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NEWS AND NOTES FROM PRESS ROW-Whitney baseball uses blowout win to give pitchers more work on mound

By Loren Kopff
@LorenKopff on Twitter

The 2019 high school baseball season officially began on Feb. 9, but Whitney High had only played five games entering its home game with Firebaugh High this past Tuesday. Even more unusual was the fact that senior pitcher Jason Shin has started all five of those games and getting the decision each time.

Part of that was because of the recent rains and rescheduling the games. But against the Falcons, five pitchers took the mound the offense came through with a season-high in runs and hits as Whitney cruised to a 16-1 victory. It was the third straight win for the Wildcats (4-2) and in that time, they have outscored their opponents 29-2.

“We accomplished getting players in that needed the reps,” said Whitney head coach Jason Tani. “Jason has just been pitching spectacular this year. Our two, three [and] four guys haven’t got any work because he’s just been pitching too well.”

Whitney scored three in the bottom of the first inning as Shin, junior pitcher Jedi Hernandez and senior catcher Michael Campos all singled and scored. In the next inning, 10 players went to the plate, scoring six more runs with Campos coming through with a two-run triple. After scoring twice in the bottom of the third inning, the Wildcats ended their scoring onslaught with five in the next inning with Shin and Campos each coming through with two-run doubles.

All nine starters collected at least a hit with Campos and Hernandez each going three for four and Shin and junior first baseman Rudy Lopez III each going two for four. Those four players, plus sophomore second baseman Aden Gomez combined to drive in 13 runs. But the story was giving other pitchers some work. Hernandez worked the first two innings, striking out two and giving up a hit while Lopez III and freshman Jayden Tani each pitched an inning, combining for a pair of strikeouts and two hits allowed.

“He has asked for the ball this season and I told him as long as his arm is intact, he’ll get the ball,” Jason Tani said Shin. “He made it clear that he wanted to be sure that the season, to a certain extent, rested on his shoulders. When someone wants to take that responsibility, I’ll give it to him. He’s a fighter and is probably one of the most competitive players I’ve seen.”

Whitney visited Fairmont Prep on Mar. 21 for its final non-league game and will begin 605 League action on Tuesday against Pioneer High. With 17 scheduled games on the docket, the Wildcats are still banking on the school’s first playoff appearance since 1988 as well as a league finish above fifth place for the first time since 1998.

“Thursday is an important game,” Jason Tani said. “After that, our next four games-two with Artesia, two with Pioneer-that is probably going to determine our season. After that, we have three great schools with great programs. If we play very competitive baseball like we had been playing for the past three games, over the next five games…there’s a lot more options available with the six games remaining at the end.”

In other baseball action, Artesia High continues to have another disappointing season, falling to 1-10 after dropping a 16-2 decision to Jordan High this past Monday. The Pioneers travel to Rio Hondo Prep today before visiting Cerritos High on Tuesday in the 605 League opener.

Cerritos lost to Villa Park High 5-3 this past Tuesday to fall to 7-6. The Dons will visit La Salle High today for a doubleheader before their meeting with Artesia.

The unusual slow start continues for Gahr High as the Gladiators lost to Paramount High 7-6 this past Tuesday in the San Gabriel Valley League opener for both teams. The Gladiators have lost 12 of their 13 games thus far, which also included a 6-2 setback to Hart High this past Monday. Gahr will wrap up the home and home series with Paramount today on the road before facing St. John Bosco High in a doubleheader at Blair Field on Monday. and travelling to Capistrano Valley High on Wednesday in the final game of the Newport Elks Tournament.

After losing five of its first seven games, John Glenn High has turned it around, edging California High 4-3 this past Wednesday for its fourth straight win. The Eagles (7-6), above .500 for the first time this season, visits Oxford Academy on Tuesday in the front end of a home and home series.

Valley Christian High notched its first Olympic League victory, edging Heritage Christian High 4-3 this past Tuesday and improving to 8-4 overall, 1-3 in league. The Defenders will visit Heritage Christian on Tuesday in a makeup from a Mar. 5 game that was rained out. Then host Village Christian High on Tuesday in the front end of a home and home series with the Crusaders.

SOFTBALL

Glenn was crushed by La Salle 18-4 this past Tuesday to see its mark dip to 1-4. In all four losses, the Lady Eagles have yielded 44 runs. They will travel to Oxford Academy today before hosting Cerritos on Tuesday for their first two 605 League contests.

Valley Christian lost its Olympic League opener to Village Christian 8-3 this past Tuesday, its second straight loss. The Defenders (5-5, 0-1) visited Heritage Christian on Mar. 21 and will entertain Whittier Christian High on Tuesday.

Whitney continues to have a rebound season, blanking Saddleback High 10-0 this past Tuesday for its third straight victory. The Lady Wildcats (7-4), who went 4-11 last season and are seeking their first winning season since 2012, will be home to Pioneer today for their 605 League opener. Whitney will also host Artesia on Tuesday.

AQUATICS

The Cerritos Aquatic Club, with 16 swimmers, won the Small Team Division of the 2019 Short Course Junior Olympics this past weekend in Pasadena. The biggest winner was 12-year old Matthew Lee, who took home the second place plaque for boys high point award. Lee brought home two gold medals, four silver medals and set five new team records.

Aria Takeuchi garnered three medals and set a new club record while Alice Tran also won a trio of medals. Taking home a pair of medals were Denise Contreras, Katelyn Fong, Charlotte Kim and Aaron Mackinnon.

The remaining members of the team who helped make it possible for the successful event are: Matthew Ho, Daniel Kim, Theodore Kim, Elizabeth Lee, Nathan Lee, Madison Mercado, Dani Romero, Samira Semaan, and Emma Vicencio.

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