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NEWS AND NOTES FROM PRESS ROW : Postseason begins for spring sports as area sees five baseball and softball league titles won

 

By Loren Kopff
@LorenKopff on Twitter

The regular season for the spring athletics ends today and already, it has been very successful for several area teams. A pair of baseball teams have already locked up league championships while a trio of softball teams can make the same claim.

In addition, one area volleyball team is at the top of its division while Cerritos High brought home a 605 League title in boys and girls track and field. Here’s a look at how the area teams did this past spring. The boys volleyball playoff brackets will be released on Saturday while baseball, softball and boys tennis will be released on Monday. Wild card games for baseball and softball will begin on Tuesday with first round contests being held on Thursday.

BASEBALL

It was another disappointing season for Artesia High, which has been shutout in five straight games and seven times in nine 605 league games. The Pioneers fell to Pioneer High 11-0 this past Tuesday and was 1-20 overall, 0-9 in league entering its Apr. 25 home finale against Pioneer. A loss will mean two straight seasons in which Artesia won just one game in the regular season and the second straight season it has gone winless in league action.

For the first time since 1996, Cerritos can call themselves league champions. A 2-1 victory over Oxford Academy this past Tuesday assured the Dons of at least a share of the league crown. Cerritos took a 20-7 mark, 9-0 in league, into its Apr. 25 road game at Oxford Academy. It’s the program’s best regular season record in over two decades.

On Mar. 19, Gahr High was 1-12 and off to one of its worst starts in school history. But after a 13-1 win against Warren High this past Wednesday, the Gladiators have not only punched their ticket to the playoffs but claimed another San Gabriel Valley League championship. Gahr improved to 12-14-1 overall, 7-2 in league and visited Paramount High on Apr. 25. This is the fifth straight league championship for the program and seventh out of the last eight. But Gahr will enter the playoffs with a non-winning season for the first time since 2008.

By virtue of a 10-0 win at Whitney High this past Tuesday, John Glenn High clinched third place in the 605 League and the program’s third straight playoff appearance and fourth in the last five seasons. The Eagles improved to 12-10 overall, 5-4 in the circuit and has won five straight games. It’s also the first time the Eagles have been two games above .500 all season.

Valley Christian High was no-hit by Maranatha High 12-0 this past Tuesday to fall to 12-9 overall, 4-7 in the Olympic League. Although the Defenders will finish in fourth place, they will be eligible for an at-large position should one be available in Division 5.

The playoff drought for Whitney extends to 31 seasons as the Wildcats are riding a five-game losing streak, the last thee without scoring a run. The Wildcats fell to 7-9 overall, 2-7 in league as it visited Glenn on Apr. 25.

SOFTBALL

Artesia enjoyed its best season in more than two decades, going 17-3 overall and 9-1 in league, capturing a share of the 605 League championship with Cerritos. The Lady Pioneers, who have now had three straight double-digit win seasons and a winning mark for the second time in three seasons, are ranked sixth in the CIF-Southern Section Division 4 poll. The team will most likely host a first round game.

An 18-0 win over Oxford Academy this past Tuesday put Cerritos at 13-12 overall, 9-1 in league as it prepares for the playoffs. The Lady Dons have never been more than two games over .500 all season and at one point, were 2-6. The program has had three straight winning campaigns and eight out of the last nine.

For the sixth straight season, Gahr is San Gabriel Valley League champions and for the third time in the last four seasons, it went undefeated in league action. The Lady Gladiators (19-5, 10-0) solidified another perfect league mark after crushing Downey High 14-4 this past Wednesday. The team steamrolled its league opposition, outscoring five other squads by a combined score of 151-13.

The playoff drought continues for Glenn, which finished its season at 3-13 overall, 1-9 in league. In the past three seasons, the Lady Eagles have gone 11-47 and have not had a winning record since 2004.

V.C. picked up its first Olympic League victory, a 3-0 conquest over Heritage Christian High on Apr. 16. The Lady Defenders, who ended the regular season against Maranatha on Apr. 25, is 7-10 overall, 1-6 in league and will miss the playoffs for the second time in the past three seasons. Before that, the program had been to the playoffs seven straight seasons.

Whitney has not played since Apr. 17 but will enter the playoffs with a 13-8 overall mark. The Lady Wildcats finished in third place in the 605 League and will participate in the playoffs for the second time in the past four seasons and fifth time since 2010. This is the program’s best record since 2012 when that team went 15-5 and advanced to the second round. In addition, the Lady Wildcats are ranked second in Division 7.

BOYS VOLLEYBALL

The best team in the area by far is Valley Christian, which improved to 23-2 overall and won all eight Olympic League matches. The Defenders, ranked No. 1 in Division 4, have won 13 straight matches, losing just four sets in that time. For the season, the team has lost 12 sets. It’s also the third time in the last four seasons V.C. has won over 20 matches in a season.

Cerritos, ranked fifth in Division 3, claimed the 605 League title with Whitney coming in second place. The Dons went 26-13 overall and won all 10 league matches while the Wildcats finished 11-14, 8-2.

TRACK AND FIELD

Cerritos made it a clean sweep at the 605 League championships last Thursday with the boys picking up 152 points while the girls claimed 146 points. The Cerritos boys 400 meter relay team and 1600 meter relay team won with times of 44.58 and 3:34.82 respectively while senior Jaide Lin won the 1600 meter run (5:31.97) and the 800 meter run (2:27.28).Four other Cerritos athletes won their events with sophomore Sofia Vasquez running a 12:22.3 in the 3200 meter run, senior Keona Nguyen topping 9-6 in the pole vault, senior Justin Kim finishing the 200 meter run in 22.62 and senior Seane Baladjay having a mark of 21-7 in the long jump.

The Whitney girls finished in third place with 66 points while the Artesia boys finished in third place with 62 points. The Whitney 400-meter relay team won with a time of 50.92 while junior Ola Ogan had a mark of 15-10 in the long jump. For Artesia, senior Travys Davis won the 100-meter dash with a time of 11.22 while sophomore Daniel Chung came in first in the pole vault at 13-0. Also, Artesia junior Manaia Anderson won the shot put when she threw 30-6.

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