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NOTEBOOK : East L.A.'s Brenes Is State Soccer Coach of the Year


The California Coaches Assn. has named Orlando Brenes Coach of the Year for men's soccer at the community college level.

A native of Costa Rica, Brenes has coached East L.A. since 1988, leading his team to one state championship, four conference titles and an overall record of 95-10-9.

This year his team finished 23-1-3, losing only to Chabot, 4-3, in a semifinal match that went into double overtime.

Brenes credited his assistant coach, Ramon Gomez, who has been with him at East L.A. for five years. Brenes and Gomez also coach the soccer team at Bell Gardens High School, where they have won two CIF titles and 11 league championships.

"I use Bell Gardens like a farm system. A lot of the players that don't go to a four-year college come to ELAC," he said. Five of the players that went to the state championship in 1990 were from Bell Gardens; in 1992, East L.A. had four starters that came from Bell Gardens.

Brenes said the key to his success was a combination of his past coaches and his present players. "The players not only respect me as a person but they respect me as a coach," he said. His most influential coaches: Tony Critelli, who coached the 1975 East L.A. team, and Ralph Perez, who coached him at Whittier College and was assistant coach for the U.S. National team at the 1990 World Cup.

Brenes was also named regional Coach of the Year by the National Soccer Assn. of America in 1992.


Nothing to it--The word no is definitely in Larry Gayton's baseball vocabulary.

On April 3, the 5-10 sophomore pitcher hurled seven hitless innings as Bell High School blanked Garfield 2-0 in a second-round game of the Umpire's Tournament at Bell.

"He was in command of his game from the first pitch to the last," Bell Coach Henry Santiago said.

Gayton, who improved his record to 3-0 on the season, has not given up an earned run in 13 2/3 innings.

Bell (10-1, 4-1) moved to second place in the Southeastern Conference behind Roosevelt, which is undefeated in its five conference games.

"Gayton's best pitches are his slider and curveball, but his fastball was clicking that night," Santiago said. Gayton is also working on a split-finger fastball.


The Bark and the Bite--The East Los Angeles Huskies baseball team is setting its sights on first place in the Southern California Athletic Conference.

The Huskies (16-12, 9-3) are in second place behind L.A. Mission College (20-8, 10-2). East L.A. is riding a six-game conference winning streak, and Coach Al Cone and East L.A. have an important home-and-home series Tuesday and Thursday against third-place Los Angeles City College (6-6).

"(The) series against LACC is a big one," Cone said. "We can't afford to look past them."

Isaac Burton, a 6-foot-4 sophomore who was the Conference co-MVP in basketball, is a key member of the baseball team as well.

Burton, batting .411 on the season, picked up a victory in his first relief appearance for East L.A. in an 8-3 win over Southwestern College of San Diego.

"Physically, Isaac is an outstanding player" Cone said. "He is definitely draftable."


Add baseball--In his last three appearances, Mark Jones of Crenshaw has given up only one earned run while striking out 25 batters. He pitched back-to-back no-hitters in addition to his five-hitter Tuesday against San Pedro.

Jones throws an 86-mph fastball and a curveball.

"Jones is focused on the mound, and he does what I tell him," pitching coach Ken Allen said. "He has good work habits, the perfect temperament and (he) is only 18."


Swimming--Bell High senior Helen Salcedo considered last week's trip to the United States Nationals in Nashville, Tenn. a success despite her comparatively slow times.

Salcedo swam 2:40.81 to place 21st in the 200-meter breaststroke. She had a time of 1:14.84 to finish 23rd in the 100-meter breaststroke. Her best times are 1:13 in the 100 and 2:36 in the 200.

"I wasn't in the right frame of mind in the 200," Salcedo said. "I went out too fast and threw my form off. I was so tired after the first 100 that I just didn't have enough to come home hard."

Salcedo, 17, competed for the first time in the spring version of the Nationals. She also competed in the summer version of the Nationals last year.

"Those weren't quite her best times," Bellflower Aquatic Club Coach Don Watkindssaid. "She was excited to be there and that took away from her concentration."


Right combination--Khevin Pratt was named the top wide receiver at the Multi League combine, a supplemental combine for players who were not invited to the NFL Scouting combine, last month in St. Petersburg, Fla.

Pratt, 22, a 1988 graduate of Crenshaw High, recorded the fastest mark in the 40-yard dash--4.4 seconds--at the combine, which also measured players' vertical leaps, standing broad jumps and bench presses.

"It was a big-time victory to be a hands-down winner among the best," said Pratt, who is hoping to be selected in next month's NFL draft.

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