Valaika hangs up his soccer cleats for good

first_img AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MORE‘Mame,’ ‘Hello, Dolly!’ composer Jerry Herman dies at 88 This season, Valaika, a two-time All-Foothill League selection, is batting .524 in 21 at-bats to raise his career average to .399. Only 15 Hart players since 1987 have finished with a career batting over of better than .400; Valaika also approaching the school’s career top-10 lists in runs and hits. The debate continues as to which sport is Valaika’s best. “He still loves soccer. A lot of coaches have said that if Matt had played club soccer instead of baseball during the summer that he’d probably have six or seven Division I soccer offers,” said his father, Jeff. “It’s a lot of stress to play both, and I think he’s missed out on some opportunities by not concentrating on one sport.” Matt believes baseball gives him a more secure future, so there are no regrets. “There are a lot of different reasons that I chose baseball, but the main one is baseball got me into a better school, and it might give me more opportunities later in life,” he said. “There are more chances to eventually make money playing baseball.” NEWHALL – Matt Valaika is Hart High’s man for all seasons, the school’s No. 1 soccer player and No. 1 baseball player who hasn’t taken a deep breath since his freshman year. An hour after playing a baseball game at Saugus on Wednesday, the 5-foot-10 senior officially said goodbye to soccer at Hart’s team banquet, where his soccer jersey was retired following a banner senior year that saw Valaika score a school-record 41 goals. Baseball has taken over as it always has during the spring, and this time it’s for good. Valaika plans to concentrate only on baseball as a scholarship player at UC Santa Barbara next season. “It’s going to be tough giving up soccer. I already miss it but the good thing is there’s no pressure because I’ve already committed to Santa Barbara,” Valaika said. “I just want to have fun and do my thing.” At UC Santa Barbara, Valaika will be reunited with his brother, Chris, a junior. Both play shortstop – as do younger brothers Patrick, 13, and Nicky, 10 – so perhaps there’ll be some friendly competition between the elder brothers. “Chris is my big brother, and everyone in the family has always looked up to him,” Valaika said. “I’ve tried to fill his shoes when he left, and now we get to hang out again. It’s going to be fun.” One of just five seniors on Hart’s 19-player roster, Valaika has embraced his role as a leader, although nothing is going to come easy for the Indians, who are 4-4 (1-1 in Foothill League) heading into today’s 3:15 p.m. matchup against visiting Burroughs (1-6, 0-2). “Eventually, we’re going to be tough to beat. We have a talented team but we’re a little young,” Valaika said. “The other teams in our league are young, too, so we’re going to compete. I just have to lead everyone and show them how it is to play on varsity because most of our guys haven’t played varsity. They’ve got to step right in and be ready to play because they can’t wait a year.” In today’s age of specialization, two sports are a lot, but there are many who believe Valaika could have dominated in football, too – which would have made three. Several remember the afternoon Valaika was spotted on Hart’s football field, kicking 50-yard field goals one after the other. “I was just screwing around but I actually did really think about playing football, too,” Valaika said. “I’d say I can hit an average of about four out of five from 50 yards. If I would have thought about it during my freshman year, I probably would have played football. I could have done three sports but it might have been too much.” Everyone knows you’re not supposed to think about a no-hitter while it’s happening – much less talk about it – because of the jinx factor. Nevertheless, toward the end of Canyon’s eventual 11-0 baseball victory over Burroughs on Wednesday, Canyon right-hander Tommy Kimmerle had a no-no going and couldn’t resist wondering if he could keep it up. “It got to be the sixth inning and I said to myself, `Hey, I can do this,’ ” Kimmerle said. Kimmerle came through with his first varsity no-hitter of his career. He also pitched a no-hitter for the frosh team three years ago. It was feared Valencia outfielder Virgil Hill would find difficultly readjusting after taking a year off from baseball last season to run track. So far, that hasn’t been the case, as the fleet junior is batting .333 with four extra-base hits to help Valencia (5-1, 2-0) to its best start in years. “It’s a tough thing to do. It takes a very good athlete,” coach Jared Snyder said. “Against certain pitching, Virgil is still overmatched, so we’re trying to gradually bring him back in. He’s young but he’s got a good understanding about baseball.” SOFTBALL Despite a total of just 15 at-bats over two seasons, Valencia catcher Rachel Mueller has committed to Ferris State, an NCAA Division II college in Big Rapids, Mich. Last year, Mueller was a backup, and this season she has split time with Paige Smith and also missed four games while on a recruiting trip to Ferris State, where her sister, Sarah, is among the team’s top pitchers. After missing her freshman season at Ferris State because of an injury, Sarah is 4-4 with a 3.45 ERA and 35 strikeouts in 42 innings. “Rachel is absolutely excited,” said her father, Paul. “It should be a good fit because the family is from Michigan, and this gives Rachel a chance to be back wither her sister,” Valencia coach Donna Lee said. The softball gods haven’t been smiling at Hart, as the Indians (5-1) trudged through yet another rainout Tuesday at Alemany of Mission Hills. “It’s been bad,” first-year coach Steve Calendo said. The game has been rescheduled for Tuesday at 3:15 p.m. at Alemany, followed by the Foothill League opener against visiting Burroughs on Thursday at 3:15 p.m. at Hart Park. Hart’s strength has been pitching and defense, as the Indians have yet to allow more than three runs in one game. Touted freshman Destiny Rodino is 3-0 with a 0.28 ERA and 23 strikeouts in 25 innings, and Stephanie Bronson is 2-1 with a 1.62 ERA and 15 strikeouts in 17 innings. Opponents have totaled four extra-base hits in six games. “Both have pitched very well,” Calendo said. Gerry Gittelson, (661) 257-5218 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img

Public health care interns protest to demand compensation

first_imgNo related posts. Facebook Comments Some 300 interns who work in the public health care system and say they haven’t been paid in seven months protested Wednesday in front of the Social Security System, or Caja, in downtown San José.According to Costa Rican law, medical interns working for the Caja should receive a scholarship equivalent to 36.6 percent of a general practitioner’s salary, about $440 per month.The wage incentive has been in place since 1982.Facing drastic budget constraints, Caja officials stopped paying the scholarships to the interns this year, and funds were transferred for use in management and administration of the institution, Caja President Ileana Balmaceda said at a press conference on Tuesday.The Caja is facing an ongoing financial crisis that has prompted government-imposed measures to cut costs. Medical students, however, say they often work six days a week during the one-year internship, and they should be compensated for their efforts.“This scholarship actually saves the Caja money because they don’t have to pay other professionals a full salary to do the job of 600 interns,” University of Costa Rica med student Fernando Morales said. “You have to take into account that a medical student, while working at an internship, has already completed all the course work.”On Tuesday, Balmaceda was emphatic that interns are not Caja employees, and internships are a requirement for graduation.“If interns go on strike, they are hurting themselves or their universities,” she said.“Universities don’t have much involvement in the internship process, and the hospitals and health care centers decide intern schedules and duties,” Morales countered.The Caja’s board of directors agreed to study the demands and respond in coming days.last_img read more