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NEWS AND NOTES FROM PRESS ROW Whitney softball can’t close out potential win against Academy League’s top team

By Loren Kopff

@LorenKopff on Twitter

Not only was the Whitney High softball team one out away from upsetting Oxford Academy, the first place team in the Academy League, it was a strike away from what would have been a 1-0 victory this past Tuesday. But the Patriots came up with five straight hits in the top of the seventh to pull out a 4-1 win.

“One error,” pondered Whitney head coach Luis Lavayen. “One error, because we already had two outs. So, when our girl didn’t cover her spot, it would have been the third out and that would have been it and we would have won the game. One mistake can cost the whole game right there.”

Whitney (7-11 overall, 1-4 in league) was up to the challenge and was going toe to toe throughout the game. Sophomore pitcher Taylor Genera had allowed three hits through five innings and got a huge defensive play to save a run early on. In the top of the second inning, Michelle Milligan tripled to deep left field, Senior left fielder Jocelyn Chou threw back to senior shortstop Ashley Iseri who relayed the throw to Genera whose throw to senior catcher Karen Kaur was just in time to keep the game scoreless. On the next pitch, Natalie Prado singled but was called out when she left first base too early.

The Patriots would have runners on second and third base in the next inning before Genera struck out the next two batters. Then in the sixth, Oxford Academy loaded the bases with one out before Genera struck out Milligan and got Prado to ground out.

Meanwhile, the Lady Wildcats couldn’t get much going offensively until the fifth. That’s when junior second baseman Heather Choe led off the frame with an infield single. Two batters later, Chou dropped a single just inside the right field line before Iseri’s base hit to the left field gap scored Choe. But after that, Oxford Academy’s Kayla Morales retired four straight and eight of the last nine she faced, only walking junior centerfielder Janessa Alderete.

“I know we have a good team,” Lavayen said. “It’s just [the fact of] coming together; that’s what’s making it not happening. But when we were ahead 1-0, I didn’t expect that.”

In the last inning with two outs, Lizette Ureno singled on a 2-2 count. That was followed by infield knocks from Erica Perez and Anika LeDonne, the latter on a 1-2 count to load the bases. Rebecca Rocha would put the Patriots up 2-1 with a double to right field on a 2-2 count. The game was a far cry from the 12-2 loss on Mar. 31.

“I tell them constantly to go out and have some fun and be more relaxed,” Lavayen said. “That’s the key with these girls-to be relaxed.”

Genera struck out 11 batters to give her 119 for the season. The Lady Wildcats will host Calvary Chapel Downey High today before visiting last place Brethren Christian High on Tuesday and basically needs to win their final three games to have a shot of the postseason.

“Wow, it’s hard to say,” Lavayen said. “The only [win] we know we have is Brethren. Still, it’s up in the air. We’re facing good teams. Calvary is a good team and Crean [Lutheran] is a good team. But you saw what happened today.”

In other softball action, Artesia High begin a stretch of five straight home games on Apr. 27 against John Glenn High. The Pioneers are 6-7 overall, 3-4 in the Suburban League and in fourth place. They will also face Bellflower High on Tuesday and Cerritos High on Thursday. Artesia is seeing its first trip to the playoffs since 1992.

Glenn is 6-13 overall, 1-7 in league and have dropped eight straight games. The Lady Eagles will host Norwalk High on Tuesday and visit La Mirada High on Thursday.

Cerritos stayed on the heels of first place La Mirada with an 11-1 victory over Bellflower this past Tuesday. The Lady Dons improved to 14-5 overall and 7-1 in the circuit. The Lady Dons will also host third place Mayfair High on Tuesday.

Gahr High is getting closer and closer to an undefeated season after blanking La Mirada 6-0 this past Wednesday in the championship game of the La Mirada Tournament. A day earlier, three pitches combined on a perfect game in a 15-0 win against Dominguez High. The Lady Gladiators are 19-0 and visited Lynwood High on Apr. 27. Gahr will then host Warren High on Tuesday with first place on the line and Paramount High on Wednesday before going to Paramount on Thursday.

Norwalk dropped an 8-2 decision to La Mirada this past Tuesday to fall to 5-15 overall, 2-6 in league. The Lady Lancers visited Mayfair on Apr. 27 and a loss will most likely put the defending Suburban League champions near playoff extinction.

BASEBALL

Artesia was blanked by Mayfair 17-0 this past Wednesday and is now 4-17 overall with one league win in nine contests. The two teams will meet today at Artesia before the Pioneers take next week off. It’s the fourth in league action that Artesia has been shutout and seventh time overall.

Gahr is continuing its dominance of the San Gabriel Valley League. The Gladiators (10-12, 5-0) blanked Paramount 3-0 this past Tuesday. All five league wins have been shutouts. The two teams will meet today at Paramount before Gahr travels to second place Downey High on Tuesday.

Norwalk (9-10, 1-8) fell to La Mirada 8-0 this past Wednesday and will visit the first place Matadores today before ending the regular season next week with two games against Cerritos.

Valley Christian High knocked off Whittier Christian High 6-1 this past Tuesday to improve to 13-9 overall and 3-4 in the Olympic League. The Crusaders will host the Heralds tonight before entertaining Maranatha High on Tuesday night.

Whitney snapped a three-game losing streak with a 9-2 win over last place Calvary Chapel Downey this past Tuesday. The Wildcats improved to 8-7 overall and 2-7 in the Academy League as they will host the Grizzlies today. The regular season will end next week with a pair of games against fourth place Oxford Academy.

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