About Steve Ramirez

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

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

By Stephen Ramirez
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
@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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CCCAA Basketball Championships: Mt. SAC women, East Los Angeles women lose title games

By Stephen Ramirez
Mt. San Antonio College waited a year for a chance to get back to the California Community College Athletic Association women’s basketball title game.
The wait for state championship No. 7 will be a little longer.
Michelle Townsend hit a 3-pointer with 57 seconds left and Chabot, of Hayward, upset top the No. 1 Mounties, 63-58, in the CCCAA title game Sunday at Cerritos College.
Morgan Green scored 26 points and Townsend had 15 for the Gladiators, who finished 31-3 and won their first state championship.

Mt. SAC’s Priscilla Lopez drives the baseline on Chabot’s Brianna Booker during Sunday’s CCCAA women’s championship game. photo by blaine ohigashi

Mt. SAC’s Priscilla Lopez drives the baseline on Chabot’s Brianna Booker during Sunday’s CCCAA women’s championship game. photo by blaine ohigashi

Priscilla Lopez had 14 points and Sashanique Youngblood 13 for Mt. SAC, which finished 34-1. The Mounties lost in the title game last season.

“It’s tough, it’s tough,” Mt. SAC coach Brian Crichlow said. “I know myself and the young ladies, we’re all hurting. We set goals at the beginning of the year and we were able to set all of them, except this one. But it doesn’t diminish the fact they were 34-1 and they played hard every game.
“It’s a little disappointing, but it’s life. Somebody has to win and somebody has to lose. Unfortunately, we came up on the wrong end.”
It seemed to be there for the taking for Mt. SAC, which used an 18-5 blitz for a 32-28 lead at halftime. But the Mounties couldn’t shake Chabot, which got a 3-pointer from Green and two inside shots from Alana Simon (17 points) to draw even at 58 with 1:35 to play.
Townsend then hit a 3-pointer for a 61-58 lead before Lopez and Youngblood missed 3-pointers with 30 seconds left and Lopez was long on a short jumper in the final seconds.
“Not being able to hit shots down the stretch hurt us,” Crichlow said. “We made some mistakes late, and it hurt us. It’s a tough way to go out this way when you fought so hard to get here.”

The Huskies, after an incredible run from No. 13 seed to the title game, finally ran out of magical moments.
Conor Clifford scored 16 points and the Gauchos (32-2) closed with a 10-2 run to secure their third CCCAA title since 2002 and deny the Huskies their first.
Marquis Salmon had 15 points for East Los Angeles, which finished 23-10. The Huskies had a chance to tie it late. But Te’Shon Burton missed a 3-pointer with five seconds left and Saddleback’s Dusty Baker intercepted a pass at the buzzer.

“We just didn’t execute down the stretch,” East L.A coach John Mosley said. “It was a little loud,a little noisy. We didn’t get a good possession at the end. But I’m proud of these guys and what they’ve accomplished.”

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CCCAA Final Four: Ex-Arroyo star Primitivo Gomez scores 21 points to lead East Los Angeles College into men’s basketball state title game

By Stephen Ramirez
East Los Angles College’s incredible playoff run will take the Huskies to the California Community College Athletic Association men’s basketball state championship game.
Former Arroyo High School standout Primitivo Gomez scored 23 points and Je’Ron Primus had 17 as East. L.A. continued its recent magic with a 94-83 victory over Merritt, of Oakland, in the state semifinals at Cerritos College on Friday.
Marcus Romain and Marquis Salmon also had 12 points each for the Huskies, who improved to 22-10 and advanced to face either Saddleback or Canada, of Redwood City, in Sunday’s title game at 1 p.m.
Gomez also had 12 rebounds for East L.A., which began the playoffs seeded No. 13 in the South.
DJ Kennedy had 20 points and Travon King had 19 points for Merritt, which finished 25-6.
East L.A. showed solid poise down the stretch, turning away two late pushes by the Thunderbirds to advance.

Merritt, the No. 1 seed from the North, trailed most of the game, but stalked the Huskies late, cutting a nine-point deficit to 81-79 with three minutes left.
East L.A., getting two free throws and a putback from Richard Bivens, pushed the lead to 87-81 with 1:04 to play before making five of six free throws down the stretch to seal it. The Huskies closed the game with a 9-2 surge.

East L.A.’s Primitivo Gomez: “It’s a great feeling. All of us felt a little bit disrespected (at the start of the playoffs), but we’ve worked really hard. We’re a team that believes in ourselves and that’s what matters. We play hard as a unit, and when you play as a unit, that’s how you win.”

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Softball: Claremont knocks off Charter Oak 6-4 in quarterfinals of Charter Oak tourney

Charter Oak Softball Tournament
Wednesday’s quarterfinals at Big League Dreams, West Covina
All Games at 3:15 p.m.

La Serna 4, Burbank 2
St. Paul 3, Yorba Linda 1
Upland 3, La Habra 1
Claremont 6, Charter Oak 4
Friday’s semifinals at 3:15 p.m.
La Serna vs. St. Paul
Upland vs. Claremont

By Stephen Ramirez
It wasn’t perfect, but coming off a tough loss, winning mattered most for the Charter Oak High School softball team on Monday.
Cloe Ochoa had three hits and three RBIs and was steady in the circle to lead the Chargers to a 6-4 victory over Montebello in Chargers Classic first-round game at Big League Dreams Park.
Marissa Chavez also had two hits and a RBI for Charter Oak, which improved to 4-1. The Chargers will face Claremont, a 4-2 winner over Bishop Amat, in Wednesday’s quarterfinals at 3:30 p.m.
Destenie Castillo and Mariah Ginez each had a RBI for the Oilers, who slipped to 1-1. Montebello faces Bishop Amat in a consolation quarterfinal at 3:30 p.m. today.

Charter Oak coach Scott Higuera: “I thought Chloe pitched very well and we were able to bounce back from a tough loss on Saturday. It’s always important to forget the tough ones go and move on to the next game. I feel we did that. We didn’t’ play real crisp, like we like to, but overall, I’m happy with the win of course, but we need to get back to work at practice tomorrow and get ready to face Claremont on Wednesday.”

Montebello coach Laurie Capps: “I’m proud of the way we bounced back. It’s only our second game of the season. We didn’t falter, which I’m proud of. We hung in there. We did a good job.”

Charter Oak’s Cloe Ochoa: “I just wanted to give back to my team, since they help me so much on defense. I wanted to make it a little less stressful on the field for them.”

Charter Oak Softball tournament
Monday’s first round results at Big League Dreams
Upper Bracket

La Serna 10, Alhambra 0
Burbank 9, Covina 0
St. Paul 8, Bonita 0
Yorba Linda 6, Glendora 4
Lower Bracket
Upland 6, San Dimas 2
La Habra 4, Los Altos 3
Claremont 4, Bishop Amat 2
Charter Oak 6, Montebello 4

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