Bits and pieces from the local sports scene:
Burbank High grad and U.S. squad thrive in event: Sara Tubert has wasted little time beginning her success in international volleyball after graduating from Burbank High recently.
Tubert, a setter on the USA National Deaf Women’s Volleyball Team, got a taste of top-level competition at the USA Volleyball Open National Championships, June 1-4 in Dallas.
Pitted against 32 teams from all across the United States, the USA National Deaf Women’s Volleyball Team won the Division A title. Team USA was the only deaf team in the tournament.
Playing in 25 games over three days, it was Tubert’s first chance to compete in a big tournament since being selected to the squad last summer.
USA Volleyball, which hosted the annual event at the Dallas Convention Center, has showcased its Open National Championships for 80 years since the organization’s founding in 1928. The only years in which no competition took place was in 1943 and 1944, during the height of World War II.
The Open has been a mainstay celebrating adult volleyball nationally. The event is one of the largest national championships in any sport in the United States, and the Open has featured the sport of volleyball from coast to coast.
The USA National Deaf Women’s Volleyball Team will next compete at the 2011 Volleyball Friendship Games to be held July 31-Aug. 6 at Gallaudet University in Washington, DC. The four teams playing in the Women’s Division will be Canada, Japan, Ukraine and the United States.
Tubert was an all-league and All-Area standout at Burbank High in volleyball, as well as water polo. She had 281 assists to go along with 107 digs, 61 kills, 30 blocks and 23 aces in volleyball as a senior.
She will play for Gallaudet University starting in the fall.
Little League teams ready to begin tournament play: Having spent the past four months practicing and competing in regular season games, the attention of dozens of area Little League baseball and softball players has focused on the seven upcoming District 16 Tri-Cities Tournament of Champions.
Plenty will be at stake for those scheduled to compete, but Dave Ritchie said the teams should be battle tested in the various tournaments.
“I always believe that the All-Stars tournaments are the best because you are getting the best of the best, but they only have a couple of weeks to get ready and they are not used to each playing with other,” said Ritchie, the district’s volunteer administrator. “The big difference with this tournament is that these teams have been together and practiced since February.
“They’ve been together all this time and they have been friends the whole year.”
Ritchie said he will be intrigued by what teams are in position to raise the bar throughout the double-elimination tournaments.
“In Junior Baseball, you will get some high school players that are still age-eligible and they can make a big impact on your team,” Ritchie said. “I think it’s up in the air who can win that one.
“In the Major Baseball, it’s the only division where the teams haven’t played each other and they’ll play on fields that they didn’t play on during the regular season. With all of the softballs, the teams have played each other. There’s always the possibility of upsets happening. They have experience playing in tournaments and that will help them in this tournament and going into ¿All-Stars.”
Two baseball tournaments will kick things off today.
The Minor Baseball will feature opening-round games between Jewel City Mauerhan and the Burbank Yankees at 1:30 p.m. at Babe Herman Field, the Burbank Dodgers against the Vaquero Giants at 1:30 at Scholl Canyon Ball Fields, Jewel City Kiwanis against Jewel City at 4 at Babe Herman and Foothill Crescenta Valley Insurance against the Vaquero Dodgers at 4 p.m. at Scholl Canyon.
Foothill Arroyo, Tujunga Mets, Foothill Bistagne, Burbank Braves, Foothill Lighthouse, Tujunga Dodgers, Burbank Angels and Jewel City Elks will also participate in the tournament.
In the Major Baseball Division, Foothill Two Guys will meet Crescenta Valley at 1 p.m. at Pacific Park, followed by Jewel City/Jewish War Veterans against the Burbank Angels with the Tujunga Red Sox, Vaquero Auto Body, Jewel City Lions, Foothill Tommy’s, Crescenta Valley Auto Body, Tujunga Phillies, Vaquero Cougars and Burbank Cubs waiting in the wings.
Teams from Glendale, Burbank and Tujunga will participate in the Crescenta Valley Little League Minor Baseball Division. That tournament will begin with games at 4:30 and 7 p.m. Tuesday at Montrose Park.
The Minor Softball Tournament will also start Tuesday with five contests. The Foothill Killer Bees will take on Crescenta Valley Arnols at 5:15 p.m. at Babe Herman Field, followed by Vaquero Royalty against Crescenta Valley JDL at 7:30 at the same location. Other first-round games will pit Crescenta Valley Alsamman against the Tujunga Bat Rays at 7:30 p.m. at Tujunga Little League Fields, Crescenta Valley-2 against the Burbank Diamonds at 5:15 at Scholl and Crescenta Valley Andy’s against Foothill Two Guys at 7:30 at Scholl. Crescenta Valley-1, Tujunga Hot Shots and the Burbank Heart Breakers will also take part in the tournament.
The Junior Baseball and Junior Softball Division tournaments will begin June 18.
In the Junior Baseball bracket, the Tujunga Twins will meet the Jewel City Bears at 9:30 a.m. at Tujunga Little League Fields, followed by the Crescenta Valley Augusta against the Crescenta Valley Kelly & Small at noon and Crescenta Valley DCG against the Burbank Orioles at 2:30 p.m.
Also slated to be a part of the tournament are the Burbank Indians, Crescenta Valley Kitchen, Foothill, Burbank Bulldogs and Jewel City West Coast.
The Junior Softball Division will start with the Burbank Diamonds meeting the Jewel City Fire Belles at 9:30 a.m. at Montrose Park, followed by Crescenta Valley Muir-Chase against Crescenta Valley Kiwanis at noon at the same site. Top-seeded Burbank Fusion earned a first-round bye.
Because of the tournaments, the Burbank Little League will hold its closing ceremonies at 10 a.m. Sunday at Brace Park.
Baseball, softball players get chance to show off their skills: It is as much of a summer tradition in Burbank as cookouts and dips in the pool.
The Civitan Baseball Jamboree and the Civitan Softball Jamboree has become a part of summer for athletes in the Burbank Park, Recreation and Community Services Hap Minor leagues.
The 55th installment of the baseball celebration will take place June 18 at Olive Park. The softball event will follow a week later June 25.
Teams from the leagues will take part in a day of events that begin with a parade at 8:30 a.m. that will wind its way to the park.
The players will then gather for the traditional skills competition, where athletes will try and earn trophies in events like baserunning, hitting for distance, throwing for accuracy and throwing for distance.
In addition, refreshments and food will be prepared and served to the young ball players.
Jeff Tully and Charles Rich