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PD Preps Insider: Middletown’s Hannah Diaz signs to play soccer at Saint Mary’s College

THE PRESS DEMOCRAT

Two-time All-Empire smalls schools girls soccer player of the year Hannah Diaz of Middletown High School has gotten an early start on her college soccer career.

She was an early graduate at Middletown, and on Thursday, signed a letter-of-intent to play soccer at Saint Mary’s College.

Diaz also was an accomplished player for the Santa Rosa United youth soccer program.

Chip off the block

At least, he’s keeping it in the family! Sophomore Travis Kitowski scored 34 points Saturday for Cloverdale in a junior varsity basketball win.

He made 80 percent of his 3-point shots and shot 73 percent from the field overall. The sophomore is the son of former Cloverdale and Sonoma State multisport star Sandy McMillan Kitowski and the nephew of Santa Rosa JC men’s basketball coach Craig McMillan. Craig McMillan led his father John’s Cloverdale High teams to state titles in 1983 and 1984.

Determined post presence

Santa Rosa’s boys basketball team almost had to play last weekend’s Sonoma County Classic without its top two scorers.

The night before the tourney began, Dustin Rome (12.6 points per game) was at the hospital being treated for flu-like symptoms while Daniel Cresta (10.4) had a swollen knee. Neither was 100 percent, but both told coach John McGill they wanted to play in Thursday’s opening round game. Santa Rosa won that game against Piner but lost the next night to Mt. Eden.

That put Santa Rosa in Saturday’s game for third place against Cardinal Newman. Facing the team that had beaten them by 35 points three weeks earlier, the Panthers bounced back with a 50-49 victory.

Akognon scores 54

Casa Grande’s Josh Akognon, who in April became the first Sonoma County high school graduate to play in the NBA, didn’t land an NBA job this season but is doing what he can to stay in people’s minds. He recently posted a 54-point game for his Qingdao team in the Chinese professional league.

Ballard becomes the boss

Montgomery High graduate Jason Ballard was named the head golf pro at Oak Hill Country Club in Rochester, N.Y., last month.

Ballard, 35, comes from a golfing family. His grandfather, Jim Ballard, worked at Bennett Valley Golf Club until he died in 2011. His uncle, Don Ballard, is Bennett Valley’s greens superintendent.

After Ballard graduated college, he turned pro before becoming a club pro. Ballard was an assistant pro at Augusta National, home of the Masters tournament, Congressional Country Club in Bethesda, Md., and Inverness Country Club in Toledo, Ohio.

St. Helena native shines

St. Helena is home to one of the top players in the North Coast Section, but 6-foot-6 senior Nathan Krill is starring for Justin-Siena in Napa. Krill, who enrolled at the Catholic school as a freshman, is 19th in the North Coast Section in scoring with 17.1 points per game and second in rebounds through nine games with 12.2 boards per game. Krill is being recruited by NCAA Division II and Division III colleges.

Michael Coit, Ted Sillanpaa and Howard Senzell contributed to this report.