Photo by: Tony Leon/ActionWestPhotography.com

(Original piece from Whittier College Athletics, Sep. 2017)

By Dan Gudino

WHITTIER, Calif. – The Whittier College Football team hosted an instant classical Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC) opener, losing to the Claremont-M-S Stags, 41-34, on Saturday.

It was a tight game that came down to the last two minutes, where all game long the defense was called upon and was not able to respond, until it forced a late turnover on downs, as a diving Stags quarterback was stopped short of a first down.

It gave the Poet offense a chance to tie the game with under a minute left.  Sophomore quarterback Miguel Avina (Indio, Calif.)looked like he was ready to mount the comeback as he raced for five yards before hitting freshman wide out Moises Gonzalez(Long Beach, Calif.) for 19 yards.  But on the ensuing 1st down play, the Purple & Gold elected to go deep as Avina looked down the sideline for Bryson Sanders (Manteca, Calif.), who he connected with earlier in the quarter on a 23-yard strike in stride to the corner of the endzone. But the big pass play would be picked off by Cade Moffatt at the Stag 11 allowing CMS to hold on for the victory.

The Poet one-two combo of Avina and Sanders combined eight times for 115 yards and a touchdown.

Avina accounted for all four Poet TDs, three on the ground and one to Sanders in the air. His last was a 10-yard dash, where he first searched for an open receiver, then the lefty scrambled to his weak side, put his head down for a last yard and barely crossed the goal-line.

Sanders is proving to be a reliable target down field. The senior wideout currently leads all Poet receivers with 17 receptions, 236 yards and two TDs.

The Poets offense totaled 438 yards (267 Passing/171 Rushing), its highest production in five games, since last year vs. Occidental College (538 yards total offense).

The Stags run game was effective and recorded 227 total yards on the Poet defense. Like Avina, the Stags had their own runner with three TDs, in running back Spencer Sheff.

Whittier played catch-up all game long and was within striking distance thanks to senior kicker Eric Voss (Temecula, Calif.) who knocked through a 41-yard field goal that put the Poets down 21-17 at the break. It was Voss’s third-career longest field goal and his longest of the season thus far. (Career long 45 yards)

Voss added another 40-yard field goal that capped off a decent 10 play, 73-yard Purple & Gold drive to start the fourth, 34-20 with 14 minutes to go.

Whittier managed to put up 17 points in the 4th, however a 34-17 deficit proved to be too large.

Cooper Allen (Visalia, Calif.) led the defensive unit with 11 tackles (8 solo/3 assisted), while Andrew Rosales (Pico Rivera, Calif.) totaled six solo tackles.

The Poets move to 0-3, 0-1 SCIAC and will now go on the road to face Chapman University this Saturday, October 7 (1-2, 1-0) starting at 7:00pm.

Article by: Daniel Gudino (Sports Information Office)


Photo by: Tony Leon/ActionWestPhotography.com
Photo by: Tony Leon/ActionWestPhotography.com

By Dan Gudino

WHITTIER, Calif. – The Whittier College Football team gave a valiant losing effort in the home opener on Saturday, against Arizona Christian University, falling 56-38 at Memorial Stadium in front of almost 1,500 strong.

The Poets matched its highest scoring output since last year’s “Shoes Game” against rival, Occidental College, where Whittier fell by the same score, 56-38.

Whittier Head Coach Mike Neale stayed true to his hard-nose attitude with a run game that rendered 39 carries for 163 yards, while staying balanced with 233 yards through the air, on 40 attempts.

The Purple & Gold found the endzone on their second possession as they went 60 yards in 6-plays highlighted by a Miguel Avina(Indio, Calif.) to Hakim Williams Jr. (Riverside, Calif.) connection down the sideline for 32 yards, which led to the Avina two-yard touchdown run.

On the very next series for the Firestorm, the Poets earned great field position as junior Natnael Yitayew (San Diego, Calif.)would collect his first interception of his career returning it 12-yards to the ACU 40.  But Whittier couldn’t capitalize from there giving the ball right back.

The second quarter proved to be a high scoring affair as a combined 38 points would be scored. The Poets trailed 14-7 to start things off but came down on their ensuing series again with Avina connecting with Williams Jr., this time for 41 yards down to the ACU 31 but again the Poets would have to settle with a 22-yard field goal from Eric Voss (Temecula, Calif.).

Later in the frame, freshman Chance Trammell (Chico, Calif.) got into the mix finding open space with a 17-yard touchdown, putting Whittier within striking distance at 28-17 with under two minutes to play.

After a three and out forced by the defensive unit, Whittier had an opportunity to keep it at a two score game going into the half but they had a major mistake.  On a third down conversion, Avina tried to dump off a quick pass outside but he was hit as he threw sending the ball right into the arms of Arizona Christian defensive lineman, Jared Landseade, who made his lineman’s dream a reality with a 42-yard pick six making the score 35-17 at halftime.

Whittier was shutout in the third as ACU extended their lead to 32 but WC never backed down making a huge comeback in the final 15:00 outscoring the Firestorm 21-7.

Trammell continued to truck along with another score from four yards out making the score 49-27 at the start of the fourth.  Whittier’s defensive unit stood strong on the next series once again this time with Nickolas Perez (Shafter, Calif.) picking up a fumble recovery giving the Poets another opportunity deep in ACU territory.

Whittier would capitalize on this turnover as Avina would find Brian Phelan (Chino Hills, Calif.) from seven yards out, which pulled the Poets within 19.  Then with under five minutes to play the Poets would find the endzone one more time, this time with an Alex Tejeda (Chula Vista, Calif.)-Phelan connection from six yards.

Avina finished the game 12-29 for 194 yards and a touchdown.

Trammell finished with three team-highs, 19 carries for 96 yards and 105 All-Purpose yards, as he recorded a catch for nine yards. He leads all Poet runners this season with 174 yards rushing.

Phelan proved to be a trustworthy target on the evening, leading all receivers in receptions with eight for 47 yards, matching Trammell with two TDs of his own.

The Poets defense got some action as well and kept it close early in the game with interceptions from Nicholas Markarian (Chino Hills, Calif.) and Yitayew both their first career interceptions at Whittier.  The defensive unit also recorded three tackles for losses, two fumble recoveries, two interceptions, and two break-ups.

Arizona Christian proved to be a powerhouse program, as they came in ranked No. 12 in the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) polls making it the second straight game the Poets have taken on a National Top 20 opponent.

The SCIAC opener will take place at home this Saturday, September 30 at 7:00pm against the Claremont Mudd-Scripps Stags (1-1). The Stags are coming off their home-opener, a loss to Washington and Lee University. Poets move to 0-2.

Photo by: Tony Leon/ActionWestPhotography.com
Photo by: Tony Leon/ActionWestPhotography.com

(Original piece from Whittier College Athletics, Sep. 2017)

By Dan Gudino

WHITTIER, Calif. – The Whittier College Men’s Soccer team hung tough with the Bulldogs of the University of Redlands Saturday as they fell 3-0 at Memorial Stadium.

The Poets slip now to 1-5, 1-4 SCIAC, while Redlands improves to 6-3 and a perfect 6-0 SCIAC.

Whittier managed just one shot on goal for the game and failed to challenge Bulldogs goalie Josh Haskill, while UR forward, Kayon Parsa was involved in all three scores with two goals and two assists.

Parsa capped off his performance when he managed to sneak into the box and tap an assist to the near post to Chase Boone for his second goal of the day.

The Boone and Parsa connection accounted for all scoring plays.

The Poet offense managed to get a number of opportunities throughout the contest but they couldn’t connect as they finished with 10 shots. Within a seven minute window in the first half the Poets were able to get off three shots with the best look coming in the 20th minute when Poet forward, Matteo Loi (Kirkland, WA), took a shot on goal, but fell unlucky as it went straight into the arms of Haskill.

The trend for the Poet soccer ball was “fly high or miss wide” as Whittier went down 1-0 at the half with several shots off the mark as they continued to match Redlands stride for stride. Aggressive play was seen early in the second half, with three straight shots from the Poets within the first nine minutes of play, but again none would get on frame.

Parsa of Redlands scored the first goal in the 13th minute, of the first half, when Whittier tried to defend down in the box, but Parsa managed to sneak in off a poor pass that was ricocheted into his possession, which he then tapped in for the eventual game-winner.

Nathan Armas (Montclair, Calif.) finished the game with three saves playing all 90:00. Loi led the offense with three shots, while Connor Tait-Mole (Livermore, Calif.) added two. The shot differential was close as Redlands edged the Poets 11-10, same with corner kicks at 4-3.

Whittier continues their home stand this Wednesday, September 27 against Caltech with game time set for 7:00pm.

Photo by: Tony Leon/ActionWestPhotography.com
Photo by: Tony Leon/ActionWestPhotography.com


(Original piece from Whittier College Athletics, Sep. 2017)

By Dan Gudino

EAGLE ROCK, Calif. – The Whittier College Volleyball team bounced-back and reclaimed its winning ways with a hard fought conference victory, over Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC) rival, Occidental College, 25-22, 25-22, 25-27, 25-16.

Despite going up two-sets to none, the Poets struggled in the third, as they faced their biggest deficit of the entire meeting, 17-10.

Poet head coach Chris Duarte-McDermott, said teams can really turn things around in a match when you agitate a team” as the Poets did in the second — Occidental came within a point of tying the second game at 24, however, Whittier hung on.

“When you win a set the way we did in the second, by escaping and allowing a team to nearly take it back, it could potentially rile-up a team,” Duarte-McDermott said.

But efficient setting from Camryn Purdom (Moreno Valley, Calif.), who had a game-high 30 assists, setup 17 more players than any Poet, and proved to be a major difference in the entire match.

“(Setting) it’s always been the best part of my game, without a doubt. I want to be that player that gets you a set. It’s something I’ve always worked on,” Purdom said.

Purdom’s passing skills and two excellent serves put the Poets within a sweep of the match when they came back to tie the third at 20, and then immediately took the lead, 21-20.

Yet, the Poets slipped with three consecutive ties and lead changes, setting up Occidental for the third-set victory.

The Poets were instantly motivated by the third set loss and reawaked as they cruised to a nine-point win in the final fourth game, 25-16.

The Poet offense was aided by Purdom feeding Makenzie Thieme (Corona, Calif.) and Ashley Whittall (Norwalk, Calif.) in the final game, who both finished with a team-high 14 kills.

“We definitely played down to a team tonight when we allowed the third to slip, but we know it’s us and not what the other team did. We can’t allow ourselves to get too cocky next time. We just have to finish,” Whittall said.

Whittier, now 8-3 and 2-1 in SCIAC is back home this Saturday, September 23 as it faces off against Cal Lutheran University, at 6:00pm. Cal Lutheran is currently on a five-game losing streak.

Whittier finds itself just shy of the top 25 at No. 30.

“It means a lot to get a victory tonight,” explained Duarte-McDermott. It means a lot to our program that we’re in the top 30 and just outside of the top 25. But, in the end, rankings are just opinions and what matters is every single set.”

Article by: Daniel Gudino (Sports Information Office)

K: 2 Players (#12, #24 – 14)
B: Alexis Mills – 5
D: Clarissa Standafer – 15
SA: Camryn Purdom – 3
K: Claire Strohm – 15
B: Cassandra Guidice – 3
D: Claire Strohm – 10
SA: Cassandra Guidice – 3

Roosevelt High School and Garfield High are bitter rivals that mimic USC-UCLA clashes and are better known for the East Los Angeles Football Classic, one of the more historic prep football games in the country.

On the gridiron, Garfield has been the dominant team, but on the diamond its been all Roosevelt over the last three years.

This year, Roosevelt swept GHS in their two-game set, culminating on May 2, in a 11-10 win.

Here is a condensed / edited version of the May 2, game:

By Dan Gudino

Better late than never. Almost a year ago, on April 25, 2016, East Los Angeles College baseball head coach, James Hines, captured his 400th career victory.

It was the last day of the season. ELAC was not going to make the playoffs for the second straight season, but if there was a silver lining to a distasteful season, bringing it back to life was an accomplishment of this magnitude.

The 11-9 victory over Pasadena City College that day at Husky Field, went into the record books as another win, no mention of history being made.

On Tuesday (4/4/17), after a 3-1 loss to Mount San Antonio College, I spoke with Hines about his accomplishment. His response was as blunt as it gets.

“I don’t care about that. It’s all about this one. We let this one get away,” said Hines, as he sat on the right-end of the dugout, trying to get an emotional response from his players. He said it loudly, on purpose, so his players could hear, taking his eyes away from me towards his players. He meant business as his players swept the dugout doing mandatory post game chores.

The world of junior college baseball is not for the faint of heart. It’s a grinding chore, back breaking and you never stop churning. Fall ball in September, leads straight into winter workouts, as the regular season starts in late January for most teams.

50 scheduled games, winter ball and regular season combined.  Include playoffs, the simulated games played during practice, and some individual players play in their own summer leagues, all combined, now you’re up to 100 plus games.

That’s over 60 percent of a Major League Baseball season, which has 162 regular season games.

Coach Hines should have been acknowledged, just as the great “Coach Alto” (John Altobelli) of the Orange Coast College Pirates did for his 600th win in Feb., in the fourth game of the season. Alto was showered with a five-gallon Gatorade bucket, on a cloudy Costa Mesa afternoon, and not to rain on Alto’s party, but Hines deserved his acknowledgement too.

Blame poor record keeping from ELAC Athletics Department.

It took about three hours of research to find out exactly how many wins ELAC accumulated in the 19 seasons Hines has been head coach.

Through the ELAC Campus News web archive, the CCCAA and the CCCBCA we compiled over 20 pages of notes, news clippings and overall records, through the years of 1999 to 2017.

Total: 414 wins. 

Upon further review and after, well over 10 times of adding numbers, we came up with 414 wins as of today (4/6/17).

ELAC Campus News reported news of Hines’s 400th win as a gross factual error, this was totally my fault. I reported the 400th win was against Compton.

ELAC athletic staff has been notified. Athletic Director Al Cone who coached Hines in 1992 and ’93 as a pitcher, texted me saying, he really cares about getting his former assistant coach honored for his service.

By Dan Gudino 

After 67 years as the voice of the Los Angeles Dodgers, Vincent Edward “Vin” Scully gave his final home performance at Dodger Stadium Sunday afternoon.

Scully referred to us as friends and not fans.

His gratefulness and humbleness refused to use the word fan because it stems from the word fanatic. Instead he always made sure we were having, “A pleasant good evening, to wherever you may be.”

Scully brought a soothing calmness with his voice, day in and day out, even when the Dodgers were at their worst, and he’s never been afraid to criticize the Dodgers.

He called it like it was.

Back in the early ‘90s, when the Dodgers struggled to make the playoffs, the reason we watched and listened was Scully.

He made simple ground balls to second base, with a short throw to first base, sound so smooth.

We’re all convinced he was the greatest in the business. He brought us to tears when he shared his thoughts as to why he was leaving.

Scully said he doesn’t have many days left on Earth. It would be selfish of us to ask the 88-year-old back for another year.

He will be spending his retired days alongside his wife Sandra,  their five children, 16 grandchildren and three-great grandchildren.

The transistor radio brought the voice to our homes. When we could not make the walk or the horrendous drive to the Ravine (Dodger Stadium), as he referred to it regularly, he talked to us personally through his microphone.

I remember walking from Chinatown to the “Magic Castle,” another nickname Scully gave the stadium, when I was 8 years old with my parents, and later I would came back down the hill excited to listen to the last innings of the ballgame from my bedroom.

My parents always left early from home games to combat the typical early departures of all the Dodger faithful trying to beat traffic. My weapon of choice was my baseball- shaped radio.

Underneath my pillow I’d put the radio on low volume so my mom would not storm in and interrupt Scully.

He spoke to us until the late innings of games. Going into extra innings meant more of Scully.

We trusted him because he painted a picture game after game. His descriptions made sense to my rested head and closed eyes on the pillow.

We slept calmly knowing that whatever happened, win or lose, it never mattered, Scully finished strong.

After spending his entire career with the Dodgers, Scully never chose sides. He stayed neutral like a pro-broadcaster should. He told stories, of players, coaches and personal experiences, proving he definitely was not like any of us.

There’s no way any of us could go through three hours of public speaking, reach into the back of our minds for stories of late ‘40s baseball. Then to put the icing on the cake, make us crack up.

One of the most bizarre stories he ever told, made us cringe, laugh and shocked us – was the one he told of rival San Francisco Giants pitcher Madison Bumgarner. He started the tale with typical stats like a pro, then talked of Bumgarner’s personal experience of saving a bunny.

Bumgarner, a southern boy, was in his ranch near the woods roping cattle. Bumgarner and his wife were shocked when they came upon a giant snake.

Bumgarner, in country fashion, hacked at the snake to death with an ax. His wife then finds two baby rabbits, one still alive inside the snake. The Bumgarners raised it because it reminded them of the perseverance it takes to be a ball player.

As Scully put it, you have to be tough like the rabbit to be a pro player. Only Scully could tell a story like that.

The most famous call Scully ever made was in the first game of the ’88 World Series. A home run from the injured Kurt Gibson to win game one for the Dodgers.

“It’s a deep fly ball to right field. She-Is-Gone!”

For almost a minute, Scully said nothing. The roar of the crowd said it all. What he said after a long pause was so fitting to his career.

“In a year that has been so improbable, the impossible has happened.”

No one will ever replicate what Scully did, impossible.

Scully called his first World Series in 1950 when gas cost just 50 cents a gallon. Now in a world filled with Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, Scully shuns the attention away from himself.

Even on his last day he remained modest. During the broadcast at Dodger Stadium, he said people jammed the stadium because it was Fan Appreciation Day. He was wrong. They filled the seats in 90-degree heat to witness the history of a humble man.

He was in awe when Dodger players all tipped their helmets in Scully’s direction in their first at-bats. He was so surprised that it was happening, helmet after helmet, wave after wave, players saluted Scully from the batter’s box to the press box.

The Dodgers made Scully go out in extra innings. It was magical. His story must have been written by a higher power.

Down 3-2, to the Colorado Rockies in the final inning, Dodgers’ shortstop Corey Seager whacked a homerun to right field to tie the game, reminiscent of Gibson’s ’88 World Series homer.

Then in the 10th inning with a swing from Dodgers second baseman Charlie Culberson, the National League West Division was won with a solo-home run, a 4-3 finale.

An incredible win that brought chills to us with a Hollywood scripted ending.

But Scully was not done, he surprised us with a gift. A recorded rendition of “Wind Beneath My Wings,” by Bette Midler.

Originally given to wife Sandra one Christmas morning, it brought her to tears, it made many cry.

From us to you: Thank you, Mr. Scully.

Art by Krissy Kun, ELAC Campus News 2016