El Cajon, CA
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Articles by Phillip Brents

Even if all the infrastructure and glitter isn’t quite in place, the Games of the XXXI Olympiad have started off on a decidedly festive note in Rio de Janeiro. Opening ceremonies took place last Friday, with unretired swimmer Michael Phelps leading the massive American contingent in the parade of nations as its flag bearer.

The Emerald Pony League field is nestled in the center of El Cajon. It is about to become a youth baseball landmark after two of its team’s snared World Series championships over the weekend.

Emerald’s entry in the Mustang-9 International World Series completed a prolific 21-0 post-season journey by defeating Guasave, Mexico, in Saturday’s championship game in Walnut.

There has been a lot of activity on the Emerald Pony League Facebook site in the past few weeks, and with good reason. The El Cajon-based league’s Mustang-9 and Pony-13 all-star teams are both World Series bound.

Emerald FC Prime will represent the West Zone when play starts Thursday, July 28, in the Mustang-9 International World Series in Walnut. The eight-team international tournament wraps up Sunday, July 31.

Major League Baseball players and top college prospects hail from all parts of the United States and beyond. La Mesa resident Nick Allen could be one of them in the making.

The incoming senior at the Francis Parker School is scheduled to appear in two high-profile national prep baseball showcase events to close out the summer.

The future stars of Major League Baseball were showcased in Sunday’s aptly named Sirius XM All-Star Futures Game at Petco Park as part of MLB All-Star Week. It only seems a matter of time before former Grossmont High School standout Joe Musgrove gets his time to shine in a MLB uniform.

Got your tickets yet to this year’s Major League Baseball All-Star Game at Petco Park?

The July 12 game is certainly commanding ticket prices worthy of baseball’s proverbial “Midseason Classic.” Tickets, as of Monday, started at $374 in the upper pavilion on StubHub.com and at $242 on Vividseats.com for standing room only in the outfield Park in the Park grass seating area.

If you’re priced out of the event, you can watch the game at home on television (FOX network) or on other streaming media platforms, starting at 4:30 p.m. Pacific Time.

It was a great day for East County high school track and field programs as nine area student-athletes lined up to compete in this year’s 98th annual California state championship meet prelims June 3 at Buchanan High School in Clovis. Never mind that the high temperature that day was 103 degrees, and 105 degrees the next day for the finals.

California will have significant representation during this month’s International Federation of Roller Hockey (FIRS) inline hockey world championship tournament in Roana and Asiago, Italy. Specifically, Santee resident Charles “Chucky Slick” Baldwin will represent East County.

Jordan Verdon excelled while playing baseball at Granite Hills High School. A four-year varsity letter-winner, he won four league championships with the Eagles, twice advancing to the San Diego Section championship game.

His sophomore season, Granite Hills placed runner-up to Rancho Bernardo in the Open Division final by a score of 3-1. The Eagles were back the next year in the title game against La Costa Canyon and won 3-0.

Valhalla High School senior Curtis Smith is a standout on the track and field oval, and not because the fair-skinned blond mid-distance runner is the easiest to spot on the field. He has become a key contributor to the team’s success and is pushing for personal bests this season that could earn him a spot on the awards podium at next month’s San Diego Section finals.