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NEWS AND NOTES FROM PRESS ROW – Artesia baseball can’t recover from first inning deficit, season ends with second round loss

May 8, 2024

By Loren Kopff • @LorenKopff on X

Artesia High’s young baseball team, with only two seniors, had rallied five times this season for a victory, including coming back from a 5-3 deficit entering the top of the seventh inning last Friday to defeat Eisenhower High 7-5 in a CIF-Southern Section Division 7 first round game. But when the Pioneers hosted South El Monte High this past Tuesday, they were in a 4-0 hole before they could even swing the bats.

This time, it was too much to overcome, and Artesia dropped a 6-1 decision, ending its season at 13-12. The Pioneers have advanced to the second round twice in the last three seasons and went to the quarterfinals in 2023. It’s the first time since 2003-2005 the program has advanced to the playoffs in three consecutive seasons. The game also marked the fifth time the Pioneers had allowed at least three runs in the first inning, each time resulting in a loss.

“In the playoffs, it only takes one inning, and it was the first inning,” said Artesia head coach Jose Serrano. “We have a young team, and they have a hard time coming back, especially any time we go down. The [lack of] experience and not wanting it more…I think being down 4-0 was a big punch in the face.”

Freshman pitcher Ramon Chavez, who started against Eisenhower and led the team with 10 starts, had control issues in the first two innings. He gave up three hits and walked three in the top of the first inning as nine players went up to bat. He threw 21 strikes and 18 balls in the frame and 14 balls and 13 strikes in the second inning.

“It shows you right there,” said Serrano. “I always tell the kids, if you don’t pitch to contact, and you walk people and especially in high school baseball, if you throw more balls than strikes at one point, you’re not going to succeed, and that’s what happened today.”

Still, the Pioneers had opportunities to chip away at the deficit throughout the game but could get just one runner to third base through the first six innings. In the second inning, junior second baseman Victor Sanchez reached on a fielder’s choice and stole third with two outs. In the next inning, junior right fielder Alex Escobar singled to right with one out and advanced on an error when freshman first baseman Jorge Vidal was safe on a fielder’s choice. Both runners, though, would not be able to advance.

Artesia avoided the shutout when junior pinch hitter Jacob Kim was walked with one out in the seventh and replaced by senior pinch runner Daniel Guardado. Then with two outs, junior left fielder Daniel Serrano singled to center, allowing Guardado to come home.

The recent rise in the Artesia program over the past three seasons has been a pleasant surprise for Jose Serrano and his coaching staff. Besides graduating Guardado and pitcher Juan Ceballos, the Pioneers had 10 juniors, two sophomores and three freshmen, making the future bright.

“It definitely does; it really does,” he said. “I knew this year was going to be a struggle from the very beginning after last year. So just making playoffs, and even winning the first game meant a lot, especially for my young kids. The experience they’re getting this year and last year is good for them.”

In other baseball action, sixth-ranked La Mirada High knocked off Foothill High 5-2 in a Division 1 second round game, improving to 23-6. The Matadores will host #3 Orange Lutheran High on Friday.

In Division 4 action, Cerritos High, ranked ninth, squeaked past Los Osos High 6-5 in eight innings this past Tuesday, moving to 22-6 as the Dons will travel to top-ranked Camarillo High on Friday. Cerritos matched the same record it had two seasons ago and an upset win will mark the first time in over 25 seasons the program has posted 23 wins.


In Division 2 action, Gahr High got past Tesoro High 4-3 this past Tuesday, improving to 16-10. The Gladiators, who visited fourth-ranked Rio Mesa High on May 9, built a 4-1 lead after three innings and staved off a late inning rally.

In Division 5 action, Valley Christian High, was trailing Shadow Hills High 3-0 after the first inning before tying the game in the fourth. The Defenders were again down 5-3 before scoring single runs in the sixth and seventh before pulling out an 8-5 victory in eight innings. The Defenders, ranked sixth in the division, improved to 16-6 and hosted third-ranked Providence High on May 9.

La Mirada lost another heart-breaking first round home game when the Matadores were nipped by JSerra High 3-2 this past Tuesday in Division 1 action. The Matadores (19-6-2) had a 2-0 lead entering the top of the seventh inning.

Cerritos dropped a 7-4 contest to La Canada High last Thursday in a Division 3 first round game to end the season at 15-4.

Artesia (13-8-1) lost to Carter High 13-12 in eight innings last Thursday in a Division 5 first round game after tying the game with seven runs in the top of the seventh inning.


There were several individual champions and other top performers at the CIF-SS Swimming Championships, held at Mt. San Antonio College last Thursday through last Saturday. The diving finals were held the previous week at the Marguerite Aquatic Complex in Mission Viejo where Whitney High freshman Trisha Lapidario came in 13th place in Division 2 in the 1-meter event with a score of 323.85 to account for the only 10 points the school would get. La Mirada freshman Claire Droessler finished in fourth place in Division 4 in the same event with a score of 284.75.

In Division 2 swimming action, the Cerritos girls picked up 75 team points and finished in 13th place out of 48 schools while the Cerritos boys came in eighth place out of 49 schools with 95 points.

For the Cerritos boys, freshman Anthony Dornoff won the 200-yard IM with a time of 1:48.35 while sophomore Andrew Vet was second with a time of 1:52.46. Dornoff later would come in third place in the 500-yard Freestyle with a time of 4:32.24 while Vet came in ninth place with a time of 4:41.11.

In the consolation finals, the 200-yard medley relay team of Dornoff, Vet and sophomores Andres Garey and Matthew Ho, finished in third place with a time of 1:39.05.

On the girls side, Cerritos junior Clemence Choy came in first place in the 100-yard breaststroke with a time of 1:02.72 and in fifth place in the 200-yard IM with a time of 2:05.44.

Top performers in the consolation finals were the 200-yard medley relay team of Choy, senior Alexandria Dornoff, junior Daphne Khong and freshman Alice Tam, which finished third in the consolation finals with a time of 1:53.56 and freshman Isabella Castro, who was second in the 500-yard freestyle with a time of 5:10.54 and third in the 200-yard freestyle at 1:55.37.

In Division 3, the La Mirada boys finished in 22nd place out of 48 schools with 44 ½ points and Whitney garnered 16 points. La Mirada junior Lincoln Jones finished in second place in the 200-yard IM with a time of 1:54.71 and fifth place in the 100-yard Backstroke (53.75) while senior Robert Rayfield tied for second place in the consolation finals of the 100-yard Butterfly with a time of 54.50.

Whitney junior Aaron Lee won the consolation finals in the 500-yard Freestyle with a time of 4:56.88 and finished in fourth place in the consolation finals in the 200-yard Freestyle (1:49.42).

In Division 4, the Gahr boys picked up 41 points, good for 24th out of 62 schools as junior Carlos Valderamma had a CIF-SS Division 4 record time of 49.42 in the 100-yard Butterfly and came in second place in the 50-yard Freestyle with a time of 21.39.


The CIF-SS divisional championships will take place on Saturday at Moorpark High with several area athletes vying for a spot to advance to the Masters Meet. In the Division 3 preliminaries last Saturday, Gahr senior Josiah Joseph tied for first place in the long jump with a mark of 22-00.75 while Artesia senior Jordan McGruder came in fourth place in the triple jump (44-1.50) and junior Keiasja Carbins was ninth in the girls triple jump with a mark of 34-8.

In the Division 4 preliminaries, the V.C. boys 4×400 relay team finished in second place with a time of 3:29.94 while V.C. senior Micah Jones was sixth in the 800-meter run (1:59.95) and junior Jayce Shields came in seventh in the 400-meter run (50.10). V.C. freshman Celia Polk came in seventh place in the girls pole vault event with a mark of 9-06.00.