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By Loren Kopff
@Loren Kopff on Twitter
This wasn’t what Norwalk High softball head coach Paulette Gasport expected for her defending Suburban League tri-champion team. Not only are the Lady Lancers currently on a seven-game losing streak, the team has been unable to hit and score in their first three league games.
Norwalk was blanked by La Mirada High 8-0 last Thursday and held to four hits. The next day, Norwalk lost to Mayfair High 3-1 in eight innings in a game was that was continued after rain from Mar. 21 prevented the contest from being completed on that day. La Mirada, Mayfair and Norwalk all finished in a tie for first place last season.
“The Suburban League is competitive,” Gasporra said. “Starting league season with La Mirada and Mayfair was a challenge. It’s still early in league and we are looking to finish strong.”
La Mirada scored once in the top of the first inning as Kayla Gutierrez reached on an infield single and came home on a two-out double from Madison Bogdanovich. The score remained the same because of the strong pitching from junior Breanna Vasquez, who struck out seven through the first four innings and allowed a total of four baserunners.
But she would run into trouble in the fifth as Gutierrez drove in Anyssa Ortega with a single to left field. Then in the sixth, the Matadores put the game away with six runs on three hits and a pair of Norwalk errors.
On the flip side, the Lady Lancers (3-11 overall, 0-3 in league) were stymied offensively. Senior first baseman Ashley Ponce went two for two and was the only runner to get past first base. That came in the bottom of the sixth when she led off with a single, move to second on an error and went to third on a sacrifice from sophomore second baseman Yulissa Zavala.
Heading into the La Mirada game, the Lady Lancers had been blanked 3-0 by Port of Los Angeles High and Whittier High on the first day of action in the Santa Fe Tournament.
“We started to struggle at the plate,” Gasporra said. “However, we are starting to make our adjustments. We are looking to regain confidence and make contact and bring runs in. All slumps come to an end.”
Norwalk would then lose to Cabrillo High 8-4 and Sierra Vista High 8-3 last Saturday and to Cerritos High 2-1 in 12 innings this past Tuesday. Norwalk hosted John Glenn High on Mar. 30 and will visit Whittier High on Tuesday before hosting Bellflower High on Thursday.
“We definitely can finish strong,” Gasporra said. “We may have had a rough time opening up league. But I believe we can battle back and we will finish league with our best effort. I am confident that our team will not lose sight of our goal.”
In other softball action, Artesia High narrowly lost to La Mirada 6-4 this past Tuesday to see its league record even at 1-1. The Pioneers (4-3 overall), visited Bellflower on Mar. 30 and will travel to Cerritos on Tuesday before going to Mayfair on Thursday,
Cerritos improved to 7-1 overall and 2-0 in the Suburban League after edging Norwalk 2-1 in 12 innings. The Lady Dons travelled to Mayfair on Mar. 30 and will compete in the Woodbridge Tournament on Saturday with two games and another one on Monday. The Lady Dons will also visit La Mirada on Thursday.
The hottest team in the area remains Gahr High as the Lady Gladiators remained undefeated in 11 games after knocking off Pacifica High 7-1 back on Mar. 23. Gahr will play St. Joseph High on Saturday in a La Mirada Tournament game with another contest to follow later in the day. Gahr will also host Lynwood High on Tuesday before going to Warren High on Thursday.
John Glenn High improved to 6-5 overall and 1-2 in the Suburban League after a 9-4 win against Bellflower this past Tuesday. The Lady Eagles will host La Mirada on Tuesday and visit Santa Fe High on Thursday.
Valley Christian High lost to Village Christian High 6-4 this past Tuesday in its Olympic League opener. Valley Christian (5-8-1, 0-1) hosted Whittier Christian High on Mar. 30 and will visit Maranatha High on Tuesday before entertaining Heritage Christian High on Thursday.
After a slow start to the season, Whitney High has turned it around as of late. The Lady Wildcats are on a four-game winning streak and have outscored their opponents 56-5 in that time, including a 21-0 win against Saddleback High this past Tuesday. Whitney (6-7) will visit Oxford Academy today in its Academy League opener before travelling to Calvary Chapel Downey High on Tuesday.
Artesia was blanked by La Mirada 17-0 this past Wednesday to fall to 1-9 on the season and winless in three league contests. The Pioneers will host Glenn on Wednesday.
After sweeping Artesia in the first week of Suburban League action, Cerritos dropped a 10-3 decision to Bellflower this past Wednesday to drop to 10-6 overall. The Dons will visit Bellflower today and Mayfair on Wednesday in the front end of that home and home series.
Gahr is on an unprecedented eight-game losing streak entering its Mar. 30 home game with Santa Margarita High. The Gladiators will face Hart High on Monday before opening its San Gabriel Valley League schedule with a home game against Lynwood on Tuesday.
Valley Christian is on a three-game winning streak after defeating Shalhevet High 15-5 this past Wednesday. The Crusaders, who also beat Providence High 24-1 this past Monday and Heritage Christian High 2-0 last Friday, improved to 9-5 overall and 2-2 in the Olympic League. V.C. will host Village Christian High on Tuesday in the front end of a home and home series.