All-Area basketball teams to be published on Friday; soccer comes out next week

We will publish the All-Area boys basketball team on Friday, with the girls team coming on Saturday. Boys and girls soccer will be next week, with wrestling and girls water polo the following week.

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St. Paul Baseball Tournament: Swordsmen come up short in loss to San Pedro; will play for third today

Host St. Paul, no matter what it’s done during the regular season, always plays well in its Easter Tournament, and the Swordsmen continue to live up to recent history, advancing to the semifinals of its 27th annual Easter Tournament with a 6-1 victory over Cathedral in Monday’s quarterfinals.
For more of the story, click on freelancer John Sherrard’s story here

AAA Bracket
Tuesday’s Scores
Championship Semifinals

San Pedro 6, St. Paul 5
Simi Valley 6, Carson 1
Consolation semifinals
Mayfair 4, La Serna 3
Valencia 8, La Mirada 3
5th Place semifinals
Cathedral 7, Banning 4
Serra 7, Millikan 4
13th Place Semifinals
Bellflower 6, Santa Fe 2
El Segundo 6, El Rancho 5
Today’s Schedule
At St. Paul

Simi Valley vs. San Pedro, 3:30 p.m.
3rd Place
At St. Paul

St. Paul vs. Carson, 12:30 p.m.
5th Place
At La Mirada

Banning at Serra, 3:30 p.m.
7th Place
At La Serna
Cathedral vs. El Rancho, 3:30 p.m.
Consolation Championship
Mayfair at Valencia, 7 p.m.
11th Place
El Segundo at La Serna, 9:30 a.m.
13th Place
At St. Paul

Bellflower vs. Millikan, 9:30 a.m.
15th Place
Santa Fe at La Mirada, 12:30 p.m.

AA Tournament
Tuesday’s Pool-Play Scores

Western 5, Cantwell 2
Norwalk 9, Ontario Chr. 2
Warren 7, Aquinas 2
Glenn 12, Bishop Montgomery 9
Whittier Chr. 12, Crean Lutheran 6
Baldwin Park 8, Bosco Tech 1
Calvary Chapel/Santa Ana 9, Oak Park 0
St. Monica 7, Artesia 5
Mary Star 9, Salesian 3
Wednesday’s semifinals

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Baseball: Whittier and El Rancho get big wins to take share of first in Del Rio League

By Steve Ramirez, SGVN
Whittier High School’s baseball team, after two extra-inning losses, was in need of a breather.
The Cardinals, keyed by Damian Salcedo and Joe Melendrez, got their wish Friday.
Salcedo went 3 for 5 and scored two runs and Melendrez tossed five no-hit innings and host Whittier took a share of the Del Rio League lead with a 13-3 victory over La Serna at Jack Mele Field.
The Cardinals, also getting two RBIs each from Hector Ramirez and Brandon Fortenberry, improved to 11-3 overall and 5-2 in league play. Whittier shares the league lead with El Rancho, which beat California 2-0 on Friday for its fourth consecutive win. The two teams will meet in a home-and-home series on April 18 and 20.
La Serna, which beat the Cardinals, 2-1, in 10 innings on Wednesday, slipped to 8-5-1 and 4-3.
Whittier coach Eric Ramirez
(on rebounding from consecutive league losses):
“It’s just the league. I never really look at like we lost two (in a row). Yeah, we lost two, but at the same time, they were extra innings games. (La Serna) is a good team and they will be there at the end. But today it went our way and the last two didn’t.”
(On lifting Melendrez after five no-hit innings): “I’ve used him a lot this year. I thought about bringing him back in the sixth, then it got out of hand. It’s a long season, and I have to get some other guys some work. (Melendrez) has done a lot for us, so I don’t see him thinking it was any big deal. The bigger deal for us was winning the game.”
La Serna coach Anthony Gonzales Jr (on Melendrez’s performance): “He was effectively wild. He did a great job. He pitched a tough 10th inning in our win on Wednesday.
“We knew he was going to come out ready to compete, and he did.”

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Lowe era comes to an end at La Serna

END OF AN ERA: La Serna coach Mike Lowe, one of the area’s best boys basketball
coaches, has decided to retire. (Staff Photo by Keith Birmingham)

By Steve Ramirez
Nothing lasts forever, and for La Serna High School’s Mike Lowe, his tenure as boys basketball coach has come to an end.
The long-time coach, who also won a CIF-Southern Section and CIF State title at Hacienda Heights Wilson in the 1980s, previously had announced his retirement and recently was honored by the La Serna community at the team’s postseason banquet.
“I just think it was the right time,” said Lowe, who had been at La Serna 20 seasons. “It’s been a lot of fun. But now I have the energy to do other things.”
Lowe is regarded as one of the top coaches in the area and the Southern Section. He is known for making the most of his team’s talents. His teams traditionally were among the most fundamentally sound in the section.
He came to La Serna after a stint at Wilson, which he coached to the 1986 CIF-SS 3A title and also the Division II state championship that season. Lowe’s Wildcats, led by future NBA player Scott Williams, beat Ganesha for the CIF-SS 3A title before outlasting Aptos for the state Division II championship.
Lowe won several Del Rio League titles for the Lancers, including a three-year stretch in which they were 70-13 between 1999-2001.
“I think the one thing I will miss most is my relationship with the players,” Lowe said. “I’m really proud of it all, all 20 years.
“But those three years we went 70-13. That was special and was a pretty good run. We were consistent every night.”
La Serna has not been dominant lately, but the Lancers have won the league title outright or shared it five times during the past seven seasons.
They were 10-0 in 2006 and 2009 and shared the league title in ’07, ’10 and ’11.
La Serna, led by the inside play of Jared Wight and Taurean Oram, went 4-6 and finished third this season. The Lancers lost in the first round of the CIF-SS playoffs.
Lowe, whose replacement has yet to be named, now will view the Lancers from afar as someone new takes over. But he believes it’s time.
“I’m excited about it,” he said. “I hope they hire a good coach and they win a ton of games. There’s nothing negative on my part.”

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Softball: Pantages’ six RBIs lead Cal over La Serna, 10-6

By Steve Ramirez, SGVN
There’s nothing like beating your rival.
But it’s extra special when it comes in the league opener.
The California High School softball team knows the feeling.
Christina Pantages had three hits and six RBIs and the visiting Condors opened Del Rio League play with a 10-6 victory over nemesis La Serna on Tuesday.
California, also getting two hits and three runs from Miranda Perez, improved to 10-4 overall.
La Serna, which scored three three runs in the seventh to make it close, slipped to 6-8. The Lancers had multiple-hit games from Danielle Garcielita and Dana De La Torre.
Cal coach Jim Kruse: “To start the league with a win against them, especially up here, it’s a huge win. Last year, we beat them in the first round, then lost to El Rancho, so we’re not taking anyone lightly. We have to (come to) play every time. We can’t have a bad day.”
La Serna coach Ginger Larsin: “I was proud that we didn’t give up. The girls kept on plugging away. We did the best we could. We just gave up too many runs. It was unreachable.”

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Baseball: Whittier leads the Del Rio-flavored rankings

Leader of the Pack: Hitters like Whittier’s Johnny Salgada
have the Cardinals atop the area rankings.
(Staff photo by Keith Durflinger).

Here’s this week’s Baseball top five rankings, and Whittier, which is 10-2 and shares first place in the Del Rio League with California, sits atop the list.
The rankings feature four Del Rio League teams in the top five, with the exception being No. 5 La Mirada, which is two games off the lead in the Suburban League.

Top Five Rankings
1. Whittier (10-2) –
The Cardinals have set the tone in the area, winning 10 of its first 11 before losing, 8-6, in extra innings to California last week.
2. El Rancho (7-3) – Look out for the Dons, who started 0-2 in league play. But El Rancho has suddenly founded its groove, winning its last three, including a 12-5 victory over La Serna last week.
3. La Serna (7-4-1) – The Lancers beat California two weeks ago, but split two games last week and sit tied for third with El Rancho, one game behind Whittier and California.
4. California (7-4) — The Condors, who rallied for an 8-6 victory over Whititier to move into a first-place tie with the Cardinals. California gets El Rancho in a home and home series this week, beginning Wednesday.
5. La Mirada (6-8-1) – The Matadores are in the midst of a three-game slide, including losing 12-1 to Bishop Amat on Saturday. They face a big home and home against Glenn this week.

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Softball: La Habra back on top in area rankings

Leading the Way: Vanessa Ciocatto has been a key for La Habra
in the the circle this season. La Habra is No. 1
in this week’s rankings. (Photo by Mike Mullen)

Here’s this week’s area softball rankings, with La Habra the No. 1 after El Rancho dropped two games last week. The Highlanders feature one of the better offenses in the area, and began this week ranked No. 6 in Division 4. This is a big week as most of the teams begin league play. La Mirada, which is No. 3 this week, has been in league play the past two weeks and is currently tied for the Suburban lead with Cerritos and Mayfair at 2-0.

Area Rankings
1. La Habra (8-5) —
The Highlanders, ranked No. 1 to begin the season, are the favorites in the Freeway League and might be the area’s best bet to bring home a title, beginning the week ranked No. 6 in Division 4.
2. California (9-4) – The Condors have quietly had one of the better nonleague seasons. They open Del Rio League play today at La Serna.
3. La Mirada (8-4) — The Matadores are in three-way tie for first in the Suburban. La Mirada also features one of the better lineups in the area.
4. El Rancho (8-3) — The Dons stumbled a bit last week, but should be in the hunt in the Del Rio League.
5. Whittier Christian (8-5) — The Heralds are still struggling with inconsistency. But this is a team that should be there at the end, with Mandy Perez, who will play at Arizona next season, in the fold.

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East doubles it’s pleasure in Sargent’s East-West Basketball All-Star Games

Out of Reach: La Serna s Nanette Beightol of the East tries to pass to
La Habra s Kayla Judkins during Saturday s Sargent’s Sporting Goods
East-West All-Star Game at Whittier College.
(Mike Mullen / Correspondent)

Apparently the best basketball in the Whittier area this past season was played on the eastside. Both the East boys and girls all-star teams made their point in respective Sargent’s Sporting Goods all-star games Saturday night at Whittier College.
The East boys were too much for their West counterpoints, rolling to an 83-46 victory. The girls game was a bit closer, but not by much as the East scored a 65-46 victory.
The East boys team was led by the La Habra duo of Marcus Mellado and Ryan Hall, who scored 15 and 13 points, respectively. Hall was East MVP. Pioneer’s Josh Fittan scored eight points and was the West MVP.
Whittier’s Jeana Magana scored 10 points and earned East MVP in the girls game. Santa Fe’s Jackie Saiza scored eight points and was West MVP.
East boys MVP Ryan Hall, of La Habra: “It was a great environment (Saturday) and coach (Jason Van Duyne, of California) stressed defense to us, but that’s what led to a lot of our fast-break points,”
East girls coach Richard Villeza, of Whittier Christian: “I would call it the `Tale of Two Halves,’ We were pushing too hard in the first half. Once we settled down and made some adjustments we were good to go.”

Boys Game
East 83, West 46

Girls Game
East 65 West 46

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