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OP/ED: Coaches really need to make the right decisions in league meetings

By Loren Kopff
@LorenKopff on Twitter

It’s a process that happens too many times and occasionally, the high school student-athlete is on the wrong side of what should be the right thing. I’m talking about league most valuable players and in the case of baseball and softball, the most valuable pitcher.

Recently, the Suburban League 2016-2017 All League Girls Softball first and second teams were announced and I was astonished to see the results of the announcement.

I would hate to think that the fallout from three current schools already deciding to bolt from the league and form a new league for the beginning of the 2018-2019 year has already begun, and that may be the case.

But, the results of who won the Most Valuable Pitcher, which happens to be a shared accolade this year, appears to be somewhat suspicious.

Cerritos High won the league outright with an 11-1 record and rode the arms of junior pitcher Jennifer Morinishi, who by the way was named the HMG-Community News Pitcher of the Year and pitched in every inning of every league game.

In the 12 league games, Morinishi had an earned run average of 1.25 and struck out 61 batters. But she did not win the award.

Again, Cerritos did win the league title.

Instead, the rest of the league coaches went with last season’s winner, junior Breanna Vasquez of Norwalk High and senior Makenna Stram of Mayfair High.

Now, I am not taking anything away from those hurlers, but let’s look at a couple of things.

Mayfair finished in third place and was swept by Cerritos 1-0 and 3-0. Norwalk finished in fifth place, won four games, two each against the bottom two teams of the league, allowed 36 runs in league action and did not advance to the postseason.

Morinishi allowed only 15 earned runs.

Here’s where the coincidence of the fallout begins-Mayfair and Norwalk are two of the four schools that voted against the breakup of the league and the emergence of the new 605 League.

For added measure, Cerritos had six players on the All-League Team while La Mirada High had seven, including the Most Valuable Player.

So, Cerritos got snubbed from the top two awards of the All-League Team.

Where is the justice in this? How can you penalize a student-athlete for something that principals and athletic directors voted on early in the spring season that have absolutely nothing to do with the performance of the players?
This reminds me of the late 1990’s during the fall when the league girls volleyball coaches did not vote for a player from the league champion, who was clearly the best player in league just because the other six coaches didn’t like the coach of the league champion.

I understand that the motion to separate the league after next school year didn’t set well with many. And, I understand that the principals of the schools who voted against the move have instructed their coaches not to schedule any games with the schools who are leaving the league. Come on, really? Are you that bitter?

Just don’t take it out on the players.

I’ve always said that numbers don’t lie and league coaches, in every sport, need to look closely at the numbers and stats that players put up in any sport. They need to seriously base their decisions on only that and not the decisions that have been made off the field.

These players work so hard and they deserve to be acknowledged and rewarded the correct way.

Too bad coaches are on the wrong side of what should be the right thing.