El Cajon, CA
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Articles by David Dickens

On Wednesday evening VIEJAS Casino & Resort, once again expanded their property by adding 287,660 sq. ft. of beautiful hotel, Willows Spa, and three fabulous new dining experiences,  that are a must when you visit, and the service is world class, always with a smile.

I have written countless features in my time, but when requested to write about my late father, Bill Dickens, I had mixed emotions.

William C. Dickens was born to his birth mother, Mrs. De La Valle at a local hospital in Los Angeles on March 6, 1949. He was born a little over 10 pounds. Unfortunately for young William, his birth mother had already had several children and opted to put 3-day-old William up for adoption. 

It all started at the age of 12 for Scott “Hoppy” Hopgood. Most baseball players start at the younger age of 4 to 5 years old as little ears, but due to his parents’ divorce it was difficult for Hoppy to play organized baseball.

However the first year he played for Balboa Little League as a 12-year old and the following year, with just one year as shortstop, made the All-Star squad. Hopgood also pitched at this time, and with his love of the game had no qualms about his position. He just wanted to play ball.

On what was forecast to be a day of gray skies and consistent showers, the start of the Cajon De Oro Tournament of Champions was destined to be played. The Padres Force, coming off a heartbreak loss earlier in the week 12-2, were set to prove its worthiness against a talented team, The Swinging Friars.

The fabulous Flannery Padres, dressed in blazing blue uniforms are making a statement, and are at the top of their game at 15-wins, 3-losses, and one tie. This great group of boys has true chemistry. Most of these fine young ball players have been playing since the age of 4, and playing for the same teams at Cajon De Oro Little League. It has all the tools and a great cast of characters from umpires to managers.

East County has produced many superstar athletes for several years now. Most of the athletes have come via land, however a Seastar has been born right here in our own backyard. Seastars, though they come from all over the county, the Seastars call Spring Valley its home, the team practices three to six hours a day at Mt. Miguel High School. Elite-level synchronized swimmers practice eight hours a day, six days a week.

The San Diego Padres have been holding public address announcer try-outs since January. Nearly 800 candidates were given a shot, and several contestants were turned away without a chance to show their talents. It looked as if American Idol was in town.

Wonderful people volunteer their time to help raise awareness of many diseases or raise funds for the less fortunate. But some East County runners are putting on their track shoes in a benefit for Monarch School in San Diego. Monarch is a k-12 school that provides education, food, clothing, along with shelter and extracurricular activities for the homeless.

The Steele Canyon Cougars finished the 2013 varsity baseball season, 4-11 in league, and 14-15 overall. One of the bright spots last season, shortstop Tanner Perry made all-league. Tanner also plays basketball, and is the key senior amongst many returning this season. Helping the turnaround, first year coach, and former Oakland athletic, Dan Nerat, is commanding the Cougars this year, to assist Tanner and is teammates reach the promise land.

So many wonderful things fell into place for the Santana High School girls’ softball team last year as the Lady Sultans captured the San Diego Section Division III championship title. But it could be a different result this year. Senior heavy, Grossmont Valley League champion Santana lost most of its roster due to graduation.

The Grossmont Hills League title chase should be just as interesting, with defending league champion West Hills pushed by several teams, the Valhalla Norsemen prime among them.