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NEWS AND NOTES FROM PRESS ROW Whitney softball picks up first win in Academy League, routs Brethren Christian

Cerritos senior Maya Valdoria (center) is shown here with parents Michele and Ramon after she signed her letter of intent to attend California State University, Bakersfield last week.


By Loren Kopff

@LorenKopff on Twitter

After advancing to the California Interscholastic Federation-Southern Section Division 6 softball playoffs last season, Whitney High has struggled this season in all areas. The pitching has allowed at least 10 runs seven times and the team has been searching for that fourth and fifth and sixth hitters to complement the three consistent ones they already have.

But for one day, at least, the Lady Wildcats received some big performances from the bottom part of their lineup and the stellar pitching from sophomore Taylor Genera added up to a 12-0 win over Brethren Christian High last Friday at the Cerritos Sports Complex. Whitney, which then was blanked by Crean Lutheran High 10-0 this past Tuesday, will enter Spring Break at 7-10 overall and 1-3 in the Academy League.

“This team is looking good,” said Whitney head coach Luis Lavayen. “Most of the [teams we play] practice year-round. We don’t.”

Whitney scored five runs in the bottom of the first inning as sophomore first baseman Valarie Villegas drove in Genera with an infield single, then scored when senior shortstop Ashley Iseri belted a home run that rolled in the left field gap.

Later in the inning, one of those unlikely heroes, senior right fielder Katerin Joachin, hit a two-run home run. The Lady Wildcats added two more runs in the next inning as junior center fielder Janessa Alderete and Genera were safe on infield singles. After both would steal third and second respectively, Alderete scored on a wild pitch and Genera came home on a groundout from Iseri.

Freshman second baseman Gabrielle Madjus would lead off the third with a triple and scored on a wild pitch. Then in the fourth, Genera doubled, Villegas was walked, Iseri doubled and senior catcher Karen Kaur’s base hit made it 11-0. Two batters later, Madjus picked up her third hit to plate Kaur for the final run.

Whitney pounded out 11 hits with Genera and Iseri each picking up a pair of his while Iseri drove in four runs and Joachin two more. Seven starters picked up at least one hit and scored a run. In the circle, Genera allowed two hits and struck out five.

“I’m only dependent on Taylor, Ashley and Karen; that’s it,” Lavayen said. “We can’t carry out the season with three hitters.”

The Lady Wildcats have four games remaining with the next one not coming until Apr. 25 when they host Oxford Academy. Currently, the team is sitting in fourth place in the standings with Crean Lutheran (1-2 in league) having played winless Brethren Christian on Apr. 13 while undefeated Calvary Chapel Downey High and Oxford Academy also meeting on the same day.

“We’re hoping for that, we’re hoping for that,” Lavayen said of getting more production. “I just have to get these girls some confidence. They do good at practice but when they come here, everything changes.”

In other softball action, Cerritos High lost three straight games before knocking off John Glenn High 7-3 this past Tuesday. The Lady Dons fell to La Mirada High 9-8 last Friday as the Matadores scored twice in the bottom of the seventh inning. Then, Cerritos lost to Fountain Valley High 9-7 and Marina High 5-1 in the final two games of the Woodbridge Tournament last Saturday. Cerritos (12-5 overall, 5-1 in the Suburban League) visited Norwalk High on Apr. 13 in its last game before Spring Break.

John Glenn, losers of six straight games, dropped to 6-11 overall, 1-5 in league play. The Lady Eagles visited Bellflower High on Apr. 13. Valley Christian High is the only area team that will be in action next week. The Lady Crusaders (6-10-1, 1-3 in the Olympic League) haven’t played since Apr. 6 but will visit Bishop Montgomery High on Tuesday and host Mayfair High on Thursday.


The Suburban League losing streak continues for Artesia High as the Pioneers dropped a 7-6 decision to Norwalk in nine innings this past Tuesday. Artesia tumbled to 1-13 overall and winless in seven league games while the Lancers improves to 6-7, 1-6. Both teams met at Norwalk on Apr. 13. The Pioneers will face Ontario Christian High Saturday afternoon in the St. Paul Easter Tournament and St. Monica High on Monday. Norwalk will play Rolling Hills Prep High on Saturday and St. Anthony High on Monday in the same tournament.

Cerritos remains in the hunt for one of the four automatic playoff berths from the Suburban League after edging Mayfair 5-4 last Friday behind a complete game, four-hitter from freshman Evan Vasquez. The Dons then split a doubleheader against Garden Grove High this past Tuesday, winning 3-1 and losing 1-0 to fall to 12-9 overall. Cerritos, which is 3-3 in the league, will face Compton High on Saturday morning in the St. Paul Tournament, and Ontario Christian on Monday.

Gahr High has posted three straight shutouts, all in league play, including an 8-0 win at Warren High this past Tuesday. The Gladiators entered their Apr. 13 home game against Warren at 7-8, 3-0 and will also face Dana Hills High on Saturday in the El Dorado Steakhouse Tournament before meeting Orange Lutheran High on Tuesday in the Boras Classic. Overall, Gahr has won five straight games, outscoring those opponents 30-3.

John Glenn was edged by La Mirada 1-0 this past Tuesday in a battle for first place in the Suburban League. The Eagles (11-5, 4-1) hosted the Matadores on Apr. 13 and will face Warren High on Saturday and Cantwell Sacred Heart of Mary High on Monday in the St. Paul Tournament.

Valley Christian improved to 10-7 overall following a 12-9 win over St. Anthony High this past Tuesday night. The Crusaders will host Banning High on Saturday and Serra High on Monday in the St. Paul Tournament, which will go through Wednesday.

After winning the first six games of the season, Whitney has lost six of its last seven including a 10-0 setback to Crean Lutheran this past Tuesday. The Wildcats hosted Crean Lutheran on Apr. 13 before taking the next 12 days off.


Cerritos senior Maya Valdoria last week signed a letter of intent to attend California State University, Bakersfield. Valdoria has been a part of a Lady Dons program that has won three straight CIF-SS divisional championships.

“I’m super excited to be going top CSUB,” Valdoria said. “I didn’t really know much about the school before I visited, but I felt in love with the team so quickly. Everyone was just super welcoming, so it made everything else 10 times better.”

Valdoria, who has been a CIF finalist in the 100-yard butterfly the past three seasons, the 200-yard IM in 2014 and 2015 and the 100-yard breaststroke last season, chose CSUB over Loyola Marymount University and Pepperdine University. She plans to major in psychology and intends to get her Master’s after her BA. She says she wants to be a therapist, psychologist or a social worker.

“Swimming for Cerritos the past four years has made it super memorable and it’s flown by so fast,” Valdoria said. “Cerritos isn’t my home school, so it was nice coming onto campus knowing that the team would be there for me. Competing with my team at CIF is something I’ll never forget. This year, I just plan on improving my times and enjoying my last CIF [playoffs]. I’m excited for us to be competing in a different division because it’s a new atmosphere.”

Valdoria has also been a member of the Cerritos Aquatic Club from 2006-2015 and the Lakewood Aquatic Club since then.