Jim Maier returns to coach St. Paul softball team after 13 years at CSDH

Jim Maier, who coached the St. Paul High softball team in the 1980s and 1990s, has been hired to once again coach the Swordsmen, the school has announced.

Maier just finished a 13-year stint at Cal State Dominguez Hills, a solid Division II program. Maier coached the Toros to 460 victories with an overall winning percentage of .627. In 2012, his team was one win away from the College World Series.

Maier guided the Swordsmen to 14 consecutive playoff appearances during his first stint and had a record of 300-78.

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El Rancho’s reward for wild-card victory is date with second-seeded Burbank

El Rancho defeated host Pioneer Valley 1-0 in Tuesday’s CIF-SS Division 3 wild-card softball playoff game. The Dons’ reward is a trip to second-seeded Burbank for a first-round game Thursday.

In other Division 3 games Thursday, Cal High will play host to Paramount, La Serna will be at home to Lancaster, St. Paul will be at Alemany and La Habra will host Arcadia.

In Division 4, Whittier Christian will play at Heritage on Thursday in the first round and Montebello will be at Paraclete in a Division 5 game. Also in Division 5, Schurr will play host to Laguna Beach. And Oxford Academy will be at Cantwell SacredHeart in a Division 6 game.

Teams not making it out of Tuesday’s wild-card round were La Mirada and Santa Fe. La Mirada was walloped by Ayala 13-0 in Division 2 and Downey defeated Santa Fe 11-6 in Division 3.

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Cal High’s baseball playoff game moved to Thursday at La Canada

After a 6-1 victory over visiting Barstow on Tuesday in the CIF-SS Division 4 wild-card round, Cal High was slated to play Friday at La Canada in the first round. But Condors coach Tony Nieto informed this newspaper Wednesday morning that the game has been moved up a day to Thursday. First pitch is 3:15 p.m.

In Friday’s Division 4 games, La Habra will be at La Serna and El Rancho will be at Don Lugo. La Habra defeated North Torrance 9-2 on Tuesday and El Rancho defeated Anaheim 6-2.

Over in Division 2, La Mirada found out it will play host to Damien on Friday in the first round. Damien defeated Oxnard Pacifica 9-2 in a wild-card game Tuesday.

St. Paul, a 14-0 winner over Rancho Alamitos on Tuesday, will play Thursday at Loara in a Division 3 first-round game.

And Whittier Christian will be at Hemet on Thursday in a Division 5 first-round game.

Local teams that didn’t make it out of Tuesday’s wild-card round were Montebello and Cantwell Sacred-Heart. Estancia defeated Montebello 7-1 in a Division 4 game and Lompoc upended Cantwell Sacred-Heart 13-3 in Division 5.

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Del Rio League representing well in Division 5 boys team tennis playoffs

Three Del Rio League boys tennis teams will be toiling in the CIF-SS Division 5 semifinals Wednesday.

Top-seeded La Serna will play host to El Rancho, and No. 2-seeded Santa Fe will be at third-seeded Maranatha.

Both matches are slated for 3 p.m. starts. The winners will square off Friday for the championship at 2 p.m. at The Claremont Club.

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Cal High looking to stay hot in the softball playoffs; pairings are announced

Cal High has won eight consecutive games, and 20 out of 21, in softball. That success has Condors longtime coach Jim Kruse thinking his team could make a lengthy post-season run.
“Yes, definitely,” Kruse said Monday. “This is one of the best teams I’ve ever had.”
Cal High (24-4) is co-champion of the Del Rio League, but earned the league’s No. 1 seed because it owned the tiebreaker advantage over La Serna. On Monday, the Condors learned they will play host to Paramount – the second-place team from the San Gabriel Valley League – in a Division 3 first-round game Thursday.
The Condors defeated the Pirates 6-0 in a tournament game on Feb. 23, but Kruse doesn’t put much stock in that.
“The teams have changed,” he said. “I like to think we’ve improved, but I’m sure they have, too.”
Cal High will be without one of its top players in senior Chloe Michery, who sustained a torn ACL in a May 2 game against Santa Fe. She was batting .362. But the Condors have several other frontline players, such as Trisha Trujillo (30 RBIs), Lorren Sharp (.390, 23 RBIs) and Rayleen Pallan (.384).
A total of 10 area teams made the playoffs, and all games begin at 3:15 p.m. unless another time is agreed upon.
La Serna (18-7) will play host to either Lancaster or West Torrance on Thursday in the first round in Division 3. Longtime Lancers coach Ginger Larsin, who last week won her 500th game at La Serna, says the keys to success are easily identified.
“We have to have all three things together – our pitching, our hitting and our defense,” she said. “We have a good team when we play to the best of our ability.”
In Division 3 wild-card games today: Santa Fe (11-10) will be home to Downey (19-10), El Rancho (11-11) will travel to Santa Maria Pioneer Valley (17-8-1) and St. Paul (14-12) will host Fontana (13-10). In a first-round game Thursday, La Habra (20-8) will host either Arcadia or San Gorgonio.
La Mirada (18-11) will play a wild-card home game against Ayala (16-7) today in Division 2. Whittier Christian (12-14) will take on visiting La Quinta Westminster (11-11) in a Division 4 wild-card game.
In Division 5, Montebello (14-11) will be at Paraclete on Thursday in the first round, and Schurr (14-13) will host either Laguna Beach or Woodcrest Christian. Schurr and Montebello are co-champions of the Almont League.

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La Mirada, La Serna lead area teams into CIF-SS baseball playoffs

The saying, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it,” apparently applies to the La Mirada High baseball team.
“We have worked too hard to be where we are at because of what we’ve been doing,” coach Kim Brooks said. “Let’s keep doing what we’re doing and see what the dealer deals us.”
Those words came from Brooks after the CIF-SS playoff pairings were released Monday. He said the draw doesn’t matter one way or the other, but for the record, the Suburban League-champion Matadores will play host to either Damien or Oxnard Pacifica on Friday in a Division 2 first-round game.
“Keep playing the way we’re playing,” Brooks said when asked the keys to a long post-season run. “I think we’re playing at a pretty good level right now. You always have to pick it up a bit in the playoffs, but we are playing solid defense, the pitching has been good and we have come through with the bats when we’ve needed to.”
La Mirada (19-10-1) shared the league title with Mayfair, but enters as the league’s No. 1 team because it had the advantage in the tiebreaker.
A total of nine area teams made the playoffs, with five of them to toil in Division 4. Del Rio League co-champion La Serna (16-8-2) on Friday in the first round will play host to either North Torrance or La Habra (14-13), which square off today at La Habra in a wild-card game. In other wild-card games today, El Rancho (15-10) will host Anaheim (18-11), Montebello (14-9) will be at home to Estancia (16-9) and Cal High will take on visiting Barstow.
All games begin at 3:15 p.m. unless there is an agreed upon time change.
Cal High (17-7-1) tied La Serna for the Del Rio League title, but enters as the league’s No. 2 representative because it was 0-2-1 against the Lancers. The Condors are one of seven No. 2 teams in Division 4 having to play a wild-card game. Condors coach Tony Nieto was a bit surprised his team is one of them, but he is taking the philosophical approach.
“It is what it is,” Nieto said. “We’re not going to cry over it. We’ll be ready for it. Since we’re a little hot, maybe it’ll keep us going instead of waiting until Friday to play.”
Cal High has won seven of its past eight. Nieto said he is expecting to start Jimmy Olguin (5-2) on the mound. As for Barstow, the Aztecs (10-9) are the fourth-place team from the Desert Sky League.
In Division 3, St. Paul (16-14) will play host to Rancho Alamitos (11-12) in a wild-card game today. Also today, in Division 5, Cantwell Sacred-Heart (5-16-1) will host Lompoc (11-14-1) in a wild-card game. And Whittier Christian (16-12) will be at Hemet (19-7) on Thursday in the first round.

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Santa Fe to play at top-seeded Cathedral in volleyball semifinals

Santa Fe High on Saturday swept visiting Yucaipa in the quarterfinals of the CIF-SS Division 4 boys volleyball playoffs. Scores were 25-16, 25-18, 28-26.

The victory means the fourth-seeded Chiefs (25-6) will now play at top-seeded Cathedral on Wednesday at 7 p.m. in the semifinals. The Phantoms (26-9) swept Flintridge Prep 25-10, 25-10, 25-14, in their quarterfinals match.

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Ginger Larsin earns 500th victory as La Serna softball coach

It was 26 years ago, in 1987, that Ginger Larsin took over as head coach of the La Serna High softball team. On Thursday, she earned her 500th victory at the school when the Lancers defeated Pioneer 11-1.
She’s stoked.
“We’re such a softball area and for me to be at this school and have the talent I’ve had, it was just a great feeling to be blessed with the talent I’ve had over the years,” said Larsin, a graduate of Santa Fe, another Del Rio League school.
Larsin’s record at La Serna, including this season’s 18-7 mark, is 500-185-5. Along the way she has won CIF-Southern Section championships in 1996, 2001 and 2008. Interestingly, Larsin actually has more than 500 lifetime victories as she was coach for two years at Santa Fe back in the early ’80s. She said she does not remember her record for those seasons.
As for 2013, Larsin’s Lancers shared the league championship with Cal High, both teams coming in at 9-1. They split their two games, but the Condors will be the No. 1 seed from the league when the playoff pairings are announced Monday because they beat the Lancers in the second round of league play.
Larsin is confident her team has the goods to make a good post-season run.
“Oh, absolutely,” she said. “Right now we are playing really well and the girls are really focused and the girls want this a lot.”

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