Youth and adult recreation sports are set to begin soon in much of California. And there's a chance youth and adult recreation sports leagues can be held in Tulare County beginning as soon as the end of next week.

We're always interested in hearing about news in our community. Let us know what's going on!

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Lindsay schedules XC meet for Feb. 10

High school sports got a thumbs up to begin competition this week when Gov. Gavin Newsom lifted regional stay-at-home orders across the state on Monday. 

Newsom directly addressed youth sports in his press conference, saying, “Certain youth sports can resume for competition, in particular, with again, modifications and considerations.”

Since Tulare County is in the state’s COVID-19 purple tier, or widespread category, the high school sports that are allowed to begin competitions are low contact, purple-tiered sports: cross country, golf, tennis, swim and dive, and track and field. 

Lindsay High School athletic director, John Caesar, said the East Sequoia League -- the league the Cardinals compete in -- is currently working together on schedules, but the team does have their first ESL meet scheduled for Wednesday, Feb. 10.

The Exeter Water Polo Club traveled to Dallas, Texas for the Texas Challenge Cup on Nov 14-15. The 18u women’s team -- composed of players from Porterville, Tulare and Visalia -- finished in fourth place after competing against the top clubs in the entire state of Texas.  

The efforts Job Lara makes to create an inclusive volleyball program were recognized in late October when the NuBreed Volleyball Club director was announced as a 2020 Diversity Award Recipient by the American Volleyball Coaches Association. 

“That’s exciting to be recognized at a national level for what we’re doing locally with the diverse group that we have, from Hispanic to African-American to Native American,” Lara said. “And as I told them, we’re many people but one tribe. It’s NuBreed.”

On Tuesday, AVCA released a press release to announce and congratulate all 40 recipients from across the nation. 

The City of Porterville Parks and Leisure Services wrapped up its Inaugural Kids Cross Country season Monday with a meet at the Porterville Golf Course.

Fifteen youth, divided into two cohorts throughout the season, ages 9-12 participated. Practices were held at Veterans Park and at the Golf Course.

Top finishers at the meet included Ezequiel Baez for the boys and Mackenzie Coria for the girls.

The Kids Cross Country program will resume after the City’s Jr. Pirates Track season in 2021. Runners and walkers of all ages should be on the lookout for the upcoming Virtual Veterans Day Run.

For more information, visit the City of Porterville website or call (559) 791-7695. Be sure to follow Parks and Leisure Services on Facebook and Instagram for all of the latest updates.

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Two local volleyball clubs, NU Breed and Pipeline, merged together last week to create the largest volleyball club in the area.

Job Lara, the director of the non-profit NU Breed club, reached out to Pipeline’s director, Pete Rasmussen, to make the merger happen. Both Lara and Rasmussen agreed this was the right move with COVID-19 limiting resources and the two clubs wanting to increase their competitiveness. 

“It is something that I’ve been wanting to do for awhile because I think both Pete and I have some gifts in us that compliment each other,” Lara said Wednesday via phone. “And I always thought that together we could be stronger and serve the south Valley volleyball community better. And so, this provided a perfect scenario for us to work together.”

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When McDermont X Fitness Center in Lindsay opened Monday, friends Jacob Duenas and Angel Perez were two of the first people to come and work out.

Back again on Tuesday, the two said they were happy to be back and getting stronger.

“I don’t know. I just missed working out, sweating, getting gains, socializing with people. Just all that typical stuff. Grinding,” Duenas, 18, said.

Perez, who is going to play outside linebacker for the College of the Sequoias, said that being back in the fitness center meant he could get back to offseason training.

“It feels great,” he said. “Finally get to work out again and working out means getting better for football again.”

McDermont opened its doors to members this week after being closed since March 19, when Gov. Gavin Newsom issued a stay-at-home order for California due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

The opening of the facility was announced on Facebook this past Saturday and it came with a couple of new rules that are also posted around the facility.

Porterville Girls Fastpitch didn’t get much of a season before the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic shut things down.  But last Friday, PGF announced on Facebook they are preparing for an upcoming travel season. 

However there are still many questions that need to be answered before practices can even be held. Josh Plumlee, the president of PGF, said Wednesday via Facebook Messenger that the main questions center around how they’ll handle social distancing requirements. 

“There are 12-14 kids per team plus coaching staff. Do we need to keep group workouts under 10 people? Are parents included in that count?,” Plumlee said. “There is also the issue of sharing equipment: bats, balls, helmets, etc. Do we need to sterilize the balls between practice?  Can the girls play catch? We have three fields at Hayes. Can we have a group on each field? Or just one group at the complex? Do we need to take temperatures each day?”

On USA Softball’s website (https://www.teamusa.org/USA-Softball), a Back to the Ballpark document provides guidelines for coaches on how to handle things, such as facilities, concessions, game play, meetings and more. 

For example, USA Softball advises that water fountains should be made inoperable, coaches should wear masks all game, there should be no huddles in the circle, and umpires need to make sure catchers (and batters) are six feet away from the plate before dusting it off. 

Monache High School’s fourth annual Athletic Hall of Fame ceremony is officially postponed due to the current COVID-19 health threat, HOF chairman Drew Williams announced Sunday evening.

Originally scheduled for April 25, the hall of fame dinner and induction ceremony will instead be held a year later on Saturday, April 24, 2021, at the Porterville Veterans Memorial Building.

Tickets purchased for this year’s event will be honored for next year’s event. Any requested refunds can be secured from Monache High School and the details of a refund transaction will be forthcoming as the restart of school has not been determined.

Porterville Little League hopeful for full season later in year

Porterville Little League announced Monday afternoon that it is following the advice of Little League International and suspending its season through May 11, effective immediately, due to Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19).

The decision comes after Little League President and CEO, Stephen D. Keener, released a letter to Little League baseball and softball programs across the nation about season suspensions.

After stating Porterville Unified School District would cancel athletics from Thursday through Saturday, the district extended suspended all of its athletic events — home and away — through April 13. PUSD is following the recommendation of all high school district superintendents in Tulare and Kings Counties.

PUSD reported most of the high schools in the Central Section are following the recommendation to suspend its athletic events. In the meantime, PUSD is allowing its athletic teams to continue to practice.

In addition Porterville College spring sports are suspended indefinitely with the California Community College Athletics Association releasing more information on the suspension of spring sports.

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On Thursday, the California Community College Athletic Association posted a press release on its website stating the board of directors voted “to immediately postpone practices outside of regularly scheduled classes, and competition for all spring sports, as well as any and all nontraditional sports seasons, indefinitely.”

In a Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) post on its website Friday, CCCAA said the sports impacted are: baseball, women's badminton, women's beach volleyball, men's golf, softball, men's and women's swimming and diving, men's and women's tennis, men's and women's track and field, and men's volleyball regular seasons.

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Capt. Ramon Figueroa's daughter throws out first pitch

With a captivating smile and the gym's full attention, Amelia Figueroa threw out the first pitch of the season to applause from hundreds of supporters in attendance for the Porterville Girls Fastpitch opening ceremony Friday evening at Monache High School.

Figueroa, the daughter of the late Porterville Fire Captain Ramon Figueroa, threw the first pitch to firefighter Sabrina Barrios, who gave her a big hug afterwards while her mom and brother watched from behind.

Prior to the pitch, PGF announced they would be dedicating the softball season to Capt. Figueroa and firefighter Patrick Jones, who lost their lives in the line of duty battling the Porterville City Library fire on Feb. 18. The Porterville Fire Department also sponsors Amelia's team — the UCLA Bruins 6U team.

The Sequoia Middle School Hawks picked up championships in both girl basketball and boys soccer Tuesday.

The Sequoia girls finished the 2019-20 basketball season as champions of the Whitney League for the second consecutive year. The Hawks won the final Tuesday with a 26-13 win against Pioneer.

Team captain Alisha Verdejo led the team in scoring, while Danielle Knight and Zahra Rayani contributed with timely scores and rebounding. The Lady Hawks defeated Wilson of Exeter 17-15 in a hard fought game to advance to the championship.

Tickets available for MHS Athletic HOF on April 27

The fourth annual Monache Athletic Hall Of Fame ceremony is scheduled for Saturday, April 25 at Veteran’s Memorial Building in Porterville.

This year's inductees are: Jennifer Baker Alvarez (Track and Field, 1986), Stephanie Raymond (Swimming, Volleyball, 1990), Heather Brown Sandoval (Volleyball, Basketball, Track and Field, 1991), Curtis Alkire (Wrestling, Tennis, Cross Country, 1991), Jennifer Stephen Brown (Swimming, Volleyball, 1992), the 1997 Girls' Basketball Valley Champions and Coach Hal Hevener (Water Polo, Swimming, Basketball, 1969-1997).

Happy Hour is at 5 p.m. with dinner from 6-7 p.m. Induction visuals and ceremony is from 7:15 p.m. to conclusion.

The cost is $50 per person with a table of eight available for $350.

Tickets are currently on sale at the Monache Student Activities Office and available online at: https://webstores.activenetwork.com/school-software/monache_high_schohzs/

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Local RSB coaches reflect on Kobe loss

If there were any lessons learned Sunday morning when news broke of NBA legend Kobe Bryant’s death, it was to cherish those around you.

Bryant and his daughter, Gianna, 13, died in a helicopter crash along with seven other individuals on their way to the Mamba Cup Tournament Series at the Mamba Sports Academy in Southern California. Excited to see the Bryants that day was the local Rising Stars Basketball 11U team.

We were on our way to the Mamba Academy for the 12 o’clock game to go watch him and his daughter play that afternoon,” assistant coach Jose Miranda said. “That’s when we started getting all the news about what happened. We got to the sports complex, and even the guys up front, the security guys up front that were escorting the traffic...We knew it was true once we saw them in tears.”

Here’s some sports moments from around the area this decade

The Porterville Renegades would like to congratulate their 2019 Sequoia League Youth Football winners, the Junior and Bantams teams. They also thank everyone who came out to support the Renegades this season.

The Veterans 5K and 10K Walk and Run on Monday morning brought out more competitors than ever as nearly 600 people gathered on Main Street in front of City Hall to run or walk in the race. Registration for the event closed at 6:45 a.m., and the cap gun sounded off shortly after to signal the…

Sheriff Mike Boudreaux invites boys and girls from 4 years old through seniors in high school to sign up for a free soccer camp on Nov. 16 in Pixley and Nov. 23 in Orosi sponsored by the Tulare County Sheriff’s Office.

Don Kloppenburg is as sharp as ever. The former Porterville College fooball coach who celebrated his 85th birthday this past summer demonstrated that while holding court at Poor Richards Pizza on Main Street on Friday night.

The Clovis Half Marathon had 888 competitors. Monache High School cross country coach Seth Ishida finished in the top 10 for the fifth straight year, winning his age group and coming in sixth overall. Ishida ran a 6 minute, 22- second pace over the 13.1 mile course, finishing in 1:23:17. Andy Macias of Porterville placed second in the 60-64 age group, finishing in 1:52:26 for 132nd place overall. Lindsay's Mary Garcia came in 17th in her 35-39 age group in 1:59:17. Rodrigo Andrade-Espinoza, also of Lindsay, finished 28th in the men's 30-34 age group with a time of 2:04:18. 

South Valley Chivas Academy had the pleasure of having Major League Soccer’s Los Angeles Football Club (LAFC) scout Gabriel Lucatero come up from Los Ángeles to watch a match of the South Valley Chivas 04B team this past Saturday at the Porterville Sports Complex. 

The Tulare County Association of Realtors will hold the annual Barbara Cranmore Porterville Scholarship Golf Tournament on October 17 at River Island Country Club.

Seattle Sounders' Giuseppe DePalo stops by Chivas' practice

An ordinary day of youth soccer practice turned unique Tuesday with a visit from Giuseppe DePalo, the academy head of recruitment for Major League Soccer's Seattle Sounders.

Brought to Porterville on an invitation from South Valley Chivas' president, Esmaldo Hernandez, the professional soccer scout stopped by the Porterville Sports Complex to look at some local talent.

“(There) is obviously a really good standard of youth play here,” DePalo said. “Had the pleasure to meet this gentleman (Hernandez) and he invited me down. I promised him I would come down and here I am.”

Lindsay High School Athletic Boosters are hosting their 27th Annual Truck Hirayama Memorial Golf Tournament on Sunday, Oct. 27 at River Island Country Club. Registration begins at 11 a.m. with a 12 p.m. tee off. 

Neptunite head coach headed to the Air Force

If you’ve ever been to a swim meet or water polo game in Porterville, it’s almost a guarantee that you’ve seen Mikayla Balangue somewhere in the crowd. 

She’s hard to miss with vibrant red curls and an engaging smile. You see her everywhere, going from team to team, saying hi to coaches and players before a wave to the officials as well.

First overall win in program history

The Porterville Neptunites finished the summer off by winning the program's first Central Valley Recreational Swim League All Star Finals title last Saturday, July 20, at Sierra High School in Tollhouse, Calif.

“I'm so proud of all of my swimmers and coaches,” Neptunites coach, Evan Thomas, said. “In all of Neptunites 50-plus years, as far as we know, we have never taken first place overall at the CVRSL All Star Finals. I've been a part of Neptunites since I was 5 years old, 22 years so far and I can say this is my favorite memory I've made in all 22 years.”

Twenty teams participated in the Valley finals but the Neptunites came out on top with an overall team score of 1,415.33; beating out the second-place Kingsburg Seawolves (1,253) and Porterville Hurricanes (1,243.5). The Lindsay Skimmers placed 15th with 380.

OVERALL 

1. Porterville Neptunites 1415.33

3. Porterville Hurricanes 1243.5

15. Lindsay Skimmers 380

Girls, ages 12-16, are invited to try out for the Tulare County Sheriff's Office first traveling basketball team on Friday, July 26, at Pixley Middle School. Deputy Kendra Snowden will be the coach. 

I'm going to keep the girls focused on basketball and off the streets,” she said. “Basketball was my way out.”

Deputy Snowden played basketball for El Diamante High School in Visalia. After graduation, she played college basketball at Sacramento City College in California and Park University in Missouri.  

She said she had to maintain good grades to play basketball and that helped her earn her college degree which led to her career in law enforcement. 

There is no cost to participate in the program. For more information, call Corporal Monse Meza, (559) 804-7284.

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Stroemer's walk-off sends Madera to state

Madera National All-Stars booked their ticket to next week's state tournament with a 6-5 ninth-inning walkoff against Porterville in Sunday's winner-take-all Little League 12s California Section 7 Championship at Burton Ballfields.

Tied 3-all after the regulation six innings, Porterville struck first in top of the ninth with Colton Isom and Xavier Aguilera scoring on a wild pitch to take a 5-3 lead.

Madera answered in the bottom of the ninth with a two-run RBI-double from Joel Arellano. Then up to bat came Thursday's hero, Paul Stroemer, who had the walk-off RBI in Madera's 3-2 win over Porterville in the teams' first meeting.

Big first inning lifts Porterville past Delano 15-4

Porterville All-Stars only needed one inning to put themselves comfortably ahead of Delano and cruise their way to a 15-4 victory in Friday's Little League 12s California Section 7 semifinal game at Burton Ballfield.

Trailing 3-0 coming into the bottom of the first, Porterville started their biggest two-out rally of the night with a RBI-double from Thursday's big hitter, Horacio Nunez.

From there Porterville loaded the bases and brought in four runs on a two-run RBI-double from Jacoby Roman and a two-run RBI-single by Wyatt Mauldin, respectively, to take a 5-3 lead.

But Porterville wasn't done yet.

Play Delano tonight at 7 p.m.

Colton Isom pitched a strong five innings with nine strikeouts but it wasn’t enough for the Porterville All-Stars in the team’s 3-2 loss to Madera National Thursday at Burton Ballfields.

Playing in the second game of the Little League 12s California Section 7 Championship tournament, Porterville’s 2-0 lead began to slip away in the bottom of the fourth when an error gave Madera’s Isaiah Sanchez a triple. Another error in the following at-bat put Joel Arellano on and scored Sanchez.

The 10u Porterville All-Stars saw their season come to an end Thursday after losing 12-2 to Visalia in the second game of the Little League California District 34 Championship game at Divisadero Middle School in Visalia. The game was called after four innings.

The Porterville Little League 12u All-Stars took the lead late and defeated Lemoore for the California District 34 Championship title Tuesday in Visalia.

The game was tied at one with Porterville batting in the bottom of the fourth when Jacoby Roman drew a bases-loaded walk, scoring one run.

Giovanni Perez led Porterville to victory by driving in five runs. He went 2-for-3 at the plate. Perez drove in runs on a grand slam in the fourth and a walk in the fifth.

Hernandez family giving players more opportunities to play in summer

Rene Hernandez and his sons — California State University, San Jose pitcher Jake Hernandez and former College of Sequoias outfielder Zac Hernandez — along with other former and active college baseball players, held a free clinic Sunday, June 2, at Monache High School, to introduce their new youth baseball academy to the community.

Rene held the clinic to gauge interest and availability of kids that wanted to play baseball in the summer and fall. He said a total of 45 players showed up for the clinic and they are looking to have another clinic later this month.

“I see a lot of kids not doing much in the summer after Little League,” Rene said. “We live in California and we should be playing till the cold weather arrives.”

PHS 5K fundraiser for Rally Wagon and scholarships is Sunday

Sitting amongst dozens of other beautifully restored vintage cars, the Porterville High School Rally Wagon easily stood out at the Rollin’ Relics Car Show Saturday.

The tricolored 1928 Dodge Victory 6 pops with a vibrant orange covering the hood and extending to the back of the car. A darker green anchors the bottom of the car while the white in the middle allows for the Porterville Panther logo to stand out and give life to an image of a growling panther.

“It’s a symbol of the school spirit,” PHS Alumni president Todd Pixler said. “It’s like Porterville High School on wheels.”

But just like it’s a symbol of school spirit, it’s also a symbol of a community coming together to keep memories alive and reestablish tradition. 

A lot of people and work went into getting the Rally Wagon up and running last year, and to honor its restoration, the PHS Alumni Association is holding its first Rally Wagon 5K Fun Run and Walk at Porterville Sports Complex this Sunday (May 15). All funds will be directed towards the maintenance of the Rally Wagon and a scholarship for seniors. 

The race starts at 7:30 a.m. with race day registration beginning at 6:30 a.m. Individuals can sign up prior to race day online at RunSignUp.com or in person at the school. The price is $20 for runners and walkers, $10 for students and veterans, and a $5 increase for those signing up on the day of the event. Payment is accepted in cash or money order only. 

Ruiz is the first from Terra Bella to join a Mexican professional team

Standing with a group of friends kicking a soccer ball around, Daniel Ruiz looks like any other kid relaxing after a long day of classes but Ruiz is different. 

The Terra Bella native is back for a short visit from Mexico where he plays for the U-15 team of Club de Fútbol Pachuca, a professional soccer team in Liga MX. Ruiz is the first player from Terra Bella and possibly the area to play with one of Mexico’s top professional teams, according to his father Angel Ruiz.

It was a long journey getting there but the Ruiz family went all out to make sure Daniel could pursue his dream of playing soccer.

The Exeter Water Polo Club just returned from competing in the 2019 Kap 7 Invitation in Irvine, California. The team returned home with silver medals from the event after going 4-1 and only losing in the championship game 8-7. 

The girls began the weekend with a strong start, beating 241 Water Polo Club from Southern California 19-4. The Exeter Club was then faced with a challenging second round matchup against Riverside Water Polo Club. The Exeter ladies pulled off the win thanks to Skylar Ford of Redwood High School with an outside shot to put Exeter up by one with 5 seconds left. The final score was 10-9. 

Sunday games were held at the world renowned William Woollett Aquatics Center. Once again, the Exeter ladies started off strong with a dominant win against Pacific Water Polo Club 15-6. That win then put Exeter WPC in the semifinals against Riptide Water Polo Club.  The girls rallied together and pulled off another solid 11-9 win.