They are known as the U. S. A. Baseball Ambassadors, so it should come as no surprise that their mission is to promote good will while playing baseball.
The 14-player team of graduated high school seniors, coached by John Meiers of Arcadia, leaves for a two-week tour of Japan and China on Tuesday.
The team will play nine games in the Orient from Aug. 5 to 18, including five in Tokyo and Osaka and four in Beijing and Shanghai. Between games, the players will visit sites such as Mt. Fuji in Japan and the Forbidden City and the Great Wall of China.
Last summer the Baseball Ambassadors played nine games in Europe, winning every game and the Adriatic Cup.
Meiers said he wanted the team to return to Europe this summer but decided against it because of the recent problems with terrorism. "We have U. S. A. all over our uniforms and we thought it was too dangerous for us to go there right now," he said.
But Meiers said the trip to the Orient is a good alternative.
Meiers has five of his players from Arcadia High on the team: catcher Jim Ballard, infielder Harold Braunstein, pitchers Mark Juhas and Tim Lindsay and outfielder John Sutton.
Other San Gabriel Valley players are third baseman David Gorman and catcher/first baseman Carlos Salazar from Bishop Amat, outfielder Gary Hollingshead and infielder Scott Root from Covina and shortstop John Harris from Pasadena.
Meiers said players are selected for leadership, citizenship, enthusiasm and ability and added that all will play college baseball next season.
The top players might be Lindsay and Juhas, both selected in the major league free-agent draft in June. Linday, drafted by the Atlanta Braves, has signed a letter of intent to attend UCLA in the fall, and Juhas, drafted by the Texas Rangers, has signed with UC Berkeley.
The team will play the Arcadia High alumni at 2 p.m. Sunday at Arcadia High. The team defeated a team of Arcadia High all-stars, 11-2, in another tour warm-up July 20.
The Glendora Tennis Tournament, always one of the largest amateur tennis events in Southern California, is getting even bigger.
The 25th tournament, which starts at 8 a.m. Saturday, has 938 entrants, 197 more than last year. Matches will be played at Glendora High, Citrus College and Dawson Park and Racquet Club. Finals in all divisions are Aug. 10 at Glendora High.
The tournament, which features many of the top amateurs in the nation, also has an international flavor with players from Japan, Canada, Mexico and Thailand.
Top seeds in the men's open singles division, which has $1,500 in prize money, are defending champion Bruce Man Son Hing of UC Irvine, Steve Aniston of UC Irvine, former UCLA and Junior Davis Cup team member John Davis of Los Angeles and Harold Hecht of Los Angeles.
In the women's open singles division, top seeds are Kristi Blankenship of Placentia, Michelle Mras of Anaheim, Jennifer Slattery of Huntington Beach and Linda Mallory of Laguna Nigel.
Paul Baiotto, tournament director, said the most competitive division may be the open men's doubles, headed by the teams of Aniston and Mark Spearman of Irvine, Hecht and Darrin Kennedy of Los Angeles, Man Son Hing and Chris Euing of Glendale and Nick Mateljan and Kevin Gillette of Redlands.
Among the top San Gabriel Valley players are former San Marino High standout Scott Melville of Rice University, seeded No. 6 in men's open singles; Bill Brown of Claremont, No. 2 in the junior boys 18-and-under division, and Amy Low of Pomona, seeded No. 4 in the junior girls 18-and-under Division.
The Arroyo Seco All-Stars of Pasadena will be one of the favorites when the Senior Babe Ruth Pacific Southwest Regional Baseball Tournament for ages 16-18 starts Saturday at Brookside Park in Pasadena.
In opening games of the double-elimination tournament Saturday, Arizona faces Central California at 3 p.m. and Arroyo Seco meets Southern California at 6.
In two other first-round games Sunday, Guam faces Northern California at 3 p.m. and Nevada faces Utah at 6.
Arroyo Seco, managed by Carl Lovelady, has several outstanding graduated high school seniors in Muir's Murphy Proctor and Wayne Bell, South Pasadena's Tracy Shanahan and Pasadena's Jamie Vega. Proctor batted .407 and Bell .395 as seniors.
Other standouts are former Blair star Ken Crockum of Santa Monica City College and UC Irvine's Kenneth Whitworth, formerly of South Pasadena.
The championship game of the eight-day event is Aug. 9.