About Steve Ramirez

Steve Ramirez has covered prep sports for San Gabriel Valley Newspapers since 1989.

And then there was one….Cal rallies for 4-1 victory to advance to D4 semifinals…Sonora ousted in quarterfinals again

California High School's Daniel Alvarez, left, pitches to San Gorgonio High School's Miguel Arauz during a CIF playoff game on Friday, May 29, 2015 in San Bernardino, Calif. The Condoras rallied for a 4-1 win to advance to the semifinals. (Micah Escamilla/The Sun)

California High School’s Daniel Alvarez, left, pitches to San Gorgonio High School’s Miguel Arauz during a CIF playoff game on Friday, May 29, 2015 in San Bernardino, Calif. The Condoras rallied for a 4-1 win to advance to the semifinals. (Micah Escamilla/The Sun)

By C.J. Daft
SAN BERNARDINO >> California High senior ace Daniel Alvarez, with the help of a big two-run triple from freshman Mike Elliott in the sixth, lifted the top-seeded Condors past San Gorgonio 4-1 in the CIF Southern Section Division 4 quarterfinals on Friday.Alvarez outdueled San Gorgonio’s Hazahel Quijuada, who had a no-hitter going through five innings. It was Quijada’s first loss of the season.Alvarez (10-2) gave up one run on six hits with nine strikeouts and got out of a bases-loaded jam in the fourth. He also picked off a runner on second in the first inning.“He knows he can’t overthrow the ball, he has to pitch and that makes him special,” California coach Tony Nieto said. “He’s not a thrower, he’s a pitcher.”The Condors (26-5) are heading to the semifinals for the second consecutive year despite graduating 13 seniors from last year’s team, and will host Phelan Serrano on Tuesday. Alvarez was on the mound two years ago when California lost in the first round and last year when it fell to South Torrance in the semifinals. Both losses played heavy on him.

SERRANO 4, SONORA 0
LA HABRA — Sonora High School’s quarterfinal jinx continued Friday.The Raiders can blame Serrano senior R.J. Peace.Peace tossed a three-hit shutout and struck out 11 to lead the Diamondbacks to a 4-0 victory over host Sonora in a CIF-Southern Section Division 4 quarterfinal.It was the Raiders third consecutive loss in a CIF-SS quarterfinal.Austin Taylor also had three RBIs for Serrano, which improved 21-7. The Diamondbacks will travel to California, which beat San Gorgonio, in the semifinals on Tuesday.

Sonora coach Pat Tellers: “It was a tough year for us, even to get the league title, which is our No. 1 goal. This is bonus baseball. We tell these guys that it takes a lot of luck, and sometimes you can’t meet that match. We got to the quarters the third year in a row. We just got to find away to get over this hump.”

Serrano’s R.J. Peace: “I heard (the pre-game chatter). I just had to keep it out of my head and stay composed. I just had to go out there and throw strikes. That’ll shut it up. Once we got the lead, I knew I could just go out there and let them hit and not try to do too much. I had to go out and try to do my thing.”
— Stephen Ramirez

TUESDAY’S SEMIFINALS
DIVISION 4

Serrano at California, 3:15 p.m.

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CIF-SS Softball Playoffs: Area lone wolf La Serna marches on to semifinals

 La Serna High players jubilate after their win over Redondo High in the bottom of the 12th inning at La Serna's Whittier, Calif. campus field May 28, 2015. (Photo by Leo Jarzomb/Whittier Daily News)

La Serna High players jubilate after their win over Redondo High in the bottom of the 12th inning at La Serna’s Whittier, Calif. campus field May 28, 2015. (Photo by Leo Jarzomb/Whittier Daily News)

By Stephen Ramirez

WHITTIER — La Serna High School’s quest for softball redemption will take the Lancers into next week.Vanessa Ayala singled home pinch-runner Jocelyn Cebedo in the bottom of the 12th inning and the Lancers took a big step Thursday toward getting back to the CIF-Southern Section finals with a 3-2 win over visiting Redondo in a Division 3 quarterfinal.Dominique Mejia had two hits and Jamie Wren tossed a seven-hitter and struck out nine for No. 2 seed La Serna, which improved to 24-6 and will travel to Bishop Amat for Tuesday’s semifinals. The Lancers lost to St. Paul in the title game last season.Allison Betty had three hits and Kathryn Ung gave up eight hits and stuck out eight for the Sea Hawks, who finished 22-8.

“I was thinking just base-hit,” Ayala said. “I was real nervous, but I calmed down, and once I got a hold of the ball, I was just hoping Jocelyn could come in and score. When I saw that, it was full excitement. I couldn’t believe we won.”
Tori Ayala set up the winning rally with a out-out double off the left-field fence. Vanessa Ayala then lined a single to left field. The throw home was low and skipped by catcher Samantha Pech, allowing the winning run to score.

“We talked about at the start of these playoffs that you have to have great defense, good pitching and timely hitting,” La Serna co-head coach Mike Orona. “We got that timely hit there, and luckily, we won the game today.”
Redondo had chances to win it earlier, getting a runner at third with one out in the seventh and runners on second and third with two outs in the 12th. Wren denied the Sea Hawks each time.
She got a strike out and ground out to end the seventh before inducing Ung to ground out in the 12th.

“You’re going 12 innings,” Redondo coach Jennifer Dessert said. “At that time, it’s about who is going to get the clutch hit. We had a couple of chances with runners (in scoring position). We couldn’t come up with that clutch hit, and they did.”
Redondo took a 2-0 lead in the second. The Sea Hawks got a single from Betty and Morgan Moczygemba was hit by a pitch. Pech, with runners on second and third following a ground out, reached on a throwing error, with both runners scoring.
La Serna tied it in the third. Taylor Becerra singled with one out and Mejia doubled to right-center field. Becerra then scored on a wild pitch before pinch-runner Ashley Zamora scored on a botched run-down play to tie it.
The Ayalas then came through in the 12th to get the Lancers into the semifinals for the third consecutive season.

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El Rancho honors college-bound student-athletes

El Rancho High athletes standing from left: Jacquelyn De Loza (CSU San Bernardino), Destiny Cervantes (Odessa College), Melissa Gutierrez (Cal Tech), Crystal Rodriguez (Biola Univ.), from front left: Adrian Palacios (Whittier College), Richard Cuellar (New Mexico Highlands University), Andrew Perea (Concordia University, Nebraska) and Francisco Miranda (York College, Nebraska) have signed National Letters of Intent at the Pico Rivera, Calif. campus May 28, 2015. (Photo by Leo Jarzomb/Whittier Daily News)

El Rancho High athletes standing from left: Jacquelyn De Loza (CSU San Bernardino), Destiny Cervantes (Odessa College), Melissa Gutierrez (Cal Tech), Crystal Rodriguez (Biola Univ.), from front left: Adrian Palacios (Whittier College), Richard Cuellar (New Mexico Highlands University), Andrew Perea (Concordia University, Nebraska) and Francisco Miranda (York College, Nebraska) have signed National Letters of Intent at the Pico Rivera, Calif. campus May 28, 2015. (Photo by Leo Jarzomb/Whittier Daily News)

By Stephen Ramirez

PICO RIVERA — El Rancho High School enjoyed its best football season in nearly two decades this past fall, and three of its stars were rewarded Thursday for that effort. Quarterback Andrew Perea, receiver Richard Cuellar and linebacker Adrian Palacios signed letter of intent to their respective college choices. Perera with Concordia, of Nebraska; Cuellar with New Mexico Highlands and Palacios with nearby Whittier College.All were part of a ceremony in the school’s gym, along with boys soccer player Francisco Miranda (York College, Nebraska); softball players Destiny Cervantes (Odessa College, Texas) and Jacquelyn De Loza (CS San Bernardino) and track athletes Melissa Gutierrez (CalTech) and Crystal Rodriguez (Biola).Perea was Whittier Daily News Player of the Year after accounting for 3,103 yards and 34 touchdowns to lead the Dons to an 8-3 record and their first league title in 18 seasons. He was also Del Rio League Player of the Year and first team All-CIF-Southern Section Southeast Division.
“It’s a great place,” Perea said. “I’m going to get the best out of myself and get a great education.
“I’m going to play quarterback, and they run the spread much like we did here, so hopefully I will continue to do things like this past season.”
Palacios, who had 106 tackles, 12 for a loss, was WDN Defensive Player of the Year and first team All-Southeast Division.
“It’s a great opportunity,” Palacios said. “The coaches have really helped me out. Whittier College is very expensive and the coaches got me (funding), which I appreciate.”
Cuellar was one of the top receivers in the area, with 71 receptions for 660 yards and seven touchdowns. He was first team all-area.
“I got the opportunity to play football at New Mexico and get an education,” Cuellar said. “That’s pretty good. It’s a good opportunity that I couldn’t pass up. “
De Loza was the latest signee for Cal State San Bernardino, which is now coached by former St. Paul coach Jim Maier.
CAL DUO SIGN COLLEGE LETTERS
California football players Adam Satti and Nathan Gudino also signed college letters on Thursday.
Satti, who passed for 1,604 yards this past fall, signed with Knox College, of Illinois. Gudino with Mount Ida College, of Massachusetts.

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La Serna honors college-bound student-athletes


By Stephen Ramirez
steve.ramirez@langnews.com
@SteveRRamirez on Twitter

WHITTIER >> It’s been a decent athletic year for La Serna High School, and twenty four of its athletes enjoyed the just rewards for that success.
All were honored Wednesday in ceremony at the school.
The group was led by football player Enrique Pacheco, who signed with Williamette University (Oregon); girls soccer player Michelle Reed, who signed with Boise State, and softball player Jamie Wren, who signed with Ohio University.
The others are soccer players Jezabelle Rubalcava (Louisiana Tech), Natasha Ortiz (Marymount California), Elizabeth Hernandez (Kansas State), Miranda Yzabal (Whittier), Ashley Yacks (Webster, of St. Louis), and Matt Alcala (Williamette); softball players Elizabeth Brautigam (Hamilton, New York), Samantha Martinez (California Marymount), Taylor Becerra (Arizona State) and Victoria Ayala (Detroit-Mercy); volleyball player Samantha Neely (Westmont); water polo player Madison Flareau (Notre Dame College); football player Bryce Oliver (Linfield); baseball players David Ornelas III (Santa Barbara College) and Travis Miller (Wisconsin-Superior); tennis player Carlos Flores (Occidental); swimmer Machaela Torres (Lake Forest, Ill.); bowler Chris Goar (William Penn) and cheer leader Samantha Barron (Cal Baptist).
Pacheco was a key cog for the football team going 10-3 and advancing to the CIF-Southern Section divisional semifinals for the fourth consecutive season. He ranked among area leaders with 2,554 passing yards and 25 touchdowns. He was first team all-area.
“I really wanted to be out of California and experience something else besides Southern California,” Pacheco said of his decision to sign with Williamette, where he hopes to continue to play quarterback. “When I took my visit, I really liked the home community. It just kind of felt right.”
Reed has been one of the top soccer players in the area the past four seasons. She helped the Lancers advance to the divisional finals for the third time in the past four seasons. Reed scored 21 goals and was first team all-area and Del Rio League offensive MVP.
“When I started the process, I did a search of what I wanted, where I wanted to go,” Reed said. “I also focused on my major. That’s a big part of it. When I visited, I loved the atmosphere up there. I just feel like I’m going to fit in.”
Wren is the reigning area softball player of the year. She has helped La Serna to a 23-6 record and to the Division 3 quarterfinals. Wren is 22-3 with a 1.22 ERA. She has 155 strikeouts. Wren also leads the team with 33 RBIs.
“I’m so happy, because it felt like home,” Wren said. “I was very comfortable going there. I’m real excited.”

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Softball Playoffs: Area hopes lie with La Serna, which advances….Santa Fe, St. Paul, Montebello and Schurr ousted

 Santa Fe High pitcher Carly Gutierrez (#99) vs Gahr High at Santa Fe's campus field May 26, 2015. (Photo by Leo Jarzomb/Whittier Daily News)

Santa Fe High pitcher Carly Gutierrez (#99) vs Gahr High at Santa Fe’s campus field May 26, 2015. (Photo by Leo Jarzomb/Whittier Daily News)

GAHR 4, SANTA FE 2
SANTA FE SPRINGS —A surprising run through the CIF-SS playoffs has come to an end for the Santa Fe High School softball team, which was third in the Del Rio League. But not without a valiant effort against the number four seed team in the division.
Visiting Gahr high came from behind, scoring four times in the fifth inning to defeat the Chiefs, 4-2 in a Division 3 second round game Tuesday afternoon.
Gahr (23-7), on the other hand, advances to the quarterfinals for the first time since the 2008 season. The Gladiators will host Laguna Hills, a 4-3 winner over Burroughs of Burbank, on Thursday.
Junior center fielder Alyssa Cuffia hit a 3-run home run to give Gahr a 4-2 lead in the fifth.
Santa Fe coach Randi Berg: “Every game we win is a bonus for us, but I think the girls put too much pressure on themselves. We had a great season, but it didn’t end the way we wanted it to.”
— John Sherrard
DIVISION 3
LA SERNA 8, NOTRE DAME/SO 0
Jamie Wren hit two home runs to lead the Lancers into the quarterfinals
OTHER SCORES
DIVISION 5

Mary Star 3, Schurr 1
Calvary Chapel 3, Montebello 1
THURSDAY’S QUARTERFINAL
DIVISION 3

Redondo at La Serna, 3:15 p.m.

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