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By Loren Kopff
@LorenKopff on Twitter
With two weeks remaining in the regular season, three softball teams were vying for one automatic playoff spot out of the Suburban League. Cerritos High and John Glenn High began a home and home series this past Wednesday and the results would have an impact on next week’s home and home series between Glenn and Artesia High.
Cerritos made the first move of getting that playoff spot with a resounding 10-1 win over the Lady Eagles, improving to 8-13-1 overall and 5-4 in the league. Glenn dropped to 8-12 overall, 2-7, which means a Cerritos win today at Glenn eliminates the Lady Eagles from any shot of the postseason.
Cerritos grabbed a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning when junior shortstop Lailoni Mayfield singled and scored two outs later on a base hit from senior center fielder Alyssa Flores. The Lady Eagles, who have not tasted life in the California Interscholastic Federation-Southern Section playoffs since 1990, tied the game in the third inning on a one-out base hit from senior right fielder Alyssa Fajardo, scoring junior first baseman Maria Enriquez.
After that, it was all Cerritos. The two-time defending league champions would send 10 batters to the plate in the fourth inning, scoring five times and getting just one hit in the process. The Lady Eagles hurt themselves with three errors in the inning. Cerritos loaded the bases and with one out, sophomore catcher Alyanna Hernandez brought in junior right fielder Camryn McInerney with a base hit to right.
It would be followed up with a groundout from freshman second baseman Niki Ibarra, scoring junior third baseman Destiny Lucero. Glenn senior pitcher Destiny Enriquez would walk Mayfield before the aforementioned three errors would lead to three more runs coming home.
The Lady Dons added a pair of runs in each of the next two innings with sophomore first baseman Kiara Crockett-Pope launching her third home run of the season to lead off the sixth. Eight different players had a hit for Cerritos while Fajardo went three for four and Destiny Enriquez went two for three for Glenn.
Cerritos will visit Norwalk High on Tuesday before the two teams conclude the regular season at Norwalk on Thursday. Glenn will travel to Artesia on Tuesday and host the Pioneers on Thursday.
In other softball action, Norwalk outlasted La Mirada High 3-2 in 15 innings this past Wednesday to move a game in front of the Matadores for first place in the Suburban League. Norwalk improved to 12-7 overall and 8-1 in league. The two teams will meet today at La Mirada.
Artesia, which was tied with Glenn in the standings at the beginning of the week, fell to Mayfair High 4-3 in eight innings this past Wednesday. Entering today’s action, Mayfair was in third place with an 8-3 league mark followed by Cerritos (5-4) and Artesia and Glenn, both of whom are 2-7.
Valley Christian High was shutout for the 10th time after a 10-0 loss to Heritage Christian High this past Tuesday. However, the Lady Crusaders, who are 3-17 overall, hosted Village Christian High on May 5 with a slim chance of advancing to the postseason. Valley Christian was tied for third place with Village Christian as both teams were 2-4 in league action. Valley Christian visits Maranatha High on Tuesday in the regular season finale.
Whitney High is also tied for third place in its league with three games remaining. After the Lady Wildcats defeated Oxford Academy 5-1 this past Tuesday, they are 9-11 overall and 2-3 in the Academy League. Whitney visits league-leading Calvary Chapel Downey High today before hosting last place Brethren Christian High on Monday and second place Crean Lutheran High on Wednesday. Whitney freshman sensation Taylor Genera has struck out 140 batters in 116 innings of work and has set two school records-most strikeouts as a freshman and most strikeouts in a single season.
The Suburban League race continues to say tight as Cerritos is still trying to end a 17-year playoff drought. The Dons lost to Glenn 5-1 this past Wednesday for their season-high sixth straight loss Cerritos enters today road game at Glenn with an overall mark of 11-13 and 4-5 in league action, good for fourth place. Glenn improved to 12-12 overall and 3-6 in the circuit. Cerritos will face sixth place Norwalk on Tuesday and Thursday respectively while Glenn has last place Artesia on the docket for those two days. If Cerritos wins its final three games of the regular season, it will finish in third place.
Gahr won its 12th straight game after taking care of Downey High 6-1 this past Tuesday. The Gladiators (20-5, 7-0) can claim a share of the San Gabriel Valley League title with a victory at Downey today. Gahr, the top ranked team in the California Interscholastic Federation-Southern Section Division II top 10 poll for the fifth straight week, visits Dominguez High on Tuesday before hosting the Dons on Thursday.
Valley Christian was blasted by Maranatha 12-2 this past Tuesday to fall to 15-9 overall and 4-5 in the Olympic League. The two teams will meet at V.C. today before the Crusaders wrap up the regular season with a road game at Whittier Christian High on Tuesday and a home rematch on Thursday. The series with Whittier Christian will be for third place and an automatic berth in the playoffs.
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