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By Loren Kopff
Since 2009, the Gahr and Paramount softball teams have battled for third place and the final automatic playoff berth coming out of the San Gabriel Valley League. This past Monday afternoon, under overcast conditions, the Gladiators once again could not heat up in crunch time when the stakes were at their highest of the season.
Host Gahr was limited to five hits and fell to the Pirates 11-1 in a game called after the sixth inning due to the mercy rule. Gahr dropped to 4-15 overall, 2-4 in the league and was all but eliminated from any chances of going to the postseason for the third straight season. Last season, Paramount knocked Gahr out of the playoff picture on the last game of the regular season at Paramount. In 2010, the Pirates spoiled Gahr’s last home game of the regular season in a 5-0 decision. Three seasons ago, in the second to the last game of the regular season, Gahr ruined Paramount’s party on the Pirates’ field. That would be the last time the Gladiators defeated Paramount.
“I think we just lacked communication the whole game,” said senior center fielder Alyssa Nava. “If we would have communicated more, then I think we would have been fine. I think that was the main thing because we hit well. It was just that communication between the infield and outfield was lacking. That caused the errors.”
Paramount quickly grabbed a 3-0 lead in the top of the first inning on a run scoring single from Victoria Padilla and back to back RBI doubles from Tanayri Novoa and Ashley Jenkins. In the bottom of the first, Nava, sophomore second baseman Erica Balboa, and senior catcher Krystal Purkey were denied base hits with great catches by the Paramount outfielders. The Pirates increased their lead to 5-0 in the next inning on the strength of Monica Caporal’s two-run home run.
In the bottom of the second, Gahr had its first three runners reach on a pair or errors and a fielder’s choice but couldn’t score. With Paramount up 6-0, the Gladiators finally got something going in their half of the third when freshman designated player Deidra Genera led off with a single to left field. Two outs later, she came home on a base hit from Purkey.
In the next inning, freshman first baseman Celeste Gonzalez and freshman shortstop Deja Portillo each led off with base hits but were left at third and second respectively to end any momentum the hosts may have had. Paramount took advantage of the missed opportunities and scored four times in the fifth and once in the sixth.
The four victories so far are the worst in the Gahr program in over 15 seasons but the team figures to pick up at least two more with upcoming games against league cellar-dwellers Dominguez (May 3) and Lynwood. Gahr will make-up a rained out doubleheader with West Torrance on Monday before wrapping up the regular season with a home game against Lynwood on Tuesday and a road game at league-leading Warren on Thursday.
“I think sometimes we get down on ourselves and then we don’t pick ourselves up,” Nava said. “We just have to work harder at practice and make sure everybody is together and on the same page.”
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