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Cerritos Girls Softball Association All-Stars make history again in District Tournament


By Loren Kopff
LONG BEACH-Everything was coming up in three’s last weekend for the Cerritos Girls Softball Association at the annual Amateur Softball Association Los Angeles/South Bay “B” District Tournament. For the first time ever, three all-star teams will be making the trek to the Antelope Valley for the state tournament.
The 8-Under No Doubt, 12-Under Insanity and 14-Under Infinity teams have all advanced to the ASA “B” State Tournament in Lancaster and Palmdale the weekend of July 5-7. The number three was also kind to the Spoolstra sisters as Brianna and Tena from the Infinity and Kara from the Insanity will be going to the state tournament, marking the first time that three sisters in the same summer will be extending their seasons. Emily Morton of the Insanity will be making her third trip to the state tournament as will Cassie Oravetz of the Infinity. But for Oravetz, she becomes the first CGSA All-Star to go to the state tournament in three consecutive years with three different teams.
In 2011, Oravetz and her 10-Under Swag team won the first three games of the state tournament before losing the next two.
“What I remembered was how the coaches taught us and how we played,” Oravetz said of her 2011 team. “We came in ninth place out of 43 teams and it’s one of the best teams I’ve been on and we went pretty far.”
History was also made with the Insanity as that team battled back through the loser’s bracket, winning and eliminating four teams before falling to Long Beach Heartwell’s Gold team 1-0 this past Sunday. The 12-Under All-Stars played seven district tournament games, most by any CGSA All-Star team. The trip to the state tournament is extra special for first-time CGSA All-Star manager Jerry Antolin, who had entered the tournament with seven wins this summer, but won six last weekend.
“Before the CGSA, my coaching staff and I had been coaching for about15 years,” Antolin said. “I did a lot of travel ball. Coming here, I just coached to have fun with my daughter.”
The Insanity began the tournament with a 4-0 win over San Pedro last Friday behind a two-run home run from Rachel Loranger in the top of the fifth inning, but was blasted by Long Beach Heartwell 13-2 later that evening. Last Saturday, the team posted wins, and sent La Mirada (5-4), Santa Monica (3-2) and Pico Fastpitch (2-1) home early. Against Pico Fastpitch, Morton singled in the bottom of the sixth and was replaced by courtesy runner Sami Monroe, who stole second and tied the game on Karyssa Antolin’s two-out hit. In the eighth inning, under international tiebreaker rules and Shasiel Fregoso at third after a stolen base, Morton delivered a game-winning single. That win advanced the team to the state tournament.
This past Sunday, the Insanity defeated Torrance 7-3 and blanked El Segundo 3-0 before falling to Long beach Heartwell in the championship game. Cerritos mustered only a fourth inning leadoff single from Loranger. She was one of only two players to reach base as Brenda Duran was safe on a fielder’s choice, forcing Loranger at second.
“I would have to say the pitching coach and coaching staff making adjustments,” Jerry Antolin said of the difference between the two games with Long Beach Heartwell. “That’s all it is. The first game was a false reading from the 13-2 [score] because it was 5-2 for three or four innings.
Long Beach Heartwell pitcher Ashley Rivera struck out four and got 12 other batters to ground out. Only one ball was hit to the outfield.
“She had good command and good control,” Jerry Antolin said. “She’s a stud pitcher. But the good thing about it was our girls did not fear.”
Before last weekend, only one CGSA All-Star team had won three straight games in the loser’s bracket after winning its first game, then losing its second. That occurred last summer when the 10-Under Fast and Furious All-Star team fell to Long Beach Heartwell following three straight wins in the loser’s bracket.
“It was real tough because this is what we wanted from our team from when we first started,” Jerry Antolin said. “They actually now showed what they were capable of doing. The girls had all of the heart and drive to go and do this because it was exhausting.”
The rest of the 12-Under Insanity All-Stars are: Caitlyn Carstens, Ariannie Guerrero, Natalie Luna, Dalia Morones, Haylee Ridge and Kara Spoolstra. The coaches are Edgar Cervantes and Mike Ridge and the team mom is Carrie Ridge.
The 14-Under Infinity All-Stars were one of two teams to lose the first game but was the only one to bounce back to win three straight games last Saturday and advance to the state tournament. After being sent to the loser’s bracket following a 5-4 loss to Pico Fastpitch last Friday, the Infinity rallied to eliminate Downey 5-3, La Mirada 10-6 and Palos Verdes 11-3 last Saturday.
“We started off with a loss, then we came up winning three in a row which is a tough thing to do,” said manager Carlos Acosta. “Coming into districts, everybody is tight here. All of a sudden our bats just showed up.”
The game of the tournament was against La Mirada, which bolted to a 5-0 first inning lead. But Cerritos answered with four runs in the top of the second highlighted by a two-run, bases loaded single from Kaylee McGarvey and a two-out, two-run single from Kayla Vukovich. Cerritos took the lead in the next inning when Oravetz and Nasrin Samoa recorded two-out base hits. In fact, eight of the 10 runs were scored with two outs. Samoa worked six innings of relief ball, allowing just a sixth inning run. Oravetz and Brianna Spoolstra, who smacked a two-run home run in the top of the sixth, each collected three hits.
“That was a good win there,” Acosta said. “That’s actually what boosted the next game. I told the girls it’s just the first inning. It takes six or seven innings [to win] depending on the time. La Mirada is not an easy team to roll over. But the girls kept chipping away until they caught up and took the lead.”
Immediately following the win, Cerritos jumped on Palos Verdes early with four runs in the top of the first and three more in the next inning en route to the 11-3 win. Vukovich went four for four with four runs and two runs batted in while Brianna Spoolstra added two more hits and touched home plate three times.
But this past Sunday, the Infinity ran out of steam when a sixth inning, six-run rally came up short against San Pedro in a 7-6 loss. Cerritos was limited to two hits through the first five innings and trailed 7-0. But McGarvey ignited the rally with a leadoff single. Then Alyssa Rios and Vukovich followed suit to load the bases for Brianna Spoolstra, who continued her hot hitting with a grand slam to deep center.
“I had just finished telling Kayla Vukovich that I had a feeling they were going to walk [Spoolstra],” Acosta said. “All of a sudden, she was pitching right to her and it was just perfect because Bri said she almost had her timing the at-bat before.”
Following an out, Alora Murray and Kennedy Miller each singled before Oravetz drove in the last run. This was the first time this summer the Infinity had faced San Pedro.
“I wanted more and we said that to the girls,” Acosta said. “It seemed like in the first two innings, they were satisfied with just [the state tournament].”
“It’s fun; it’s a great experience for all of us,” Oravetz, said. “We all had fun but it was just how we played.”
Oravetz also added that after going to the state tournament in 2011, she was confident of going back last year and again this year. The rest of the 14-Under Infinity All-Stars are: Sierra Baca, Jocelyn Nieto, Tena Spoolstra and Emma Wolff. The head coach is George Molina, the assistant coach is Eric Oravetz and the team moms are Claudia Rios and Lisa Vukovich.
The 8-Under No Doubt All-Stars, who began the summer by winning the San Dieguito Memorial Day Tournament, were looking to win another tournament after opening the districts with three straight wins. But Cerritos fell to Torrance 1-0 and 7-5 in the championship games this past Sunday. Still, the No Doubt will be going to Lancaster with a 17-5 summer record, best among the four CGSA All-Star teams.
“Nine of my girls are returning all-stars, so I knew they came out here wanting it,” said manager Pom Garcia. “They asked me how long it had been since an 8’s team made it to states. This morning I told them it’s been seven years. I am just so proud of them and their work.”
Cerritos defeated San Pedro 4-0 last Friday and Downey 3-1 last Saturday. This past Sunday morning, the No Doubt edged longtime nemesis La Mirada 2-1 with both runs coming in the bottom of the fifth inning. With one out, Makayla Sur, Sophia Magcale and Katelyn Caneda all came up with three of the five hits Cerritos would get in the game. La Mirada scored its lone run in the sixth but Piper Garcia, who has been a workhorse recently in the circle, allowed three hits and struck out eight batters, including Natalie Gutierrez to end the game with the tying run on second.
“She’s always been a good pitcher,” Pom Garcia said. “She struggled in just a few games here and there when we started all-stars. But her composure is great.”
The rest of the 8-Under No Doubt All-Stars are: Chelsea Azevedo, Sarah Gutierrez, Mikala Huskey, Megan Maki, Jadyn Nielsen, Adriana Portillo, Joslyn Purcell and Mia Rodriguez. The head coach is Rich Garcia with Roger Caneda, Dave Huskey and Ray Portillo as the assistants. The team moms are Ana Azevedo and Julie Gutierrez.
Finally, the 10-Under Intensity All-Stars lost to Torrance 5-4 last Friday before bouncing out San Pedro 2-0 and Santa Monica Gold’s team 3-0 last Saturday. The team was then eliminated by Manhattan Beach 4-1 last Saturday evening to end the summer with a 12-10 record.
The 10-Under Intensity All-Stars are: Lianne Alson, Caitlyn Azevedo, Brooklyn Bedolla, Gemma Bulthuis, Maya Cisneros, Azalea Herrera, Tristan Hess, Valarie Joaquin, Elizabeth Lara, Lauren Lejano, Alexandria Varela and Jillian Velazquez. The manager is Ron Lejano and his coaches are Gabe Azevedo, Sal Bedolla and Benito Joaquin. The team coordinators are Ana Azevedo, Garnett Hess and Leah Lejano.
Including the three all-star teams this season, 137 players have represented the CGSA in the state tournament since 2006. Three 8-Under and 10-Under teams have advanced to the state tournament while four 12-Under and 14-Under teams have moved past the district tournament. In addition, 31 different players have made multiple appearances in the state tournament with Rachel Barajas, Melanie Okazaki, Oravetz, Morton and Brianna Spoolstra all leading with three trips to the state tournament.