Melissa & Moe Espinoza: 2014 News Pilot Prep Softball Coaches Of The Year

It wasn't even supposed to be like this according to traditionalists in the CIF-Los Angeles City Section softball world.

No one thought it was right for a 'Small School' to check out of their own environment to play with the more established 'big girls'.

The reality is, Port Of Los Angeles High softball and coaches Melissa & Moses Espinoza needed to check out.

In four years time, the Polar Bears went from a team just happy to compete in Division III after not being able to compete in the playoffs at all in their first year of existence, to a team that was so good, they basically were too good to be in Division III, rolling to consecutive City titles in 2011, 2012 and 2013. So, POLA felt they needed to challenge themselves even more in Division I, and they nearly succeeded in winning another title.

POLA not only set a school record for wins in a season yet again, the Espinoza husband and wife tandem was able to get 30 victories for the first time ever, while leading the Polar Bears to the CIF-LACS Division I semifinals where they came painfully close to ending the reign of eventual two-time champion Carson.

"The mere bold move for the girls to want to move up and challenge themselves in D1 knowing how stiff the competition was, I tip my hat to them," says Melissa, who along with Moses repeat as the 2014 San Pedro News Pilot Coaches Of The Year. "They could have stayed where they are supposed to be and win (a fourth straight Division III title), but they stepped out of comfort zone and pushed themselves."

The year opened off in grand style as POLA defeated West Torrance, Downey, Mayfair of Lakewood and Warren of Downey to claim their first-ever regular season tournament championship, the Redondo Tournament crown. POLA also started slow in both the Torrance National & Las Vegas Spring Jamboree Tournaments, but they closed out both on a roll to claim the Bronze Division titles in both those tournaments.

Part of the criticism POLA gets in moving up to Division I stems from still competing in the small-school laden Crosstown League, a league POLA has won four years in a row without a loss, and with relative ease. Some of the heat was taken away when POLA's fiercest league competitor, Harbor Teacher Prep was able to win the Division III championship.

Yet, POLA was chosen as the No.3 seed of Division I and still was able to defeat fellow City Section Division I teams such as crosstown neighbor San Pedro (twice), Narbonne of Harbor City, Lincoln of Los Angeles and Polytechnic of Sun Valley before the season finally ended with a 2-0 loss in the semifinals to Carson on May 29.

The Polar Bears do lose to graduation Allison Bayer, Kelsea Short, Sarah Maldonado and Stephanie Ramirez, four players who all leave with ten combined championship rings, but everyone else returns, including three-time City Pitcher Of The Year Nicolle Miranda.

"We have a saying 'tradition never graduates' and (Allison, Kelsea, Sarah & Stephanie) stressed to these underclassmen to keep pushing work ethic, discipline and character," Bugarin-Espinoza says of the four seniors. "They embodied these things and I know the other girls have bought into it and will keep passing it on throughout program."

Bugarin-Espinoza, who now has a sterling record of 113-33-1 in five years, got her, and the softball team's 100th all-time victory when the Polar Bears defeated Fernley of Nevada, 8-2 to clinch the Bronze Division championship of the Las Vegas Spring Jamboree Tournament on April 19.

With a strong nucleus of returning players, including the reigning three-time City Pitcher Of The Year Nicolle Miranda, POLA and the Espinoza tag team will be primed to come back strong in 2015.

"Our girls compliment each other with their physicality along with their tenacity," says Bugarin-Espinoza, who along with Moses are flanked by assistants Miguel Valencia, Mark Miranda and Jesse Espinoza. "We did not shy away from anyone. As far as the label of being a small school, we are indeed but hopefully with the consistent banner seasons we have had will prove we are no longer the 'David'."

(Note: Photo by Vince Pirozzi)

Views: 120

Comment

You need to be a member of San Pedro News Pilot to add comments!

Join San Pedro News Pilot

Call (323) 200-9052 to learn more or click here to send an email.

San Pedro Weather

San Pedro News Pilot by email - sign up!

Delivered by FeedBurner

What is the SanPedroNewsPilot.com?

The SanPedroNewsPilot.com is the social network and information outlet for San Pedro.

Want to keep up with the news in San Pedro, become a member.


 

Membership has its privileges!

• Got news you think everyone should know? Blog it.
• Have a show or attending a benefit? Put it on the calendar.
• Got video of the big game? Embed it.
• Photos of the new storefront or the school play? Upload them.

Latest Activity

Louise Reichlin posted events
16 hours ago
SPMG Media posted a blog post

Sister Batten Productions: Bring Her Inspirational Plays and Movies to Your Organization

Sister Batten ProductionsBring this powerful film to your church or organization.Walking In The SpiritFILM SYNOPSIS: Paula, a young adult away from home for the first time as a freshmen in college is placed in an uncompromising position that will challenge her faith, morals and everything she was taught as a young girl growing up in the church and having a praying mother. Walking in the Spirit will take you on an emotional journey of FLESH vs. SPIRIT.For Bookings contact Tony Smith, Kase-Qtr…See More
17 hours ago
Profile IconJerry Pirozzi, Los Angeles Maritime Museum, San Pedro Fish Market and 4 more were featured
22 hours ago
Joleen D'Rage posted an event
Thumbnail

Tall Ship Fireworks Sails at Tall Ships Irving and Exy Johnson

July 3, 2016 from 6:30pm to 7pm
LAMI is celebrating Independence Day with two fireworks sail, one on July 3rd and one on July 4th. Our twin brigantines will sail to Long Beach for a spectacular adventure on the water. Both sails will be boarding at 6:30pm at Berth 78 right next to the San Pedro Fish Market. As always, LAMI members will enjoy a 10% discount, so become a member and save!You may bring your own food and beverages on board, so think “Hollywood Bowl at Sea” and fill up your…See More
yesterday
Larry Richardson's event was featured
Thumbnail

Continuum at Alvas Showroom

August 28, 2016 from 4pm to 6pm
CONTINUUM originally started as a rehearsal band in 1987 in East Los Angeles, CA, (USA) - musicians getting together to play some of their favorite music by Mahavishnu, Bruford, Monk, RTF, Shorter, Weather Report, Circle,etc., for the sake of making music - rehearsing, refining, performing and documenting it as often as their individual schedules allowed.They established their own SOUND and evolved into one of the more critically acclaimed contemporary improvisational music ensembles performing…See More
yesterday
Lisa's 2 events were featured
yesterday
Kimia Grigoriev's event was featured
Thumbnail

FREE Doggy Photoshoot at Promenade on the Peninsula

July 16, 2016 from 10am to 12pm
Is your dog begging for a new portrait? Then come to the FREE Doggy Photoshoot hosted by PVNet. Dress up your dog however you want, and we'll take care of the rest! Final photos will be emailed to you, so you can print your dog's portrait however you want.PVNet is located next to Pottery Barn and under Regal Cinemas.See More
yesterday

Sports Editor
Jamaal Kellen Street's 2 blog posts were featured
yesterday

© 2016   Created by San Pedro News Pilot.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service