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By Loren Kopff
The writing was somewhat on the wall last summer for the Cerritos Girls Softball Association when it did not field a 14-U division in its own annual tournament. Only two teams had signed up to come to Cerritos and one was its own all-star team.
This summer will see the CGSA go through some major changes which president Benito Joaquin hope are just temporary. For starters, the CGSA will not host its own tournament for the first time ever. Last summer, the tournament, which was held June 10-12, fielded a total of 15 teams in three age divisions. In the past, there have been eight teams in four age divisions. Part of that can be attributed to the decision of more and more girls opting to play travel ball instead of recreation ball. Also, the City of Cerritos wouldn’t allow vendors to be on the premises of the Cerritos Sports Complex, something that probably discouraged teams from coming.
“It was unfortunate but the positive is we’re taking a year off to just gather up some information and see what we can do to make it a better experience, not only for Cerritos but for all of the other teams coming in,” Joaquin said.
Cerritos participated in the Los Alamitos Tournament last weekend when it should have been hosting its own tournament. The CGSA still went to the San Dieguito and La Habra Tournaments again, just as it did last summer and will return to the Chino Hills Tournament this weekend. Joaquin said that the CGSA plans on bringing its tournament back to Cerritos next summer. But, he also said the numbers are down this summer, more with the older girls. In terms of all-stars, there are 15 returning from the 38 that were in the 8-U,10-U and 12-U divisions last summer. From this summer’s 8-U team, there are two returning all-stars. Six 8-U all-stars moved up to the 10-U team with one returning member while two 10-U all-stars last summer are now 12-U all-stars with another four returning to the same team.
“It was a time where we lost some really good girls,” Joaquin said of this summer. “Travel ball is becoming a big thing now, especially with the younger girls. It wasn’t only the 14s; it was also the 10s and 12s. It was not only Cerritos, but a lot of other leagues. A lot of the presidents were complaining about being short in the 14s. We had other leagues that had only one or two [teams]. It was all across the district.”
However, the CGSA is fielding a 6-U all-star team for the first time, which is mostly slow pitch and Joaquin hopes that it will generate more players to come out and advance through the system in the future. The 6-U all-stars will also compete in the Chino Hills Tournament but not in the Amateur Softball Association Los Angeles/South Bay “B” District Tournament, which will be held in Long Beach June 22-24. Including the ASA “B” state tournament last summer, the four CGSA all-star teams combined to go 52-40-4 with the 10-U all-stars capturing the San Dieguito and Chino Hills Tournament championships.
“We have some really good 8-U girls and some really good 6-U girls,” Joaquin said. “We’re taking extra efforts to prep them a lot better and get them ready for competitive play, which is all-stars.”
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