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By Loren Kopff
@LorenKopff on Twitter
LANCASTER-The Amateur Softball Association ‘B’ State Championship Tournament has been held in Lancaster and nearby Palmdale for many years. While it tends to get hot in the Antelope Valley in early July, it was nothing like what the 142 teams ranging from the 8-Under to 14-Under age groups experienced last weekend.
As temperatures clearly sailed above the century mark all weekend long plus the accompanying humidity, the oppressive conditions took a toll on the Cerritos Girls Softball Association 10-Under All-Stars and the team failed to win a game, losing 11-0 to runner-up East County Gold last Friday, then Temecula Valley 6-4 last Saturday at the Big 8 Softball Complex. According to Cerritos manager Anthony Medina, several ASA tournament officials said it was probably one of the hottest state tournaments they have ever had. The weather conditions affected a lot of the girls and hydration was definitely a huge problem.
“Overall, it was a great experience,” Medina said. “These girls battled and fought. We just made too many errors and in [the Temecula Valley] game, that’s what it comes down to. The team with the [fewer errors] most of the time wins. We just had more than the other teams did and that’s what hurt us in the end.”
After seeing his top two pitchers, Alea Medina and Alyssa Riley ailing against East County, Anthony Medina knew his team had to give it all it had the next day and Cerritos almost pulled off yet another rally. So, what words of motivation did Anthony Medina give his team leading into the Temecula Valley contest?
“Just to continue battling; continue fighting like we’ve been doing,” he said. “That’s one thing about the team; they never give up. They’ve always known how to adjust.”
With a game-time temperature of 105 degrees shortly after noon, Temecula Valley scored once in the top of the second as Drew Brown scored on an error.
Then in the next inning, the floodgates opened up as Temecula Valley batted around, had six hits and scored five runs. The big blow was Brown’s two-run triple to right field with two outs. Two pitches later, Providence Feenstra, the niece of Artesia High softball head coach Dayna Feenstra, singled in Brown for Temecula Valley’s final run.
But Cerritos wasn’t ready to pack it in just yet. With one out, right fielder Estella Perez singled to right and moved to second on an error. That was followed by a base hit from catcher Natalia Hill and an infield single from Alea Medina, which loaded the bases. Another infield knock, this one from first baseman Kylee Manibusan, plated Perez before second baseman Luna Villa singled to center to bring in Hill and Alea Medina. On the play, an error allowed Manibusan to score Cerritos’ last run.
“They don’t give up,” Anthony Medina said. “I keep repeating myself and I can keep saying the same things over and over but that’s just what it is with this team. Many of the girls had great at-bats. Luna came in and got us a good hit. Natalia got us a good hit. It brought a lot of energy back into the game.”
That bottom of the third was the only threat Cerritos had in the game. In the first, Manibusan reached on a walk with two outs and stole second before Villa struck out. In the fourth, shortstop Michelle Meza singled. But on the first pitch thrown to third baseman Kayleigh Sutton, Meza was caught stealing and Perez grounded out to end the game.
This marks the second straight season that a Cerritos all-star team has gone two and out. Last season, both the 8-Under and 10-Under All-Stars failed to win a game. The 10-Under squad faced East County and lost 15-0 before falling to La Costa 6-5. Since 2008, there have been seven Cerritos all-star teams that have gone two and out.
As for this season’s 10-Under team, it finishes the summer at 10-11-1 and won more games than any of the CGSA all-star teams. In fact, the 10 wins are one short of the combined total of the other three teams.
“It’s been a roller-coaster for sure,” Anthony Medina said. “Just all of the emotions that come into it…the schedule that we had and the amount of practices and everything that comes with it. It’s definitely a busy season and we just try to prepare the girls as best as possible to make it this far.”
The rest of the 2017 CGSA 10-Under All-Star team are: Presley Hendrix, Itzel Hernandez, Vanessa Soto and Emily Vargas. The head coach is Cedric Hill and the assistant coaches are Allen Manibusan and Gonzalo Vargas.