Cal Poly Pomona is among the favorites in the NCAA Division I College Softball World Series today through Sunday at Twin Creeks Sports Complex in Sunnyvale.
The Broncos, ranked No. 2 in the nation with a 55-14 record, draw Nebraska in their first-round game at 8 tonight. The double-elimination tournament includes top-ranked UCLA, defending champion Texas A & M, Arizona, Fresno State, Adelphi and Northern Illinois.
It marks the third World Series appearance in five years for the Broncos, who have their most wins ever in a season. Pomona finished fourth in its last appearance in 1985 and seventh in 1984.
After finishing second to Fresno State in the Pacific Coast Athletic Assn., Pomona swept two games from Long Beach State, 2-0 and 2-1, in the NCAA West Regional last week to qualify for the tournament. Nebraska qualified by defeating Creighton in the Central Regional on Sunday.
The Broncos head into the tournament with momentum, having won 16 of their last 17 games. Assistant coach Shirley Topley said the team has been playing well since the end of April.
"I think we started peaking about two or three weeks ago when we defeated Cal State Long Beach, Cal State Fullerton and Hawaii," Topley said. "That weekend was a turning point of the season for us. We went from fourth to second (in the PCAA), and that sort of got us rolling. I think winning is contagious."
Pomona has been led by shortstop Dana Ramos, who is batting .301 with a team-high 66 hits. In addition there is catcher Denise Correa at .299, second baseman Alison Stowell at .293, third baseman Betsy Burr at .269, outfielder Kris Rokosz at .267 and first baseman Kandi Burke at .252 with a team-leading 4 home runs and 38 runs batted in.
Rokosz is the team's top pitcher with a 22-3 record, 0.49 earned-run average and 8 shutouts. Other pitching standouts are freshman Nicky Luce, who is 24-8 with 12 shutouts and an 0.70 ERA, and Lori Thompson, who is 9-3 with an 0.67 ERA.
After struggling to an 11-16 record last season, Cal Poly Pomona has signed five players to letters of intent in men's basketball for next season.
Topping the list are junior college standouts Charles Robinson, a 6-7 forward from Mississippi County Community College in Arkansas, and 6-5, 215-pound forward Matt Sample from San Jose City College.
Robinson, a cousin of forward Keith Lee of the NBA's New Jersey Nets, averaged 10 points and 7 rebounds and made his all-state team last year. Sample was an All-Golden Gate Conference choice and averaged 10.3 points and 6.8 rebounds last season. Both will be juniors.
"With both Matt and Charles we feel we are bringing in players from two of the finest junior college programs in their respective states," Bronco Coach Dave Bollwinkel said.
Pomona also has signed guards D. J. Norman (6-2) from Fairfield High in Northern California, Jim Skinner (6-3) of Citrus College and Kenny Bennett (5-9) of La Quinta High in Westminster.
Skinner, a former All-Montview League player at San Dimas High and an All-Orange Empire League selection at Citrus last year, may be the best offensive player among the recruits, having averaged 19 points and 7.6 rebounds last season.
"We need to improve our ability to shoot on the perimeter, and Jim Skinner should be a big plus in this area," Bollwinkel said. "He is a tough, hard-nosed player who has the ability to knock down the 20-foot jump shot."
Bennett, a speedy guard who made the All-Garden Grove League team last season, averaged 16 points and 6 assists. Norman, a good ball handler, averaged 13.8 points and 4.1 rebounds and was Monticello Empire League player of the year and an All-Northern California selection last season.
Cal State Los Angeles standouts Lupe Quintana in women's basketball and Martine Sandoval in men's cross-country have been named college athletes of the year, and basketball player Carlos Carrillo of Bosco Tech in Rosemead has been selected high school athlete of the year by the Hispanic Public Relations Society.
Quintana, a 6-0 junior center, broke the Cal State rebounding record midway through last season and is No. 5 in career scoring. She has also made the All-California Collegiate Athletic Assn. team the last three seasons and was an All-American selection by Fast Break magazine in 1987.
Sandoval, a junior from San Diego, earned All-American honors in cross-country last November and helped the Golden Eagles to their first CCAA and NCAA Division II Far West regional titles. He is also a standout in the 5,000- and 10,000-meter runs.
Carrillo, a 6-7 forward who has signed to play for the University of San Diego next season, averaged 21 points and 8.5 rebounds to lead Bosco Tech into the CIF 5-A playoffs. He was also an All-Del Rey League selection the last two seasons.
The three athletes will receive their awards during the society's annual Latino of the Year Luncheon on June 3 at USC's Town and Gown.
The Cal Poly Pomona women's softball team has placed two players on the NCAA All-West Region first team and two on the second team.
First-team players are catcher Denise Correa and second baseman Alison Stowell. The second-team members are third baseman Betsy Burr and utility player Kris Rokosz.
It is the fourth straight season that Stowell has made the team. A three-time All-American, she was recently named to the All-Pacific Coast Athletic Assn. team for the fourth straight time.
Two high school teams from the San Gabriel Valley are among 21 in Southern California that have received awards from the CIF Southern Section for academic excellence.
Claremont was honored in girls cross-country and El Monte in boys tennis. The awards were based on cumulative team grade averages. Claremont posted a 3.68 average on a 4.0 scale and El Monte finished at 3.53.