_____________________________ ST. NORBERT CHURCH           RATES ________________________         EBOOK


TRIPLE CROWN SPORTS ZOOM INTO JUNE TOURNAMENT – Area softball players prepare for major qualifying tournament in big showcase tournament

JUNE 15, 2023

By Loren Kopff • @LorenKopff on Twitter

Now that the high school softball season is over, it’s time for travel players to showcase their talents even more and the first major event of the summer took place last weekend with the annual Triple Crown Sports Zoom into June Tournament. Even though the Artesia Punishers, a frequent participant in this event, is not around at the 18-Under or 18 Gold level, several area players were in action with their respective teams and a pair of former Punishers coaches had their team in action as well. Here’s a look at several of the area players and how they did, or their travel team did last weekend.

Tim Rivera and Artesia High head coach Ed Blanck, once longtime assistant coaches for the Artesia Punishers, now have the Southern California Athletics, which went 1-3-1 last weekend. The So Cal Athletics, based out of Westminster, lost to the (San Tan Valley) Arizona Storm Westover Premier 9-4 and tied the (Redlands) Athletics Mercado N. Price 7-7 last Saturday, fell to the (Fresno) Dirtdogs Gold 7-6 before crushing the (Salinas) California Storm 10-2 this past Sunday. The last game was a 4-3 defeat to the (Downey) Nemesis Elite Gold this past Monday.

A trio of Artesia athletes are on the So Cal Athletics and performed well in at least three of the five games. Maya Torres, primarily a pitcher for the Pioneers, went a combined four for seven with three runs scored and two runs batted in while Vanessa Soto went a combined four for nine with three RBI against the Arizona Storm, Athletics Mercado and California Storm. Alea Medina had a pair of hits and scored twice against the Storm.

Gahr High had a pair of players on the BSC Bengals Briggs, based out of Chino, which went 4-0-1. The Bengals tied the (Glendale, AZ) Rogue FC Kaye 2-2 before knocking off the (Ontario) FC Brashear/Smith 15-5, the (Corona) Athletics Mercado-Cook 2-0, the (Murrieta) Athletics Mercado-D. Smith 7-2 and the (Mission Viejo) California Cruisers Gold 11-1.

Natalia Hill went six for 11 with five RBI and four runs scored while Rio Mendez went three for eight with three runs scored, two RBI and a home run. In 17 games since the end of high school, Hill is batting a blistering .553, tops on the team, while Mendez is hitting .258.

Gahr head coach Rey Sanchez has his Explosion team, based out of La Mirada and went 1-3-1 over the weekend. The Explosion tied the (La Puente) Orange County Batbusters-Lara 4-4 before dropping a 12-1 decision to the (Cameron Park) Foothill Gold-Stinson 12-1 and the (Peoria) AZ Hotshots-Georges 7-5. This past Sunday, the Explosion had no problems with the (Los Banos) Mojo Pikas 14-6, but then lost to the (Oakley) AASA Nelson/Mortimer 6-2. 

Gahr’s Sophia Magcale went two for seven with a run scored against the Batbusters, Foothill Gold and Mojo Pikas while Hailey Sanchez had a pair of hits, scored twice and drove in two runs in those same three games.

Cerritos High’s Camille Lara, playing for the hometown Ohana Tigers-Quarles, went a combined five for 12 with five runs and an RBI in five games. The Tigers lost to the (Escondido) Athletics Mercado SD Gold-Kubski/AJ 6-3, got past the (Sacramento) Sorcerer Bigley/Everett 5-2, dropped a 15-3 affair to the (Whittier) Firecrackers TJ, then ended the tournament with wins over the (Surprise) Arizona Storm-Walding (9-2) and the (Winchester) Athletics-Jendro 4-3.

The Southern California Athletics Chino RF, based out of Chino Hills, went 2-2-1 and has Glenn High stars Diana Bravo, Julia Cole, Carissa Galvan and Beatriz Galvez while the (Norco) Wildcats Laufou/Hunter, which is home to Norwalk High’s Kendall Nakano and Cerritos’ Kylie Manibusan, won all five games by a combined score of 49-9.

Nakano went 13 for 14, drove in nine runs, scored nine runs, hit three homeruns and had two doubles. Since the end of high school, Nakano is batting .541. She has also pitched almost eight innings, appearing in five games, allowing seven hits and two runs, both unearned. 

Manibusan went four for eight over the weekend with a double and triple and scored four times. 

A lot of the teams that were in the Zoom into June event have already qualified for the Premier Girls Fastpitch National Championships in late July and early August. Those that have not still have the PGF Southern California Qualifier this weekend in Irvine at Bill Barber Park, Great Park and Harvard Park. 

Triple Crown Sports still has its World Series in Ogden, Utah for the 16-U and 18-U age groups, in San Diego for the 10-U and 12-U age groups and in Reno for the 14-U age group. Other showcase tournaments are also scheduled for July.