By Matt Schwab
Staff Writer, Bay Area News Group Publications
THE CAL STATE East Bay men's golf team swung into prominence at the Cal Pac Conference Spring Championship tournament at Tierra Oaks Golf Club in Redding on April 26 and 27.
The Pioneers, No.19 in the NAIA golf rankings, upended No. 13 Holy Names-Oakland by one stroke for the tourney title, but Holy Names still clinched the overall conference championship by finishing second.
The Pioneers shot a two-round score of 606 in Redding. Jeff Murphy led Cal State with a 4-over 148, good for third place. Conference Player of the Year Bobby Bucey finished fifth at 6-over 150. Mario Castellanos, who finished in a 14th-place tie, sank a clutch putt on the 18th hole to give his team the win.
BIG-TIME SOCCER HITS CHABOT: Guided by Castro Valley High girls soccer coach Paul McCallion, the Bay Area Ambassadors FC men's squad will open its debut season in the National Premier Soccer League against Southern Oregon Fusion at 3 p.m. today at Chabot College. Another NPSL newcomer, the NorCal Lamorinda United, will play its games at Miramonte High.
SMOKIN' THUNDERBIRDS: The Merritt College men's track and field team won the Big 8 Conference meet championship. Mike Pyrtle (Ocala, Fla.) was first in the 100 meters with a Northern California-leading time of 10.58 seconds. Ray Stewart (James Logan) was first in the 110 hurdles at 14.23 and leads the state in that event at 14.19. Merritt's Belal Mogaddedi (James Logan) was second in the pole vault. Greg Stewart (Fremont) finished third in the long jump (22-7).
HISTORIC WIN: Ohlone baseball (35-9, 20-5) defeated Skyline 4-1 last week in the Pacific Division to take its first outright Coast Conference championship in 18 years. The Renegades, No. 2 ranked second in the state, broke the school's all-time single-season record for wins with 35. Jeff Johnson hit his state-leading 18th home run. The Renegades will host their first Northern California state playoff game since 1997 on May 8-9.
HOW 'BOUT THEM BULLDOGS: The College of San Mateo baseball team (30-11, 18-7 Coast Golden Gate) earned a share of the division title with a 15-0 rout of Gavilan, coupled with De Anza's 9-4 upset of division-leading West Valley. The Bulldogs have earned eight straight conferences titles and will be the Coast North No. 1 seed for the playoffs.
OH CANADA: Canada College-Redwood City (29-12, 18-8) closed the regular season with a come-from-behind 8-7 win over Cabrillo. Bobby Scott's two-run double in the bottom of the eighth capped a decisive four-run rally. Anthony Armanino got the win in relief. Both Nick Borg and Curt Vail homered for the Colts.
TIDBITS: Diablo Valley College (26-14, 14-7), ranked third in the state, wrapped up its Big 8 championship season with a 5-2 loss to Cosumnes River (26-14, 14-7), ranked fifth in the state. The Vikings' Corey Conflenti (.392, 18 stolen bases) and Tyson Edwards (.387, 50 RBI, 18 doubles) rank third and fourth in the Big in batting average. ... Holy Names senior center-fielder Valerie Briones and Cal State East Bay senior first baseman/pitcher Jesse Peterson shared the Player of the Year award in Cal Pac Conference softball. "... The Holy Names softball team locked up a trip to the NAIA tournament in Dekatur, Ala. on May 14-21 by splitting doubleheaders against Dominican and Simpson last weekend to earn their first conference title.
Among the 41 athletes to sign with Cal State East Bay for its maiden voyage in Division II in the 2009-10 school year are Mark Samuels (Berkeley) in men's basketball and Emily Christian (Granada) in women's soccer.