, April 27, 2013

Paloma Valley Beats Heritage in Pitchers' Duel at Storm Stadium

Dario Haro connects on a Tony Martinez pitch for a double to lead off the decisive ninth inning Friday night.
Combine two crosstown rivals, a pair of dominating pitchers and the energized environment of a pro baseball stadium, and you get quite a ballgame.

That's what the fans saw Friday night at Lake Elsinore Storm Stadium, where Paloma Valley High School went extra innings to defeat rival Heritage High, 3-0. The game was scoreless until Josh Arvizu singled home two runs in the top of the ninth inning against Heritage pitcher Tony Martinez, who went the distance and allowed only four hits through the first eight innings.

Paloma Valley starter Gabe Greenbank (right) was even sharper, allowing no hits until the Patriots' Adrian Benitez led off the eighth inning with a ground ball up the middle. Heritage later had two runners on with one out and a chance to win the game, but Greenbank responded by striking out the next two batters, sending the game scoreless into the ninth.

The Wildcats finally got to Martinez (below left) in the top of the ninth, sparked by a leadoff double by Dario Haro, a single by Cody McCoy, Benitez's two-run single and an RBI single by Nick Salazar. Haro then relieved Greenbank in the bottom of the ninth and retired the Patriots in order to end the game.

"I think we gave 'em their five bucks' worth," Paloma Valley coach Chuck Kemp said, referring to the fans' admission price into a stadium these teams get to use only once per season.

Paloma Valley remained undefeated in the Sunbelt League at 10-0 and is 15-6 overall with five games left in the regular season. Heritage dropped to 4-7 and 8-13. It certainly didn't seem like a mismatch as the scoreless innings piled up, however.

"This is a dream come true, a once in a lifetime experience for young guys like this," Heritage coach Scott Montgomery said before the game. "Any time you get two teams from the same town, natural rivals in a top-notch facility like this, the excitement level goes up."

Greenbank improved his season record to 5-0, tops on the Paloma Valley staff, relying almost strictly on an overpowering fastball to silence the Heritage bats. He allowed only two baserunners through the first seven innings -- Adrian Gonzales on an error in the second inning and a walk to Isaac Gonzalez with two outs in the fifth.

"This is probably the best game I've pitched," Greenbank said. "My fastball is what I mainly stuck with. I threw a few curveballs, but I just couldn't get on top of them, so I stuck with the fastball."

Greenbank said he wasn't thinking about the no-hitter in the later innings and he wasn't upset when Kemp called upon Haro to pitch the last inning.

"I knew Dario was gonna take over and I knew he'd pitch exactly the way he pitched," Greenbank said. "Just as long as the team gets the win. My mentality is, we win as a team and we lose as a team."

Arvizu, a junior who came into the game hitting .379, drove a Martinez pitch into center field with one out in the ninth, scoring pinch runner Alex Patterson and Matt Orzech. Patterson was running for Haro, who opened the inning with a double that short-hopped the wall in left-center field.

Arvizu said that facing Martinez is never an easy task. The last time Martinez and Greenbank hooked up, the game went extra innings as well, with Paloma eventually scoring a 4-1 victory.

"He's a good pitcher," Arvizu said about Martinez. "He really hits his spots. He has a real good off-speed pitch and he mixes in the fastball.

"Winning games like this builds our momentum. Having rivals with two aces going just makes it that much bigger."

Josh Arvizu of the Wildcats follows through on his swing for a two-run single.

Adrian Benitez stands at first base after collecting Heritage's first hit, a single in the eighth inning.

Heritage's Adrian Gonzales hustles back to first base on a pickoff play in the second inning.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Paloma Valley, Heritage Set to Play Tonight at Storm Stadium

Local high school baseball fans will get a chance to watch Menifee's rival teams square off tonight under the bright lights of Storm Stadium in Lake Elsinore.

Paloma Valley, 9-0 in Sunbelt League play and 14-6 overall, will take on Heritage (4-6, 8-12) beginning at 7 p.m. at the Diamond, home of Lake Elsinore's pro baseball team. Tickets are $5.

Paloma Valley is led by catcher Bryce Macy, who is batting .480 with 18 RBIs; outfielder Josh Arvizu (.379); outfielder Dario Haro (.377, 9 RBIs); and pitcher Matt Orzech (.370, 11 RBIs). Gabe Greenbank leads the pitching staff with a 4-0 record and 1.58 ERA.

Heritage is led by pitcher Tony Martinez, who is 2-2 with a 2.76 ERA, and Luis Contreras, who is 2-0 with a 2.40 ERA. Michael Demarco is batting .485 with 6 RBIs and Martinez is hitting .400 with 2 home runs and 13 RBIs.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Morrow, Contreras Named Heritage High Athletes of Year

Seniors Jamal Morrow and Brianna Contreras were recently named male and female Athletes of the Year for Heritage High School.

Morrow and Contreras were selected by the head coaches at Heritage. They will be honored in a ceremony at California Baptist University along with other local athletes in May.

Morrow, a football standout for the Patriots, is headed for Washington State University on a scholarship. Among his accomplishments:

-- 2011 and 2012 Sunbelt League football MVP
-- First team All-CIF in football, 2011 and 2012
-- Three-year letterman in track and field

Contreras is headed to the University of North Carolina Central on a softball scholarship. Her accomplishments include:

-- 4-year letter winner in softball
-- 3-year letter winner in tennis
-- 2012 CIF Champion for Character Award recipient
-- 2013 CIF Scholar Athlete of the Year for Heritage HS

Paloma Valley Track Teams Sweep Temescal Valley

Samantha Flores, Kiara McIntosh, and Christina Rodriguez were double winners today as the Paloma Valley High School girls track team easily defeated Temescal Valley, 107-20.

Flores won the 1600 meters in 5:33.09 and the 3200 in 12:27.27. McIntosh was a double winner in the 400 (58.96) and 800 (2:38.45). Rodriguez doubled in the 100 (13.37) and 200 (27.84).

The Wildcats boys team also beat Temescal Valley, 93-34. London Miller won three events and Shawn Sleeper and Anthony Smith were double winners.

Miller took the high jump (5-6), long jump (20-6.25) and triple jump (40-10). Smith won the 100 (11.67) and 200 (23.71). Sleeper won the 800 (2:04.76) and 1600 (4:38.03).

Monday, April 15, 2013

Menifee Athletes of the Day: Menifee Pony Diamondbacks

Here's another one of the Menifee Pony Baseball teams represented at Friday night's Lake Elsinore Storm game. Members of the Diamondbacks joined other teams in walking around the warning track, to the cheers of the crowd. We're looking for more of our readers to send in photos or videos of your favorite local athletes. Email submissions to

Friday, April 12, 2013

Menifee Pony Players Have a Ball at the Diamond

Hundreds of Menifee Pony Baseball players joined players from other local youth leagues Friday night, taking in the Lake Elsinore Storm's California League game against the Inland Empire 66ers at the Diamond.

Unfortunately for the young fans, the home team suffered a 7-0 loss to the 66ers. Lake Elsinore's record on the young season dropped to 2-6.

The youth players were introduced as they walked around the warning track before the game, finally settling into seats on the first base side to watch their local pro baseball team -- and, of course, the fireworks show that followed.

A crowd of 6,620 saw Inland Empire rough up Storm starter Frank Garces for six runs and nine hits in the first four innings. The Lake Elsinore left-hander gave up a two-run double to Joel Capote and a two-run home run to Alex Yarbrough in the fourth, his last inning of work.

Meanwhile, the Lake Elsinore offense managed just three hits in 6.2 innings against 66ers starter Kramer Sneed, who finally gave way to reliever Eric Cendejas with the game well in hand.

Cory Spangenberg hit a one-out double to left field for the Storm in the first inning, but Sneed retired the next 12 batters before allowing a single to Lee Orr in the fifth. Chase Headley, a San Diego Padre on rehab assignment with the Storm, hit a leadoff double in the seventh, but his pinch runner was stranded there.

Lake Elsinore hosts the 66ers again Saturday night at 6:05.

Menifee Athletes of the Day: A's Farm Team

Thanks to Nancy Kelley for sending us this group photo of her son Keegan's A's farm team in Menifee Valley Little League. Players are ages 4-6. They obviously have a lot of fun together.

If you would like to share a photo or video of your favorite Menifee athlete, email it to

Peterson, Wisler Lead Storm to Victory in Home Opener

Shortstop Jace Peterson broke up a scoreless tie with a two-run single in the seventh inning and Matt Wisler pitched five scoreless innings with six strikeouts Thursday night as the Lake Elsinore Storm beat the Inland Empire 66ers 3-0 in their home opener.

The Storm's bullpen backed up Wisler to hold the 66ers to three hits over the last four innings. Lake Elsinore improved its record to 2-5.

Yeison Asencio hit a home run in the bottom of the eighth, extending his hitting streak to seven games. He leads the team in home runs (3) and RBIs (10).

The Storm hosts the 66ers again tonight at 7:05. The game will be followed by the first fireworks show of the year.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

2013 Menifee Pinto Angels: Coming to a Theater Near You

We welcome reader submissions of videos and slide shows featuring local athletes. Thanks to Jim Byrom, team photographer for the Pinto Angels of Menifee Pony Baseball, for this entertaining presentation.

If you'd like to share photos or videos with us, email them to

Heritage Wins Big Over Perris in Baseball, Softball, Golf

Heritage High School varsity sports results from Thursday, April 11:

Baseball: Heritage 17, Perris 1. Heritage is now 4-3 in league.

Boys golf: Heritage 18, Perris 0. Heritage is now 5-1 in league.

Softball: Heritage 15, Perris 1. Heritage is now 7-0 in league, 13-5 overall, ranked No. 9. Alexandra Blevins was 3 for 4 with 3 RBIs. Pitcher Jordan Sage allowed only two hits and struck out six.

Paloma Valley Boys, Girls Track Teams Beat Heritage

The Paloma High School boys and girls varsity track teams swept rival Heritage High Wednesday in a Sunbelt League meet.

In the boys meet, the Wildcats won the competition by a 65.5-61.5 score. On the girls side, Paloma won by a score of 66-61.

Winners of the boys events:

4x100 relay: Paloma Valley, 43.59
1600 meters: Zackery Castor (PV), 4:37.49
110 hurdles: Torrey Atkins (H), 14.46
400 meters: Jarrett Carter (H), 52.19
100 meters: Anthony Smith (PV), 10.98
800 meters: Shawn Sleeper (PV), 2:01.11
300m hurdles: Aaron Woods (H), 40.37
200 meters: Jarrett Carter (H), 23.09
3200 meters: Zackery Castor (PV), 9:58.69
Long jump: Ray Golden (PV), 20-00.50
Triple jump: London Miller (PV), 42-07.00
High jump: London Miller (PV), 5-08
Shot put: Joseph Vela (H), 46-07
Discus: Robert Hartwell (PV), 138-10

Winners of the girls events:

4x100 relay: Heritage, 48.97
1600 meters: Samantha Flores (PV), 6:07.53
100m hurdles: Mecca McDaniel (H), 16.50
400 meters: Kiara McIntosh (PV), 58.97
100 meters: Diamonique Brogan (H), 12.26
800 meters: Kara McIntosh (PV), 2:29.66
300m hurdles: Mecca McDaniel (H), 50.26
200 meters: Diamonique Brogan (H), 26.27
3200 meters: Samantha Flores (PV), 12:24.38
Long jump: Rebekkah Ouk (PV), 15-06.50
Triple jump: Rebekkah Ouk (PV), 32-02-50
 High jump: Odessa Chand;er (H), 5-00
Shot put: Alexandra Misiaita (PV), 33-06
Discus: Dazhanna Jackson (PV), 103-09

Menifee Athlete of the Day: Janae Hernandez

Janae is 11 years old and plays for the Sonic Boom in the under-12 Menifee Girls Softball league. According to her mother, Trisha, Janae has been playing softball since she was 4 years old. Last year, she broke her arm during a game. She finished out the season playing second base with a cast on, swinging the bat with one arm. This is one determined little athlete!

If you would like to share a photo of your favorite Menifee athlete, email it to

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Menifee Athletes of the Day: Ayden Elliott, Carter Woulf

Teammates have a special bond -- especially when they're good friends. Sarah Woulf sent in this photo of her son Carter (right) and Ayden Elliott, teammates on their Menifee Pony Baseball team. According to Sarah, they are "best buds." We wish them good luck and lots of fun this season.

If you would like to share a photo of your favorite Menifee athlete, email it to

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Featured Menifee Athlete of the Day: Kali Massey

Kali Massey, age 7, does a great job as a catcher for the Killer Cleats, her team in Menifee Girls Softball. Thanks to her mother, Ronnie, for sending in this "baseball card" of Kali. Ronnie says this is Kali's first year playing and she can't wait for each coming game!

If you would like to share a photo of your favorite Menifee athlete, email it to

Monday, April 8, 2013

Menifee Baseball on Camera: Off With the Crack of the Bat

For a young baseball player, there's nothing quite like watching the ball take off from your bat. Here, 6-year-old Brody Jackson of the Shetland Angels in Menifee Pony Baseball takes off running from home plate as he watches the flight of the ball he just hit. Thanks to Peggy Hughes for submitting this great photo. We invite others to contribute photos of their favorite local sports star by emailing them to