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Cerritos 10-Under All-Stars start fast against La Mirada

AMATEUR SOFTBALL ASSOCIATION L.A./SOUTH BAY “B: DISTRICT TOURNAMENT

By Loren Kopff

DOWNEY-It hasn’t been the all-star season that Shasta Rivera had anticipated but for one brief moment, her Cerritos Girls Softball Association 10-Under team had smiles on their faces. The team doubled up La Mirada 4-2 last Saturday morning at Independence Park to briefly stay alive in the Amateur Softball Association Los Angeles/South Bay “B” District Tournament.

Cerritos would later be eliminated by the Torrance Gold team, 9-2, but against La Mirada, Cerritos took advantage of early opportunities and rode the arms of pitchers Bella Bulthuis and Lily Roth the rest of the way.

“It’s an awesome win,” Rivera said. “This is the best the girls have played all season. They came alive in this game. I couldn’t ask for anything better.”

The game began with a base hit to center from third baseman Chelsea Azevedo and center fielder Kalena Dawson being safe on an infield single. Both runners would advance on an error and Azevedo would score the game’s first run on a fielder’s choice from Bulthuis. A groundout from first baseman Danica Stavale plated Dawson and later in the inning, an infield single from shortstop Madison Wright made it 3-0.

“That’s exactly what we needed,” Rivera said. “When we score first, we tend to do a little bit better. When the other team scores first, we tend to fall apart. They came out fired and ready to go and they got the job done today.”

La Mirada answered in its half of the inning when Court Pifer singled with two outs and scored an unearned run when Jules Detrinadao reached on an infield single. La Mirada would constantly put pressure on Bulthuis and the Cerritos defense, putting runners on base in every inning. Despite La Mirada getting 10 hits in the game, Bulthuis would induce eight batters to groundout over the final six innings.

Meanwhile, Cerritos would be stymied by former CGSA 8-Under All-Star pitcher Alexis Montez, who struck out five batters and allowed three hits beyond the first inning. The last Cerritos run came in the fourth when Azevedo reached on an infield hit and came home when Stavale was safe on an error. But Cerritos would strand nine runners including the bases loaded in that inning.

“We never scored enough runs to give us a comfortable lead,” Rivera said. “I just needed to keep relying on Bella. They already were having a hard time hitting off of her. That’s why I kept her in. Bella couldn’t have pitched better today.”

Azevedo and Wright each picked up a pair of hits while Roth worked the final two innings, allowing one hit and striking out a pair.

Cerritos opened the tournament last Friday afternoon with a 2-0 loss to Manhattan Beach with all of the action occurring in the top of the first. With one out, Mia Bacula doubled to left field and moved to third on a single from Juliana O’Brien. After a stolen base, an error allowed Bacula to come home and following a groundout back to Dawson, Jenna Colligan reached on another error, allowing O’Brien to touch home plate.

After that, Dawson was bending but would not break as Manhattan Beach had six runners reach second base and another one get to third base over the next six innings, but couldn’t score. In all, Manhattan Beach had nine hits and stranded 11 runners.

“That’s the first time she has pitched a whole game for us all [summer],” Rivera said of Dawson. “They were hitting her but they weren’t hitting anything powerful. They scored their two runs only in the first inning when we had nothing but errors. Kalena was pitching so great that it was either a pop-up or a ground ball. We came above the errors that we made in the first inning to come back and just not allow more runs to score.”

Unfortunately, Cerritos couldn’t generate much of an offense. Bulthuis singled to right with two outs in the first and was left there. Center fielder Lyza McDow reached on an error, went to second on a wild pitch and stole third in the second, but was left there. A double play ended an opportunity in the fourth and left fielder Natalie Mendiola and designated player Alexis Duenas singled with one out in the fifth but nothing more came out of that inning.

The team participated in six tournaments this summer and only once did it play four games. That came in the Chino Hills Tournament (June 19-21) where the team won its first playoff game, a 7-6 triumph over Temecula Valley. Overall, Cerritos went 4-14-1 this summer.

“It’s been long but I’ve had a great group of girls and a great group of parents,” Rivera said. “It hasn’t been easy but I wouldn’t trade it. Our team name is Kaos and we’ve been living up to the name Kaos.”

The rest of the Cerritos 10-Under All-Stars are: Mia Gonzalez, Catherine Quibrantar and Makayla Vanosse.

The Cerritos 8-Under All-Stars had a very brief stay in the tournament, falling to Long Beach Heartwell 2-1 last Friday afternoon and Norwalk 7-0 last Saturday morning. The team was managed by Anthony Medina and his players were: Nicole Carrasco, Arianna Franco, Alyssa Hensgen, Natalia Hill, Emma Maldonado, Kalie Matsuno, Alea Medina, Michelle Meza, Sophia Suarez, Maya Torres, Emily Vargas and Brianna Wells.