CIF-SS Semifinals: CSHM punches ticket to first final; Montebello baseball, La Habra softball ousted

Cantwell Sacred Heart of Mary players celebrate their win overCitrus Hill after their CIF semifinal baseball playoff game at Cantwell Sacred Heart of May High School in Montebello on Tuesday May 31, 2016. Cantwell defeated Citrus Hill 4-1. (Photo by Keith Durflinger/Whittier Daily News)

Cantwell Sacred Heart of Mary players celebrate their win overCitrus Hill after their CIF semifinal baseball playoff game at Cantwell Sacred Heart of May High School in Montebello on Tuesday May 31, 2016. Cantwell defeated Citrus Hill 4-1. (Photo by Keith Durflinger/Whittier Daily News)


MONTEBELLO >> Cantwell-Sacred Heart of Mary and Citrus Hill high schools have never won a CIF Southern Section baseball title. CSHM is now in position to end that trend. Citrus Hill will have to wait for another season.
Daniel Ordonez hit a home run and drove in four runs and the host Cardinals advanced to the CIF-SS finals for the first time with a 4-1 victory over the Hawks on Tuesday in a Division 5 semifinal game.
CSHM improved to 27-4 and will face top seed Woodcrest Christian, a 2-1 winner over Tahquitz, for the division title Saturday night at UC Riverside. Adrian Benitez had three hits for Citrus Hill, which finished 22-7.
The junior, who began the day hitting .273, gave CSHM a 3-1 lead in the third inning when he dropped fly-ball double between right and center field to clear the bases.
He then pushed the advantage to 4-1 with an inside-the-park homer to right-center field in the fifth.
The Cardinals then used three pitchers to hold the lead to advance.
Chris Ibarra, Andre Garcia and Zachary Thomas combined on a seven-hitter and three strikeouts, but there were some anxious moments.
The Hawks put four runners on during the last two innings, but couldn’t get the big hit when they needed it.
Garcia, who replaced Ibarra to begin the sixth, got in trouble after giving up a double by Benitez to put runners on second and third with no outs. But Garcia closed the door by striking out Jonathan Ho and Derry Williams before inducing Armando Gurrola to ground out.
Citrus Hill threatened in the seventh when the first two batters reached on a single by pinch-hitter Rene Quezada and a hit-by-pitch to Oscar Mancillas.
Enter Thomas, who retired the next three batters to send the Cardinals to their first final.
CSHM coach Larry Patino: “It’s amazing what we’ve done here in three years. People questioned me why I would take this job. But we’ve won two league championships and been to the playoffs all three years and now (we’re) going to the CIF championship (game) with a bunch of kids that absolutely love the game of baseball. Representing Cantwell with these kids has been a dream come true for me. “The funny part is our banquet was set up for this Saturday night. I (asked) my kids, ‘Do you want a banquet or playing for a CIF title?
“They said, ‘Let’s play for a CIF title … so here you go.”
CSHM’s Daniel Ordonez: “I wasn’t expecting anything. I was just trying to put the ball in play and hopefully they don’t make a play on it. That was my approach.”
— Stephen Ramirez

MONTEBELLO >> Kaiser High School baseball coach Michael Spinuzzi knew he was working with a special group of players when the seniors on his team decided to forego grad night ceremonies in order to stay sharp for a playoff game.
That was last week and the Cats came through with a narrow win the following day. On Tuesday, they took another big step toward the CIF Southern Section Division 4 championship by routing host Montebello, 11-1, in the semifinals. “We’ve had so many things happen this year and we’ve kept on battling,” Spinuzzi said. “It feels great, but we need to finish. This is the best group of kids I’ve ever been around in 16 years.”
Kaiser improved to 27-3 and will play Laguna Beach in Saturday’s championship at San Manuel Stadium. Montebello, which had advanced the furthest of any team in school history since 1952, finished 21-12.
The Cats have seemingly been swimming upstream since losing ace Nathan Geissler just a month into the season, but you’d hardly ever know it by looking at the results. Jonathan Gonzalez has filled in admirably and did so again on Tuesday.
Gonzalez gave up only an unearned run on five hits and a walk. He struck out only one, but the defense behind him was flawless. Run support was absolutely not an issue.
Kaiser jumped on Montebello starter Christian Beltran, literally, in the first inning. Leadoff hitter Oscar Rocha sent a shot that hit the Oilers ace in the ankle for a painful beginning. Kaiser scored three times in the first inning.
“Rocha hit him hard and it flustered him,” Spinuzzi said. “He probably hadn’t been hit like that before and it flustered him. It definitely flustered him.”
Montebello coach Manny Arana somewhat agreed.
“I’m sure it did (bother him),” Arana said. “But in the scope of things, they were one of the better, if not the best, team we’ve faced all year. And we’ve faced some really good teams. I’d like to see if anybody can beat them because they’re a great team.”
The game reached blowout proportions in the top of the fourth when Kaiser added five more runs to what was a 4-0 lead. Justin Wells, who went 4 for 4, picked up one of his five RBIs with a single. Rocha also had an RBI double. Both Rocha and No. 2 hitter Jason Lopez went 2 for 3. Rocha also scored three runs and Lopez scored twice.
— Aram Tolegian

MORENO VALLEY – Martha Epenesa called it the least she could do. For her Moreno Valley Valley View teammates, it was the most they could have asked for.
Epenesa delivered a tie-breaking triple in the bottom of the sixth inning Tuesday to lift the Eagles over top-seeded La Habra, 3-2, in a Division 2 semifinal. Reaching the championship game for the first time since 1999, the Eagles will face Mission Viejo on Friday or Saturday.
Valley View (27-1) extended its winning streak to 25 games and snapped La Habra’s at 26.
“It just felt like I had to be clutch in that moment,” Epenesa said. “It was the least I could do because I had made a couple of mistakes in the field.”
Epenesa’s decisive hit came a half-inning after La Habra (29-2) had completed a comeback from an early 2-0 hole.
La Habra coach Steve Harrington: “They got some hits that had eyes, we had some hard-hit balls at people. I thought we actually played an outstanding game. You can always look at a play or two, but the bottom line is that we played well.”
— Matt Jocks

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Baseball: Montebello , Cantwell-Sacred Heart of Mary advance to semifinals; Cal, La Mirada, Santa Fe, El Rancho ousted


MONTEBELLO >> Edgar Velasquez did it all for the Montebello High School baseball team Friday.The senior pitcher knocked in the go-ahead run in the sixth, then put out a rally in the seventh to send the Oilers to their first CIF Southern Section semifinal game in more than three decades with a 4-2 victory over visiting El Rancho in a Division 4 quarterfinal.
Velasquez and Noah Fuerte each had two RBIs for the Oilers, who improved to 21-11 and will host No. 2 seed Kaiser, a 3-2, winner over Santa Fe, in Tuesday’s semifinals at 3:15 p.m. Jose Guerrero and Vince Fuentes had two hits each for the Dons, who finished 17-15.
El Rancho, which had advanced with an upset over No. 3 seed West Torrance in the first round and beat Apple Valley in the second, had a chance to tie it in the seventh after loading the bases with one out. But Velasquez, who gave up eight hits and struck out two, induced Bobby Banuelos to ground into a 6-3 double play to end the game.
Velasquez gave the Oilers a 3-2 lead in the sixth when he followed a one-out double by Andres Munoz with an RBI double to left field for the one-run lead. Fuerte then hit the third double of the inning to push it to 4-2.
Montebello coach Manny Arana: “We knew it was going to be a tough ball game. Everyone who showed up got their money’s worth. It’s just exciting for us to move on. Somebody had to win, and fortunately, we found a way to pull through at the end, even though it was a little more exciting than I wanted it to be.”
El Rancho coach Frank Llanes: “We had our chance. We had bases loaded. Unfortunately, we got on top of a ball (and hit into a double play). Today, both teams didn’t lose, but one of them (Montebello) won.”
Montebello’s Edgar Velasquez: “It feels great. It was tough at the end, but we got through it. I knew if I don’t do it (in the seventh), it messes up the game. (It happened against Schurr), and I didn’t want that to happen (again). I focused and threw what I needed to throw.”
— Stephen Ramirez
Redlands East Valley 15, La Mirada 7

REDLANDS >> After the Redlands East Valley baseball team knocked off No. 2 seed Gahr on Tuesday, head coach James Cordes walked off the field with a hint of worry over his offense, an offense that was averaging 1.8 runs over its last four games.
But on Friday that worry seemed like a distant memory as an offensive dam broke open for Redlands East Valley in a 15-7 win over La Mirada High, advancing to the CIF-SS Division 2 semifinals for the first time since 2009.
The Wildcats (22-7) racked up 16 hits and scored at least four runs in three separate innings, including six in the fourth to take a seven-run lead. La Mirada had eight hits, committing just one error.
La Mirada coach Jimmy Zurn: “They were just a little bit better than us today. We gave up some free bases and (Jakob) has been special all year but they got some hits and were fortunate to have some runners on the base when they did.”
— Chris Trevino
Laguna Beach 3, Cal 2, 12 innings

WHITTIER ­>> Taking care of the small things has become a way of life for the Laguna Beach High baseball team.The 12th ­inning of Friday’s CIF­-SS Division 4 quarterfinal game against California was just another example.Alex Baker led off the inning with a walk. He was sacrificed to second by Jack Loechner. Baker then moved to third on a groundout to short by Connor Coscino.
Jack Simon followed with a groundball to second that should have ended the inning, but the ball got by the second baseman, allowing Baker to score what proved to be the winning run, giving the Breakers (18­-12) a 3­-2 road victory in 12 innings over California (20-­10) at Rio Hondo College.
Cal coach Tony Nieto: “(Josh Lambert’s) our closer and he was up to his 70 pitches. We stretched him out. He actually had one inning left, we were going to take him out two innings before, but he wanted to keep going out there. The way the game was going, I figured we might as well use up all of his innings.”
— Damien Calhoun
Kaiser 3, Santa Fe 2, 8 innings
SANTA FE SPRINGS >> A dramatic throw to the plate by Fontana Kaiser right fielder Justin Wells cut off the potential tying run at the plate in the bottom of the eighth inning, helping the Cats hold on for a 3-2 victory over Santa Fe in the CIF Southern Section Division 4 quarterfinals Friday.
Kaiser junior left-hander Armando Duenas outdueled Santa Fe’s Robert Luci. Duenas, who brought a 9-0 record into the game, praised Wells’ searing throw to catcher Leonardo Rodriguez afterward.
Chiefs coach Pierre Romo argued that Rodriguez blocked the plate, and that baserunner Alex Martinez should have been ruled safe, but Rodriguez disagreed.
— Obrey Brown
Cantwell-Sacred Heart of Mary 7, Paraclete 5 innings

The Cardinals scored three runs in the seventh for a 5-3 lead, then two in the eighth to win it and advance to the semifinals.
They will host Citrus Hill, which beat No. 3 seed Village Christian, in Tuesday’s semifinals.

Kaiser at Montebello
Citrus Hill at Cantwell-Sacred Heart of Mary

Both games begin at 3:15 p.m.

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Qualifiers for the June 3-4 CIF State track and field meet in Clovis:

200: Kayla Richardson, Walnut 24.02
400: Alex Perez, Damien 47.71.
1,600 Samantha Huerta, La Mirada 4:54.05
3,200 Katie Scoville, La Canada 10:28.92
3,200: Jack Van Scoter, Flintridge Prep 8:52.88; Salvador Capetillo, Baldwin Park, 9:03.50
110H Jasper Foster, St. Francis 14.16; Alan Tantiwassadakran, Walnut 14.39
300H: Foster, 37.63
300H Malia Avila, Walnut 42.56
HJ: Hannah Nance, San Dimas, 5-5
PV: Esteban Suarez, South Pasadena 15-0
TJ: Sela Pastrana, Charter Oak 38-0
TJ: B.J. McLaurin, Bonita 46-7 1/2
DT: Lauren Anderson, California 134-10

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Friday’s SGV CIF-SS baseball results

Division 2
Friday’s quarterfinals
South Hills 8, Foothill 1
Damien 7, No. 4 Mission Viejo 3
Redlands East Valley 15, La Mirada 7
Tuesday’s semifinals
Damien (17-10) at No. 1 South Hills (17-1)
Dos Pueblos (23-8) at Redlands East Valley (22-6)

Division 3
Friday’s quarterfinals
Woodbridge 8, Bishop Amat 1

Division 4
Friday’s quarterfinals
Laguna Beach 3, California 2 (12 innings)
Montebello 4, El Rancho 2
Kaiser 3, Santa Fe 2 (8 innings)
Tuesday’s semifinals
No. 4 St. Bonaventure (21-7) at No. 1 Laguna Beach (19-10)
No. 2 Kaiser (26-3) at Montebello (21-11)

Division 5
Friday’s quarterfinals
Tahquitz 1, Monrovia 0
Cantwell-Sacred Heart 7, Paraclete 5
Tuesday’s semifinals
Tahquitz (17-9) vs. No. 1 Woodcrest Christian (28-5)
Cantwell-Sacred Heart (25-4) at Citrus Hill (22-6)

Division 6
Friday’s quarterfinals
Flintridge Prep 7, Salesian 6 (8 innings)
Tuesday’s semifinals
No. 4 Flintridge Prep (19-5) at No. 1 Sage Hill (26-1)
Buckley (19-4) at No. 2 Crean Lutheran (22-7)

Finals: June 3 and 4

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CIF-SS Softball Playoffs: La Habra advances to Division 2 semifinals

La Habra's Kira Cauley (5) is congratulated after stealing second and third bases in the same play as they play Rio Mesa in their CIF girls softball playoff game at La Habra High School in La Habra on Thursday May 26, 2016. (Photo by Keith Durflinger/Whittier Daily News)

La Habra’s Kira Cauley (5) is congratulated after stealing second and third bases in the same play as they play Rio Mesa in their CIF girls softball playoff game at La Habra High School in La Habra on Thursday May 26, 2016. (Photo by Keith Durflinger/Whittier Daily News)

LA HABRA >> For the third time in the last five years the La Habra High School girls softball team is headed back to the CIF-Southern Section semifinals, but not without a late charge by visiting Rio Mesa, of Oxnard.Top seeded La Habra, which won its 26th consecutive game, defeated Rio Mesa, 4-2, in a Division 2 quarterfinal game Thursday afternoon.

La Habra, ranked fourth in the state by Cal-Hi Sports and 17th in the nation by Max Preps, will travel to Valley View, of Moreno Valley, for Tuesday’s semifinals. Fourth-seeded Valley View (26-1) defeated South Hills, 1-0, in nine innings.
“I’ve never experienced anything like this (26-game win streak),” first-year coach Steve Harrington said. “It’s been a nice journey. I don’t even know how many it is we’ve won in a row.”
The Highlanders (29-1) led, 4-2, in the top of the seventh inning, but Rio Mesa (15-11) missed an opportunity to tie the game as they left runners on second and third.
Highlanders’ pitcher Hannah Johnson started the game by striking out seven consecutive batters before allowing a sharp single in the third inning. The junior would allow only two more hits in her five innings of work and picked up the win.
— John Sherrard

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