Baseball: Del Rio League dominating top 5, led by rivals Cal and La Serna

Staff Photo by Keith Durflinger

Here are this week’s Area Baseball Top Five.
California, which has won six consecutive games, and rival La Serna both took advantage of previous Nos. 1 and 2, Whittier and El Rancho, to take the top spot for the second consecutive week. It also will add to the rivalry when Cal and La Serna go at it for a home-and-home series, beginning Wednesday at La Serna.

1. California (14-6) – Riding six-game win streak
2. La Serna (12-7-1) – Hosts Cal in 1 vs. 2 battle
3. Whittier (12-8) – Still might be DRL’s best
4 El Rancho (10-7) – Got big split last week
5. La Mirada (12-11-1) – Suburban title still in reach

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Softball: La Mirada taking command of Area Top Five

Staff Photo by Keith Durflinger
La Mirada was the lone area team to advance to a CIF-Southern Section championship game last season, and the Matadores are starting to fnd their second win this season, winning 15 of their past 16. La Mirada has also shut out its past four opponents, so it’s no surprise to see the Mats atop the area Top Five. La Habra, which begins the day tied for first in the Freeway League, is a close second.
Here’s the rankings:

1. La Mirada (17-5) – Mats are heating up
2. La Habra (14-8) – Goes for first this week
3. Schurr (15-6) — Dominating Almont League
4. El Rancho (14-4) – Swept Santa Fe, Cal
5. California (11-7) – Don’t sleep on the Condors

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Baseball: St. Paul no match for rival Amat in 8-2 loss; El Rancho rallies for 3-2 win over Whittier to force four-way log jam in Del Rio

SAFE OR OUT?: St. Paul shortstop Larson Anzaldo tags out Bishop Amat’s Daryl Daniels trying to
steal second base in their game at St. Paul High School. Amat scored an 8-1 victory.
(SGVN/Staff Photo by Keith Durflinger)

By Steve Ramirez, SGVN
For the Bishop Amat High School baseball team, Friday was all about taking care of business.
The Lancers, with a home-and-home series against second-place La Salle slated for next week, used a workman-like effort to get it done.
Evan Claproth had three hits and two RBIs and Kenny Ball was steady on the mound to lead visiting Bishop Amat to an 8-1 victory over rival St. Paul in a Del Rey League game.
The Lancers, also getting three hits and a RBI from Scott Hurst, improved to 14-7 overall and 8-0 in league play. St. Paul, which dropped a 12-1 setback to Bishop Amat on Tuesday, slipped to 10-13 and 4-4.
St. Paul coach Casey Morales: “We just didn’t show up. We didn’t play from the get-go.
“We couldn’t hit, we couldn’t pitch, we couldn’t catch the ball. We didn’t show up and compete. All the momentum we gained over Easter, we lost. It’s very disappointing.”
Bishop Amat coach Andy Nieto: “I have a lot of respect for St. Paul. A lot of my baseball friends played here, so the respect for St. Paul, for me, goes back a long way. We preach to our team, respect your opponent always and respect the game of baseball. St. Paul is well coached and works hard. We were fortunate to rally off a couple of extra opportunities that they gave us. I’m proud of our guys, because that’s what good teams have to do.”
El Rancho 3, Whittier 2 – The Dons forced a four-way atop the Del Rio League standings at rallying for win in eight innings at home. El Rancho improves to 6-3 in league play and joins Whittier, California and La Serna in first place. That log jam will likely end next week with Cal and La Serna continuing their rivalry with a home-and-home series, while El Rancho and Whittier get Pioneer and Santa Fe, respectively.
La Serna 7, Santa Fe 3 – The Lancers needed a seven-run sixth to rally past the Chiefs, who gave La Serna all it wanted.
California 16, Pioneer 1 – The Condors took care of business to move into a first-place tie.

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Softball: El Rancho makes it six of seven with 4-2 victory over California to stay in first

BIG HERO: El Rancho’s Alex Barcenas, scene here making a tag on California’s Meah Lopez, had a
key two-run double in the Dons’ 4-2 win to stay in first in the Del Rio League on Thursday.
(Staff photo by Keith Durflinger)

El Rancho High School can do no wrong these days, and the Dons continued to show it Thursday.
Alex Barcenas had a key two-run double and Jaime Ramirez was solid in the circle as El Rancho won for the sixth time in seven games to stay in first in the Del Rio League with a 4-2 victory over California.
Ramirez tossed a five hitter and struck out two as the Dons improved to 14-4 overall and 3-1 in league play. They began the day in a four-way tie for the lead with California, La Serna and Santa Fe.
The Condors, who got an RBI from Karly Perez, slipped to 11-6 and 2-2.
Also, California appeared to take a 3-1 on a two-run home run by Perez. But she was later ruled out on appeal for missing second base and credited with a single.
El Rancho coach Daisy Flores: “I just told my girls to just play your game. California is a really good team and (the Dons) could be a little nervous. But I said just play your game like you know you can, catch the ball, hit the ball and they far exceeded my expectations today.”
California coach Jim Kruse: “It’s just a judgement call. He said she missed it by four or five inches. I (didn’t) think so. But we can’t change that.”

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ALL-AREA SOCCER: La Serna’s Francis, the ultimate team player is Area Player of the Year

AREA’S BEST: La Serna’s Savannah Francis is the Whittier Daily News
All-Area Girls Soccer Player of the Year.
(Keith Durflinger / Staff Photographer)

By Steve Ramirez, SGVN
Savannah Francis’ value to the La Serna High School’s girls soccer team couldn’t be measured in statistics.
The senior, who was neither the area’s top scorer nor had the most assists, was the key factor in the Lancers advancing to the CIF-Southern Section Division 5 final. She gave La Serna a little bit of everything – scoring, controlling the middle of the field and even showing her ability as a defender when asked.
For her efforts, Francis is the Daily News 2011-12 Girls Soccer Player of the Year.
She is joined on the All-Area team by La Serna teammates Jennifer Reed, Danielle Telles and Penny Roman; La Mirada’s Megan Guzman, Madeline Panozzo and Ileen Mejia; Montebello’s Bianca Cardenas and Andrea Pena; California’s Brianna Ramirez; Santa Fe’s Briana Geffre and Whittier Christian’s Brooke Contreras.
La Serna’s Tessa Troglia is Coach of the Year.
“We were really motivated this year after losing in the semifinals the previous season,” Francis said. “We wanted to get to the finals and play for the championship.
“Myself, I played with more composure. Last year, I lost control a bit and had some yellow cards. This year, I tried to stay calm and play my game, because that’s what my team needed.”


Player of the Year – Savannah Francis, La Serna, Sr.
Coach of the Year – Tessa Troglia, La Serna

F – Megan Guzman, La Mirada, Sr.
F – Brianna Ramirez, Cal, Sr.
F – Briana Geffre, Santa Fe, Sr.
F- Madeline Panozzo, La Mirada, Jr.
MF – Brooke Contreras, Whitier Chr., Sr.
MF – Ileen Mejia, La Mirada, Jr.
MF – Bianca Cardenas, Montebello, Jr.
MF – Jennifer Reed, La Serna, Sr.
D – Danielle Telles, La Serna, Jr.
D – Andrea Pena, Montebello, Jr.
GK – Penny Roman, La Serna
F — Moriah Earley, La Serna, Junior
F — Stephanie Serrato, Montebello, Freshman
MF — Sophie Basalone, Whittier Chr., Sophomore
MF — Michelle Reed, La Serna, Freshman
MF — Lizzie Ayson, California, Sophomore
MF — Jordann Sanders, La Serna, Junior
MF — Lauren Duran, Whittier Chr., Senior
D — Elisa Martinez, El Rancho, Junior
D — Saleen George, Santa Fe, Sophomore
D — Alex Kidd, La Serna, Junior
GK — Sarah Carrick, La Mirada, Senior
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Baseball: Whittier takes over first Del Rio with 14-2 rout over El Rancho….rematch is on Friday

AT THE TOP: Whittier High School got help from pitcher Cody Carmona, above, to score a 14-2
victory over El Rancho Wednesday to take over first in the Del Rio League.
(Staff photo by Keith Durflinger)

For much of the season, the Whittier High School baseball team has looked like the best team in the Del Rio League.
For now, they are the best.
Nick Vaca went 2 for 4, including a grand slam, and Cody Carmona was steady on the mound and Whittier took over first place Wednesday with a 14-2 victory over visiting El Rancho at Jack Mele Field.
The Cardinals, also getting two hits and two RBIs from Jose Romero, improved to 12-7 overall and 6-2 in league.
El Rancho, which had won its past five league games, slipped to 9-8 and 5-3. The Dons, getting three hits from Julian Vizcarra, have lost five consecutive games after dropping four games in last week’s St. Paul Easter Tournament.
The two teams play at El Rancho on Friday.
“It’s a huge win,” said Whittier coach Eric Ramirez, whose Cardinals held on for an 11-10 victory over El Rancho last month. “It gives us the series win and the tiebreaker (for the league title).
“They’ll play with a lot of pressure on Friday, while (there will not be) as much for us.”

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ALL-AREA BOYS SOCCER: Roldan, who sparked El Rancho’s dominance, is the Player of the Year

PLAYER OF THE YEAR: Cristian Roldan, who led El Rancho High
to the CIF-Southern Section Division 4 title match,
is the Daily News Boys Soccer Player of the Year.
(Keith Durflinger / Staff Photographer)

El Rancho High School enjoyed in 2012 what for most schools would consider to be a dream season.
The Dons, looking to earn consecutive CIF-Southern Section Division 4 boys soccer titles, won 26 of 27 games and were ranked in’s national top 10 for much of the season.
The glue for El Rancho, which featured arguably the most talented lineup in the area in recent memory, was junior midfielder Cristian Roldan, whose play in the center keyed the Dons’ road to 26 consecutive victories before losing, 3-0, to Crescenta Valley in the Division 4 title game.
For his efforts, Roldan is Daily News Boys Soccer Player of the Year.
Roldan is joined on the All-Area team by El Rancho teammates Francisco Lara, Miguel Vilchis, Efrain Velasco, Roberto Hernandez and David Lopez; Montebello’s Cristian Zuniga and Gabriel Mancilla; La Habra’s Eric Sandoval and Joe Araiza; La Serna’s Francisco Saucedo; and Whittier’s Juan Rentana.
But this is a season that will long be remembered for El Rancho’s dominance, and Roldan had a major hand in that success.
“I felt like I did improve this year,” said Roldan, who was first-team All-CIF-SS Division 4 for the second consecutive season. “I felt we played more as a team this year.
“But injuries caught up to me. I was unable to play a couple of games and that could have helped my year.”


Player of the Year – Christian Roldan, El Rancho, Jr.
Coach of the Year – Dominic Picon, El Rancho

First Team
F – Francisco Lara, El Rancho
F – Eric Sandoval, La Habra, So.
F – Cristian Zuniga, Montebello,
MF – Miguel Vilchis, El Rancho, Jr.
MF – Joe Araiza, La Habra, Sr.
MF – Francisco Saucedo, La Serna, Sr.
D – Gabriel Mancilla, Montebello
D – Efrain Valasco, El Rancho, Sr.
D – Roberto Hernandez, El Rancho, Jr.
D – Juan Retanna, Whittier, Sr.
GK – David Lopez, El Rancho, Jr.
Second Team
F –Jaime Moreno, El Rancho, Junior
F– Miguel Mendoza, Schurr, Senior
MF — Daniel Gonzalez, Whittier Junior
MF — Cristobal Guerra, California, Senior
MF — Alex Roldan, El Rancho, Sophomore
MF — Noah Cook, Whittier Chr., Senior
MF — Jaime Ayala, Pioneer, Senior
D — Ryan Rivera, La Serna, Senior
D — Mikael Zenteno, La Serna, Senior
D — Enrique Martin, Montebello, Senior
GK — David Rojas, Whittier, Senior
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Whittier’s Magana is Area’s Best, wins Girls Basketball Player of the Year honors

PLAYER OF THE YEAR: Whittier High School senior Jeana Magana is the 2011-12 Daily News Girls Basketball Player of the Year (Keith Durflinger / Staff Photographer)

For Jeana Magana, it was never a question of talent.
The senior showed her ability the first time she walked into the Whittier High School gym. But refining her skills has been part of her growth and this season she became a complete player, leading the Cardinals to their fifth consecutive Del Rio League title.
For her efforts, Magana is the 2011-12 Daily News Girls Basketball Player of the Year.
Magana, who has been part of a Whittier team that has won 26 consecutive league games, is joined on the All-Area team by teammate Yazmin Acosta; La Serna’s Ruby Nichols; St. Paul’s Priscilla Hidalgo; La Habra’s Kayla Judkins; and Santa Fe’s Jackie Saiza.
La Habra’s Jim Bohn is Coach of the Year.


Whittier coach Willie Pittman on Magana: Jeana came in a very shy, timid, frail, little girl. Now she leaves as a powerful, young woman. Basketball has always been her refuge. She learned as the years have gone on to accept people. For her to be in this position right now, she’s very honored and humbled. She has grown tremendously. She could have easily scored 20 points a game. But we needed her to be more of a playmaker and she did that. She changed her game and showed (her versatility). She was tremendous.”
Jeana Magana: “I just think I became more of a leader this year. I didn’t think about myself. I passed the ball. Even though there were games where I didn’t score a lot, I got my teammates the ball.”
La Habra coach Jim Bohn: “The year before I arrived at La Habra, the Lady Highlanders were 8-20. With all the hard work from my coaching staff and our players, our first year we ended up (13-13) with a CIF bid and this past year finished 18-8 and hosted our first home (playoff) game. It has been great to see the change over the past two years. Our players have shown an interest in working hard during practice and making sure that when they step on the court that they represent La Habra girls basketball with pride. I also wanted to make sure that I share this recognition with all the past and current players, coaching staff and administration. In addition, I wanted to publicly thank my family for all the support they have given me over the years. I am proud to be a Highlander and look forward to having continued success next year.”

Player of the Year:
Jeana Magana, Whittier, Sr.
Coach of the Year: Jim Bohn, La Habra
First Team
Forward: Yazmin Acosta, Whittier, Sr.
Forward: Ruby Nichols, La Serna, Jr.
Guard: Priscilla Hidalgo, St. Paul, Jr.
Guard: Kayla Judkins, La Habra, Sr.
Guard: Jackie Saiza, Santa Fe, Sr.
Second Team
Center: Holly Shafer, St. Paul, Jr.
Forward: Dijonnae Murphy, Santa Fe, Sr.
Forward: Nanette Bieghtol, La Serna, Sr.
Guard: Allyson O’Brien, La Habra, Jr.
Guard: Khadidja Diakite, El Rancho, Jr.

Player of the Year Jeana Magana
Coach of the Year Jim Bohn

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All-Area Boys Basketball: Estrada changes Cardinals’ fortunes, earns Player of the Year honors

PLAYER OF THE YEAR: Cantwell Sacred Heart junior Jose Estrada is
the Daily News 2011-12 Boys Basketball Player of the Year.
(Keith Durflinger / Staff Photographer)

Cantwell Sacred Heart of Mary hasn’t had a lot of success on the basketball court in recent years.
The Cardinals were just 12-43 the previous two seasons, including winning just two of 27 games during the 2010-11 season. For some, there was very little reason for that to change.
Enter Jose Estrada, a junior transfer from Mexico who in one season changed the culture at the Montebello school, keying the Cardinals to a 27-6 record and a trip to the CIF-Southern Section divisional finals for the first time.
For his efforts, Estrada is the Daily News 2011-12 Boys Basketball Player of the Year.
Estrada is joined on the All-Area squad by first-team members Ryan Hall of La Habra; California’s Roberto Campos and Matt Lambrecht; Whittier’s Willie Pittman; and Cantwell’s Jacob Alaniz.
The Cardinals’ George Zedan is area Coach of the Year.
Cantwell’s Jose Estrada: “I just tried to help the team win. That’s my game, to drive to the basket. I’ve been playing like that all my life. I’m getting better with my jump shot and penetrating to the basket.”
Cantwell coach George Zedan: “”I’m happiest for the seniors. For them to have that type of experience and be able to go far in the playoffs, win a ton of games, win our tournament for the first time, it was a really big deal. I had an idea we would be able to compete right away. I didn’t know, in terms of wins and losses, where we would be. We were well above .500 in the summer, so secretly, I felt we would do well and surprise a lot of people. Going to a program that hasn’t had a lot of success, I felt there was nowhere to go but up. I felt it wasn’t going to be that difficult to turn things around. Did I feel we could get to the state playoffs, go to the finals in CIF? When I first took the job, I felt in a few years we could do something like that. It turned out to be a pretty neat season.”

Player of the Year – Jose Estrada, Cantwell, Jr.
Coach of the Year - George Zedan, Cantwell
First Team
Center: Ryan Hall, La Habra, Sr.
Forward: Matt Lambrecht, California, Jr.
Guard: Roberto Campos, California, Sr.
Guard: Willie Pittman, Whittier, Sr.
Guard: Jacob Alaniz, Cantwell, Sr.
Second Team
Forward: Taurean Oram, La Serna, Jr
Forward: Jared Wight, La Serna, Sr.
Guard: Taelin Webb, La Mirada, So.
Guard: Juan Quintero, Whittier, Sr.
Guard: Alex Imhof, La Habra, Sr.

Click below to read the Player of the Year and Coach of the Year stories:
Player of the Year Jose Estrada, of Cantwell
Coach of the Year George Zedan, of Cantwell

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