Softball Playoffs: La Mirada, La Habra advance to quarterfinals; La Serna, Montebello and Schurr see their seasons come to an end

Staff photo by Leo Jarzomb

The area’s hope for a CIF-SS softball title will rest with La Mirada and La Habra, who have looked like the two best teams in the area all season. Both won second-round games on Tuesday.
La Serna, Montebello and Schurr bowed out with losses.


By Steve Ramirez, SGVN
LA MIRADA — La Mirada High School’s run to last season’s Division 3 finals was viewed by most as the surprise of the 2011 CIF-Southern Section softball playoffs.
The Matadores keep proving it’s more the rule than the exception.
Mercedes Gasparovic had a home run and three RBIs and freshman pitcher Valerie Alvarado was solid in the circle to lead La Mirada to an 8-0 victory over visiting Los Altos on Tuesday in a Division 3 second-round game.
The Matadores, also getting two hits and three RBIs from Annie Dipillo, improved to 23-7 and will play at either Don Lugo or Rio Mesa of Oxnard in Thursday’s quarterfinals.
Los Altos, which had won 12 consecutive games, finished 19-7.
“Last year, everyone kept saying it was fluke,” La Mirada coach Richard Trujillo said. “We’ve been talking all year about that and keep saying, ‘Well, we’ll prove (it wasn’t).’
“We’ve now won two (in the playoffs), and we have two more to go to get back to the finals.”
La Mirada 8, Los Altos 0
Chino Hills 8, La Serna 0
La Habra 6, Ocean View 5
Nipomo 2, Montebelllo 0
Barstow 14, Schurr 3

La Mirada, which has won six of its last seven playoff games, proved its point early by scoring three runs in the first inning and once each in the second and third for a 5-0 lead.
The first was classic Matadores softball, which combined fundamentals with some power. Mylee Macahilig led off with a walk, moved to second on a sacrifice bunt and scored on an RBI single by Dipillo.
Gasparovic, who was 2 for 4 and also scored a run, made it 3-0 with a home run to left-center field.
Macahilig made it 4-0 with an RBI single in the second before Courtney Skogen led off the third with a double and scored for a 5-0 advantage on a sacrifice fly by Dipillo.
“There were CIF finalists,” Los Altos coach Nacho Hernandez said. “Their experience from last year definitely showed. They came out from the very beginning.
“We came out and had runners on first and second and didn’t do anything with it. They knew what to do. I’m not going to take anything away from that team. They’re very good.”
With three consecutive CIF–Southern Section semifinal appearances in the last three seasons, the Chino Hills High School softball team has loftier goals this year.
The visiting Huskies, behind a 15-hit attack, shut out La Serna 8-0 in a Division 3 second-round game Tuesday.
Chino Hills (29-3), which won a CIF-SS title in 2004, won its 23rd consecutive game of the season, which is tops in the division.
The division’s top-ranked Huskies have lost the last three years in championship games.
Chino Hills will host Mira Costa (24-7) on Thursday at 3:15 p.m. in their fourth consecutive quarterfinal appearance.
La Serna (14-10), which saw its season end at the hands of Chino Hills for the second year in a row, managed only six hits off 19-game winner Nikki Innamorato.
“(Jaime Wren) did a good job (Tuesday), but no matter where my pitchers put the ball they just hit it,” La Serna coach Ginger Larsin said. “They hit the ball probably harder than anybody we faced this year.”
– John Sherrard
It was a moment that called for a prime-time player to come up big, and La Habra High School’s Shanin Thomas didn’t let the Highlanders down Tuesday.
Thomas, considered one of the top softball players in the area, grounded an RBI single into right field in the seventh inning and La Habra rallied for a 6-5 victory over visiting Ocean View in a CIF-Southern Section Division 4 second-round game.
The Highlanders, also getting three hits and two runs from Hope Moreno and two hits and two RBIs from Racquel Manzo, improved to 22-8 and will face Dos Pueblos, which beat Santa Monica, in Thursday’s quarterfinals.
Ocean View, getting three RBIs and a home run from Tobi Salzman, finished 17-10.
“It’s funny, because we haven’t played many close games this year, unlike last season when we won a bunch,” La Habra coach Frank McCarroll said. “But the kids responded under pressure. They know what it takes to win.”
Courtney Cuzick threw a no-hitter as the visiting Titans knocked the No. 4 seed Oilers out of the playoffs.
Celeste Rodriguez gave up six hits for Montebello, which finished 19-5 after sharing the Almont League title with rival Schurr.
“I’m not disappointed (in the loss),” Montebello coach Laurie Capps said. “I really thought we had the capability to go further. Today, we just didn’t hit like we have been. We’ve been averaging 16 hits a game, then go from that to a no-hitter.
“We didn’t adjust to (Cuzick).”
Nipomo improved to 18-9 and will face Hemet in Thursday’s quarterfinals.
Byanka Diosdado had two RBIs as the Scorpions ended the Spartans’ season.
Barstow improved to 20-10 and advanced to face South El Monte, which defeated San Marino, in the quarterfinals.
Schurr, which had advanced to the second round with a victory over Cantwell Sacred Heart of Mary, finished 21-8.
“It’s definitely disappointing to lose,” Schurr coach Jackie Montanez said. “However, we had a great season, overall. We faced a lot of teams outside our division and our girls competed. I’m pleased with the progress we made.”

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