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John Glenn softball making strides despite pair of two-run losses to Cerritos


 By Loren Kopff

Five words that have been uttered only twice since 1999-John Glenn softball beat Cerritos-nearly came to fruition last Thursday afternoon. The Lady Eagles were tied with one of the Suburban League favorites heading into the top of the seventh inning.

However, an error followed by misplayed ball allowed visiting Cerritos to push across a pair of runs late and escape with a 3-1 victory. It was the second straight two-run loss to the Lady Dons and considering what the past results have been when these two teams meet, the Glenn softball team is definitely one not to look past.

“I think we’ve made excellent strides,” said John Glenn assistant coach Aimee Rosa. “These girls came from a losing season to almost not being able to compete last year. And now we’re competing with some of the best that are considered in our league.”

Since Glenn last beat Cerritos in 2007, it had been outscored 114-14 by the Lady Dons until a late seventh inning rally by the Lady Eagles on Mar. 26 came up short in a 13-11 loss at Cerritos.

“It’s been a good challenge for us, no matter what,” said Cerritos head coach Bob Medina. “We’re injured, yes, and we had kids who had the flu two days ago. We can win, even though we’re down so far and I think because of the injuries and the kids who are gone, their self esteem has dropped. But I think this was a good game for us.”

With one out in the top of the seventh, Cerritos junior center fielder Jasmine Javier reached on an error and moved to second on a passed ball. Then sophomore catcher Madison Lee hit a towering fly ball that was misjudged by the Glenn first baseman and bounced over her head for an infield double. Two batters later, sophomore right fielder Heather Cameron’s first pitch double to center brought in both runs.

“It was all mental,” Rosa said of the fateful play. “That’s something we work on constantly at practice and that’s sometimes how the game goes. This game is 80 percent mental. Sometimes it goes in your favor and sometimes it doesn’t. Today, it didn’t.”

Cerritos (5-6 overall, 2-2 in the Suburban League) grabbed a 1-0 lead in the second when sophomore left fielder Megan Darling’s infield hit plated senior shortstop Erin Clinton. But in the next inning, the Lady Eagles (7-4, 0-2) tied the contest on consecutive singles from senior center fielder Gabby Cruz and junior shortstop Valeria Ortega and a run scoring groundout from senior second baseman Denise Miranda.

For the next three innings, though, both pitchers would keep their respective teams in the game. Cerritos sophomore pitcher Melanie Okazaki retired 13 of the last 16 batters she faced after the tying run came across. The only blemishes were a pair of two-out walks and a base hit which later turned into a line drive double play back to her in the sixth.

Meanwhile, Glenn freshman pitcher Destiny Enriquez was handling the normally hot-hitting Cerritos offense for the most part. Enriquez retired 10 of 11 batters until an error and a walk put two runners on with two outs in the fifth. But she got sophomore first baseman Kaitlyn Bales to groundout to end that threat. Then in the sixth, Enriquez escaped another threat when she struck out senior designated player Miki Okazaki with two outs and runners at the corners.

“With Destiny coming out and doing her job and coach Aimee being the jockey behind that horse, they did a good combination today,” said Glenn first-year head coach Albert Enriquez. “That’s what we expect from her and from the defense.”

“We let them back in the game last time we played them,” Medina said. “Coming into this game, they had a lot of confidence in dealing with us and they really never gave up. My hat’s off to Glenn. They fought all the way to the end.”

Cameron and Lee each had a pair of hits and Melanie Okazaki struck out eight batters as Cerritos, which scored seven runs in the bottom of the fourth to erase a 6-5 deficit in the first meeting with Glenn, opens a home and home series with Bellflower on the road on Wednesday. As for the Lady Eagles, who got two hits from Ortega, they have already eclipsed last season’s win total by two games and have won more non league games since 2004 when the team finished 12-9-1 overall and 5-7 in league. The Lady Eagles visit Mayfair on Wednesday.

“I believe Glenn is going to do some things,” Medina said. “The pitcher was awesome. She had our kids off-balanced and we have a good hitting team. So, to say that to them, yes, she did a great job.

“Glenn is going to have a good pitcher,” he added. “I don’t know if it’s next year. But her junior year, I guarantee she’s going to make some difference. Her senior year, she’s definitely going to open peoples’ eyes. The pitcher is going to really enhance that team because they have a great team.”


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