Staff photo by Keith Durflinger
California 8, Whittier 6, 8 innings
By Steve Ramirez, SGVN
WHITTIER — It was beginning to look like the race for the Del Rio League baseball title was Whittier High School’s to lose.
California had other ideas.
Alec Ojeda went 3 for 4 with three RBIs and Robert Barraza and Daniel Marquez scored on an infield error in the eighth and the Condors moved into a tie for first in Del Rio League with the host Cardinals after rallying for an 8-6 victory on Friday.
California, also getting a key two-run single by Nathan Blount in the fifth, improved to 7-4 overall and 4-1 in league play. Whittier, getting three hits and three RBIs from first baseman Michael Vaca, slipped to 10-2 and 4-1.
“I don’t think there was a lot of importance (of where it put us in the league standings),” California coach Tony Nieto said. “It was important for us to not give in and keep battling.
“We are really proud of our team because we found a way to gut it out.”
The Condors, who had six hits during the final four innings, rallied from deficits in the fifth and seventh innings before winning in the eighth.
Marquez, who scored three runs, followed a hit-batter with a one-out double before Michael Esparza hit a ground ball to first that Vaca was unable to handle, scoring Barraza and Marquez for the 8-6 lead.
Whittier, which won in extra innings in two of its four league victories, had its chance in its half of the inning, getting its first two batters on base on walks.
But Damian Salcedo, who led off with a walk, was thrown out at third trying to advance on a pitch in the dirt, and Barraza, who relieved Jimmy Olguin, induced Brandon Fortenberry to pop out. Johnny Salgado, after Jose Romero walked, then flied out to center field to end the game.
“Like I told the guys, it was our turn to lose one,” Whittier coach Eric Ramirez said. “We’ve had some really tough, close games, and we pulled them out.
“Today just didn’t go our way. But you play the averages and if we battle like this the rest of the way, we’ll win some more, and we’ll be fine.”
El Rancho 3, Santa Fe 2, 8 innings – El Rancho Luis Plascencia’s single in the top of the eighth inning broke a 2-2 tie and the Dons were able to survive a late rally by Santa Fe. El Rancho improves to 7-3 overall and 3-2 in league play, while Santa Fe drops to 2-8 and 1-4.
IT’S OVER: La Habra’s A.J. Oviedo celebrates scoring a run during Wednesday’s Freeway League victory over Sonora. (Keith Durflinger / Staff Photographer)
By John Sherrard, Correspondent
LA HABRA – It’s been almost three years since La Habra has beaten Sonora in a baseball game. The Highlanders ended that dubious streak ended Wednesday, and it took them eight innings to do it.
After six consecutive Freeway League losses over the past two seasons, the visiting Highlanders finally defeated Sonora, 8-6, to create a three-way tie atop the standings with Sunny Hills.
With the score tied at 6-6 entering the eighth inning, La Habra (5-5, 3-1) senior centerfielder Aaron Porter led off with a single and came all the way home on an RBI single by first baseman Anthony Oviedo (2 RBIs, two runs). Porter just avoided a tag by Sonora (5-6, 3-1) catcher Andrew Piraino to give La Habra a 7-6 lead while Oviedo advanced to second.
After Oviedo moved over to third on a passed ball and right fielder Omar Villicana (1 for 3, 3 RBIs) hit a sacrifice fly to score Villicana for an 8-6 lead.
La Habra coach and former Sonora assistant Paul Caffrey was elated about his first victory over Sonora after two years.
“Finally, it’s been a while. I have a lot of respect for coach (Pat) Tellers and he taught me a lot,” Caffrey said.
“It feels great, but it definitely wasn’t the way I wanted it, leading 6-3 in the seventh and you expect to get the win.”
Heading North: Cal High running back Justin Dankert, with his parents Joe and Marian Dankert, will be playing college football at Jamestown College in North Dakota.
(Keith Durflinger / Staff Photographer)
WHITTIER – As a football player, California High School’s Justin Dankert is blue-collar.
He did the dirty work in the Condors’ running game, and that type of work ethic, off and on the field, now will take him elsewhere.
Dankert, an honorable-mention All-Del Rio League running back this past fall, recently accepted a scholarship offer to Jamestown College, a NAIA school in North Dakota.
He is the second member of his family and the third position player from California in recent years to receive a football scholarship.
Older brother Joe, who played at La Mirada High School and Fullerton College, is at Quincy University in Illinois.
“In my family, it’s about hard work, not just on the field but in the classroom,” Dankert said. “My dad and mom are teachers, and that’s what they (instilled) in us. It’s good to (see it come to fruition).
“I’m glad to get it done.”
d going away to college. Now I get to do that. I’m excited.”
By Red Williams, Correspondent
LA MIRADA – The mental and emotional impact of high school softball may be buoyant or depressing, a rush or a bummer.
La Mirada’s Matadores were buoyant, almost to the point of giddy, when they rushed past visiting Norwalk, 11-0, in Suburban League play Wednesday. The game was shortened to the fifth inning because of the eight-run mercy rule.
On the other hand, the Lancers are trying to find their way this season and hoping to stave off deeper depression.
“We have a very young team,” Norwalk coach Jason Reyes said, “and one of the main things we’re trying to accomplish is to keep their minds in the game. You could just see them losing their mental edge when we got behind so early.”
Staff photo by Leo Jarzomb
I’m still not back in the office. I’ve been sick the past two days. But here is a story from our own Red Williams on La Serna’s win over Whittier Christian in softball on Tuesday.
WHITTIER – A pitching gem and explosive hitting proved to be the right formula for the La Serna High School softball team.
The Lancers’ Jamie Wren pitched a five-hitter to pace her team to a 6-1 victory Tuesday over visiting Whittier Christian.
Wren (5-2), a left-handed freshman, mixed her pitches well, using mostly her screwball and curve, and kept the potent Whittier Christian bats at bay.
The Heralds were unable to put more than one hit on the board in any inning and were shut out until they scored an unearned tally in the sixth. Wren gave up only one walk.
“Jamie pitched really well, and we had some timely hitting,” La Serna (7-5) coach Ginger Larsin said. “Everything came together pretty well.”