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Artesia Punishers 14-Under Guerrero team takes fifth place in Colorado


By Loren Kopff

When last we saw the Artesia Punishers 14-Under travel softball team, managed by Danny Guerrero, it had just secured a position in the Premier Division of the Premier Girls Fastpitch National Championships. That was back on June 21 in the Southern California Qualifier.

Eight days later, the team participated in the Triple Crown Sports Colorado Sparker Juniors tournament and after a rough start in pool play action, bounced back to finish in fifth place in the Power Pool Championship bracket. The Punishers had won three straight games in the playoffs before falling to the (Las Vegas) Lil Rebels, 13-0, in the quarterfinals this past Sunday morning at Erie Community Park in Erie, CO.

“We did have some rough games up there,” Guerrero said. “I think that in the last month, we’ve basically started playing really good softball. And I think the team is ready to step up. We have one more month to go.

“Travelling is a little bit hard,” he continued. “It’s the higher elevation and all these different things like that. But we still have to get things all the way on board with everything coming up to [the] PGF [National

The Punishers wrapped up pool play action last Thursday with a 10-1 victory over the (Southaven, MS) Blue Angels, giving the team a 2-2 record and a second place finish in its pool. Last Friday, the Punishers began the playoffs with a convincing 10-0 romp over the Lakewood Firecrackers. Immediately after that game, the Punishers got by the (Chattanooga, TN) Frost Falcons. That set up even a tougher 2-1 victory over the (La Habra) Firecrackers-Brashear/Thornburg as second baseman Danielle Lew (Los Alamitos High School) hit a game-winning single in the bottom of the seventh inning.

“Three out of the four teams [in our pool] made it to Sunday,” Guerrero said. “We were definitely playing some good teams which helped us into the bracket. It worked out really good for us.”

Pitcher and outfielder Erica Guerrero (Kennedy High School) went six for 19 in the tournament while outfielder Pacy Villa (Martin Luther King High School) led the Punishers with a .429 batting average with four doubles and seven runs batted in. Catcher and third baseman Rebecca Chung (West Torrance High School) went six for 17 and also drove in seven runs and had a .455 on base percentage while Lew batted .421 and shortstop Karina Ibarra (Lakewood High School) batted .368 and had a .435 on base percentage.

The team also got great defensive play from the rest of the team: pitchers Kendall Henscheid (Huntington Beach High School) and Jazzmynn Loe (Los Alamitos High School), catcher Berlyn Carreon (Los Alamitos High School), first baseman Jessi Alvarado (Gahr High School), and outfielders Merissa Millette (Kennedy High School) and Anyssa Ortega (La Mirada High School).

Also in the tournament, the Artesia Punishers 14-Under team managed by Sam Peralta, finished third in its pool but began the Silver Elimination A playoffs with a 5-3 loss to the (Tustin) Orange County Batbusters-Alvarez last Friday morning. The next day, the Punishers eliminated the (Littleton) Colorado Cardinals before being bounced out in the tournament by the Spring (TX) Stampede 6-5 later in the afternoon.