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ASA L.A./South Bay “B” District Tournament-Cerritos 14-Under All-Stars Heading Back to State Tournament

LA South Bay Division Champs

The Cerritos Girls Softball Association 14-Under All-Star team won the Amateur Softball Association’s Los Angeles/South Bay “B” District Tournament last weekend in PIco Rivera. This is the third time in the past five seasons that a CGSA 14-Under All-Star team has advanced to the state tournament.

By Loren Kopff

PICO RIVERA-Three games, three opponents and roughly 11 hours was all that was needed for the Cerritos Girls Softball Association’s 14-Under All-Star team to win its second tournament of the summer. The team rallied for three runs in the top of the sixth inning and edged Pico Fastpitch 7-5 last Saturday afternoon at Rio Vista Park to win the Amateur Softball Association Los Angeles/South Bay “B” District Tournament for its age group.

It’s the third time in the past five years that a CGSA 14-Under all-star team has advanced to the state tournament, which will be played the weekend of July 10-12 in the Lancaster-Palmdale area. The other two years, the CGSA did not field a 14-Under all-star team.

“We just kept telling the team to just keep at it,” said manager Lori Williams. “We’re aiming for the district championship; that’s what we want. They played their hearts out today and they never gave up.”

Not only was this the shortest route any CGSA all-star team needed to win a district tournament in the 17 years of its existence, but it marked the second straight year and fourth time since 2000 that a CGSA all-star team did not lose a district tournament game. The other three times occurred in 2006 (8-Under), 2008 (10-Under Gold) and 2014 (12-Under).

After Cerritos and Pico Fastpitch traded the lead twice within the first three innings, neither team scored in the fourth or fifth innings. But with time running out on Cerritos, it took advantage of a pair of errors to score its runs in the final inning.

Mariah Leon walked third baseman Dalia Morones to lead off the inning and pitcher Cassie Perryman was safe on a fielder’s choice. On the play, a bad throw in an attempt to get Morones out at second sailed into right field, allowing Morones to score and Perryman to advance to third base. Two pitches later, a sacrifice fly from shortstop Kara Spoolstra plated Perryman for the game-winning run. Two batters later, center fielder Julia Enzmann reached on an infield single, moved to third on a pair of wild pitches and came home when first baseman Caitlyn Azevedo was safe on an error.

“We were able to take advantage of some errors on Pico, probably only because they were tired from playing a really hard game right before ours,” Williams said. “So hats off to them for staying in it the whole way. We were lucky to be able to take advantage of [the errors].”

After Pico Fastpitch grabbed a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first, Cerritos tied the game in the second when left fielder Leah Suarez singled with one out and scored on a two-out double from Morones. The hosts would go up 3-1 in their half of the inning thanks to a run-scoring double from Myra Rivera and a two-out single from Isabelle Torres.

But Cerritos scored three runs in the third inning which began with catcher Makayla Garcia putting a base hit to left field, Enzmann reaching on an infield hit and Azevedo depositing a hit to right field to load the bases. A fielder’s choice from Suarez brought in Garcia and Enzmann was right behind her as the first of four errors allowed her to tie the game at 3-3. Three pitches later, a groundout from right fielder Elise Gibbs allowed Azevedo to score.

Throughout the game, both teams were getting stellar plays by the outfielders, who on several occasions, were snaring would-be base hits or even doubles with running catches. Enzmann made three catches, one of them a line shot from Kayla Dominguez to end the fourth inning while Suarez thwarted an extended at-bat from Dominguez in the third inning with a running catch in foul territory. Pico Fastpitch’s Leilani Lopez would also make three catches in right field.

“The outfield on Pico played excellent; all three of their outfielders” Williams said. “We had a couple [of hits] that maybe we could have gotten but didn’t. Our centerfielder, Julia, played an exceptional job out there. Both of [our other outfielders] picked it up towards the end on the other sides of her. But Pico’s outfield was outstanding.”

Cerritos began the day by destroying San Pedro 17-0, the largest margin of victory by any CGSA all-star team in district tournament play since 2000. It was also the second time this summer Cerritos had blasted San Pedro by that same score in a tournament. Then early last Saturday afternoon, Cerritos scored six runs in the bottom of the fourth inning to blow out Santa Monica 7-0.

Cerritos took a 1-0 lead in the first inning on Spoolstra’s single to left field, scoring Perryman. In the fourth, Cerritos sent 10 batters to the plate, getting four hits. A fielder’s choice from Morones allowed first baseman Leilani Pati to score. Perryman’s single plated Suarez and after Fiona McCabe walked Spoolstra to load the bases, Garcia singled to the right field gap for two more runs.

Perryman worked five innings, scattering four hits and striking out nine. She would allow six hits and strike out five in four innings of work against Pico Fastpitch, getting ahead in the count 11 times out of the 21 batters she faced. Perryman would also get ahead in the count 0-2 seven times.

“Cassie’s performance was awesome, especially for [being] a year younger than most of these girls,” Williams said. “And to be playing at this level of play already, she did outstanding.”

This was the first time in district tournament history that only four teams from any age group were playing and since the top four teams in the 10-Under, 12-Under, 14-Under and 16-Under age divisions automatically advance to the state tournament, it was a more relaxed day for Cerritos, Pico Fastpitch, San Pedro and Santa Monica. In fact, a total of 40 teams played in the L.A./South Bay “B”:District Tournament from five different age groups.

“We already knew going into the draw that there were only four teams,” Williams said. “What we were hoping for was to draw a certain team that we had already beat pretty well, for our first game, and that’s what we did.”

Cerritos has now gone 12-6-1 thus far in tournament play, winning the Orange Canyon Tournament (May 23-25) and falling in the semifinals of the South Huntington Beach Tournament (May 29-31), La Habra Tournament (June 4-6) and Chino Hills Tournament (June 19-21). The team has outscored its opponents 126-43. This is also the 18th CGSA all-star team during a streak of 10 consecutive years that a CGSA all-star team has advanced to the state tournament.

“Every one is different because there are different kids involved and different aspects of the whole thing involved,” Williams said. “We knew back in the beginning of the season, before we even started spring ball, we saw something with this team that we all wanted to be a part of.

“I’m very excited to be a part of a team still continuing on and having a streak going, especially with the small league we have,” Williams later added. “We’re small in numbers; we only had a couple of 14-U teams this year. Our numbers are around 200 kids and to keep performing at that level, and to keep going to state’s every year is great for a small league.”

The other Cerritos 14-Under all-stars are Lelani Eberle and Samantha Monroe. The coaching staff consists of Carlos Acosta, Steve Morones and Lyn Perryman and the team moms are Patricia Monroe and Adele Perryman.