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NEWS AND NOTES FROM PRESS ROW – Trio of Gahr pitchers combine to three-hit Paramount in SGVL softball action

By Loren Kopff• @LorenKopff on Twitter

April 14, 2022~The San Gabriel Valley League has predominantly been divided into two halves for softball with Downey High, Gahr High and Warren High being in the upper half. Then there is Paramount High, which has had a knack of pulling off some surprises against the league powerhouses.

Gahr made sure it did not fall into the so-called ‘trap’ game when it hosted Paramount this past Tuesday as three pitchers survived a pesky Pirates team in posting a 12-2 decision. The Gladiators improved to 15-8 overall, but more importantly, went to 4-1 in league play and remained tied with Downey and Warren in the loss column.

“Paramount is always going to have a few players that…you never know,” said Gahr head coach Rey Sanchez. “That little lefty that they threw…she made some good pitches, and she made our hitters work a little bit today.”

He was referring to Vanessa Pena, who threw 84 pitches through four innings and got consecutive batters to look at a third strike in the bottom of the third inning. But before that, the Gahr batters took it to Pena for three runs in the first inning, five in the second and three in the third inning.

Junior third baseman Hayley Olivas and sophomore first baseman Marley Cortez each went three for four with Olivas scoring three times and driving in three runs. Two of those RBI came in the second inning when she blasted a home run to left field while Cortez scored twice. Senior second baseman Mika Huskey, sophomore center fielder Natalia Hill and sophomore shortstop Rio Mendez all went two for three in the hitting barrage.

In the circle, junior Jordan Cathey worked the first two innings, yielding a pair of hits and two unearned runs, both coming in the second inning, while Cortez and junior Hailey Sanchez combined to throw 30 pitches over the next three frames, facing 10 batters, striking out four and allowing one hit.

“Sometimes kids will let down in a game, and I don’t like that part,” said Rey Sanchez. “Sometimes the kids get a sense of, ‘it’s now Warren or Downey’ and they kind of give in a little bit; they’re not at their best, and it’s hard. I always want the girls at their best no matter what.”

Gahr has five games remaining in the regular season, including the next four at home which began with an Apr. 14 encounter against Downey. That will be followed by Lynwood High on Thursday, Warren on Apr. 26 and Dominguez High on Apr. 27 before going to Paramount on Apr. 28.

“We’ve played in three tournaments and the tournaments are nice, but at the same time, I’ve got to figure out what I have,” said Rey Sanchez. “I need to make sure that I have everybody on our bench have an opportunity. I need to see who can step up and who can pinch hit. Have I played strong from the get-go in every single game? No. There’s a game or two that I’d like to maybe take back and say, ‘man, this game could have gone this way, this game could have gone that way’.”

In other softball action, Artesia High remained in second place in the 605 League and improved to 9-10, 6-2 after wins at Oxford Academy (18-4) and at Whitney High (19-4). Artesia hosted Pioneer High on Apr. 14.

Cerritos High clinched no worse than a tie for the 605 League crown with an 18-0 win against Whitney this past Wednesday, improving to 12-2, 8-0. Seniors Erin Gibbs and Jadyn Nielsen combined on a no-hitter. The Dons hosted John Glenn High on Apr. 14 while Whitney travelled to Oxford Academy on the same day. Glenn is on target for no worse than third place following an 11-1 win against Oxford Academy this past Tuesday that sent the Eagles to 14-10, 5-3.

La Mirada High captured its own La Mirada Classic after knocking off South Hills High 8-3 and Rosary High 15-10 last Saturday to improve to 18-6. The Matadores, who are receiving votes for the CIF-Southern Section Division 1 top 10 poll, will visit Kennedy High today.

Norwalk High, ranked 10th in Division 5, hasn’t played since a 6-3 loss to Mayfair High but will host Legacy High on Monday. The Lancers are 14-7 overall, 3-3 in the Suburban League while Valley Christian High lost to Whittier Christian High 13-0 this past Tuesday. The Defenders (3-12-1, 1-2 in the Olympic League) hosted Maranatha High on Apr. 14 and will go to Bellflower High on Monday before entertaining Village Christian High on Thursday.

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Despite splitting with Oxford Academy, Artesia has all but locked up its first trip to the playoffs since 2007 as the Pioneers are sitting in second place in the 605 League. Artesia, which began the week at 11-9 overall and 3-3 in the circuit, go to Los Amigos High on Saturday for a doubleheader in its only action until Apr. 26.

Glenn was blanked by Oxford Academy 7-0 this past Tuesday to fall to 1-9, 1-4 as the Eagles hosted the Patriots on Apr. 14. Glenn will entertain St. Pius X-St. Matthias Academy on Monday and go to Dominguez High on Wednesday.

La Mirada completed a sweep of Mayfair, outscoring the Monsoons 11-0 in the two games as the Matadores won another Suburban League championship. La Mirada improved to 16-4-1, 6-0 and will begin play in the Boras Classic on Tuesday against Sierra Canyon High.

Norwalk blanked Firebaugh High 13-0 last Friday and moved to 12-8 overall, 3-3 in the Suburban League. The Lancers, who will host Salesian High on Saturday and Banning High on Monday in the St. Paul Tournament, are sitting in third place in league. With Mayfair at 3-5, the Lancers, ranked third in Division 6, are looking good in locking up the program’s first playoff trip since 2013.

V.C. was doubled up by Maranatha 10-5 this past Tuesday, falling to 11-9 overall, 3-3 in the Olympic League. The Defenders would face the Minutemen the next two nights before visiting Whittier Christian on Tuesday.

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