_____________________________ ST. NORBERT CHURCH           RATES ________________________

Socialize

NEWS AND NOTES FROM PRESS ROW – Baseball, softball league races heating up as regular season winding down

By Loren Kopff • @LorenKopff on Twitter

It may be Spring Break and a breather from league contests, but that doesn’t mean it’s a vacation for most of the area baseball and softball teams. There are a few tournaments going on and a few makeup games from the wild weather from the past two months. Here is a look at what’s on tap and what to expect for the remainder of the month as the regular season ends on Apr. 28 with as many as six area baseball teams and seven area softball teams in contention for a CIF-Southern Section playoff spot and/or a league title.

BASEBALL

605 LEAGUE

Artesia High has not had the encore season from 2022 it had expected, entering this past Monday with a 6-9 overall record. But after splitting their first four league games, the Pioneers, ranked 10th in Division 7, could still grab second place with sweeps over second place Oxford Academy on Tuesday and Apr. 21 and last place John Glenn High the final week of the season. Artesia fell to Kennedy High 4-1 this past Tuesday, visited Estancia High this past Wednesday night and still has games at Godinez High on Apr. 13, a doubleheader at Citrus Hill High on Saturday and a home game against Valley Christian High on Apr. 22.

League-leading Cerritos High blanked Glenn 12-0 last Thursday as senior pitcher Brandon Casas tossed a no-hitter, then eased past St. Paul High 11-4 last Saturday and Paramount High 18-1 this past Monday before edging Norwalk High 4-3 this past Wednesday in the St. Paul Tournament to improve to 15-7. After visiting Kennedy on Saturday, hosting Fullerton High on Apr. 22 and going to Long Beach Poly High on Apr. 24, the league title will be on the line when the Dons face Oxford Academy on Apr. 25 and 27. The Patriots began the week undefeated in three league contests.

GATEWAY LEAGUE

One of the hottest teams in the area is Gahr High, which completed a season-series sweep against Downey High with a convincing 14-0 win this past Monday. The top-ranked team in Division 2 then knocked off Warren High 4-1 this past Tuesday, moving its mark to 16-2-1, 6-0 as the two met again on Apr. 13, this time on Warren’s field. The Gladiators are scheduled to host Capistrano Valley High on Saturday and Oaks Christian High on Monday before entertaining Warren on Tuesday for the third and final time this season. After that, Gahr has road games against Bellflower High (Apr. 20) and Hart High (Apr. 22) before its end the season meetings with La Mirada High (Apr. 25 at home and Apr. 26 and 28 on the road) with the league title on the line. Both have not lost a league game and third place Downey has five league losses.

MID-CITIES LEAGUE

The surprise team in the area is Norwalk, which defeated Leuzinger High 14-3 this past Monday before its loss to Cerritos in its last twos St. Paul Tournament contests to go to 16-4 overall. Equally impressive is the league record where the Lancers, ranked seventh in Division 6,  have not lost in their first 10 games. Without a doubt, the league title will be decided on Apr. 21 or Apr. 26 when Norwalk faces Mayfair High, which has one league loss, a 1-0 setback to Norwalk on Mar. 15. The Lancers will also go to Paramount High on Monday and host Firebaugh High on Wednesday before ending the regular season at Lynwood High on Apr. 28.

OLYMPIC LEAGUE

Valley Christian High has lost six straight games to drop to 5-10 overall, 3-5 in league. The Defenders have not played since a 12-2 loss to Village Christian High on Apr. 6 and when they visit Whittier Christian High on Tuesday, it will be the first of six games over the final 10 eligible playing days of the regular season. The Defenders can’t catch Maranatha High for the league title but winning at least three of their final four league games will be good enough for at least third place. Valley Christian hosts Whittier Christian on Apr. 21, goes to last place Heritage Christian High on Apr. 25 and hosts H.C. two days later. The Defenders also travel to St. Anthony High on Apr. 28.

SOFTBALL

605 LEAGUE

Once again, Artesia finds itself in a hunt for one of the top three automatic playoff spots the league hands out. The Pioneers slammed last place Whitney High 13-0 last Thursday to improve to 9-5, 3-2 and began the week all alone in third place. Artesia will face Pioneer High on Tuesday and Wednesday in a home and home series with the latter being a rescheduled contest from Mar. 21. Artesia still has a make-up game on Apr. 24 with league favorite Cerritos, originally scheduled for Mar. 31, plus regularly scheduled home games with Oxford Academy on Apr. 21 and Glenn on Apr. 25.

Cerritos is 9-2 overall following a 9-2 win at Pioneer last Thursday and has not been beaten in four of the 10 scheduled league games. The Dons visit Glenn on Tuesday, host Whitney on Wednesday in a rescheduled game from Mar. 24 before going to Cerritos Regional Park to face Whitney on Apr. 21. The last two games will be at home against Artesia on Apr. 24 and Oxford Academy on Apr. 25.

Don’t look now, but your league leader with three weeks remaining in the regular season is Glenn, who has five league victories opposite zero losses. The Eagles, ranked sixth in Division 6, remained undefeated in 12 games this season with a 6-2 win over Bell Gardens High this past Tuesday. At 11-0-1 overall Glenn visited Pioneer on Apr. 13, will host Montebello High on Saturday before facing Cerritos on Tuesday. The Eagles end the regular season hosting Pioneer on Apr. 21 and going to Artesia on Apr. 25.

Whitney, 4-6 overall, is the lone team without a league win and has given up 68 runs in five league games.

GATEWAY LEAGUE

Gahr’s league title hopes took a major hit with a 2-1 loss to last place Mayfair last Thursday, sending the team to 9-9-2, 2-3. The Gladiators visited La Habra High this past Wednesday and will host La Mirada on Tuesday, visit Downey on Thursday before welcoming Warren and Paramount on Apr. 25 and 26 respectively. Entering this past Monday, La Mirada was in first place with a 4-1 league mark, followed by Warren at 3-2 and then Gahr.

La Mirada (14-7, 4-1) hosts Mayfair on Thursday, goes to Norco High on Apr. 22 and ends the regular season on Apr. 27 with a home game against Downey.

MID-CITIES LEAGUE

Once again, Norwalk has had a stellar season and improved to 13-5 overall with a 13-1 win over Legacy High this past Monday. The Lancers, undefeated in six league games, will host Paramount on Tuesday, Bellflower on Thursday, Dominguez High on Apr. 25 before ending the regular season on Apr. 27 at Lynwood.

OLYMPIC LEAGUE

Despite playing just seven games this season, V.C. is ranked ninth in Division 6 and sports a 4-3 overall record. At 2-1 in the circuit, it’s anyone’s game for the league title as the Defenders have a makeup game on Monday with Maranatha before going to Whittier Christian on Tuesday and hosting the Heralds on Thursday. The last week of the regular season sees the Defenders facing Heritage Christian Apr. 24 and 26 with the latter being a home game. No league team has played more than four league contests.