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NEWS AND NOTES FROM PRESS ROW : Depleted John Glenn baseball squad limited to two hits in wild card loss to West Torrance

By Loren Kopff
@LorenKopff on Twitter

 

TORRANCE-Like any other team around, the John Glenn High baseball team was anxious to begin the CIF-Southern Section Division 3 playoffs. However, already dealing with a small team all season with no lower level squads to call up players from, the last thing the Eagles needed was an injury to any of their starters.

That’s what was staring head coach Jack Brooks in the eyes as his team faced West Torrance High this past Tuesday in a wild card game. Senior catcher Alexis Martinez broke his leg last weekend and his presence was missed as the Eagles were stymied by the pitching of Nathan Newmeyer in a 4-0 loss. Glenn was limited to just a pair of singles while Newmeyer struck out 15 batters. Despite the injury to Martinez, Brooks said the team’s moral was not too bad entering the game.

“It was tough,” Brooks said. “Obviously, we’re very thin as it is. When we lose our starting catcher, we have to start moving all kinds of pieces around and it’s very difficult when you only have 10 guys. Obviously, we ran into a buzz saw today; the guy had 15 strikeouts and kind of ate us alive. The moral was okay. It’s difficult for any young high school team to adjust the way when you lose such a key component.”

Senior pitcher Joseph Figueroa was slated to start but was forced to move to shortstop after the news of Martinez came down. That meant senior Joseph Angulo, the normal shortstop when he’s not pitching, was behind the plate at catcher and on the mound was sophomore Jacob Hernandez, making his sixth start of the season. He started the opening game of the season as well as the regular season finale, a three-hit, complete game performance against Whitney High.

In the bottom of the first inning, Jake Sonandres greeted Hernandez with a two-out home run over the left center pitch. In the next inning, Hernandez walked Joseph Hettinger to lead things off and with the bases loaded and one out, a sacrifice fly from Brandon Kirchner made it 2-0.

The Eagles were about to make what they thought was a comeback when Newmeyer walked freshman second baseman Javier Llamas, hit senior right fielder Eric Rodarte and gave up a bunt single to Figueroa to begin the top of the third inning. But a strikeout, a pop-up and a flyout on a combined 10 pitches ended the threat and Glenn would get three runners on base the remainder of the game.

“That was our opportunity; to flip the momentum, to change the game and we didn’t get it done,” Brooks said. “It’s as simple as that.”

Newmeyer posted at least two strikeouts in six of the seven innings, including the first two in the top of the sixth. Then he walked senior centerfielder Julian Marrujo and yielded an infield knock to senior first baseman Gerardo Vargas before getting junior left fielder Alejandro Rizzo to groundout.

The Eagles, who concluded the regular season at 13-11, finished in third place in the 605 League. They had won six straight games and 10 of their previous 14 contests entering the playoffs.

“We won six in a row to get into the playoffs, which is very nice,” Brooks said. “We lost four tough league games to start off the season in the 605 League, which is tough. But we didn’t get it done. But look, this is our third year making it to CIF with this group. We haven’t done that since the 1990s. These seniors had a really good career; they did a lot of good things. They left a legacy.”

In other baseball action, Valley Christian High’s offense was stymied by the pitching of Maranatha High last Thursday in the regular season finale. Owen Hackman tossed a no-hitter, the second one in three days V.C. saw against the Minutemen, and the Defenders were blanked 10-0 in a five-inning game.

“Our league is one of the tougher leagues around,” said V.C. first-year head coach Matt Dahlenburg. “The first time through, we competed with [Maranatha]. My look at it is our kids are mind struck by playing these guys. They got guys there who are going to get drafted.”

Hackman retired the first 14 batters he faced before walking freshman left fielder Ryan Zamarripa on a full count. It marked the first and only time he had thrown more than four pitches to any batter. Meanwhile, Maranatha, the league champs who had previous defeated V.C. 6-3 on Mar. 15 and 12-0 on Apr. 23, scored three times in the top of the first inning, six more the next inning and the final tally in the third. The Minutemen pounded out 11 hits, three of them leaving the yard.

“The problem with today’s generation is the internet,” Dahlenburg said. “So, if they see a guy on a team and he’s throwing 94 [miles per hour], then they’re going to be, ‘he’s throwing 94 and we can’t hit that’. It’s all mind; it’s all mental mind games and that’s how it is with us. Like I told them, if that school wasn’t in our league, you guys would come out with a whole different attitude.”

Despite finishing with a 12-10 regular season mark, the Defenders did not get an at-large berth in the Division 5 playoffs. This is the second straight season V.C. failed to reach the playoffs, the first time the program has missed the postseason in consecutive seasons since 2008-2010. But it’s also the first time since 2016 that V.C. has had a winning record.

“The season was good for my first one [here],” Dahlenburg said. “Just a lot of learning curves for me and learning curves for these guys. I told the seniors before the game I appreciate everything they did because they made it twice as easy for me. Now, the younger guys know how we work and how we’re going to do things. So, it will make it a little easier for next year.”

In Division 3 action, 605 League champion Cerritos High hosted Riverside Poly High in a first round game on May 2. The Dons went 21-7 in the regular season and won 14 of its last 15 games. The Bears, who finished in fourth place in the Ivy League, entered the game at 13-12.

SOFTBALL

Artesia High, with one of the best seasons in school history, hosted Jurupa Hills High in a Division 4 first round game on May 2. The Lady Pioneers, co-champions of the 605 League, went 17-3 overall and are ranked sixth in the division. The Spartans finished in second place in the San Andreas League with a 10-12 mark.

Cerritos, the other co-champions of the 605 League, was home to Cypress High in a Division 2 first round game on May 2. The Lady Dons, who lost six of their first eight games of the season, enter the postseason at 13-12 while the Centurions are the second place representatives from the Empire League at 19-8-1.

Gahr High, which advanced to the Division 1 title game last season, hosted West Torrance High in a first round game on May 2. The Lady Gladiators went 19-5 and did not lose any of their 10 San Gabriel Valley League contests. However, four of their losses were to teams in Division 1. West Torrance was tied for second place in the Pioneer League and went 15-10.

Whitney High, the second ranked team in Division 7 but the third place team out of the 605 League, took the Catalina Express and faced Avalon High in a first round game on May 2. The Lady Wildcats went 13-8 while Avalon finished the regular season 8-8 and came in second place in the new Academy League.

BOYS VOLLEYBALL

Cerritos, the seventh ranked team in Division 3, knocked off Burbank High 22-25, 25-21, 25-23, 28-26 this past Tuesday and hosted Kennedy High in a second round match on May 2.

V.C., the top-ranked team in Division 4, swept North Torrance High 25-21, 25-15, 25-19 this past Tuesday and entertained San Gabriel Academy in a second round match on May 2 while Whitney lost to Pacific Lutheran High in four sets this past Tuesday in a Division v first round match,

BOYS TENNIS

Cerritos got past St. Margaret’s High 10-8 this past Wednesday in a Division 2 first round match and will host Pasadena Poly High today while in Division 3 action, Gahr fell to La Quinta High 15-3 in a first round event and Whitney lost to Trabuco Hills High 13-5.

 

 

 

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