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Henscheid’s pitching helps eliminates one Artesia Punishers 14-Under team

By Loren Kopff

IRVINE-The managers of two Artesia Punishers 14-Under teams admitted it was good to face off against each other in the Premier Girls Fastpitch National Championships. But both did not want to see each other in an elimination game.
That’s what happened this past Wednesday afternoon as Danny Guerrero’s group, behind the stellar pitching of Kendall Henscheid (Huntington Beach High School) and a two-run home run from right fielder Pacy Villa (Frank Augustus Miller Middle School) doubled up Anthony Medina’s squad 8-4 at Harvard Park.
Although she struggled slightly towards the end of the game, Henscheid retired 14 of the first 15 batters she faced, threw 71 pitches, of which 57 went for strikes, and scattered seven hits. At one point, she threw 15 straight strikes and retired 11 batters on one pitch and another eight on two pitches.
“My pitching has been strong all season long and Kendall has been tough all season for all teams,” Guerrero said. “She gives up very few runs, we’ve been playing very good defense and out bats have been picking up now. We have a powerful lineup all the way through.”
Guerrero’s team jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the second as designated player Rebecca Chung (West Torrance High School) hit a line drive off of the glove of opposing pitcher Alyssa Olague (Whittier High School). Two outs later and with Chung at third, second baseman Danielle Lew (Los Alamitos High School) brought her in with a single to right field. After Lew stole second, she scored on a base hit from center fielder Erica Guerrero (Kennedy High School).
Medina’s team cut that lead in half in the top of the fifth inning when designated player Alexis Lopez (Los Osos High School) doubled and scored on a single from catcher Miranda Gallardo (Tetzlaff Middle School). But Danny Guerrero’s team answered back in its half of the frame when left fielder Jazzmynn Loe (Los Alamitos High School) plated Erica Guerrero with a base hit.
That lead was short lived, though, as Medina’s team tied the contest in the next inning when right fielder Alyssa Medina (Cerritos High School) singled in pinch runner Jasmin Marticorena (Warren High School) and left fielder Gracie Rose (Maranatha).
“She’s done a phenomenal job,” Anthony Medina said of his daughter. “In game one [today] she did the same thing. At the right moment, she came through. Her leadership and her experience helped us out when we really needed it.”
But in the bottom of the sixth, Danny Guerrero’s team sent nine batters to the plate and roughed up Olague. Following Villa’s home run over the right center fence, her first of the summer that left the yard, Olague walked her counterpart, who was replaced by pinch runner Anyssa Ortega (La Mirada High School). Then with one out, Erica Guerrero singled and shortstop Karina Ibarra (Lakewood High School) singled in Ortega. After the second out, a base hit from Loe allowed Guerrero to score with Ibarra scoring on an error seconds later.
“[Alyssa] is the type of pitcher than can dominate a team, and she’s done that all season long,” Danny Guerrero said. “So, we knew that we had to go after her first strikes. If she was going to try to throw something and get ahead of us, we were going to get in trouble. What we decided to do was be aggressive with our bats.”
A sacrifice fly from pinch hitter Angie Porcayo (Bellflower High School) plated Lopez in the top of the seventh for the final run of the game. Erica Guerrero and Loe each had three hits as Danny Guerrero’s team pounded out a dozen hits.
Seven different players had one hit a piece for Anthony Medina’s team, Earlier in the day, Danny Guerrero’s team posted a 4-0 win over the (Monterey) Central Coast Athletics as Erica Guerrero tossed a two-hitter. The Punishers had a 1-0 lead heading into the bottom of the sixth when Ibarra was walked and sacrificed over by Jessi Alvarado (Gahr High School). Loe then reached on an error, stole second and scored, as did Ibarra, on a double from Roxanne Habash (Kennedy High School). Chung followed that up with a double.
“The organization itself has great players,” Anthony Medina said. “My team and [Danny’s] team did an outstanding job. It was the same way with my pitcher. It was a battle of pitching and good hitting.”
Danny Guerrero’s team remained alive for another day by avenging its only loss of the playoffs by defeating the (Hacienda Heights) Firecrackers managed by Jerry Chavez 6-2 this past Wednesday night backed by an 11-hit attack. The team rallied from a 2-0 deficit to score once in the top of the fourth inning, twice in the next inning and three more in the seventh inning. Villa went three for four and scored three runs while Chung and Henscheid each added a pair of hits.
Danny Guerrero’s team opened up the bracket portion with a 5-4 loss to the Firecrackers this past Tuesday morning. Trailing 4-0 after two innings, the Punishers scored all of their runs in the top of the fourth inning. Chung, Ibarra and Rachel Hermann (Los Alamitos High School) all had run scoring hits and Hermann later scored on an error. Henscheid struck out half a dozen.
Later in the day, the Punishers held on for a 5-4 win over the (Roseville) Northern California Firecrackers backed by a three-run bottom of the fifth inning. Erica Guerrero was walked with one out and replaced by Ortega. Alvarado tripled her home and Ibarra was walked. Following a groundout, Villa’s single plated Alvarado and Ibarra.
Danny Guerrero’s team, as well as Anthony Medina’s team, will participate in the Amateur Softball Association/United States of America 14-U “A” National Championship tournament in San Diego beginning on Monday with the opening ceremonies at the Santee Sports Park. Pool play action begins on Tuesday with the double elimination portion beginning on Thursday.
“Hopefully we’ll get the chance to play them again,” Anthony Medina said. “If we face them, hopefully it won’t be in the elimination round. But at the same time I don’t want to face them at the beginning either to put him or myself in the loser’s bracket. Hopefully we can see them in the championship game.”

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