About Steve Ramirez

Steve Ramirez has covered prep sports for San Gabriel Valley Newspapers since 1989.

Softball: La Serna beats South Hills in battle of of top teams


By Stephen Ramirez

La Serna's Reanne Martinez scores against South Hills in the first inning of a prep softball game at South Hills High School in West Covina, Calif., on Friday, April 09, 2015. La Serna won 3-1. (Photo by Keith Birmingham/ Pasadena Star-News)

La Serna’s Reanne Martinez scores against South Hills in the first inning of a prep softball game at South Hills High School in West Covina, Calif., on Friday, April 09, 2015. La Serna won 3-1. (Photo by Keith Birmingham/ Pasadena Star-News)


WEST COVINA — La Serna High School followed a tournament win last week with an unexpected loss. The Lancers made sure they wouldn’t repeat the trend Thursday.
Jamie Wren tossed a four-hitter and Jelli Lopez hit a two-run home run to lead La Serna to a 3-1 victory over host South Hills in a battle of the two of the top softball teams in the CIF-Southern Section.
La Serna, ranked No. 1 in Division 3, improved to 12-3. They have followed a 3-0 loss to Sonora with three consecutive wins, including decisions over Division 1 No. 7 Mater Dei (6-0) on Monday and Division 2 No. 6 South Hills on Thursday.
Natalie Lugo gave up five hits and struck out 10 for South Hills, which slipped to 11-4. Quinn DeAvila had a RBI triple for the Huskies.


La Serna’s Jamie Wren: “We all have our games. It was a difficult loss (to Sonora last week), but it motivated us. We knew what we did wrong and what we have to work on. We picked it up (Thursday).”

La Serna co-coach Mike Orona: “We didn’t do what we wanted to offensively. (Lugo) is a quality pitcher and she pretty much dominated the game. We put enough together offensively to get the victory and Jamie did a great job pitching.”

South Hills coach Brandon Gonzalez: We just didn’t hit. She’s a quality pitcher, but we didn’t hit. We’ve been in a couple of these type of games. We didn’t adjust.”

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South Hills advances to IMG National Classic title game

The South Hills baseball team  during the IMG National Classic  tournament dinner on Monday. The Huskies are 3-0 in the tourney and advanced to Thursday's championship game with a 6-1 win in the semifinals.

The South Hills baseball team during the IMG National Classic tournament dinner on Monday. The Huskies are 3-0 in the tourney and advanced to Thursday’s championship game with a 6-1 win in the semifinals on Wednesday.

South Hills High School is enjoying a fun spring break.
The Huskies are on the verge of winning an out-of-state baseball tournament for the second consecutive season.
South Hills, which on a tourney in South Carolina last season, advanced to the IMG National Classic championship game in Bradenton, Fla., with a 6-1 victory over George Jenkins (Fla.) on Wednesday.
Gavin Velasquez gave up three hits in 5 1/3 innings and freshman Brandon Dieter went 2 for 2 with three RBIs to lead the Huskies, who improved to 9-3. South Hills faces host IMG Academy in the title game on Thursday at 4 p.m. IMG is 17-4.

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Baseball: Bonita scores 3-1 win over Sonora

Bonita High teammates congratulate each other after a 3-1 win vs Sonora High at Sonora's La Habra, Calif. campus field March 31, 2015. (Photo by Leo Jarzomb/Whittier Daily News)

Bonita High teammates congratulate each other after a 3-1 win vs Sonora High at Sonora’s La Habra, Calif. campus field March 31, 2015. (Photo by Leo Jarzomb/Whittier Daily News)


By Stephen Ramirez

LA HABRA — Bonita High School usually doesn’t beat itself, and the Bearcats lived up to their reputation Tuesday.
A.J. Woodall tossed a four-hitter and Bonita took advantage of two Sonora miscues to score a 3-1 victory over the host Raiders in an Anaheim Lions Tournament game at Anderson Field.
Jarret Lindsay also had a RBI single for the Bearcats, who improved to 11-3. Gabe Armstrong had a home run for Sonora, which slipped to 8-6-1. The Raiders were denied a chance at possibly tying the game in the seventh when Bonita center fielder Danny Gelalich threw out the Raiders’ JonPaul Sarro at third to end the game.

Bonita coach John Knott: “That was awesome right there. It was kind of risky. When they get a hit and the guy goes first to third, if he’s safe that puts the tying run in scoring position. But we have a lot of confidence in (Gelalich) and he has a lot of confidence in himself and he made a heck of a throw. It was awesome.”

Bonita’s A.J. Woodall: “I have to give it my team. I just tried to throw strikes and my teammates made the plays behind me. I just try to give us the best chance to win, while they make plays behind me.”

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Softball: Bishop Amat gets revenge on rival St. Paul; takes over first in 11-3 win


By Stephen Ramirez
WHITTIER —
Bishop Amat High School, after being swept by rival St. Paul last season, waited nearly a year for redemption against the Swordsmen.
The Lancers didn’t waste the opportunity Monday.
Alyssa Barrera and Julia Menrad had three RBIs each and Bishop Amat enacted some sweet revenge with an 11-3 victory over St. Paul in a Del Rey League softball game at York Field.
Menrad and Barrera also hit home runs for the Lancers, who took over first place at 9-4 overall and 3-0 in league play. Niko Walker had two hits and Taylor Fogle a two-run triple for the Swordsmen, who slipped to 11-6 and 3-1.

Bishop Amat’s Alyssa Barrera: “We really wanted this game, especially because of what happened last year. Our goal was to not let (St. Paul sweep three games) ever again. We came out on the field, every inning wanting to win this game. Every at-bat, we all were 100-percent in, and we came out with a great win.”

St. Paul’s Taylor Fogle: “I felt I needed to do something with my bat. When I got up there and she (Bishop Amat’s Samaria Diaz) threw me that pitch, I was like, ‘I got to hit that.’ When I hit (it), I felt, ‘Whoo, there’s a fire right there.’ We were right there.”

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Damien punches ticket to state title game, holds off Cathedral, 68-62

Damien head coach Matt Dunn reacts after a basket against Cathedral in the second half of the CIF State Division 3 Regional Basketball Final at Colony High School in Ontario, Calif., on Saturday, March 21, 2015. Damien won 68-62. (Photo by Keith Birmingham/ Pasadena Star-News)

Damien head coach Matt Dunn reacts after a basket against Cathedral in the second half of the CIF State Division 3 Regional Basketball Final at Colony High School in Ontario, Calif., on Saturday, March 21, 2015. Damien won 68-62. (Photo by Keith Birmingham/ Pasadena Star-News)


By Stephen Ramirez
steve.ramirez@langnews.com
@SteveRRamirez on Twitter


ONTARIO — The best season in Damien High School basketball history will include a trip to Berkeley.
Bryce Peters had 20 points and Jeremy Hemsley had 17 and the Spartans scored their first trip to the CIF State championships with a 68-62 victory over Cathedral Saturday in the Division III Southern California Regional final at Colony High School.
Malik Fitts also had 15 points for No. 2 seed Damien, which improved to 28-5 and will face Campolindo, a 50-44 winner over Drake, for the state title next Friday at 4 p.m. at the University of California.
Kobe Paras had 23 points and Milan Acquah 17 for No. 1 Cathedral, which finished 22-8.
“It’s really special,” Damien coach Matt Dunn, whose Spartans won a CIF-Southern Section title in 2013. “It’s the one thing this group hasn’t done yet. They won a CIF championship when they were sophomores, won a (Baseline) League championship this year, so to get to the state title game is very special.”


For a brief moment, Cathedral looked like it might steal the opportunity from Damien. The Phantoms, who trailed by 16 in the first half and 12 early in the fourth quarter used an 8-2 run to pull within 57-52 following a 3-pointer by Acquah and a putback by Paras with 3:14 left.
But the Spartans countered with a surge of their own to put it away. Micah Robinson buried a 3-pointer at 2:30 for a 62-52 lead and Fitts, following a steal by Hemsley, sealed with a dunk for a 64-57 lead with 46 seconds left.

“We let up a little bit,” said Hemsley, who also had seven rebounds, eight assists and three steals. “But we ended up getting the rebounds and stops that we needed to win the game.
“We shared the ball, which I think was key part of us winning the game. Cathedral is more of a one-on-one type team, so we shared the ball, and that contributed a lot to the win.”
Damien, getting 10 points each from Hemsley and Peters, led 31-21 at halftime. The Spartans took control early, breaking from the tip with a 9-3 blitz before using a 7-0 surge to go up 31-15 on a 3-pointer by Peters with 2:21 left in the half.
Paras, who had 16 points in the first half, hit consecutive 3-pointers to make it 31-21 at halftime.
Cathedral, getting five of six free throws and a layup from Acquah cut it to 36-31 lead early in the third quarter. But Damien countered with consecutive layups by Fitts for a 43-35 lead going to the fourth.
The Spartans then held off a second Cathedral surge to win, 68-62, and advance to the state title game.
“At this moment, I just want to win the state championship,” Hemsley said. “I’m glad we got the win, I’m glad we’re going to the championship, but I’m looking to win it now.”

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