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La Mirada Softball Team Has Its Sights Set on a CIF Title



By Tom Connolly


As the high school softball season winds down to the last few weeks, La Mirada continues to impress and is playing as well as any team in its division. Yet the Matadores, despite having won 11 of its last 12 games and having registered nine shutouts so far this season, are not ranked in the top 10 of the CIF-SS Division II.

Is La Mirada concerned with not being ranked?

“Yeah, we’re aware of not being ranked and we feel it’s a lack of respect for us but we’re alright with it,” said La Mirada coach Richard Trujillo.

After reaching the CIF finals in 2011 and losing in the championship game for the third time in the last seven years, the Matadores are calmly pacing themselves for a strong regular season finish and hopefully a successful run at the elusive CIF title.

“We’re a more mature team this season,” said catcher Lisa Perez.  “We’re playing as a whole team and we’re getting clutch hits. We want to go back to the finals and win it all.  We want it so bad.  We’re dedicated and we play hard and we’re confident.”

Trujillo said his team is ready to take the next step.

“We need to get over the hurdle,” he said.  “It has been our number one goal this season.  We talk to the girls and push them to do their best in each game.”

La Mirada won easily twice last week in Suburban League play with a pair of shutout wins over Artesia.

In last Wednesday’s game three Matadores hurlers (Ambar Hickman, Jenevie Rivas and Stephanie Baro) combined to pitch a one-hitter.  La Mirada scored five runs in the first inning and nine in the second and cruised to a 16-0 win.

Rebecca Rice went three for three and scored two runs, Mercedes Gasparovic had two hits and scored two runs and Courtney Skogan had two hits to lead the way for the Matadores.

On Friday the two teams met again with similar results.   This time four La Mirada pitchers (Hickman, Rivas, Baro and freshmen Valerie Alvarado) combined to throw a no-hitter as the Matdores posted a 10-0 win.  Perez had three hits and scored three times, Annie Dipillo had a double and scored twice and Rochelle Sablay had three hits, three RBIs and scored two runs to ignite the La Mirada attack. Despite the shutouts victories Trujillo said the Artesia program is improving.

“Artesia is better than they have been in 15 years,” Trujillo said.  “They have athletes on their team, but they had a tough go right of the chute in league having to play Mayfair, Cerritos and us right off the bat.”

Last Saturday, the Matadores hosted their own tournament at La Mirada’s Regional Park and posted shutouts victories over California and Palos Verdes.  La Mirada has now recorded four consecutive shutouts and has outscored its opponents 34-0 in the process.  The Matadores improved to 17-5 overall and 8-0 in league.  Currently La Mirada is sitting alone in first place, a game ahead of Cerritos, which split a pair of games with Mayfair last week.

La Mirada doesn’t get back into league action until it faces Mayfair May 2 and 4. The following week, the Matadores will be in action against Cerritos for two games to finish the regular season. Trujillo says his team will use the time to prepare for Mayfair and Cerritos but he says he likes his team’s chances.

“It’s kind of what I expected this season,” Trujillo said.  “We have eight seniors and we started strong out of the gate by taking second at the Cypress Tournament. We’ve played good competition.  We played Orange Lutheran, Royal and St. Lucy’s, who was number one in the nation at the time.  We feel our tough schedule has prepared us better for CIF. We don’t know how good Mayfair and Cerritos are but we’ll see.  Our pitching, hitting and defense are solid and we’ll be ready.”

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