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NEWS AND NOTES FROM PRESS ROW-Cerritos baseball stymied by pitching of Riverside Poly’s Kian Polk in first round blowout loss

 

By Loren Kopff • @LorenKopff on Twitter

May 11, 2022~When the Cerritos High baseball team hosted Riverside Poly High last Friday in the CIF-Southern Section Division 3 first round playoffs, first-hear head coach Martin Rodriguez knew what the Bears were going to do. In 2019, the Dons hosted the Bears in the first round and lost a heartbreaking 3-1, nine-inning contest.

This time around, the game was put away early as Poly touched up junior pitcher Dylan Burton for six runs within the first three innings and routed the 605 League champions 10-0. Rodriguez went as far as to say he thought Poly would try to ambush his team early.

“We’ve been down before and have been able to muster rallies,” said Rodriguez. “I thought their pitcher did an excellent job of controlling the pace of the game. As hard as we tried slowing it down, he did a better job of really controlling the pace.”

In the bottom of the first inning, senior catcher Owen Gott, who will be playing at Concordia University, singled but was stranded there. In the bottom of the third inning, freshman second baseman Dalton Chi led off with a ground rule double and moved to third on a ground out from senior third baseman Ethan Vo. But sophomore right fielder Johan Gibbs lined out to pitcher Kian Polk, who threw to the third baseman to double up Chi.

One inning later, sophomore shortstop Carter Chi doubled and went to third on a ground out from junior first baseman Raymond Sierra and in the last inning, the Dons left runners in scoring position.

“We kept trying to put the pressure on them, and that has worked for us all year,” Rodriguez said. “Unfortunately for us today, the balls that were being hit hard were being hit right at guys who were making plays there.”

It was the worst loss of the season for the Dons, who finished at 22-6. The 605 League champions had shutout losses of 9-0 to Paraclete High and 4-0 to Valley Christian High earlier in the season.

“For me, I look at the lineup I had today,” said Rodriguez. “When we started the game, we had a senior behind the plate and a senior at third and that’s it. I had two freshmen in the lineup, three sophomores and four juniors. I am extremely excited in moving forward with the core group of players we have.

“I grabbed Dylan right now and just put my arm around him and said, ‘this is going to sting, and you need to hold onto this feeling until next year, and when we get out of the box and we open with our traditional doubleheader at Valley Christian, you need to just let it all out and carry it with you’,” he continued. “He understands all eyes are going to be on him as the starting pitcher [next year]. He’s obviously going to get the loss for today. What’s forgotten is how well he pitched for us throughout the year.”

Rodriguez went on to say that he wasn’t sure what to expect in his rookie season as a head coach, but he’s proud of just every milestone the team had. Of the 28 games that the Dons played, 14 of them were against playoff teams, whether from the [CIF] L.A. City Section or the Southern Section.

“That’s a lot, and to have the record we have against those teams, there were some really tough losses and some fantastic wins,” Rodriguez said.

In other baseball action, Artesia High’s dream season ended this past Tuesday as the Pioneers (15-12), fell to second-ranked Wiseburn-Da Vinci High 5-3 in a Division 7 second round game. In Division 1 action, seventh-ranked La Mirada High was blanked by 10th-ranked Harvard-Westlake High 9-0 to end its season at 22-7-1 while in Division 2 action, Gahr High (12-17) led Torrance High 4-0 heading into the bottom of the seventh inning before seeing the Tartars score five runs for the comeback win. And in Division 5 action, Norwalk High’s season came to end with a 2-0 loss to Whittier Christian High last Thursday. The Lancers conclude the season at 14-13.

SOFTBALL

Artesia (10-13) dropped a 9-1 decision to Calvary Chapel Santa Ana High last Thursday in a Division 5 first round game while Cerritos (15-3) was doubled up by Heritage High 4-2 on the same day. After blanking Whittier Christian 1-0 in a Division 1 first round game, La Mirada (22-7) was blanked by third-ranked Roosevelt High 3-0 this past Tuesday.

SWIMMING

For the fourth time in school history, both Cerritos teams took home hardware as the boys won the Division 3 championship and the girls finished in second place to Flintridge Prep. The boys secured their sixth divisional championship, fourth since 2014 picking up 193 points in last Saturday’s finals at the Marguerite Aquatics Complex in Mission Viejo. St. Francis High finished in second place with 173 points. Cerritos also won the Division IV championship in 2001 and 2002 and came in second place in 2008 and 2009.

Among the top performers were sophomore Kyle Ly winning the one meter diving competition with a Division 3 record score of 599.90 and the 200-yard medley relay team of seniors Chad Arceo, Parsa Hajipour and Jonathan Vet and junior Nathaniel D’Aloisio coming in fourth place with a time of 1:40.29.

Senior Gabriel Oliveira finished in third place in the 200-yard IM with a time of 1:54.78 and D’Aloisio was third in the 100-yard breaststroke with a time of 58.67.

The girls were nine points short of their fifth divisional championship as they picked up 181 points. It’s the fourth time the girls have placed second, accomplishing the feat in 2005, 2006 and 2008. The girls have also won a divisional title in 2013, 2014 and 2016.

The 200-yard medley relay team of junior Sydney Romero, sophomore Calista Liu and freshmen Clemence Choy and Jasmine Koo finished in first with a time of 1:50.21. The 200-yard freestyle relay team of Koo, Liu, Romero and sophomore Cayla Oliveira came in second place with a time of 1:40.09 while Choy won the 100-yard breaststroke with a time of 1:05.94

Liu was third in the 50-yard freestyle with a time of 24.55

The 400-yard freestyle relay team of Liu, senior Jamie Rigor, sophomore Alexandria Dornoff and freshman Daphne Khong was fourth with a time of 3:45.08.

Also in Division 3, the Whitney High girls picked up 28 points while in Division 4, the Artesia and Gahr girls had 35 and 32 points respectively while for the boys, La Mirada racked up 56 points, Valley Christian High had 31 points and Artesia had nine points.

TRACK AND FIELD

A pair of area athletes have advanced to the CIF-SS divisional championships, which will take place on Saturday at Moorpark High. In Division 2, Gahr senior Natalyn Membreno will compete in the 800 meter run, slated for approximately 3:50 p.m. where she had a time of 2:19.99 in last Saturday’s preliminaries. V.C. senior Karon Warren, who has the best Division 4 time in the 400 meter run, will race at 2:55 p.m., then compete in the 200 meter dash nearly two hours later. Her preliminary time from last Saturday was 25.69, the eighth best time in the division.

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