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NEWS AND NOTES FROM PRESS ROW: Artesia Punishers gearing up for important qualifying tournaments

By Loren Kopff

With a chance to play in the Premier Girls Fastpitch National Championships in late July, a trio of Artesia Punisher travel ball teams will be participating in the Southern California qualifier in Hemet, Menifee and Winchester this weekend. In addition, another Punisher squad will be in Lancaster to qualify for another national tournament.

The Artesia Punishers 18 Gold team, coached by the longtime legend Bob Medina, will open up against Team Easton today at 4:00 p.m. at Diamond Valley Lake Community Park in Hemet. This will be the team’s first qualifying tournament of the summer. Five straight victories in the winner’s bracket will clinch a berth in the Premier Division of the PGF National Championships.

Just a few miles to the west in Menifee, the 14-Under team coached by Anthony Medina will square off against the USA Athletics at 2:00 p.m. at Wheatfield Park. Anthony Medina’s team has already qualified for the Amateur Softball Association 14-Under Nationals, which will be in San Diego in late July.

Danny Guerrero’s 14-Under team, which has also qualified for the ASA Nationals as well as the Triple Crown World Series, will take on the Long Beach Firecrackers today at 2:00 at Winchester Park.

Up in Lancaster, the Artesia Punishers 16-Under team headed by Mando Canales will participate in the ASA State Tournament with a chance to play in the Nationals in Salem, VA. The Punishers who open against the Southern California Breakers, are one of eight teams in the tournament.

Another 14-Under team, this one coached by Jr. Vasquez, has already qualified for the Triple Crown World Series in San Diego while the 18-Under team, coached by Higinio Valdez, will be in Las Vegas this weekend.

In other youth softball news, the Cerritos Girls Softball Association all-stars will compete in the Chino Hills Tournament this weekend. The 8-Under team face Claremont and the Chino Hills red team on Saturday in pool play action. The 10-Under team hook up with La Mirada and the Fullerton Hills gold team in pool play action while the 12-Under team will face San Dimas and the Chino Hills red team in pool play action. This will be the last tournament for Cerritos until the ASA ‘B’ Los Angeles/South Bay District Tournament next weekend in Downey.