DAILY NEWS RANKINGS
1. California (13-3)
Has 9-game win streak
2. La Habra (8-5)
Freeway League favorites
3. El Rancho (4-2)
Offense off to good start
4. Cantwell SH (7-5)
3-1 start in Camino Real
5. La Serna (7-6)
Split doubleheader with St. Paul
ATHLETES OF THE WEEK
El Rancho baseball
Vargas helped lift the Dons to a 3-0 record last week. He totaled three hits and two RBIs in El Rancho’s 4-3 nonleague victory March 19 at Montebello. Vargas also delivered a two-run homer in Friday’s 7-6 Del Rio League win over La Serna.
La Habra softball
Ciocatto was impressive in posting a 2-0 record last week. She pitched a complete game two-hitter in the Highlanders’ 7-0 triumph March 19 at Whittier Christian. Ciocatto followed that performance by striking out five and scattering five hits in Thursday’s 10-1 win over La Serna.
By Eric Terrazas, Staff Writer
SANTA FE SPRINGS – St. Paul High School’s Tuesday home doubleheader against La Serna turned to be an offensive show on both ends.
The host Swordsmen dropped the opener 12-6 but won the nightcap 11-9.
Lovie Lopez paced the Swordsmen (7-4) with two hits and five RBIs. Krystal Gutierrez had three hits and an RBI.
Swordsmen starting pitcher Koreen Orozco threw a complete game in the victory and also hit a two-run home run.
Five players drove in runs for La Serna (7-6), which was led by Molly Bourne’s three RBIs. Raeanne Martinez and Dana De La Torre each drove in two runs for the Lancers.
St. Paul coach Roberta Argott said the split against a good La Serna squad should bode well as the season progresses.
“For us to face them and put up a lot of runs gives us a lot of confidence,” Argott said. “We were struggling to get on base but our runners definitely got on base today. I’m very proud of them. The girls were happy with their swings.
“I told them to keep up that same confidence and to continue to hit the ball hard.”
The second game was a roller-coaster in which La Serna jumped out to an early 4-0 lead after its first two at-bats.
Here is this week’s area top five rankings:
1. St. Paul (6-3) - The Swordsmen, who split a doubleheader with Acalanes, visit Brea Olinda on Thursday.
2. California (4-2-1) - Defending Del Rio League champions host Pioneer and Whittier this week after opening with a 6-6 tie at La Serna.
3. Montebello (4-2) - The Oilers are off to a quick 2-0 start in the Almont League. They host El Rancho today before resuming league play Friday at San Gabriel.
4. El Rancho (3-3) - The Dons started Del Rio play off on the right foot on Friday by defeating Santa Fe 4-1. After visiting the Oilers, El Rancho will travel to Whittier and La Serna later this week.
5. La Mirada (4-5-1) - The Matadores open Suburban League play this week against Cerritos. They visit the Dons on Wednesday before hosting them on Friday.
By Eric Terrazas, Staff Writer
St. Paul High School’s football field will soon have a new look.
The Swordsmen will be getting new synthetic turf, along with an all-weather track, for the 2013 season.
Since the field is scheduled to be excavated in April, St. Paul will host a “Final Field Walk” from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday.
The event, a fundraiser for the football program, will feature food and music. Keepsakes of the field will be available for purchase.
The public is welcome. All former football and soccer players, along with band, drill team and pep squad members, are invited as well.
“It’s going to be a get together of people who have performed on the field,” said Mike Duarte, who is an assistant football coach at St. Paul. “It’s going to be a fun event. It’s a very close community at the school and the student-athletes have a lot of special memories because of that closeness.
“It will be a celebration.”
The field walk is scheduled for 11 a.m., followed by music and photo opportunities.
For more information, call Duarte at 714-280-4321.
DEL RIO TENNIS OPENS
The Del Rio League’s boys tennis season starts today with three matches.
El Rancho, which captured last year’s league crown by posting a 10-0 record, will open its title defense with a home match against Whittier, which is looking to rebound from a 1-9 league finish. The Dons advanced to the second round of last year’s CIF-Southern Section Division 5 playoffs, where they lost to South El Monte 11-7.
La Serna will visit Santa Fe in a tilt that features two teams tied for second place by going 7-3. The Lancers, who are ranked No. 3 in the latest Division 5 poll, won their first three postseason matches before losing to Arroyo 11-7 in last season’s quarterfinals.
Santa Fe lost to Whittier Christian 11-7 in the Division 5 wild-card round.
California, which recorded a fourth-best Del Rio mark of 4-6, will travel to Pioneer, which went 1-9.
League play continues Thursday with El Rancho hosting California, Pioneer visiting La Serna and Santa Fe at home to Whittier.
All matches are scheduled to start at 3:15 p.m.
Whittier started strong in its seventh annual softball tournament by turning in pool-play victories Saturday against Bell (5-4) and Artesia (3-1).
The Cardinals (3-6), who play a Thursday doubleheader at Gahr, continue their tournament run Saturday with a 4:45 p.m. quarterfinal game against Villa Park at East Los Angeles College. If Whittier wins, it will advance to the semifinals at 6:30 p.m. against either La Salle or Segerstrom.
Montebello and Cantwell Sacred Heart will play consolation matches on Saturday. Montebello will play Bellflower and Channel Islands at 8 a.m. and 11:30 a.m., respectively, at Bellflower.
Cantwell will host Taft at 9:45 a.m. If the Cardinals win, they will advance to the ninth-place game scheduled for 1:15 p.m. against Bell or Mayfair.
Whittier High School will present its seventh annual softball tournament, which will run during the next three Saturdays at East Los Angeles College, Cantwell Sacred Heart and Bellflower high schools.
In addition to the host Cardinals, the tournament will feature two other area teams in Cantwell and Montebello in a field of 21 teams.
The tournament starts with Saturday’s pool play, which will be followed by quarterfinal and semifinal action on March 23 and final-round play on March 30.
Whittier’s two pool-play games will be against Bell at 8 a.m. and Artesia at 9:45 a.m. Both games will be played at East Los Angeles College.
Cantwell will host South Pasadena at 8 a.m. and La Salle at 1:15 p.m.
Montebello, meanwhile, will play its two pool-play games at Bellflower. The Oilers take on Mayfair at 1:15 p.m. and San Fernando at 4:45.
Photo gallery: California-Bell Gardens softball
By Eric Terrazas, Staff Writer
WHITTIER – California High School junior pitcher Trisha Trujillo delivered with her bat and arm on Thursday.
Trujillo hit a three-run home run and pitched four hitless innings to spark the Condors to a 11-0 nonleague five-inning softball victory over visiting Bell Gardens. The game was called because of a mercy rule.
It was the fourth consecutive win for California, now 8-3.
Eight players had at least one hit for the Condors, who had 12 hits. Junior outfielder and leadoff hitter Rachel Shumaker had three hits, including an RBI triple.
Trujillo and Mariah Salazar combined for a one-hitter. Trujillo, who earned the victory, struck out six in four innings. Salazar pitched a scoreless fifth.
Bell Gardens, which made four errors, fell to 1-5.
Thursday’s contest marked California’s first game back home since its appearance at the 18th annual Tournament of Champions at Bullhead City, Ariz., which ended Saturday. The Condors posted a 3-2 record at the event.
“It was kind of a break from where we have been,” California coach Jim Kruse said. “We had some tough games. We played Mater Dei and lost 2-0. We played Chino Hills and lost 9-3. We had a hard week, so it’s a nice break to get a victory like this.
“Trisha pitched really well and our hitting is starting to come around. We got to keep getting better because we know our league (Del Rio) is tough. We’re working on improving every day. We’re not satisfied with where we are at.
“We played as a team. As with every game, we look to get better.”
It was Trujillo who jump-started the Condors when she hit her three-run home run in the bottom of the first inning. Shumaker, who reached on an error, and Rayleen Pallan, who walked, set the stage for Trujillo.
The Condors added a run in the third when Pallan, who doubled earlier in the inning, scored on Lorren Sharp’s infield single.
California then put the game out of reach with five runs in the fourth inning. After Lancers starting pitcher Destiny Leon retired the first two batters, the Condors had six consecutive hits, including Shumaker’s run-scoring triple and Joslyn Macias’ two-run double.
Chloe Michery and Pallan each added run-scoring singles.
The Condors secured the win with a two-run fifth.
California next will host Valley Christian in a nonleague game scheduled for Thursday.
“We’re just going to come out hard and hopefully get another win,” Trujillo said.
By John Sherrard, Correspondent
LA MIRADA – Former Chicago Cubs infielder and Hall of Famer Ernie Banks once said, “It’s a great day for a ball game, let’s play two.”
The Lakewood and La Mirada high school baseball teams did just that Thursday.
In a rare weekday twinbill, visiting Lakewood won the opener 4-2, and La Mirada edged the Lancers 4-3 in the second game.
Longtime coaches Kim Brooks of La Mirada and Spud O’Neil of Lakewood (5-4), have been scheduling these preseason games for years.
“Spud and I (have been playing) every year for awhile,” Brooks said of the traditional nonleague doubleheader. “It’s a great series.
“We out-hit them in the first game and left more men on base and they got the key hit and we didn’t.
“It was really good that in the first inning (second game) where, boom, we got a two-out base hit and scored a run.”
Lakewood (4-4-1), which swept the two games last season, never trailed in the opener and led 4-0 in the fourth before the Matadores scored.
The second game was a different story as La Mirada senior Johnny Hills, who reached on a fielders’ choice in the first inning, took advantage of a balk by Lakewood starter Sam Roberts and a wild pitch to advance to third.
Catcher Trevor Lancaster (2 for 3, double) singled home Hills for the early 1-0 lead.
“The first game we didn’t hit at first and we came out late and lost, (but) in the second game we scored early and came out with the `W’, ” Lancaster said.
“I like playing doubleheaders, especially against Lakewood.”
Starting pitcher Blake Wilson (three innings, one run) got out of a bases-loaded jam in the top of the second inning and the Matadores scored twice in the bottom of the inning to increase the lead to 3-0.
After walks to senior outfielder James Myres (single, walk) and junior catcher Jeff Murray (two walks), shortstop Noah Hutchings sacrificed the runners to second and third and third baseman Trent Rojo then doubled in both runners.
Each team scored in the third. Lakewood senior shortstop J.P. Crawford hit a two-run home run in the fourth off La Mirada reliever Eric Tapper to center to make it 4-3. Catcher Kyler Kolb (2 for 2), who blooped a single to right, scored on Crawford’s homer.
Rojo came on in relief in the seventh and preserved the win for Tapper. The game ended on a line right back to Rojo, who started a double play.
“He (first baseman Nick Reeser) hit it right back at me and I threw it to first and game over,” Rojo said.
In the first game, senior pitcher Cody Kruip suffered the loss but was 2 for 4 and scored a run. Hutchings drove in both runs for La Mirada.
By Eric Terrazas, Staff Writer
WHITTIER – Pioneer High dominated every phase of its nonleague game Wednesday against San Gabriel. The host Titans, lifted by a 17-hit attack and starter Sydnee Alvarez’s stellar pitching, defeated the Matadors 13-0.
Senior infielder Alisha Brock sparked Pioneer’s attack, going 3 for 5 with two RBIs. Sophomore infielder Amanda Fitzgerald also collected three hits and drove in a run. Sophomore infielder-pitcher Reyna Galarza added a pair of singles and two RBIs.
In the circle, Alvarez and Galarza combined on a five-hitter for Pioneer, which improved to 2-3.
“Sydnee had an excellent game pitching,” Pioneer coach Dyane Acevedo said. “It was just a clean, solid game by all of them. It was the best game they played so far this year.”
Alvarez, a sophomore, allowed just three hits in five innings to earn the win.
“We just did what we had to do and we executed,” Alvarez said.
Shaky defense also did not help San Gabriel (4-3), which made seven errors.
“We’re a little banged up right now,” Matadors coach Nolan Peralta said. “We made a ton of errors. We only have two pitchers, so we don’t have too much depth with pitching. There was a lot of mental errors.”
Pioneer, leading 3-0, pulled away by scoring six runs in the bottom of the fourth.
After Matadors starting pitcher Mercedes Gonzalez retired the first two batters, Jenniferamy Valverde and Raquel Norzagaray reached base on back-to-back San Gabriel errors. Fitzgerald then loaded the bases with an infield single.
This set the stage for Brock, who appeared to hit an inning-ending grounder to Gonzalez. But Gonzalez made an errant throw to first, which allowed three Titans to score and Brock to reach first.
With the inning extended, Pioneer increased its advantage when Esmeralda Ruiz, Alvarez, Tina Sanchez and Galarza delivered consecutive base hits.
Alvarez helped her own cause with a run-scoring single while Galarza closed the inning’s scoring with her two-run single.
The Titans went on to add two runs in both the fifth and the sixth. Norzagaray’s solo home run started the scoring in the fifth, which also featured an RBI groundout by Ruiz.
Tara Sanchez’s sixth-inning infield single set things up for Valverde, who delivered a base hit to right field. A Matadors miscue on the play allowed Sanchez to score. Fitzgerald then capped the game’s scoring with a one-run double.
It was the second consecutive triumph for Pioneer, which defeated Baldwin Park 9-4 on Tuesday. The Titans are hoping to make their presence felt when they start Del Rio League play against El Rancho on April 9.
“We’re looking forward to the (league) season,” Acevedo said. “It’s going to be a strong, competitive race this year. Hopefully we’re going to surprise some teams.”