Softball: Alhambra’s win over Duarte marred by controversy. Duarte likely to submit protest to CIF about Moors’ wiffle ball batting practice in pregame warm-ups.

ALSO: Keppel beats Cantwell, 11-1. Click on thread to read story.

By Keith Lair, Staff Writer

DUARTE – The Alhambra High School softball team defeated Duarte in a CIF-Southern Section Division 5 first-round playoff game Thursday afternoon.

The Moors’ 3-2 victory, however, could very well be overturned by CIF-SS officials.

Alhambra coach John Zabala said the Moors threw pitches with a wiffle ball before the start of the game. Duarte coach Paul Viteri protested to the umpires before the game’s start, although Zabala said he didn’t know that the game was being played under protest until he tried to shake Viteri’s hand in the postgame greeting.

“We do it the way we always do,” Zabala said of the pregame warm- ups. “We take about five feet off to the side and we use wiffles.

“We kind of teach our girls that we get beat on the field, we get beat on the field.”

A CIF-SS tournament bulletin from assistant commissioner Scott Raftery specifically says that any type of batting practice with any type of ball, including wiffle balls, is illegal.


The rule says that “includes bunting or slap hitting … Batting practice will be construed as any type of pitching motion with any type of ball from in front of the batter (including pitching machines, underhand tossing, overhand throwing or pepper). The only acceptable batting warmup will be side soft toss. The player who tosses the ball should be on a knee and to the side of the batter. The ball should be lifted, not pitched, to the batter… .”

“We showed them (the rule) before the game started,” Viteri said. “That’s what they were doing. That’s batting practice.

“We didn’t do it. To me, I thought it was an advantage.”

Viteri said he wanted to mull over his actions, but the Falcons, the tournament’s No.4 seed, have video of the pregame session.

Falcons athletic director Robyn Garcia will more than likely submit a protest to the CIF-SS office today. CIF-SS commissioner Dr. James Staunton of San Gabriel High can only resolve the protest, according to Blue Book rule 1112. It could conceivably not be ruled upon until Monday. The second-round game is scheduled for Tuesday.

Alhambra’s Denise Gonzales hit a two-run homer that went through the infield to decide the game in the third inning.

The Moors, who defeated Lompoc in the seventh inning in a wild-card game, got their first run off an error in the inning.

With one out, Elsie Ramirez hit a bunt single. She was sacrificed to second base, and Natalie Gutierrez hit a fly ball right at right fielder Gaby Avina, who tried a one- handed catch. The ball popped out, and Ramirez scored the game’s first run.

The Falcons then shifted their entire defense to get cleanup hitter Gonzales, who has eight home runs this season, to hit to the right side of the infield.

“They were giving their location of their pitches by the rotation of the defense,” Zabala said. “I thought they really overshifted.”

She slammed the ball on the ground to the right of third baseman Mary Rose Magnolia and left fielder Brianna Lopez.

“The pitch was outside,” Gonzales said. “It just magically went the opposite direction. I was just trying get on base no matter what it takes. I got something better out of it.”

Rosie Mejia hit a two-run homer for the Falcons, who had only two hits.


Keppel starts fast with 11-1 victory over Cantwell
By Nathan Cambridge, Correspondent

ALHAMBRA – The Keppel High School softball team started its postseason run with power and pitcher Alashanee Medina threw a one-hitter in an 11-1 victory over Cantwell Sacred Heart in a CIF-SS Division 5 first-round game Thursday.

“I thought we played a very good game from the very first pitch,” Keppel coach Bobby Madrid said. “I mean, we were focused and we went after (their) pitcher early.”

The Aztecs (15-7) led 9-0 before the Cardinals got their lone hit, a fifth-inning single, off of Medina. She struck out seven.

Three of Keppel’s first four hits were triples and the Aztecs had six extra-base hits in the game.

“Whenever you get runs early with (Medina) in the circle you should be pretty good,” Madrid said of his team, which was ranked No. 8 in the final division coaches poll.

Medina hit the second triple of the first inning to drive in the game’s first run and scored the second run on an error by the Cardinals (12-14). The junior also doubled to lead off the fifth inning before being replaced by a courtesy runner who then scored on Vanessa Mendez’s home run.

Cantwell Sacred Heart starting pitcher Amanda Garcia left after the fourth inning trailing 9-0. In her playoff debut the freshman gave up 13 hits, struck out two and walked two.

“Our freshman pitcher Amanda struggled a little bit,” interim Cantwell Sacred Heart coach Fernando Pintado said. “She had some trouble finding the strike zone. She got hit and she got rattled a little bit.”

Aztecs junior Brianna Jimenez, who also excelled in left field, led off the second inning with a triple and later added a two-run home run, part of a five-run fourth inning.

Two of the runs scored when consecutive pitches got away from catcher Jessica Alvarado, also one of seven freshmen playing for the Cardinals.

“We’re young,” Pintado said of his team that does not have a senior on its roster. “We made a lot of mistakes. The freshman came out of us and unfortunately that’s the game.”

Pintado stepped in to coach the Cardinals after their coaching staff was suspended at the end of the regular season. According to Cardinals athletic director Omar Villalta, coach Tom Louviere and his staff were “suspended pending an investigation by the principal” into an incident that happened in relation to the “third-to-last game” of the regular season.

Keppel advanced to Tuesday’s second round at a site to be determined against the winner of a first-round matchup between Godinez and Katella.

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