TOP 10 SPORTS STORIES OF THE YEAR:

1 Trevor Bell makes Major League Baseball debut:Trevor Bell makes Major League Baseball debut: After spending the better part of four years in the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim’s farm system following his being selected 37th overall by the club in the 2005 Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft, Crescenta Valley High product Trevor Bell finally made his much-anticipated major league debut before 37,859 on Aug. 12 in Anaheim against the Tampa Bay Rays.

Although he settled for a no-decision in the Angels’ 5-3 come-from-behind victory, Bell was fairly sharp, allowing four runs on nine hits, while striking out four batters and walking but one over 5 1/3 innings.

“It was amazing,” Bell told the News-Press after his debut, which was witnessed first hand by roughly 200 local supporters, including his former Falcons Coach Phil Torres and former Little League coach and current agent Bill Hertz. “It was everything I wished it could be and more.”

Bell, who excelled in the minor leagues in 2009 en route to his call-up, moving through double-A and triple-A, remained on the Angels roster through the end of the regular season, making two more starts before moving to the bullpen, where he made four relief appearances. His first career win in the majors came on the road on Aug. 18 when he went 5 1/3 innings against the Cleveland Indians to earn a 5-4 decision.

“Any first major league win would be a dream come true,” Bell told mlb.com after the win. “Even if it was a 10-9 game, and yourself and your team gets the win, that’s a dream.”

On the season, Bell went 1-2 with a 9.74 earned-run average over 20 1/3 innings pitched with 14 strikeouts to 11 walks.

2 Glendale Community College women’s cross-country captures state championship:Glendale Community College women’s cross-country captures state championship: Having missed a chance to win its second straight title by just three points in 2008, the Vaqueros reloaded and raised expectations even further for 2009.

After dominating courses up and down the state throughout the season, Glendale fully realized its lofty preseason goals when it captured the 2009 California Community College Cross Country Championship at Woodward Park in Fresno on Nov. 21, beating out Orange Coast College, 43-80.

Nina Moore won the state individual crown, leading a group that included Rosa Del Toro, Karen Rosas, Vivian Ochoa and Brianna Jauregui and set a junior college team record time of 92:18 for the storied course, with its Nos. 1-6 finishers separated by only 68 seconds.

“I feel awesome,” said Moore, who won the race in 17 minutes 48 seconds. “We won and I accomplished my goal, so I’m really happy.”

The win brought home the second state crown for the Vaqueros women since 2007 and marked the fourth state cross-country title of veteran Coach Eddie Lopez’s tenure at Glendale.

“Any time you win, it’s always an honor, especially when you’re favored to win, there’s really a lot of pressure,” Lopez said. “[Winning] takes the pressure off, though. The women ran outstanding.”

3 Baillie Kirker ends high school career as state home run queen:Baillie Kirker ends high school career as state home run queen: Crescenta Valley’s perennial All-CIF slugger had already set a state record for career home runs once during her senior season. In her final at bat of the last game of her career, Kirker dramatically did it once again.

In the Falcons’ 3-2 loss to Chino Hills on May 28, Kirker launched her 16th round-tripper of the season and 53rd of her four-year varsity career to surpass Crenshaw’s Alia Williams for good after the latter had overtaken the record previously during the season.

“I thought for sure she’d walk me,” Kirker said of Chino Hills pitcher Nikki Innamorato, who served up the historic homer. “The coach told her to go at [me] and I said, ‘OK.’”

Kirker first claimed the record on March 19 in a three-home run performance against Hoover High. Her first blast tied the previous record of 45 and she finished the day with a new record of 47.

“People say you make it look easy, but it’s really not because you do take a lot of time and effort into making your swing that easy looking, like perfected swing,” Kirker said on the art of hitting home runs. “But all the times you don’t hit one, you always do something wrong, but the one time when you know it, the ball hits the bat and you know ... right off the bat.”

4 Ramses Barden gets selected in NFL Draft:Ramses Barden gets selected in NFL Draft: Hearing his name called by the New York Giants as the 21st pick in the third round of the 2009 NFL Draft on April 26 instantly became the greatest milestone of a distinguished athletic career for the former Flintridge Prep standout.

A three-sport athlete as a Rebel before becoming a record-breaking star wide receiver at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, Barden parlayed his 85th overall selection into a $2.48 million rookie contract, which he inked on June 24 at the conclusion of the Giants’ offseason activities.

“It’s a beautiful place to play,” said Barden, for whom the Giants traded a third- and fifth-round pick to move up and select. “I grew up and spent a lot of time in New York and I have a lot of family there. ...It’s gonna be a wonderful opportunity.”

Barden spent his Sunday morning after learning of the selection taking calls from the New York coaching staff and Giants quarterback Eli Manning, as well as taking part in a media conference call, all while absorbing the reality that he had been tabbed to join one of the most storied franchises in football.

Barden commanded the attention of NFL scouts during an All-American senior season at Cal Poly that saw him catch 67 passes for 1,257 yards and 18 touchdowns and graduate with a school-record 206 catches, 4,203 yards and 50 touchdowns for his career.

He also set an all-time NCAA Football Championship Subdivision record of 32 career games with a touchdown catch, formerly held by Jerry Rice, who had 30 games with a touchdown catch while at Mississippi Valley State.

5 Glendale Glory brings boxing back to town:Glendale Glory brings boxing back to town: A 62-year ban on boxing in Glendale was temporarily lifted for one night on June 12, a night that saw several local talents claim victory in an overall successful and well-received event at the Glendale Civic Auditorium.

Andrey Fedosov quickly stopped Galen Brown in the main event, preceded by strong wins by locals Gapo “The Ghost” Tolmajyan and Art “Lionheart” Hovhannesyan.

“All along, I was convinced that it was going to go smooth [with] great atmosphere, good fights, no problems, just how I’ve been telling people,” said Art of Boxing Promotions’ Kahren Harutyunyan, a Glendale resident, who co-promoted Glendale Glory along with Bash Boxing. “If this doesn’t change people’s minds [about boxing in Glendale] I don’t think there’s anything that will.”

It would seem as if Glendale Glory had the effect on public opinion that Harutyunyan intended, as Glendale Glory 2 is slated for Jan. 8 at the same venue.

6 Vanes Martirosyan wins first pro titles:Vanes Martirosyan wins first pro titles: The local light middleweight prospect known as “The Nightmare” enjoyed a highly successful 2009, in which he went 4-0 against some of his toughest competition yet and wrapped up the year by claiming the North American Boxing Federation and North American Boxing Organization light middleweight belts.

Martirosyan (26-0, 17 knockouts) won the belts, the first of his four-plus year professional career, via a third-round technical knockout of Willie Lee on Dec. 19 in Youngstown, Ohio.

Fighting live on pay-per-view, Martirosyan softened up Lee with a devastating right in the first round and dropped him in the third round en route to a quick stoppage.

7 Beloved Hoover Coach Jim Delzell passes away:Beloved Hoover Coach Jim Delzell passes away: A little less than one year removed from stepping down as head of the Tornadoes baseball program after a run of 15 seasons, the longtime coach, educator and mentor died in his sleep at his home in Tujunga on May 2.

Delzell, who reportedly died of natural causes, was only 50.

An overflow of mourners paid their final respects to Delzell at a May 9 memorial service at the Forest Lawn Memorial-Parks & Mortuaries that included heartfelt remembrances from his family, friends and colleagues.

Delzell is survived by his wife Karen and sons Layton and Tyler and daughters Cassidy and Jenna.

8 Hakop Kaplanyan breaks single-season goals record:Hakop Kaplanyan breaks single-season goals record: As the 2009 boys’ water polo regular season wound down, it became apparent that the Hoover sophomore standout had a legitimate shot at breaking the state record of 226 goals scored in a single season.

Circumstances aligned favorably for Kaplanyan’s pursuit of the record, as the Tornadoes advanced all the way to the CIF Southern Section Division VI quarterfinals, where the record fell in the second quarter on Nov. 14. On the season, Kaplanyan tallied 229 goals en route to being named All-Area Player of the Year.

9 St. Francis soccer wins CIF Regional title:St. Francis soccer wins CIF Regional title: Behind the dazzling play of All-Area Player of the Year Eric Verso and a talent-laden supporting cast, the Golden Knights blazed their way through the CIF Division II Southern California Regional playoffs and into the championship game on March 14.

There, led by two goals from Jake La Porte, they soundly beat No. 1 seed San Diego Cathedral Catholic, 4-2, to claim the area’s first regional title.

10 Mark Loretta wins playoff game for Dodgers:Mark Loretta wins playoff game for Dodgers: The 15-year Major League veteran became an unlikely hero for the Los Angeles Dodgers when he drove in the winning run with a bases-loaded, pinch-hit single in the bottom of the ninth inning of Game Two of the 2009 National League Division Series to give the Dodgers a 3-2 win over the St. Louis Cardinals at Dodger Stadium on Oct. 8.

Others receiving votes: Karen Darabedyan wins World Extreme Cagefighting debut; Yumi So wins two CIF swimming titles while setting a pair of Division II records; Glendale boys’ water polo reaches CIF semifinals for first time since 2000.


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