About Fred Robledo

Fred J. Robledo is the local sports editor for the Los Angeles Newspaper Group

CIF PLAYOFFS: Bishop Amat, Damien, South Hills baseball advance; San Dimas, Amat, South Hills, Nogales softball win

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By Fred J. Robledo
Bishop Amat’s Isaac Esqueda was called upon in the big moments and delivered for the Lancers in a nerve-wracking 3-2 victory over host Walnut to advance to Friday’s CIF Southern Section Division 3 baseball quarterfinals.
Pinch hitting in the seventh inning with the bases loaded, two outs and the score tied 1-1, Esqueda doubled to left scoring Dante Castillo and Torreahno Sweet to go up 3-1.
“Isaac has kind of been that guy later in the season, we went with him, felt like he was our best option and he battled,” Bishop Amat coach Joe Hoggatt said. “He went the other way (to left) and that was huge. It was clutch hitting.”
But Esqueda wasn’t done.
Amat’s sophomore starting lefty Diego Barrera, whose only fault had been giving up a solo homer to Quinn Cooper in the fourth inning that tied the score, 1-1, left the game in the seventh with runners on first and second and one out, handing it over to Esqueda to finish.
Amat threw away a potential game-ending double play that allowed a run to score to make it 3-2, with Walnut’s Jake Rodriguez moving to second, and eventually third on a wild pitch.
But Esqueda struck out Andre Alvarez to end it, and Bishop Amat (19-13) will be home in Friday’s quarterfinals against third-seed Woodbridge, a 6-2 winner over San Dimas.
“I tried to stay relaxed, keep it simple and get the job done,” Esqueda said of his closing role. “Feels great, we know they’re a good team and they’re tough to beat. We did our job and executed and now it’s on to the next game.”
Both starting pitchers were fantastic.
Walnut sophomore Brock Cooper had gotten clutch outs in the first three innings before Adryan Ramirez singled home Nick DiFiori for a 1-0 Lancers’ lead, which Quinn Cooper made short lived with his homer to right in the bottom half of the inning to tie it.
But Barrera was just a tad better, improving to 9-2 and only allowing four hits in 6 1/3 innings.
“The kid walked (into Bishop Amat) with poise, we’re very lucky to have him on our staff,” Hoggatt said. “He’s got poise that college kids have. Nothing flaps him, he gave up a home run and came back and shut them down.”
Walnut, which had advanced to the championship a year ago after knocking off San Dimas, who was undefeated and ranked No. 1 in the nation by USA Today at the time, played well enough to win, but couldn’t capitalize when it had too.
“We had chances,” Walnut coach Paul Acosta said. “I respect Bishop Amat, we knew it wasn’t going to be easy, it was going to be this way, one run, and they got us.
“Diego Barrera pitched a great game, he changed his speeds and we had a tough time getting to that. It could have gone either way, buy my boys fought hard to the end. I wish we could play them again.”

San Dimas softball trounces Edgewood: After losing to San Dimas in the CIF-SS Division 5 softball playoffs last season, Edgewood looked to avenge the loss Tuesday in a second-round rematch. But the well-rounded Saints dashed those hopes in a 15-0, mercy rule-shortened victory on the road.
The Saints (18-8) scored at least once in every inning, led by center fielder Brooke Jackson, who went 3 for 5 with three RBIs, two doubles and a walk.
The Saints used a balanced attack and took advantage of multiple defensive miscues with contributions from Alexandria Rodriguez (2 for 4, 5 RBIs, double) and Clarissa Reynoso (1 for 3, double, 2 RBIs). Pitcher Alondra Reynoso improved her record to 13-4.

CIF-Southern Section playoff results
Baseball Second Round
Division 2

South Hills 3, Paramount 1, 11 innings
Damien 7, Oxnard 4
Division 3
Bishop Amat 3, Walnut 2
Beckman 8, Charter Oak 7
Woodbridge 6, San Dimas 2
Division 5
Woodcrest Christian 10, South El Monte 0
Tahquitz 9, Sierra Vista 8, 10 innings

Softball Second Round results
Division 2

South Hills 11, Dana Hills 0
Division 3
Bishop Amat 9, Chaffey 4
Division 5
San Dimas 15, Edgewood 0
Nogales 6, Fillmore 3

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Everything you want to know from Saturday’s CIF-SS track finals

CIF-SOUTHERN SECTION FINALS TRACK AND FIELD PHOTO GALLERY

Boys CIF Finals: Jasher Foster is ready for a run at a CIF State track and field title.
The St. Francis High School senior had to wonder at some point if it would happen. After reaching the state finals last year, he tore the meniscus in his left leg this past football season.
“It took a lot of hard work and therapy to get back here,” he said. “I’m back.”
Foster, who did not make his season debut until the midseason San Gabriel Valley Championships, won the CIF Southern Section track and field Division 3 110- and 300-meter hurdle races to earn berths in next week’s CIF-SS Masters Meet. He had personal-best times in both.

Girls CIF Finals: Micah Fulton found the right time to step up.The Monrovia High School sophomore has been battling a pulled hamstring all season. The injury disappeared at the biggest meet of the year at the all-division CIF Southern Section track and field finals at Cerritos College on Saturday.
Fulton won the Division 3 long and triple jumps with her best leaps of her career.“I was really irritated and frustrated all season for not doing well,” she said. “By the time league came, I got my head together and we all put it together.”
Fulton tied for first in the long jump (18 feet, 6 1/2 inches) with Micheletta Forbes of Indian Springs. Fulton hit her mark on her first attempt; Forbes on her final jump.

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Baseball Playoffs: Sierra Vista, San Dimas, Charter Oak, Bishop Amat all advance

SIERRA VISTA, AQUINAS BASEBALL PHOTO GALLERY

donsBy Fred J. Robledo
Baldwin Park
For a team that allowed just 30 runs, and 16 earned all season, Sierra Vista’s baseball team and its pitching staff that boasts an eye-popping team ERA of 0.83, wondered how it would hold up in the CIF Southern Section Division 5 playoffs.
For a game at least, senior Adrian Cardenas answered that, throwing a three-hitter to lead Sierra Vista to a 5-1 victory over visiting Aquinas to advance to Tuesday’s second round on the road at Tahquitz, a 4-3 winner over Maranatha.
“It was a great win,” Cardenas said. “My defense had my back the whole game, they made the major plays when they had to.”
The Dons’ (21-2) offense did their job too.
Austin Morales singled home Jamyz Celiz for a 1-0 lead in the second and Matthew Aguayo singled in Cardenas for a 2-0 lead in the third. That should have been it, but an Aquinas (16-10) error led to two more runs and a 4-0 lead.
Aquinas had a huge opportunity to claw back in the fourth inning after Nick Ojinaga and Julian Holendor led off with back-to-back singles. Andrew Aguilera’s slow roller to third was mishandled and leaked into left field, allowing Ojinaga to score to make it 4-1 with two runners on and no outs.
But Cardenas, who improved to 8-1, showed why he’s so good by striking out the next three batters to get out of it. He finished with seven strikeouts.
For Falcons coach Robert De La Torre, that was the turning point.
“We had a run in and guys on base and no outs against a team that gave up 30-something runs all year and we couldn’t do it,” De La Torre said. “That was our chance to do something. He’s (Cardenas) been a bulldog all year long and after he struck out the side to get out of it, their was no touching him after that.”
Sierra Vista’s Daniel Lona scored from second on a failed pickoff attempt in the fourth, and that’s typically how the Dons score runs, being aggressive on the bases, and chipping away inning after inning.
“We take a lot of pride in our running and pressuring people,” Stevens said. “If you can keep it up and keep the pressure on for seven innings, a high school baseball team usually breaks. We forced them into a couple of errors and that’s how we play.”

Bishop Amat’s win sets up second rounder at Walnut: The only thing standing in the middle of an all-San Gabriel Valley CIF Southern Section Division 3 second-round matchup between Walnut and Bishop Amat, was Palos Verdes.
Isaac Esqueda pitched a complete game, scattering four hits while striking out five as Bishop Amat (18-12) punched its ticket to Tuesday’s matchup with a 5-0 win over visiting Palos Verdes (20-11-1).
“That was one of the best third-ranked teams in the whole draw,” said Bishop Amat coach Joe Hoggatt of Palos Verdes. “We scored three in the first, which was big for us.”

San Dimas squeezes out 3-2 win: San Dimas used solid defense and got an outstanding pitching performance from junior Alonzo Llorens in knocking off Arroyo Grande 3-2 in a CIF Southern Section Division 3 first-round game on Friday.
The Saints (15-12), who won their eighth consecutive game, will play at Irvine Woodbridge on Tuesday at 3:15 in a second-round matchup.
“This was, by far, our best game of the season,” Saints co-head coach Mike Regan said. “Zo hasn’t gone deep into games this year but he stepped up with his best outing. That was just tremendous.”

CIF-Southern Section Playoff Schedule
Friday’s first-round results
Baseball
Division 3

Charter Oak 5, Paloma Valley 3
La Quinta 6, Covina 5
San Dimas 3, Arroyo Grande 2
Bishop Amat 5, Palos Verdes 0
Division 5
Sierra Vista 5, Aquinas 1
Ganesha 4, Bishop Montgomery 3
Lompoc Cabrillo 6, Baldwin Park 1
Saddleback Valley Christian at South El Monte, Saturday, 11 a.m.

Tuesday’s Second Round
Baseball
Division 2

South Hills at Paramount, 3:15 p.m.
Damien at Oxnard, 3:15 p.m.
Division 3
Bishop Amat at Walnut, 3:15 p.m.
San Dimas at Woodbridge, 3:15 p.m.
Beckman at Charter Oak, 3:15 p.m.
Division 5
Sierra Vista at Tahquitz, 3:15 p.m.
Monrovia at Ganesha, 3:15 p.m.

Softball
Division 2

South Hills at Dana Hills, 3:15 p.m.
Division 3
Bishop Amat at Chaffey, 3:15 p.m.
Division 5
San Dimas at Edgewood, 3:15 p.m.
Fillmore at Nogales, 3:15 p.m.

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South Hills baseball, Bishop Amat softball take care of business in first round of the playoffs

By Fred Robledo
LA PUENTE
Bishop Amat waited longer than it wanted to break the game open against visiting Paramount in the first round of the CIF-Southern Section Division 3 softball playoffs, but when the second-seed Lancers broke through, they kept their foot on the gas.
amatscoresBishop Amat catcher Julia Valenzuela belted two doubles, scored and drove in two runs. Alyssa Barrera had a pair of doubles and an RBI and pitcher Samaria Diaz threw a complete game two-hit shutout, and doubled home three runs in an 8-0 rout over Paramount to advance to Tuesday’s second round on the road against Chaffey, a 5-4 upset winner over California.
“We wanted to come out with a bang and put a lot of runs on the board,” Barrera said. “We got to get the bats going, so that’s great to see the bats coming together in the first round.”
After wasting the lead runners in the first three innings, Valenzuela doubled to lead off the fourth. Two outs later, Barrera doubled her home for a 1-0 lead.
With runners on second and third and two outs in the fifth, Valenzuela came through again, doubling home Diaz and Karissa Dunn for a 3-0 lead. Aja Martinez singled home Valenzuela to make it 4-0, which was more than enough for Diaz.
“I’m really trying to go up there and get on base and get my team started because I have a great lineup all around me,” Valenzuela said.
Diaz helped herself with a bases-loaded double in the sixth that cleared the bases for a 7-0 lead and she was her dominating self in the circle, allowing just a hit in the first and seventh, retiring 15 straight at one point. She also had six strikeouts.
“It’s a good (start),” Diaz said. “We gotta lot of games to go and we want to win them all. We’ve got to stay efocused.”

South Hills softball routs Pacifica: It was deja vu all over again.
On Thursday, South Hills met Oxnard Pacifica in a first round game of the CIF Southern Section Division 2 softball playoffs for the second consecutive season.
For the second consecutive season, South Hills won the game by the 10-run mercy rule.The Huskies (21-7) sent 13 batters to the plate and scored eight runs in the fourth inning on their way to a 10-0 win over the Tritons.

Bonita loses, coach John Knott tenure over: Villa Park’s Alex Sosnowski went 3 for 4, with a go ahead two-run home run as the visiting Spartans knocked off No. 3 seed Bonita 8-1 in Thursday’s CIF Southern Section Division 2 baseball playoff game.
Cole Wiens pitched six shutout innings for Villa Park allowing six hits.
“We knew, this team (Bonita) was a fantastic team,” Villa Park coach Chris Van Champ said. “We had to be perfect defensively, and come up with some timely hits.”


Brandon Dieter leads South Hills baseball to victory: Pitching has been a big part of the South Hills High School baseball team’s success this season and in the first round of the CIF Southern Section playoffs the Huskies’ Brandon Dieter shut down Mayfair, 4-0, allowing three hits in five innings in a Division 2 game Thursday afternoon.
Top seed South Hills (22-7) will travel to Paramount (20-11), a 3-0 winner over Moorpark, in the second round on Tuesday at 3:15 p.m. Mayfair finished 15-12.

CIF-Southern Section Playoff Results
Thursday’s first-round games
Baseball
Division 2

South Hills 4, Mayfair 0
Damien 4, Royal 1
Villa Park 8, Bonita 0
Division 3
Walnut 3, La Quinta 1
Softball
Division 1

Valencia 3, Diamond Ranch 0
Santa Margarita 10, St. Lucy’s 0
Orange Lutheran 11, Los Altos 1
Division 2
South Hills 10, Oxnard Pacifica 0
Riverside Poly 1, Glendora 0
Division 3
Bishop Amat 8, Paramount 0
Division 4
Heritage Christian 6, El Monte 3
La Quinta 11, Arroyo 0
Jurupa Hills 14, South El Monte 4
Division 5
San Dimas 9, Azusa 0
Edgewood 8, Santa Ana Calvary Chapel 6
Lompoc 6, Northview 2
Nogales 11, Pomona 2
Lompoc Cabrillo 10, Duarte 4

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Damien boys volleyball advances to Saturday’s Division 5 championship

damiensDAMIEN ADVANCES TO CHAMPIONSHIP GAME FOR SECOND STRAIGHT SEASON: The Damien boys volleyball team knew it had to play better in the CIF Division 5 semifinals on Wednesday than it did four days ago, when it needed five sets to win a quarterfinal.
It did.
The Spartans polished off visiting North Hollywood-Oakwood 3-0 (25-17, 25-17, 25-16) at Travers Cronin Athletic Center to earn a spot in Saturday’s championship match against Laguna Blanca at Cerritos College.
The Spartans (31-7) won their first CIF title a year ago but graduated a setter and their middle hitters. So the chance to be back on center stage again has been rewarding.
“At first we were trying to be last year’s team instead of playing to our strengths this year,” said senior Chris Mercado, one of three returning starters. “We’re a little bit different. Once we started figuring that out, things came together.”

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Baldwin Park, Wilson survive Wednesday’s baseball wild card

Baldwin Park advances in Division 5 wild card: Proving that baseball is a game of inches, cleanup hitter Freddy Quintana’s two-out single drove in Francisco Ruiz with the winning run in the bottom of the seventh inning to give the Baldwin park baseball team a 3-2 win over Twentynine Palms in Wednesday’s CIF-SS Division 5 Wild card game.
The Braves, who won their first playoff game since 2009, will travel to Cabrillo High School in Lompoc for a first round game on Friday.
With two out and two men on base, Quintana hit a fly ball down the right field line. Hunter Tygart, the Wildcats right fielder, was going at full speed when he dove and got the ball in his glove, but the ball popped out when he hit the ground and the Braves started celebrating.

Wilson 4, Palmdale 3 — Matthew Rodriguez pitched a complete game, striking out eight, and had an RBI for the Wildcats (13-7) in a CIF-SS Division 3 wild-card victory. Devin Ramirez went 2 for 2 and Mark Cazares and Matt Orozco both had a hit for Wilson.
Vista del Lago 19, Bassett 7 — Frank Villanueva pitched four innings, striking out five, Matthew Robles went 2 for 2 with a double and an RBI and Ricky Mejia went 2 for 4 with a double for the Olympians (11-11) in a CIF Division 5 wild-card loss.

CIF-Southern Section Playoffs
Wednesday’s Baseball Wild Card
Division 3

Wilson 4, Palmdale 2
Segerstrom 2, Los Altos 1
Division 5
Vista del Lago 22, Bassett 4
Campbell Hall 15, Rosemead 5
Lompoc 7, Azusa 2
Rancho Mirage 10, Mountain View 2
Ontario Christian 11, El Monte 9
Baldwin Park 3, Twentynine Palms 2

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CIF softball wild card: Northview softball makes it look easy with 21-2 victory over Garey

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Northview routs GareyNorthview scored first and never looked back as they beat Garey 21-2 in a CIF Southern Section Division 5 Wild-Card game that was stopped after 4 1/2 innings because of the 10-run mercy rule.
The mercy rule is invoked in wild-card and first and second round playoff games.
The Vikings (11-13) will travel to five-seed Lompoc for a first-round game on Thursday at 3:15.Senior Monet Manning scored on a two-out RBI double by Britney Orozco to get the scoring started in the bottom of the first inning.Northview sent 11 batters to the plate in the second inning, scoring six runs and putting the game out of reach.

CIF-Southern Section Playoffs
Tuesday’s wild card results
Softball
Division 4

El Monte 5, Lancaster 4
Division 5
Northview 21, Garey 2
Flintridge Sacred Heart 12, Sierra Vista 2

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