AMATEUR SOFTBALL ASSOCIATION ‘B’ STATE TOURNAMENT Cerritos 14-Under All-Stars blow lead late, fall short of Western Nationals

 

By Loren Kopff

 

PALMDALE-The Cerritos Girls Softball Association 14-Under All-Stars were three outs away from advancing to the Amateur Softball Association ‘B’ Western National Championships later this month. But just like the strong Antelope Valley winds that were blowing from left field to right field, Cerritos blew a two-run, fifth inning lead and fell to Fountain Valley 6-3 last Saturday night in the ASA ‘B’ State Tournament at Marie Kerr, Best of the West Park.

After being dropped into the loser’s bracket last Friday afternoon, Cerritos needed to win two games last Saturday to assure itself of being one of the twelve teams extending their summer action. But Fountain Valley sent 10 batters to the plate, then saw pitcher Grace Craig work a perfect bottom of the fifth to put an end to Cerritos’ summer. Cerritos finished tied for 13th out of 32 teams that participated in the tournament.

“Sometimes you get too comfortable when you get a lead and you take that for granted,” said Cerritos manager Lori Williams. “We weren’t staying in the game well enough with the cheering and the chattering as much as we were in the beginning when we got the runs, and we dropped off from that.”

After falling behind 1-0 after half of an inning, Cerritos bounced back with two runs in its half of the frame. Craig hit third baseman Dalia Morones to begin the inning and pitcher Cassie Perryman singled to left. Following a sacrifice from shortstop Kara Spoolstra, catcher Makayla Garcia’s line drive single brought in Morones and Perryman.

After getting one hit over the next two innings, Cerritos increased its score to 3-1 in the fourth when center fielder Julia Enzmann led off with a triple that went over the right fielder’s head. Two pitches later first baseman Caitlyn Azevedo grounded out but was able to bring home Enzmann. That was the beginning of six straight outs, five of them grounders, which Craig would get to preserve the win.

Perryman was throwing a two-hitter through the first four innings but had thrown 72 pitches entering the fifth. She began the inning by walking Madison Kay and yielding a single to Jackie Rodriguez. Two pitches later, Puni Skipps doubled to the left field gap to tie the game. After Craig doubled to plate Skipps for the eventual game winner, Williams replaced her with Spoolstra, who gave up a run scoring single to Lauren Dorn.

“We saw the other team can learn how to hit [Perryman’s] pitches,” Williams said of the inning. “Hats off to them for doing that.

“Kara has been doing much better coming in part way through the games or closing the games,” Williams added. “She’s been doing an outstanding job in that.”

Earlier in the afternoon, Cerritos squared off against Buena Park for the third time this summer in tournament action. In the La Habra Tournament, Buena Park edged Cerritos 1-0 in pool play action. Two weekends later, Buena Park eliminated Cerritos 4-3 in the playoffs of the Chino Hills Tournament. But this time, it was Cerritos that put the pressure on early and often in an 11-1 romp, sending Buena Park home.

“They felt good this morning,” Williams said. “They were rested, they were ready to go. After our loss in the second game on Friday, they knew they had to come back pumped up and get excited because in the second game yesterday, they just didn’t play like they really wanted to win it. They were just happy to be here.”

Garcia had a two-run blooper to shallow right in the bottom of the first and left fielder Leah Suarez drew a bases loaded walk to send Garcia home. In the next inning, Spoolstra doubled down the left field line to bring home Perryman and Enzmann singled to center to plate Spoolstra.

Cerritos put the game out of reach in the third with six runs on four hits and two walks. Garcia had a two-run single and Azevedo added a two-run double as 10 batters came to the plate. Enzmann went three for three while Morones and Spoolstra each went two for two. Garcia and Azevedo also collected two hits each while Perryman (three innings) and Spoolstra (two innings) combined to throw 62 pitches and allow one hit.

“This time we knew we had to jump on them fast,” Williams said. “The best way for us to beat them was to get right on top of them, and that’s what we came out and did.”

Cerritos began the tournament by blanking El Rio 6-0 last Friday morning as Garcia had a two-run double in the top of the third as one of half a dozen hits the team would get. Perryman went two for four and struck out four. Later in the day, Cerritos came up short against West Grove 3-2 despite scoring solo tallies in the top of the sixth and seventh innings.

Spoolstra had a sacrifice fly in the sixth to drive in Morones, who had earlier doubled. In the last inning, Enzmann led off with a single and came home on a fielder’s choice from designated player Leilani Pati.

Cerritos, which finishes the 2015 all-star season at 14-8-1, was hoping to become the second CGSA 14-Under All-Star team to advance to the Western Nationals. In 2011, the Impact squad, which also went 2-2 in the state tournament, moved on to Western Nationals. In 2013, the Cerritos 14-Under Infinity team went 3-2 in the state tournament while the 1999, 2008 and 2009 14-Under All-Stars all went two and out.

“It’s too bad they won’t get that experience; the ones who haven’t been to nationals before,” Williams said. “I’m disappointed for them that they’re not going to have that experience. I’m just hoping that these experiences from this season and going on to the state tournament will help them in their high school years because there’s a lot of pressure in high school.”

The rest of the 2015 Cerritos 14-Under All-Stars are: Lelani Eberle, Elise Gibbs, Samantha Monroe and Kyla Nunez-O’Leary. The coaching staff included Carlos Acosta, Steve Morones and Lyn Perryman while Patricia Monroe and Adele Perryman were the team moms.

 

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