By Stephen Ramirez
SAN BERNARDINO — For two months, the Walnut High School baseball team was living a dream.
Saturday was a nightmare.
Marco Valenzuela had three RBIs and Gallion Copper tossed a two-hit shutout as Redondo Union ended the Mustangs’ 18-game winning streak and dream of a CIF-Southern Section title with a 10-0 victory over Walnut in the Division 3 title game at San Manuel Stadium.
Duncan McKinnon also had two RBIs for the Sea Hawks, who finished 29-7 and won the school’s first baseball division title.
Andy Rodriguez and Maxwell Masana had singles for the Mustangs, who finished 21-8-2. Walnut was seeking its second baseball title and in its first championship game since 1982. It was also their first title game appearance since winning in 1982.
“I give credit to (Redondo),” said Walnut coach Paul Acosta, whose team upset USA Today No. 1 San Dimas in the semifinals. “We prepared well. We were ready to play today; Cody Dye was ready to pitch today. I’ll take him any day. I’ll take him tomorrow and the next day, I’ll take him too.
“It’s just credit to those guys. Their reputation was that they hit the ball, and we saw with our own eyes that they hit the ball well. “
Redondo Union all but put it way before Walnut had a chance to bat, scoring five runs on four hits in the first.
Dye, who brought a 9-0 record and 0.83 earned run average into Saturday, got behind early, giving up a walk on four pitches and a single by Jacob Springman to start the game.
Brady Dorn followed with an RBI single for a 1-0 lead before Dye walked in run and Jason Clebowicz followed with a sacrifice fly for a 3-0 advantage. Valenzuela then hit a two-run double to left-center field to make it 5-0.
Dye needed 33 pitches.
“I got behind a lot,” Dye said. “They are a good hitting team and when you get behind hitters, it’ll happen.”
Walnut never really recovered.
Cooper retired the first 10 batters before a walk to Andre Alvarez in the fourth. He finished with the two-hitter and struck out four.
The Mustangs, trailing 5-0, did have a shot to get back in it in the fourth. Quinn Cooper followed Alvarez’s free pass with a walk and then Rodriguez singled to load the bases.
But Michael Mora lined out to right field, ending the threat and Walnut’s chances.
“That would have been a break,” Acosta said. “Michael Mora hit it hard, hit it on the button. He just hit it right at someone. Unfortunately, that was our only threat throughout the game.”
Redondo put it away in the fifth. Valenzuela had a RBI single and McKinnon a two-run triple for a 10-0 lead.
“We were anticipating more base runners, so we could apply more pressure,” Acosta said. “But you have to tip your hat to Gallion. He threw the ball well, kept us off-balance. That’s all you can do. Redondo was the better team today.”
By Stephen Ramirez
@SteveRRamirez on Twitter
RIVERSIDE >> Sonora High School’s Taylor Ault and Arcadia’s Tenny Chong were two of the area’s top swimmers throughout this season and both lived up to the billing on Saturday.
Ault won the 200-yard and 500 freestyles and Chong the 50 free to highlight the area’s efforts at the CIF-Southern Section Division 2 swimming championships at Riverside City College.
La Canada’s Dane Bell and Sonora’s Simon Lamar were the other area winners, sharing the 500 free with a time of 4:29.63.
Ault used a late surge to win the 200 free, finishing in 1 minute, 46.07 seconds. Ayala’s Kenisha Liu (1:47), who led most of the race, was second.
“I’m a back-half swimmer,” Ault said. “It’s usually one of my strengths. I was just hoping I could keep going, and was happy I did.”
Ault was dominant in the 500, easily winning with a time of 4:43.46.
“It’s really good (to win CIF),” Ault said. “I won last year, and I had better times this year, so it feels really good.”
Chong was happy to win the 50 free for another reason.
“It’s like a dream come true,” Chong said. “When I was little, I always wanted to be like my brother, because he always won CIF. He’s like my role model and I’m glad I could match him.”
Chong, the top qualifier in the 50, led from start to finish with a time of 20.87. He was also fourth in the 100 backstroke (51.20).
“When I dove in (for the 50), I had my doubts,” Wong said. “After the turn, when I streamlined, I saw the guy on my right, and he was in front of my, but I’m really good the last 15 yards. It felt good.”
Bell was also fourth in the 200 free (1:41.44)
The Glendora girls team, which finished second to Crean Lutheran of Irvine in the team competition, has solid efforts from Catherine Sanchez, who was second in the 100 fly (0:54.51) and third in the 200 free (1:50.04); Jackie Basham, who was third in the 100 breaststroke (1:04.09), and Alexis Margett (54.73) and Gisel Olvera (56.35), who were third and fourth, respectively, in the 100 fly.
Other top performances by locals were South Pasadena’s Garrett Tse, who was fourth in the 200 individual medley (1:52.21); Damien’s Richie Campbell, who was fourth in the 50 free (21.31) and San Marino’s Javier Lopez, who was second in the 100 fly (49.85).
The Glendora girls also finished second in the 200 medley (1:46.12) and 200 free (1:36.92) relays.
By Stephen Ramirez
@SteveRRamirez on Twitter
SANTA FE SPRINGS — St. Paul High School began the week knowing it was three wins short of winning a Del Rey League baseball title.
The Swordsmen got a big one on Saturday.
Bryan De La Torre and Jacob Guzman combined on a four-hit shutout and host St. Paul took a big step toward the league championship with a 1-0 victory over rival Bishop Amat.
Juan Zuniga had a RBI bunt for the only run of the game for the Swordsmen, who improved to 14-12-1 overall and 7-3 in league play. They trail first-place Cathedral by a half-game going into the final week and can win a share of the league title with a sweep of the Phantoms, who they face at home on Monday and on the road on Wednesday. Cathedral also has a game vs. Serra, scheduled for next Friday.
Bishop Amat is still in the hunt at 14-12 and 8-4. The Lancers, who missed on a big scoring chance in the sixth, have completed their regular-season schedule, but can gain a piece of the league crown if St. Paul were to split with Cathedral.
“This is the position we want to be in,” St. Paul coach Casey Morales said. “You want to control your own destiny, and that’s what we got. Now we control our destiny to take on an opponent and take a league title. The work these guys have put in and progressed. We’re such a different team now than we were at the beginning of the year, I like our chances.”
St. Paul, which also had four hits, scored the only run in the third. The Swordsmen loaded the bases on singles by Fernando Alvidrez and David Castillo and a walk to Isaiah Donahue. Zuniga got down a squeeze bunt to score Alvidrez for a 1-0 lead.
De La Torre and Guzman took care of the rest.
De La Torre gave up four hits and struck out two in five innings before running into trouble in the sixth. Enter Guzman, who after loading the bases with a walk, got a ground out and strike out to keep the lead intact.
“I just had to come in throw strikes and produce,” Guzman said. “I just had to trust my mechanics and just let it go.“
Guzman got Amat in order in the seventh to win it.
“I don’t want to take credit from them, obviously the guy did enough,” Bishop Amat coach Joe Hoggatt said. “I think we chased, got a little excited, didn’t control the moment. But you have to give them credit.”
BY STEPHEN RAMIREZ
LA PUENTE — St. Paul can end rival Bishop Amat’s quest for a Del Rey League title and enhance its own with a victory in of two games this week.
The Swordsmen will carry that aspiration to Friday.
Amat sophomore Isaac Esqueda saw to that Tuesday.
Esqueda tossed a four-hitter and struck out 11 as Amat remained in the race with a 3-1 victory over St. Paul in a Del Rey League game.
The host Lancers improved to 14-11-1 overall and 8-3 in league play. The loss dropped St. Paul into a virtual second-place tie with Amat, falling to 13-12-1 and 7-3. Cathedral, which beat Serra, leads the league at 8-2.
Bishop Amat, scoring two unearned runs in the second, led 3-0 after two innings.
BISHOP AMAT’S ISAAC ESQUEDA
BISHOP AMAT COACH JOE HOGGATT
ST. PAUL’S CASEY MORALES
By Stephen Ramirez
MONTEBELLO — Cantwell High School began the week with an outside shot for a Del Rio League title.Bishop Amat put an end to those hopes early Thursday.Alyssa Barrera and Madeline Ramirez each had four RBIs to lead the Lancers to a 17-0 victory over the host Cardinals in a Del Rey League game that was halted after five innings due to the 10-run rule. Ramirez and Barrera had three and two hits, respectively, for Amat, which improved to 15-6 overall and 8-1 in league play. The win keeps the Lancers tied for first with St. Paul, who they face on May 11. Britney Huerta and Julia Guzman had singles for the third-place Cardinals, who slipped to 12-10 and 4-5.Cantwell lost to Amat, 3-0, on April 14, and the Lancers made sure early this one would be different. They scored three runs in the first and seven in both the third and fourth to put it away.
Amat’s Alyssa Barrera: “The last game (against Cantwell) we didn’t come out 100 percent, while the first game (a 14-0 Amat win) we came out 100 percent. This was more like the first game. We had great at-bats during the game, taking pitches, going deep in counts. We did a good job throughout the whole lineup.”
Cantwell coach Ralph Martin Del Campo: “It was just one of those games where the girls weren’t on and they were on. (Amat) hit the ball real well. There’s not much you can do about that when they hit the ball like that. We had a few errors, but they hit the ball real well.”
By Stephen Ramirez
LA PUENTE — St. Paul High School felt a little embarrassed after losing to rival Bishop Amat in late March.
Thursday the Swordsmen did something about it.
Taylor Fogle hit a fifth-inning grand slam and Niko Walker had three hits as St. Paul enacted some revenge with a 6-4 victory over the host Lancers in a key Del Rey League softball game.
Myranda Bueno and Alexis Bermudez also had two hits each for the Swordsmen, who improved 14-6 overall and 6-1 in league play. Sabrina Gonzalez had three hits and Julia Valenzuela hit a home run for Bishop Amat, which slipped to 13-6 and 6-1.
The two teams are tied for first and will likely settle the league title on May 11.
The big inning for St. Paul came in the fifth when it countered Valenzuela’s homer with a four-run inning. The Swordsmen loaded the bases on singles by Bermudez and Walker and a walk to Sydney Kriemann. Fogle then followed with her slam to right-center field for a 6-2 advantage.
St. Paul’s Taylor Fogle: “We wanted this win so bad. We knew we had to win to at least compete with them for (the league championship). We came out today with so much energy, like this was ours. It was an amazing feeling to hit my home run. Everyone did great. It was amazing.”
Bishop Amat’s Julia Valenzuela: “We just tried to put the ball in play. (Both teams) put up a good fight. But we’ll be ready next time and we’ll get them.”
By Stephen Ramirez
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.”