Softball: La Serna rallies to beat rival Cal

California catcher Jaclyn Macias (5) tags out La Serna’s Gianna Alvidrez (1) at home plate in their Del Rio League girls softball game at California High School in Whittier on Thursday April 27 2017. La Serna rallied for a 5-4 win.
(Photo by Keith Durflinger/Whittier Daily News/SCNG)


By Stephen Ramirez
WHITTIER >>
Traditional-power programs such as the La Serna High School softball team didn’t reach their elite status without the ability to sidestep obstacles.The Lancers proved the point on Thursday.Astrid Arevalo’s two-run single keyed a three-run seventh and reliever Gianna Alvidrez shut down a rally in the bottom of the inning to help La Serna to a 5-4 victory over arch-rival California in a Del Rio League game at Cal High.
Arevalo had two hits and three RBIs and Jasmine Gray had two hits for the Lancers (19-5, 6-0), who lead the league standings by two games. Miranda Rooney and Sarah Duran each had two hits and an RBI for the Condors (17-9, 3-3), who fell into third place with the loss.

“No matter how much we’re losing by, we just want to keep hitting,” Arevalo said. “We want to keep playing defense. We just want to keep fighting.
“We’re just trying to keep our perfect (league) season going and taking the league championship and get to (the CIF Southern Section playoffs). That’s our goal.”
Sweeping their arch-rival is just added pleasure, as is coming from behind.
But Thursday that enjoyment looked bleak with La Serna trailing 4-2 heading into its final at-bat. But the Lancers showed again they are never out of a game.
They loaded the bases on a lead-off walk to Kayla Carrillo, a two-out walk to Skylar Sethman and a single by Gray. Arevalo, who tied the score at 2 with a triple in the sixth, lined a single to right field to score Alvidrez, who reached on a fielder’s choice, and Sethman, with Gray coming home on an errant throw to the plate.
“I was just thinking get on base,” Arevalo said. “Just keep the ball in play. It all came together.”
The Condors didn’t go quietly into the night.
Nautica Rivera led off with a walk. Alvidrez then replaced starter Naomi Dickerson. She gave up consecutive walks to load the bases. But Alvidrez ended it by striking out Marissa Montesdeoca and inducing Rooney to ground out.
“I heard the (Cal crowd) cheering and I just had to tune them out,” Alvidrez said. “I just had to focus on me; focus on my team. I just had to come through and get the win.”
It was all bad for the Condors, who took solace in that they rebounded from a 12-0 loss to La Serna on April 11 to bring them to the brink on Thursday.
“It was great (today) coming together as a team,” said Rooney, who along with Duran had the go-ahead RBIs for the Condors in the sixth. “We kind of just forgot about the first game — no one wants to remember that. Yeah, it was great just coming back as a team.”

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Baseball: Isaiah Gonzales pitches Santa Fe to big win over La Serna; Chiefs still lead title chase by a game

Santa Fe pitcher Isaiah Gonzales (19) makes a pitch in their Del Rio League baseball game at La Serna High School in Whittier on Wednesday April 26 2017. Santa Fe defeated La Serna 3-0. (Photo by Keith Durflinger/Whittier Daily News/SCNG)


By Stephen Ramirez
@SteveRRamirez on Twitter

WHITTIER >> La Serna High School got the best of Santa Fe earlier this baseball season and pitcher Isaiah Gonzales was determined it wouldn’t happen again.He was true to his word on Wednesday.Gonzales pitched a six-hit shutout and the Chiefs took advantage of four La Serna errors to solidify their lead in the Del Rio League with a 3-0 victory over the host Lancers.
Santa Fe (13-12, 8-2), which shared the league crown with California last season, moved two games ahead of La Serna (12-13-1) and a game ahead of Cal (14-7, 7-3), which beat El Rancho 7-2 in its chase for back-to-back titles.
Anthony Montes had a RBI double for the Chiefs. Abraham Carrillo was the hard-luck loser for La Serna, giving up three hits and striking out five in 5 1/3 innings. Nick Martinez also had two singles for La Serna.

“This was very big, because the first we game we played (against them) they gave it to us,” Gonzales said of La Serna’s 12-2 win on March 24. “They are a good ball club, but today we came out with more fire and it lit a spark under us.
“You always want to win, but because of that first game, we wanted this game the most.”
Santa Fe, which split two with Cal last week, took the early lead by taking advantage of two La Serna errors in the second.
Alonso Guzman reached on a dropped pop up with one out. Montes then lined a RBI double to right-center field for a 1-0 lead. He advanced to third on the throw home. Montes scored on an errant pick-off attempt for a 2-0 edge.
“(Carrillo) pitched great,” La Serna coach Anthony Gonzales said. “He’s done it all year for us. He put us in position to win, but we have to step up for him one time.
“We did make errors, but I like how we rebounded. You have to tip your cap to Gonzales. We beat him the last time and he came back today.”
Isaiah Gonzales was solid, giving up the six hits and striking out five. He allowed just two runners to reach third base and three to advance to second. He got out of both situations before closing the game by retiring seven of the final eight batters, with the exception reaching on an error.
La Serna’s only two looks at the game came in the third and the fifth. In the third, the Lancers put runners on first and third with one out following a single by Jacob Mora.
But Gonzales induced Eli Martinez to hit into a double play to end the threat.
The Lancers had runners on second and third with two outs in the fifth before Gonzales got Mora to pop out.
Gonzales had a single and scored in the sixth for a 3-0 lead.
(Gonzales) is a big-game pitcher,” Santa Fe coach Pierre Romo said. “He keeps proving it. He did it last week and he did it today.”
The two teams complete their season series on Friday at Santa Fe.

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Baseball: Del Rio League race tightens as Cal defeats first-place Santa Fe

California’s Jacob Sharp (19) is congratulated by teammates after scoring in their Del Rio League baseball game at Santa Fe High School in Santa Fe Springs on Friday April 21, 2017. California defeated Santa Fe 7-4. (Photo by Keith Durflinger/Whittier Daily News/SCNG)


By Stephen Ramirez
SANTA FE SPRINGS >> California High School’s quest for a sixth consecutive Del Rio League baseball crown is still alive and well.The Condors drew their line in the sand by rallying back from a tough loss on Wednesday to score a 7-4 victory over first-pace Santa Fe on Friday.Gilly Rodriguez had a key two-run double in the second inning and Gilbert Lopez gave up one run in five innings to lead California (13-7, 6-3), which stayed within a game of the Chiefs. Raul Ramirez had three hits for Santa Fe (11-11, 7-2), which faces a home-and-home series with La Serna (12-12-1, 6-3) next week. The Lancers lost to Whittier to stay tied for second with California.

“I think more importantly to us as a ball club, we showed we have the capability to beat anyone in this league,” California coach Tony Nieto said. “Regardless of (what the standings show), we still have six games left. It was more important for our ball club to understand that we can beat anybody.”
California, which lost 5-0 to Santa Fe on Wednesday, jumped on the Chiefs early on Friday, leading 5-0 after two innings. The Condors took a 2-0 lead in the first. Jacob Sharp and Brandon Acosta (two hits, two runs) singled with one out. Sharp then stole third before scoring on an error. Acosta came home on a squeeze bunt by Lopez.
Jordan Zuniga led off the second with a single before scoring on a fielder’s choice and throwing error. Rodriguez doubled in two runs for a 5-0 advantage.
“That at-bat, I was just trying to go the other way with it,” Rodriguez said. “He hung the curve ball, and I went (to right field) and got a double.”
Lopez kept Santa Fe at bay early, allowing just one unearned run in five innings. He gave up five hits and struck out three.
California made it 6-0 in the third on a single by Lopez and a balk before going up 7-0 on a hit-by-pitch, a stolen base and error in the fifth.
But Santa Fe, which scored five runs late to win on Wednesday, refused to quit. Ramirez hit a two-out triple to make it 7-1 in the fifth before the Chiefs made it 7-3 in the sixth on a RBI single by Ruben Romero and an error.
Ramirez hit a double in the seventh before a fielding error made it 7-4. But Anthony Salazar induced Nathaniel Davalos to fly out to end the game.
“We gave in a little bit early with letting (being in first) get to us. We came in a little too laid back,” Santa Fe coach Pierre Romo said. “It affected us and we got down on ourselves. But we continued to fight.
“We took the (season series 2-1). It’s not a great day, but we’re still in a good place. That’s what we are looking at.”

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Softball: La Habra routs Fullerton to stay perfect in Freeway League

La Habra players greet Maritza Diaz (1) after hitting a home run in the second inning as they play Fullerton in their Freeway League girls softball game at La Habra High School in La Habra on Thursday April 20, 2017. La Habra defeated Fullerton 12-0. (Photo by Keith Durflinger/Whittier Daily News/SCNG)


By Stephen Ramirez
LA HABRA >> La Habra High School has been rated one of the top 20 softball teams in the state all season and Thursday they lived up to that billing.Janelle Rodriguez hit two home runs and Hannah Johnson threw four shutout innings to lead host La Habra to a 12-0 victory over Fullerton in a Freeway League game that was stopped in the fifth inning because of the 10-run rule.Maritza Diaz, Anissa Alatorre and Johnson also hit home runs for the Highlanders (14-6, 4-0), who are ranked No. 20 in the state by MaxPreps.com, No. 8 in CIF Southern Section Division 1 and No. 1 in the area.Kira Cauley, Rodriguez, Diaz and Savannah Tourville had two hits each for La Habra. Alyssa Brundage and Ceci Lopez had singles for Fullerton (10-10, 2-2).
“We just had to be patient today,” said Rodriguez, who was the 2016 Whittier Daily News Player of the Year. “We talked about not being anxious at all. It was our main goal today.

“We had to stay back. (Fullerton’s) defense had to work a little bit harder today.”
La Habra put it away early, leading 7-0 after scoring two runs in the first and five in the second.
Rodriguez, who had four RBIs, highlighted the early uprising with a three-run home run in the second for the seven-run lead.
She led off a four-run fourth with her second home run for a 9-0 lead.
“(Both pitches) were right there,” Rodriguez said of her two home runs. “I had to jump on them. I wanted to get more runs for my team and keep the inning going.”
Alatorre capped the scoring with a two-run home run for a 12-0 lead in the fourth. Alyssa Palacios also had a triple in the inning. She went 1 for 2, with a sacrifice fly in the first.
Johnson, who gave up one hit and struck out three in four innings, was perfect through three. She got the first two outs in the fourth before Brundage singled to left.
Elena Valenzuela and Rodriguez got the final four outs.
“I’m very proud of our kids,” La Habra coach Steve Harrington said. “Fullerton is a good team; their coach does a good job with them. I would say we just caught them on a bad time.”

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La Mirada defeats Bishop Amat for first Boras Classic win


By Stephen Ramirez
SANTA ANA >>
It wasn’t for a CIF Southern Section title or even a league crown, but it still was a pretty big milestone for the La Mirada High School baseball team to hang its hat on.Freshman Jared Jones threw six shutout innings and senior shortstop Kevin Kendall had two hits and stole two bases to help La Mirada to its first win in the Boras Classic with a 4-1 victory over traditional power Bishop Amat in a consolation-round game at Mater Dei High.
Joseph McNealey also had a two-run single and Eugene Jeon had an RBI for the Matadores (16-3). Jayson Gonzalez had single and scored a run for the Lancers (14-6), who lost their second consecutive game after winning 10 in a row, including last week’s National Classic in Fullerton.
La Mirada, ranked No. 1 by the Whittier Daily News, will face Aliso Niguel, which defeated Damien 6-2, in a consolation semifinal at noon at Mater Dei Thursday. Bishop Amat, ranked No. 1 by the San Gabriel Valley Tribune, will face Damien Thursday at 9 a.m., also at Mater Dei.
“We were disappointed we didn’t get a win (Tuesday),” said La Mirada coach Jim Zurn, whose Matadores opened the tournament with a 5-1 loss to Mater Dei. “But Bishop Amat, with (its) history, is a really good team. We came out and played a really good game. (Jones) gave us a good start, and we knew he would.
“(It’s) our first-ever win in the Boras Classic for our program. It’s very monumental for our school and our city.”
Jones limited Amat to five hits and struck out six to improve to 3-1. He got in trouble just once, but quickly pitched his way out it.
The Lancers, trailing 3-0 in the fifth, loaded the bases with one out following back-to-back singles by Jesus Maldonado and AJ Barraza and a walk to Gonzalez. But Jones struck out Ben Hurst and induced Richard Castro to pop out.
“I don’t think about it,” Jones said. “I just go into the stretch and try to block it out and see what happens.”
La Mirada scored the only runs it would need in the fourth when it took a 3-0 lead. Kendall, a UCLA signee who is considered one of the top shortstops in Southern California, led off with a double. He advanced to third on a wild pitch and scored when a pop up by Jeon was dropped.
Emilio Morales followed with a walk and Nathan Sena singled. McNealey then dropped a two-run single down the left-field line for a 3-0 advantage.
“I really liked the way we swung the bats today,” Zurn said. “We made some things happen with our legs to force the issue and we got some big two-out, clutch hits.”
Amat scored its only run in the seventh. Gonzalez walked with two outs, stole second before scoring on a single by Castro.
“We were just flat,” Bishop Amat coach Joe Hoggatt said. “This is two games in a row that we’ve played flat. Not to take anything away (from La Mirada). We (played under) a lot of emotion last week (in winning the National Classic). We can make every excuse known to man, but the bottom line is you have to come out and play.
“We haven’t met that challenge. But these are all good things for us. They are learning experiences.”

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