Baseball: Daniel Alvarez pitches California over Whittier, 8-0

California's Andres Hernandez singles against Whittier in the third inning of a prep baseball game at Whittier High School in Whittier, Calif., Wednesday, April 15, 2015. California won 8-0. (Photo by Keith Birmingham/ Pasadena Star-News)

California’s Andres Hernandez singles against Whittier in the third inning of a prep baseball game at Whittier High School in Whittier, Calif., Wednesday, April 15, 2015. California won 8-0. (Photo by Keith Birmingham/ Pasadena Star-News)


By Stephen Ramirez

WHITTIER – California High School baseball coach Tony Nieto has a lot of confidence when he hands the ball to pitcher Daniel Alvarez.
The senior showed why Wednesday.
Alvarez tossed six shut-out innings and the Condors moved into a tie for first place with an 8-0 victory over host Whittier in a Del Rio League game.
Alvarez gave up just one hit and struck out six for California, which improved to 15-3 overall and 4-2 in league play. California, ranked No. 2 in the area and No. 3 in CIF-Southern section Division 4, also got two RBIs from Anthony Hernandez and two hits from Eric Sotelo.
Whittier, which committed seven errors, slipped to 12-8 and 4-2. The two teams meet at California on Friday.
California took a 4-0 after three innings, scoring one run in the second and three in third.
Brandon Acosta had a sacrifice bunt to score Sotelo for a 1-0 lead in the second before Luis Murillo had a RBI double and Hernandez for a two-run single for a 4-0 advantage in the third.
Alvarez did the rest.
He allowed just three baserunners in his six innings, giving up a two-out single in the first before striking out Alex Andueza to end the inning. Alvarez, after a one-out walk in the second, retired the final 13 batters he faced.

Cal coach Tony Nieto: “Whenever we give Daniel any run support, we feel good about our chances. He’s arguably the top pitcher in the league. He hasn’t got much run support this season, but he keeps us in the ball game, which is all you can ask of your No. 1 pitcher. But when he gets out there, we have a good feeling of how the day’s going to go. We get him a little bit of run support, we feel a lot better.”

Cal’s Daniel Alvarez: “Last couple of outings, I haven’t been myself. Today, I wanted to step up and make a statement, help my team win. That’s what I did.”

Whittier coach Eric Ramirez: “Lot of errors. It’s been our formula all season. We’ve lost some big games, 6-0, 10-0. Today it was one of those. I think overall they are better than us, at least today. Either way, it didn’t matter if we made errors or not, they were going to beat us. But that’s how it’s gone for us, so Friday maybe we turn it around, have no errors and get a win. “

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St. Paul’s Gabby Walker, Jillian Saenz; Whittier Christian’s Jeanne Reinis make college choices


By Stephen Ramirez
Gabby Walker and Jillian Saenz are two of St. Paul High School’s better student-athletes and Wednesday they were rewarded for their success.
Both signed scholarship letters on Tuesday.
Walker, a girls volleyball and softball player, signed with Eastern New Mexico University, of Portales. Saenz, a girls volleyball player, signed with Clarkson University, of Potsdam, N.Y. Walker will play softball for the Zias.
“The factors I liked was the coach,” said Walker, who has had a limited role for St. Paul the past two seasons. “The school was great. I’m a private school girl, so it’s small enough where it didn’t seem like a big college to me, but not too big for me to be overwhelmed.
“Plus the softball program is really great and I feel I can make an impact.”
Eastern New Mexico is 17-24 this season.
Saenz was one of the top setters in the area, helping St. Paul to a 31-8 record and a spot in the CIF-Southern Section Division 4AA semifinals. She had 1,105 assists last season.
Saenz will be going to one the top NCAA Division III programs in the country. Clarkson was 37-4 last season and advanced to the national quarterfinals. They won the Liberty League conference tournament.
“(Clarkson is) a really small school, which is what I was looking for, something like St. Paul,” Saenz said. “The volleyball program is very successful. I’m looking forward to (contributing). Everything just fell into place.”
The duo are the second and third St. Paul athlete to sign a scholarship letter in the past week. Girls basketball standout Clarissa Perez signed with Utah State Eastern last week.
Whittier Christian girls volleyball player Jeanne Reinis signed with Molloy College, a NCAA Division II school in Long Island, N.Y.
Reinis, an outside hittier, had 317 kills for the Hearlds last season. Whittier Christian was 18-13 and finished third in the Olympic League. Molloy was 12-17 last season.

Whittier Christian's Jeanne Reinis signs with Molloy College.

Whittier Christian’s Jeanne Reinis signs with Molloy College.

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2015 Whittier Daily News Girls Basketball All-Area Team: St. Paul’s Clarissa Perez is Player of the Year

Clarissa Perez of St. Paul HS has been selected for the Whittier Daily News' First Team: Basketball April 1, 2015. (Photo by Leo Jarzomb/Whittier Daily News)

Clarissa Perez of St. Paul HS has been selected for the Whittier Daily News’ First Team: Basketball April 1, 2015. (Photo by Leo Jarzomb/Whittier Daily News)

GIRLS BASKETBALL
PLAYER OF THE YEAR
CLARISSA PEREZ

Clarissa Perez was the St. Paul High School girls basketball team’s most important player. Not so much for her scoring ability, which can’t ben underestimated, but mainly her role as a leader.
It was from that aspect that Perez pushed her team to greatness in 2015, advancing to the CIF-Southern Section Division 4A finals. It was St. Paul’s second trip to the finals in the past two seasons and the Swordsmen’s fifth appearance since 2002.
For her efforts, Perez is the Whittier Daily News Girls Basketball Player of the Year.
“She was huge for us,” St. Paul coach Robert Miller said. “She was big in terms of leadership in convincing the younger girls to believe that we can play at this level. Her leadership is what inspired everyone to believe we can be in those games.
“Plus, she’s such a great player and draws a lot of attention on the court. She makes the other players on the court better.”
Perez did a little of everything for St. Paul She ranked among the area leaders in scoring, but also is a great passer and was solid on the defensive end. But it’s her leadership quality that keyed the run in 2015.
“We had a great year,” Perez said. “Nobody expected us to make it to the finals. But we did it. I’m very proud of my team. They were a young group of girls.
“I’m very proud of my coaches, helping me become a better leader and learning from my teammates that no matter how young you can do anything you want. I’m glad for our school that we went to (the state playoffs) again and another (CIF) finals.”


But all parties believe it was Perez’ mental aspect that drove the Swordsmen to one of its better seasons.
“Our seniors set this as our goal,” Miller said. “Clarissa’s leadership was huge. She sort of got the younger players on board and convincing them that’s where they wanted to be.”
Perez also leader on the court, and the Swordsmen’s best scoring option. She had no qualms of being a decoy and setting up the other players to achieve, but when they moment called for she was ready to put the team on her back.
She did so in a 4A quarterfinal victory over Notre Dame Academy. Perez scored a career-high 30 points, including eight in the fourth quarter that allowed St. Paul to prevail,64-52.
“The big thing for me this year was that I had to trust my teammates,” Perez said. “I wanted to make sure my teammates stepped up, and they did. We won a lot of big games. I proud of them.”
Perez is now taking her talents to Utah, where she will play next season at Utah State University-Eastern.
“This is where I am as a basketball player and where I want to go,” Perez said. “(Utah State-Eastern) went to the semifinals last year of the national junior college tournament, and I come from a winning program like St. Paul, so I wanted to go to a winning program. I want to learn like I did at St. Paul, and that’s what they offered me.”

COACH OF THE YEAR
ROBERT MILLER, ST. PAUL
RMILLER
Miller has been one of the top coaches in the area since arriving at the Santa Fe Springs campus in the late 1990s. He’s taken the Swordsmen to the divisional finals, including this season when they advanced to the Division 4A title game. The Swordsmen also swept the season series from rival Bishop Amat for the first time in Miller’s tenure.
For his efforts, Miller is the Whittier Daily News Girls Basketball Coach of the Year.
“It’s great to have good players and they make me look really good,” Miller said. “They did that again this year. We were pleased to (get back to the CIF finals). We’d like to win it, eventually, but it will come.”
Sweeping Amat was also special for the Swordsmen and Miller.
“We’d never been able to do that since I’ve been here,” Miller said. “It was great. It would have felt a little bit better if coach (Richard Wiard) was still there. I have a tremendous amount of respect for him. But it’s a tremendous rivalry between the two schools.”
FIRST TEAM
GUARD: ADRIANA GONZALEZ, ST. PAUL, JR.AGONZALEZ
The junior was part of the Swordsmen one-two punch with Clarissa Perez. She combined athleticism with solid shooting ability to key St. Paul’s run to the CIF-Southern Section Division 4A final. She was first team All-CIF-SS Division 4A.
FORWARD LILY PERKINS, CANTWELL, SO.LPERKINS
Perkins is one of the better all-around players in the area, who can drive to the basket, as well as make outside shots. She’s also a solid defender. Perkins keyed Cantwell’s run to the Camino Real League title and the Division 4A semifinals. She was first team All-CIF-SS Division 4A.
FORWARD: MONIQUE MESA, CANTWELL, SR. MESA
Mesa was a force inside for the Cardinals, who were 22-6 and advanced to the Division 4A semifinals. She missed five games during a January stretch when the team struggled. The senior averaged eight points and eight rebounds per game.
GUARD: SARAH GURROLA, EL RANCHO, SR. GURROLA
Gurrola keyed El Rancho to its third consecutive Del Rio League title, but it’s first outright crown under coach Randy Shigezane. She led the team in scoring at 13 points a came, but also had 5.9 assists per contest. She also helped El Rancho to the CIF-SS quarterfinals and was Del Rio League MVP.
FORWARD: CRYSTAL RODRIGUEZ, EL RANCHO, SR. CROD
Rodriguez combined with Gurrola to give the Dons a formidable scoring tandem that few could stop. She averaged 13 points a game and also was a force inside with nearly 10 rebounds a game. Rodriguez also had nearly three steals per game. She was first team All-Del Rio League.
FORWARD: CASSANDRA HAIR, WHITTIER, SR. HAIR
Hair was one of the top frontline players in the area. She helped the Cardinals to a 17-11 record and a second-place finish in the Del Rio League. Hair averaged 9. 5 points a contest and 7.1 rebounds. She was first team All-Del Rio League.
FORWARD: LAINIE JAMES, SONORA, FR. JAMES
Sonora’s big turnaround from a sub-.500 campaign in 2014 to 21-7 this season can be attributed to James, who along with sophomore Meghann Henderson, gave the Raiders a solid one-two punch. She was that good. James, despite her youth, led the team with a 12. 5 points per game average. She was All-Freeway League.
GUARD: MEGHANN HENDERSON, SONORA, SO. HENDERSON
The sophomore has been solid for the Raiders in her first two seasons. She combined with freshman Lainie James to provide Sonora with a solid scoring duo. She averaged 11 points a game. James was first team All-Freeway League and All-Division 3AA.
GUARD: EMMA ZENER, LA HABRA, SO. ZEN
Zener helped key the Highlanders to a third-place finish in the Freeway League. She proved to be a solid scoring option, making 69 3-pointers en route to averaging 11 points a game. Zener was first team All-Freeway League.
FORWARD: AMANDA CUEVRO, LA HABRA, JR. CUE
Cuevro was arguably the top frontline players in the area. She gave the Highlanders a solid scoring punch with a 10-point average. She also ranked among the area leaders in rebounding, averaging 13 a game, including six on the offensive glass. She was first team All-Freeway League.
SECOND TEAM
Forward: Tia Banks, St. Paul, Fr.
Guard: Stephanie Guerra, Cantwell, Sr.
Guard: Vanessa Espinoza, Cantwell, Sr.
Guard: Marissa Dunn, Sonora, Jr.
Guard: Jazz Shedd, Sonora, Jr.
Center: Hannah Mc Arthur, La Habra, So.
Guard: Alicia Aguirre, Schurr, Jr.
Forward: Lauryn Jordan, La Mirada, So.
Guard: Ashley Miller, El Rancho, Sr.
Center: Christa Evans, Whittier Chr., So.
HONORABLE MENTION
Guard: Marisa Orosco, Schurr, Sr.
Forward: Brianna Olvera, Montebello, Sr.
Forward: Maddy Fitzpatrick, La Serna, Sr.
Guard: Dennisa Gallegos, Santa Fe, Sr.
Guard: Amber Valdez, Whittier, Sr.
Forward: Brittany Corona, El Rancho, So.
Guard: Celeste Chavez, California, Sr.
Forward: Janelle Rocha, Pioneer, Sr.
Center: Desiree Reyes, Santa Fe, Sr.
Guard: Jazpur Bristol, La Mirada, Sr.
FINAL TOP TEN
1. St. Paul (19-15)
2. Cantwell (21-8)
3. Sonora (21-7)
4. El Rancho (20-11)
5. La Habra (14-11)
6. Schurr (14-12)
7. Whittier (17-11)
8. Santa Fe (14-11)
9. La Serna (12-13)
10. Montebello (13-11)
LEAGUE CHAMPIONS
ALMONT: Keppel
CAMINO REAL: Cantwell, St. Joseph
DEL REY: Serra
DEL RIO: El Rancho
FREEWAY: Troy
OLYMPIC: Heritage Christian
SUBURBAN: CERRITOS

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2015 Whittier Daily News Boys Basketball All-Area Team: La Mirada’s Kendall Lauderdale is Player of the Year

Kendall Lauderdale of La Mirada High has been selected as the Whittier Daily News' Boys Basketball Player of the Year April 1, 2015. (Photo by Leo Jarzomb/Whittier Daily News)

Kendall Lauderdale of La Mirada High has been selected as the Whittier Daily News’ Boys Basketball Player of the Year April 1, 2015. (Photo by Leo Jarzomb/Whittier Daily News)

PLAYER OF TH YEAR
KENDALL LAUDERDALE, LA MIRADA, SENIOR

It takes a team to win a championship. But while the La Mirada High School boys basketball team’s strength lied in its numbers, it’s hard to imagine the Matadores enjoying the best season in their history without Kendall Lauderdale in the lineup.
The senior’s value to La Mirada was that important. For his efforts in helping the Matadores win the school’s first CIF State title, Lauderdale is the Whittier Daily News Boys Basketball Player of the Year.
“I can’t say enough about Kendall,” La Mirada coach Bryce Jones said. “He was just tremendous. In the fourth quarter when we needed baskets against Archbishop Mitty (in the state Division II title game) he it some huge shots; he did that all year for us.
“He’s just a clutch player; wanted the ball in his hands, got the big rebound when we needed it. All year long, did a great job.”


Lauderdale was not only clutch, but also quite productive. He ranked among the area leaders with an 18.4 points per game average, and also had eight rebounds per contest.
He came up big when it mattered most, scoring 28 points in a 77-47 victory over Savanna in the CIF-Southern Section Division 2A quarterfinals and had 36 and 18, respectively, in regional quarterfinal and semifinal wins over Canyon (93-73) and Compton (70-57).
He had 18 in the state-title win over Mitty (71-70).
“It’s a great feeling,” Lauderdale said of winning the state title. “It’s a first for me, a first for the guys. We made history and it feels pretty good.”
Lauderdale’s value to the Matadores was also something that couldn’t be measured on the stat sheet. He was the team’s leader, a trait that proved crucial after La Mirada rebounded from a loss in the CIF-SS divisional quarterfinals to its run to the state title.
“I think I really improved my role as a leader this season,” Lauderdale said. “I just wanted to help my teammates get better.”
He showed in the state playoffs as he helped the Matadores to three blow-out wins before scoring victories over Lawndale in the regional finals and Mitty in the state finals.
But strangely enough the state title run was keyed by that loss in the CIF-SS semifinals.
“It put a better perspective on us, after losing to Compton,” Lauderdale said. “We knew we had to play a little harder and work a little harder in practice. We just had to work harder.”
That mentality came into play in the title game.
La Mirada saw it’s dream of a state championship slipping away after it trailed by 12 points late in the third quarter vs. Mitty. But the senior refused to cave. Instead, he put the Matadores on his back, scoring eight of his 18 points in the final period, forcing overtime before La Mirada secured the title on a free throw by Kai Labasan.
“I really didn’t worry,” Lauderdale said. “I had to play smarter. Our coaches kept us prepared. We worked on scenarios, last second shots. I think we were well-prepared. I believed we could pull this out. I was prepared that if we were going to go down, we’d go down swinging.”

COACH OF THE YEAR
BRYCE JONES, LA MIRADA

BJONES
Bryce Jones came to La Mirada five seasons ago hoping to change the culture.
Mission accomplished.
The Matadores enjoyed their finest hour this season, winning the school’s first CIF State title with an overtime victory for the Division II crown. La Mirada finished 31-5 and also scored its first outright league crown in 32 seasons.
For his efforts, Jones is Whittier Daily News Boys Basketball Coach of the Year.
“It’s just a great experience,” said Jones, who is 87-41 in his five seasons at La Mirada. “For the players to be able to travel up to Berkeley, play on TV, play on that stage, it was an incredible experience for them. We were just blessed to be part of that. We had a talented group of players. They deserve all the credit, along with my two assistant coaches. It was a team effort all around. I’m really pleased the way things turned out. I can’t say how proud I am of the guys.”
FIRST TEAM
CENTER: GLIGORIJE RAKOCEVIC, CANTWELL,SR.
GRAK
Rakocevic was half of the area’s twin towers with teammate Balsa Dragovic. He keyed the Cardinals to a spot in the CIF-Southern Section open division playoffs and the school’s second consecutive trip to the CIF State Division III regional semifinals. He averaged more than 17 points a game and was first team All-CIF-SS Open Division. The senior has signed to play at Oregon State next season.
FORWARD: BALSA DRAGOVIC, CANTWELL, SR.DRAG
Dragovic was the other half of the Cardinals’ twin towers. He played a pivotal role in Cantwell scoring a second consecutive invitation to the CIF-SS Open Division and advancing to the CIF State regional semifinals. He averaged more than 12 points a game and was first team All-CIF-SS Open Division. The senior has signed to play at Harvard.
GUARD: JACOB DAVISON, CANTWELL, JR.DAVISON
Davison answered the question of what type of guard play the Cardinals would get in 2015. He solidified the position and was one of the area’s best outside shooters, providing a nice outside game for the inside game of the team’s post and forward positions. He averaged nearly 14 points a game in helping Cantwell get back to the CIF State regional semifinals.
GUARD: VITTORIO REYNOSO-AVILA, LA MIRADA, JR.ZITT
The junior played a key part in La Mirada enjoying its best season in the program’s history, which included the Matadores winning their first outright league title in 32 years and the school’s first state title. He averaged 12 points and six rebounds per game and was first team All-Suburban League.
FORWARD: DEZMON MURPHY, LA MIRADA, SR.MURPHY
Cantwell wasn’t the only area team to have twin towers. La Mirada also fielded to bigs in the middle with Murphy teaming up with Kendall Lauderdale. He provided just under 10 points and had nearly six rebounds per contest. He was first team All-Suburban League.
GUARD: JOSH RODRIGUEZ, SONORA, SR.RODRIGUEZ
This was a dream season for Sonora as well. The Raiders, a year after losing in the CIF-SS finals, captured the 3AA Division and Rodriguez was the pivotal cog. He averaged 19 points a game, including 89 3-pointers, as Sonora went 29-5 and advanced to the regional quarterfinals. He was Freeway League MVP and Division 3AA Player of the Year.
FORWARD: BEN RICO, SONORA, SR.RICO
Sonora had one of the better outside trios and Rico was part of the mix that also included guards Josh Rodriguez and Christian Rhodes. Rico helped the Raiders to a 29-5 record and the 3AA Division title. He averaged 11 points a game while making 53 3-pointers. He was first team All-Freeway League and All-Division 3AA.
GUARD: JONATHAN MAYORGA, PIONEER, SR.MAYORGA
Mayorga keyed the Titans run to the Del Rio League title. He had the ability to score inside and outside, finishing with a 19.2 average. He helped Pioneer to a 19-9 record, including an 8-2 record down the stretch and advancing two rounds in the CIF-SS playoffs. Mayorga was Del Rio League MVP.
FORWARD: TERAN MASSENGILL, SR.TERAN
Massengill was force inside down the stretch for the Titans, who went 19-9 and won the Del Rio League title. He averaged 13 points a game, including 20 points a contest in league play. He also had 10 rebounds per game and one 20-rebound effort. He was first team All-Del Rio League.
MIGUEL SALAZAR, WHITTIER, JR.SALAZAR
Salazar was a key part in Whittier having one of its best seasons in recent memory. The Cardinals, who finished third in the Del Rio League, went 21-6. They won 15 of their first 18 games. Salazar led the team with a 15-point average. He also had four rebounds per game. He was first team All-Del Rio League.
SECOND TEAM
Guard: Christian Rhodes, Sonora, Sr.
Center: Steven Murphy, Sonora, Sr.
Guard: Anthony Newman, La Mirada, Jr.
Guard: Kai Labasan, La Mirada, Sr.
Guard: Elias Zedan, Cantwell, Jr.
Center: Luka Radovic, Cantwell, Jr.
Guard: Jake Mata, California, Sr.
Guard: Christian Alvis-Labadie, Whittier Chr., Jr.
Forward: Cesar Trujillo, Schurr, Sr.
Guard: Aaron Meija, Montebello, Jr.
HONORABLE MENTION
Forward: Aashad Womack, Sonora, Sr.
Forward: Devin Howlin, La Habra, So.
Guard: Cyrus Shepherd, Cantwell, Jr.
Guard: Anthony Rodriguez, Cal, Sr.
Forward: Nathan Reynaga, Montebello, Sr.
Guard: Anthony Rios, Whittier, Jr.
Guard: Jesse Garcia, La Serna, Jr.
Forward: Noah Losoya, El Rancho, So.
Forward: Joshua Valdez, Pioneer, Sr.
Forward: Justin Osborn, Whittier Chr., So.
FINAL TOP TEN
1. La Mirada (31-5)
2. Cantwell (17-14)
3. Sonora (29-5)
4. Pioneer (19-11)
5. California (16-11)
6. Whittier (21-6)
7. Whittier Christian (17-10)
8. Schurr (14-13)
9. Montebello (13-14)
10. Santa Fe (11-12)
CIF STATE CHAMPION
La Mirada (Division II)
LEAGUE CHAMPIONS
ALMONT: Keppel
DEL REY: Bishop Montgomery
DEL RIO: Pioneer
FREEWAY: Sonora
OLYMPIC LEAGUE: Maranatha
SANTA FE: Bosco Tech
SUBURBAN: La Mirada

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Softball: La Serna opens Del Rio League with 13-3 win over Whittier

Whittier plays La Serna in the Del Rio League girls softball game at Whittier High School on Tuesday April 14, 2015. La Serna defeated Whittier 13-3. (Photo by Keith Durflinger/Whittier Daily News)

Whittier plays La Serna in the Del Rio League girls softball game at Whittier High School on Tuesday April 14, 2015. La Serna defeated Whittier 13-3. (Photo by Keith Durflinger/Whittier Daily News)


By Stephen Ramirez

WHITTIER – Whittier High School is off to its best start in recent memory.
But it takes a lot to beat La Serna, which the Lancers again showed on Tuesday.
Dominique Mejia and Taylor Becerra each had three hits to lead La Serna to a 13-3 victory over the Cardinals in the team’s Del Rio League opener at Whittier High School. The game was halted after five innings due to the 10-run rule.
The duo also had three and two RBIs, respectively, for the Lancers, who improved to 13-4. Jelli Lopez also had two hits and two RBIs for La Serna, which is ranked No. 1 in the area and No. 43 nationally by MaxPreps.com. The Lancers are also No. 2 in CIF-Southern Section Division 3.
Amanda Canizales had two hits and two RBIs for Whittier, which slipped to 10-5.

La Serna’s Dominique Mejia: “It felt really good (to get the win). We felt really prepared. We were really excited and ready to play.”

Whittier’s Amanda Canizales: “We just have to bounce back from it. We have Santa Fe (on Thursday) and just have to eliminate our errors. We have to get the bats going. We stopped (hitting after the third). I stopped after that. We just have to bounce back.”

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