Kemp, Labosky, Wheeless land top TRAC baseball honors

Buchanan junior center fielder Trenton Kemp shares the Tri-River Athletic Conference Player of the Year award with Clovis North junior pitcher/third baseman Jack Labosky.

Juniors Trenton Kemp of Buchanan and Jack Labosky of Clovis North shared the Tri-River Athletic Conference Player of the Year honor.

Clovis North’s Jack Labosky powered the Broncos to the Central Section D-I title.

League champion Buchanan also landed top honors with junior Pitcher of the Year Jack Wheeless and Coach of the Year Tom Donald.

Find me another league in the state, by the way, where Clovis’ Jake Gatewood (USC) makes second team and Clovis North’s Christian Rossi (Fullerton) is shut out.

Just sayin.

All-TRAC first team:

Buchanan: Colton Worthington, Connor Loeprich; Clovis: McCarthy Tatum, Logan Poisall, Alan Crowley; Clovis North: Daniel Gardner, Braden Frankfort; Clovis West: Marco Pierce, Christian Funk.

Second team:

Buchanan: Collin Winn, Kody Batesole; Clovis: Jacob Gatewood, R.J. Hartmann; Clovis North: Koby Cummings, Nick Perez; Central: Donovan Failla; Clovis East: Jarrett Kirby, Nathan Case; Clovis West: Jon Schafer.

DeRuyter summer tour to begin

Fresno State coach Tim DeRuyter will begin his summer stops throughout the Valley, starting Monday in Visalia.

DeRuyter will hold five meet-and-greet events and discuss some of the goals and expectations going into this season. The Bulldogs, who won a share of the Mountain West title last season in DeRuyter’s first season, will aim for an outright championship this coming year and perhaps grander goals there after.

Each stop is open to the public and fans are welcome to stop by, and get autographs and take photos.

Here are DeRuyter’s scheduled stops while he visits the Valley:

Monday (11 a.m.-1 p.m.) — Lunch Meet and Greet at The Planing Mill – Artesian Pizzeria in downtown Visalia
Tuesday (4-6 p.m.) — Afternoon Meet and Greet at the Firestone Walker Taproom in Paso Robles
Wednesday (4-6 p.m.) – Me-n-Ed’s Meet and Greet in Bakersfield (9000 Ming Ave)
Friday (9-11 a.m.) — Morning Meet and Greet at Madera Auto Center

Friday, (3-6 p.m.) Buffalo Wild Wings Meet and Greet in Fresno

For more information about each stop, contact (559) 278-DOGS.

Friday (4-6 p.m.) – Buffalo Wild Wings Meet and Greet in Fresno – Happy Hour

Salazar has predraft workout with Braves, Giants next

Kerman High pitcher Carlos Salazar flew across country and back all within a 24-hour span to throw 24 pitches before the Atlanta Braves brain trust.

Salazar, a potential first or second-round pick for next week’s MLB Amateur Draft, was among 20 to 25 players who were invited to Atlanta for a pre-draft workout with the Braves on Tuesday morning.

Salazar’s fastball registered as fast as 93 mph, though he’s thrown as fast as 98 during the season, according to Lions coach Jay Preuss.

The Braves have taken a keen interest in Salazar all year, following him throughout his senior season with as many as three scouts.

“They said they really liked what they saw,” said Preuss, who also flew to Atlanta for Salazar’s workout. Unlike Salazar, though, Preuss’ trip was not paid for by the Braves.

“It was about 6 in the morning California time when he was throwing for them, so he wasn’t at his very best; he wasn’t as alert as he’d usually be,” Preuss added. “I spoke to their West Coast cross checker, talked to the assistant GM. They’re very interested in Carlos.”

The Braves aren’t the only ones.

Salazar, who signed with Fresno State, is scheduled to next pitch before San Francisco Giants personnel at 8:30 a.m. Saturday at AT&T Park.

The Milwaukee Brewers also offered to fly out Salazar for a pre-draft workout, but he declined since it conflicted with Kerman’s graduation Thursday.

Nonetheless, Salazar appears to be leaning heavily on going pro and bypassing college baseball.

“They’ll wait till they have to make that decision sometime after the draft,” Preuss said. “If he’s drafted in the first day, I don’t think he’ll be a Bulldog.”

Salazar finished this past season at 10-2 with a 0.09 ERA and struck out 147 in 44 1/3 innings. He was named the Gatorade State Player of the Year for baseball on Tuesday.

Will Carlos Salazar pitch in City/County All-Star Baseball Game?

It’s uncertain if Kerman’s Carlos Salazar will pitch in the City/County All-Star Baseball Game June 9 at Chukchansi Park.

What’s the chances Kerman fireballer Carlos Salazar will pitch in the June 9 City/County All-Star Baseball Game a day following the conclusion of the Major League Amateur Draft?

“No way to tell yet,” Lions coach Jay Preuss says Sunday in Atlanta while awaiting the arrival of Salazar, who will have a private workout with Braves officials Tuesday at Turner Park.

Then the 6-foot, 210-pounder with a fastball that’s been clocked at 98 mph will audition for the Giants Friday morning at San Francisco’s AT&T Park.

The most common projections have him going late in the first round June 6. First-round signing bonuses in 2012 ranged from $6 million to $1.525 million.

Should Salazar play for the County at Chukchansi Park, he’ll be one of the hottest drawing cards in the history of the game.

His showdown with Clovis’ Jake Gatewood drew a standing-room-only crowd of 2,500 on the Cougars’ field March 27 in the Fresno Easter Classic.

Gatewood pitched a no-hitter in a 1-0 Clovis win. Salazar gave up three hits, striking out 13 in 6 1/3 innings. His fastball touched 97 mph that morning.

City/County All-Star Baseball Game rosters


June 9, Chukchansi Park, 6:30 p.m.

Colton Worthington, Kody Batesole, Garrett Browning, Jeremy Vollberg, Collin Winn, Buchanan; Charles Rocha, Roosevelt; Logan Handzlik, Craig Handzlik, Kyle Hansen, Hoover; A.J. Ferdinandi, Cameron Garver, Christian Merrick, Memorial; Marco Pierce, Joey Gallegos, David Lima, Clovis West; Daniel Gardner, Christian Rossi, C.J. Taggett, Nick Perez, Clovis North; Brett Bausman, Aaron Simms, Jonathan Coleman, Niko Pacheco, Bullard; Victor Avila, Sunnyside; Jorge Alvarado, Brandon Acosta, Leonard Stuckey, Fresno; Jarrett Kirby, Mark Trujillo, Clovis East; Logan Poisall, McKay France, Hugh Awtrey, Clovis; Fernando Martinez, McLane; Deondre Howard, Edison.

Coaches: Jason and Ken Papi, Fresno

Gene Cachu, Adam Rivera, Dinuba; Scott Roberts, Michael Say, Madera; Dallin Cornelious, Kason Fite, Caruthers; Roman Ortiz, Selma; Josh Montelongo, Sanger; Connor Brogden, Anthony Garcia, Liberty-Madera Ranchos; Dalton Irlart, Chris Schrader, Kingsburg; Garrett Martin, Casey Blunt, Sierra; Danny Perez, Juan Garcia, Firebaugh; Erik Pincus, Minarets; Adam Mancillas, Washington; Logan Wynn, Dustin Pfarr, Tim Broaddus Lemoore; Adriano Coronado, Derrick Perez, Madera South; Carlos Salazar, Eric Montero, Adrian Flores, Nick Flores, Kerman; Sean Kinsley, Dustin Gaither, Chowchilla; Matthew Nunes, Fowler; Jason Woodard, Brian Cleland, Kyle Clolkosz, Rene Gutierrez, Central.

Coach: John Hollett, Selma

MW Tournament: Top-seed New Mexico falters under pressure, as Aztecs escape with 8-7 win

For two games, New Mexico didn’t have much to sweat. The Lobos had fallen behind in the top of the first inning of their first game at the Mountain West Conference Tournament when Nevada designated hitter Hugo Hernandez hit a two-run homer, but trailed for all of maybe 10 minutes. They tied the score in the bottom of that inning, took a lead the next and were up through that game and a win over UNLV.

It appeared they would make quick work of San Diego State on Saturday in the championship game, as well, taking a three-run lead in the very first inning. But the Aztecs worked their way back and into a lead on a booming three-run homer by Matt Munoz in the fifth inning and once challenged, the Lobos lacked the necessary response in falling 8-7 at Beiden Field.

New Mexico and San Diego State, the No. 1 and No. 3 seeds, will play a final game in the double-elimination tournament on Sunday at 1 p.m., the winner taking the automatic bid into a NCAA Regional.

Opportunity was there for New Mexico (37-19). But the Lobos failed to score with runners at first and second and one out in the fifth inning, with the bases loaded and only one out in the seventh and could come up with only one run in the eighth when again leaving the bases loaded.

San Diego State left-hander Mike Robards, in his sixth inning of work, gave up a run in the ninth, but with the bases loaded got Chase Harris to ground into a game-ending double play.

‘’When you have those big situation, you just kind of take a deep breath, take a step out and just realize, hey, if I make good pitches here, keep the ball down and good things are going to happen,’’ said Robards, who threw 123 pitches in getting through 5 2/3 innings and some huge messes.

‘’That’s what I kept telling myself – keep the ball down and things were going to work out, let my defense play. I wasn’t trying to blow away these guys, obviously. These are the best hitters in the nation, so I was just trying to work the process and luckily it went well for me.’’

San Diego State (30-29) had to beat UNLV to get a shot at New Mexico for the MW Tournament title, winning that game Saturday afternoon 6-2. But the Aztecs, who before Saturday had been above the .500 mark only once this month, had plenty left.

They scored one run in the second another in the third and then in the fifth blasted its way into the lead. Danny Sheehan opened the inning with a walk against the Lobos’ Kevin Baumgartner and Tim Zier doubled to put runners at second and third. Ryan Muno then walked, loading the bases, and that was the end of Baumgartner, who had an ERA of 7.76 during the regular season.

Jonathan Cuellar came on and gave up a run on a sacrifice fly by Tyler France and Munoz followed with his three-run homer over the wall in left center.

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Reedley College’s Ruffino reflects on state championship victory

Jacob Ruffino

Reedley College’s Jacob Ruffino never anticipated finishing near the top of the Junior College men’s state golf championships last week.

But a first place finish? Never in his wildest dreams.

Ruffino captured the state championships, finishing two-strokes ahead of Canyons’ Sidney Wolf on the Rancho Canada Golf Club course in Carmel.

Ruffino, who had a 4-under par first round, had a two-day total 137.

Question: Before you golfed at the state championships, did you see yourself finishing on top?

Answer: No. Not really. The thought crossed my mind a few times, but I never thought about it for more than few seconds.

How did you stay relaxed during your rounds?

Singing a song in my head actually. It helps keep my mind off of things.

You shot a 74 at NorCal and had a much better score at state. What worked for you?

I played better than I scored at NorCal, so I just told myself that my game was there and I just needed to stay patient and keep the same mindset I had at NorCal, and it’ll all work out.

How long have you played golf?

My dad got me started when I was young, probably around 7 or 8. But I started taking it serious in junior high.

Did you win any tournaments before the state championship?

I won the 14-15 year-old age division at a JGANC tournament at Sierra Meadows, but nothing other than that.

How did you end up at Reedley College?

Coach (Scott) Stark called me during my senior season and talked to me about the opportunity. He got me excited about playing there and I thought it would be the best for me.

How much did you learn and who would you credit your success to?

I’ve learned so much about how to trust myself and how much being positive really helps. I would credit my success to my dad. Without his faith in me and his push, I wouldn’t be where I am.

Sports stampede at Clovis North

They’re ridin’ high in athletics at Clovis North High.

How? Count the ways:

** The Broncos’ baseball team plays for the Central Section Division I title at home Friday against Stockdale at 4:30 p.m.

Tony Amundsen, who has won three consecutive boys section D-I basketball titles at Bullard in one of the most dominant runs in section history, is about to take the whistle at Clovis North.

** The boys basketball program is about to pilfer the hottest coaching ticket in the section — Tony Amundsen — from Bullard.

** Brittany Pierce, a rising star in the girls volleyball coaching fraternity, was recently plucked from Sanger.

** The girls track and field team placed third in the section finals behind fab freshman Rhesa Foster (1st long jump, 2nd 100 HH, 3rd 100), sophomore Mikaela Smith (1st 800, 3rd long jump), Leigh Moffett (2nd 3,200) and Nicole Ballestero (2nd pole vault).

** And the Broncos captured the section D-I title in football.

Four Edison girls headed to college in track and field

Edison High senior Njeri Omawahleh, one of the state’s top performers in track and field this season, was one of four Tiger girls to sign National Letters of Intent Friday.

Four members of Edison High’s girls track and field team signed National Letters of Intent on campus Friday.

Njeri Omawahleh and Nailah Harris-Murillo signed with Fresno State, and twins Tia and Tara Edwards with Fresno Pacific.

Omawahleh has been one of the state’s top performers this season.

She’s contributed legs too Central Section record-breaking 400- (46.04) and 1,600-meter (3:46.04) relays. Both are ranked No. 2 in the state, and the 400 mark is No. 8 nationally.

Omawahleh, called “Jelly” by her teammates, is also ranked No. 2 in the section in the 200 (24.31) and 400 (55.62), and No. 4 in the long jump (18-2).

Harris-Murillo also runs on both relays and is No. 3 in the section in the 400 (56.27) and No. 5 in the 200 (24.91).

Tia Edwards runs on the 1,600 relay and is No. 4 in the section in the 300 low hurdles (45.53) and No. 6 in the 100 high hurdles (15.31).

Tara Edwards has contributed to the relays and is No. 7 in the section in the 400 (58.08).

Edison’s girls finished a close second to Buchanan for the section team title and are expected to be a top-five contender in the CIF State Championships May 31-June 1 at Buchanan’s Veterans Memorial Stadium.