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2014 SPRING ALL-AREA TEAMS: Gahr dominates spring scene along with John Glenn baseball, Cerritos softball

By Loren Kopff

The 2014 baseball and softball season in the area was one of the most competitive seasons in quite some time with several teams in position for league championships as late as the final day. On the baseball diamond, resurging John Glenn was sitting pretty until the final week and a half and went from first to fourth in the Suburban League within the final three games.
The Cerritos softball squad clinched the Suburban League crown outright on the final day of the regular season while Gahr and Valley Christian settled for co-championships. Here are the members of the Los Cerritos Community News 2014 Spring All-Area Teams.

BASEBALL

FIRST TEAM
P-Victor Sanchez (John Glenn)
P-Paul Versteeg (Gahr)
C-Victor Salazar (Gahr)
1B-Troy Craddock (Valley Christian)
2B-Jaime Estrada (Gahr)
3B-Jack Struiksma (Valley Christian)
SS-Jacob Carr (John Glenn)
LF-Juan Rodriguez (Cerritos)
CF-Albert Avila (Gahr)
RF-Martin Sandoval (John Glenn)
DH-Faustino Colon (John Glenn)

SECOND TEAM
P-George Castillo (Gahr)
P-Luis Rosas (John Glenn)
C-David Correa (John Glenn)
1B-Justin Fujii (Cerritos)
2B-Nathan O’Toole (Valley Christian)
3B-Fernando DeLuna (John Glenn)
SS-Kevin Sainz (Valley Christian)
LF-Joe Dressel (Gahr)
CF-Cody McKittrick (Valley Christian)
RF-Leotis Johnson (Gahr)
DH-David Balboa (Gahr)

HONORABLE MENTION
P-Tyler Radecki (Valley Christian)
P-Javier Vasquez (Artesia)
C-Aaron Kirchner (Valley Christian)
1B-Hector Amaya (Norwalk)
2B-Marcus Johnson (Artesia)
3B-Pete Hernandez (Norwalk)
SS-Aaron Hinds (Cerritos)
LF-Alex Barajas (John Glenn)
CF-Diego Castaneda (Artesia)
RF-Brian Bischoff (Valley Christian)
DH-Eugene Chang (Cerritos)

Player of the Year-When Gahr graduated the likes of Kevin Franklin, Daniel Gomez, Greg Humbert, Edgar Morales and Adonis Morrison, to name a few, last season, that left senior second baseman Jaime Estrada to lead the Gladiators to another stellar season despite a younger than usual squad. Estrada, who also played shortstop at the beginning of the season, batted .452 with 42 hits, 26 runs scored and drove in 20 runs. He also hit five doubles, six triples and smacked the team’s lone home run.

Pitcher of the Year-John Glenn returned to the playoffs for the first time since 2009 and junior Victor Sanchez was a huge part of that. The southpaw, who is affectionately known as ‘Huero’, went 8-1 in the regular season with an amazing earned run average of 1.02. He went the distance seven times out of his 12 regular season starts and struck out nearly a batter for every inning pitched. Sanchez posted complete game shutouts against Oxford Academy (two-hitter), Norwalk (no-hitter) and La Mirada.

Coach of the Year-Although he had won at least 20 games in five of his previous nine seasons along with four San Gabriel Valley League championships, this may have been the best job Gahr head coach Gerardo Perez has done. The Gladiators went 22-11-1 with a squad that didn’t have as much varsity experience as last season’s team. Still, Perez was able to win a lot of games against probably the toughest schedule in the California Interscholastic Federation-Southern Section with victories over Capistrano Valley, Mater Dei, Orange Lutheran, St. Paul and Serra, just to name a few. Perez is three wins shy of 200 for his Gahr career.

SOFTBALL

FIRST TEAM
P-Deidra Genera (Gahr)
P-Jennifer Iseri (Cerritos)
C-Alyssa Kumiyama (Gahr)
1B-Celeste Gonzalez (Gahr)
2B-Brianna Besenty (Gahr)
3B-Malia Quarles (Gahr)
SS-Deja Portillo (Gahr)
LF-Jennifer Vasquez (Norwalk)
CF-Melanie Okazaki (Cerritos)
RF-Leeann Tran (Cerritos)
DP-Samantha Lujan (Norwalk)

SECOND TEAM
P-Anna Collier (Valley Christian)
P-Nicole Waldecker (Whitney)
C-Heather Cameron (Cerritos)
1B-Madison Lee (Cerritos)
2B-Lilianna Herrera (Cerritos)
3B-Amanda Lejano (Cerritos)
SS-Lailoni Mayfield (Cerritos)
LF-Megan Darling (Cerritos)
CF-Alyssa Cuffia (Gahr)
RF-Erica Balboa (Gahr)
DP-Tia Naulls (Valley Christian)

THIRD TEAM
P-Ashley Armas (John Glenn)
P-Destiny Vasquez (Gahr)
C-Jenna Llamas (Whitney)
1B-Ashley Iseri (Whitney)
2B-Mercedes Orozco (Norwalk)
3B-Brianna Ruiz (John Glenn)
SS-Emily Morrow (Valley Christian)
LF-Sabrina Quarles (Gahr)
CF-Madison Wright (Valley Christian)
RF-Alize Lopez (John Glenn)
DP-Kaitlyn Bales (Cerritos)

HONORABLE MENTION
P-Sarah Guerrero (Artesia)
P-Serena Nicolas (Norwalk)
C-Briana Lopez (Norwalk)
1B-Brianna Lerma (Valley Christian)
2B-Czarina Linal (Whitney)
3B-Kathleen Perez (Norwalk)
SS-Jazmin Guzman (Norwalk)
LF-Crystal Briseno (Artesia)
CF-Viviana Gomez (Norwalk)
RF-Melissa Babiera (Whitney)
DP-Sabrina Manzano (Artesia)

Co-Players of the Year-Consistency was the name of the game for a pair of Gahr power hitters as junior first baseman Celeste Gonzalez and freshman catcher Alyssa Kumiyama dominated opposing pitching all season long. Gonzalez batted an even .500 for the second straight season and is rewriting the Gahr record books for this century. Gonzalez led the Gladiators with school record 42 hits for a season, scored 30 runs (second most in school history this century ) and drove in 26 runs (sixth most in school history this century). Kumiyama showed why she might be breaking some of those records sooner than later. She batted .522, probably the highest average in school history and smacked 11 home runs, tied for the most in the history of Gahr softball. She also drove in 35 runs. Both Gonzalez and Kumiyama are two of just three players this century to bat at least .500 in a single season.

Pitcher of the Year-After missing most of last season because of a hand injury, Cerritos junior Jennifer Iseri bounced back and was a key force for the Suburban League champions. Iseri went 16-4 and had an earned run average of 1.78 while striking out 189 batters in nearly 118 innings.
Coach of the Year-In one season, Cerritos head coach Mike Freeman coached the Lady Dons to one of their finest campaigns in school history. Cerritos went 20-4, the most victories it has had since going 31-2 in 2000, which was also the last time the program won the Suburban League outright. All four losses were by a combined eight runs and three of those losses came in extra innings.

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