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NEWS AND NOTES FROM PRESS ROW Cerritos, Gahr softball teams prepare for huge city doubleheader

 By Loren Kopff

 Mother Nature may have spoiled the Mar. 4 season opener for the Cerritos softball team, a doubleheader with city rival Gahr. But the two powerhouse programs of this season will finally play each other on Tuesday, ending a seven-year absence of what should be a yearly series.

Cerritos and Gahr have not faced each other since Mar. 16, 2006 and since 1998, the two programs have played each other six times with each winning three times. Cerritos enters the game at 2-1 and is coming off an 8-1 home victory against Paramount this past Tuesday behind an 11-hit attack. The Lady Dons scored four runs in the bottom of the first inning to set the tone. Junior first baseman Madison Lee had a two-run double in the frame. In the next inning, junior pitcher Jennifer Iseri smacked a home run over the centerfield fence to increase the score to 5-0. Iseri went three for four and also struck out a dozen batters while scattering five hits. Lee, senior second baseman Lilianna Herrera and junior center fielder Melanie Okazaki all had two hits and Okazaki drove in three runs. After the Gahr doubleheader, Cerritos will begin Suburban League action on Wednesday at Artesia.

Meanwhile, Gahr has been busy this season with nine games under its belt before a Mar. 20 road tilt at Los Alamitos. Last Saturday, the Gladiators (6-3) split a pair of games in the Northwood Tournament. In the opener, junior pitcher Deidra Genera tossed a four-inning perfect game as Gahr blanked Newport Harbor 10-0. Junior second baseman Brianna Besenty went two for three, drove in three runs and smacked a two-run home run to finish off a six-run first inning. Freshman catcher Alyssa Kumiyama, who went two for two and freshman third baseman Malia Quarles hit back to back fourth inning home runs on consecutive pitches.

In the second game, Gahr built a 9-4 lead on Dana Hills but the Dolphins rallied for six runs in the bottom of the sixth and came away with a 10-9 win. Gahr pounded out 13 hits but also made five errors. Junior first baseman Celeste Gonzalez went three for three and hit a three-run home run in the top of the first inning. Besenty, Kumiyama, Malia Quarles and junior shortstop Deja Portillo all had a pair of hits with Besenty hitting another home run. Junior left fielder Sabrina Quarles also hit a solo home run.

Through the first nine games, Gahr was hitting .373 with a dozen home runs. Besenty and Gonzalez were hitting at least .500 with two other players, Kumiyama and Portillo, hitting at least .455. Gahr will wrap up the Northwood Tournament with two more games on Saturday before meeting Cerritos. Gahr will also visit Whittier Christian on Thursday.

In other softball action, Artesia will enter its home game with Cerritos at 4-1 but has not played since splitting a doubleheader with Long Beach Jordan on Mar. 11. John Glenn improved to 4-4 after blanking St. Pius X-St. Matthias Academy 10-0 this past Wednesday. Sophomore pitcher Destiny Enriquez pitched a one-hitter, struck out eight and faced 16 batters in five innings. Senior catcher Brianna Ruiz went three for four, drove in three home runs and launched a two-run home run in the third inning. The Lady Eagles will play Sonora in the first of two Whittier Tournament games on Saturday before hosting Corona on Wednesday.

Norwalk fell to 1-6 after a 2-1 loss to host El Rancho this past Wednesday. The Lady Lancers opened the season with five straight losses before edging Rancho Alamitos 5-4 last Saturday in the second of four Whittier Tournament games. Norwalk will play San Gabriel, then Montebello on Saturday to conclude the tournament before opening Suburban League action against Mayfair on Wednesday.

Valley Christian is also 1-6 following an 8-2 road loss at Ontario Christian this past Tuesday. The Lady Crusaders visited Paramount on Mar. 20 and will travel to Westminster on Thursday.

BASEBALL

Artesia ended a six-game losing streak with a 5-1 win at Lynwood this past Monday. The Pioneers will play a doubleheader at Oxford Academy on Saturday before hosting Cerritos on Wednesday. Cerritos, which won five games last season, has already matched that total after a 9-0 win at Southlands Christian this past Tuesday. The Dons (5-3) will host a doubleheader against Rancho Alamitos on Saturday.

John Glenn went 4-1 in the Newport Elks Tournament including a 4-1 win against Calvary Chapel Santa Ana last Friday behind a complete game from junior pitcher Victor Sanchez, his second of the season. The Eagles will play Palisades on Saturday to begin the Redondo Tournament, before hosting La Serna on Thursday.

Norwalk evened its record at 3-3 after defeating Dominguez 10-4 this past Monday on only four hits. The Lancers benefited from seven Dominguez errors and put the game away with four runs in the bottom of the fifth inning. Senior first baseman Ruben Urtez drove in two runs with a fifth inning base hit and had four RBI in the game. The Lancers will host Mayfair on Wednesday.

Valley Christian went to 2-1 following a 2-1 home win against Ontario Christian this past Tuesday as junior Jack Struiksma pitched a three-hit complete game. The Crusaders will host Maranatha today in the Olympic League opener, and will travel to Village Christian on Tuesday.

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