CARSON - No one expected Port Of Los Angeles High softball to make it this far.

After dominating the CIF-Los Angeles City Section Division III realm for three years, claiming championships as a result for it, the Polar Bears made the bold decision of challenging themselves by stepping out of the Small Schools circuit into the deep waters of Division I. 

Not only did POLA come out of making that decision with a dynamite beginning of winning the Redondo Tournament, they earned the third seed of the playoffs made it all the way to the CIF-LACS Division I semifinals, where defending champion and second seeded Carson finally ended the Polar Bears' quest to make it to UCLA with a narrow 2-0 victory.

"I am so unbelievably proud of this squad," POLA co-coach Melissa Bugarin-Espinoza said. "They elevated their play each year and have showed the character of this program. It was heartbreaking the way we lost, but I tip my hat to Carson."

All it took was one break, and the Colts (27-5 overall) capitalized on it.

With two outs in the bottom of the fourth inning, Carson sophomore third baseman Aniesa Maulupe blasted a single to center field to drive in freshmen center fielder Raven Agapay, but then POLA freshman center fielder Shelby Younkin's throw home wasn't close enough to reach junior catcher Savana Ramirez, junior shortstop Brianna Tautalafua scored on the same play.

"We couldn't punch the card when we needed and they did," Bugarin-Espinoza said. "So we will use that to be our drive next year. "

Carson advances to Saturday's City Section Division I final at UCLA against fifth-seeded Chatsworth, who stunned top-seeded El Camino Real of Woodland Hills, 2-1 in 12 innings in the other semifinal. The Colts will be pursuing a third City crown in four years.

The loss may have been the first ever in a playoff situation for POLA (30-8), but they sure handled it well with the grace of a true defending champion, so did the awesome effort of junior pitcher Nicolle Miranda in the way she was able to handle the dangerous bats of four NCAA Division I-bound Carson studs. Miranda allowed just three hits with a hit batter and 8 strikeouts, and only the one hit by the Long Beach State-bound Maulupe left the infield.

POLA certainly had their chances despite leaving eight runners on base, but the defense of Carson was on point in aiding their pitching tag team of senior Ramie Barajas and freshman Jessica Robledo, who surrendered four hits (two to POLA senior right fielder Sarah Maldonado) but still combined for the shutout.

Sophomore second baseman Danika Justis (Cal State Northridge commit) fields a hard hit ground ball by POLA freshman designated player Analise De La Roca to end the top of the first inning with a strong throw to Tautalafua at second before the UCLA-bound Tautalafua finishes with an equally strong throw to first for a 4-6-3 double play.

Younkin drilled a hard line drive that grazed the glove of Carson sophomore left fielder Cynthia Ruiz, who still recovered to fire a perfect cutoff throw to Tautalafua who gunned down Younkin at third base to end the top of the fourth inning. 

Robledo, from her right field position to start the fifth inning, fires a dart to first base, retiring POLA junior left fielder Tiffany Mercado who appeared to have a leadoff single.

Arizona-bound junior catcher Hillary Edior picked off POLA senior shortstop Kelsea Short off first later that same inning when POLA loaded the bases with one out, then Miranda was caught looking at a third strike two pitches later from Robledo to end that threat.

In the sixth inning, POLA senior first baseman Allison Bayer hit a one-out single and reached third on a two-base throwing error an out later, but Robledo induced a pop out to second by Younkin to end the inning. Finally, Maldonado stroked a two-out single to center field in the seventh, then advanced to second on an error before Short flied out to center field for the final out of the game.

"We have a saying 'tradition never graduates' and they stressed to these underclassmen to keep pushing work ethic, discipline and character," Bugarin-Espinoza says of her four seniors, Bayer, Short, Maldonado and Stephanie Ramirez who combined in their four years to win 10 championship rings. "They embodied these things and I know the other girls have bought into it and will keep passing it on throughout program."

Despite the first City Section playoff setback in their 13th playoff game in the school's short four-year history, POLA has nothing to be ashamed of. They not only set a school record for victories in a season (30), they claimed the Redondo Tournament Gold Division title, a pair of Bronze Division titles in the Torrance National and Las Vegas Spring Jamboree Tournaments, a fourth straight unbeaten Crosstown League title, and for a little extra bragging rights, a pair of victories over crosstown neighbor San Pedro.

The resolve of POLA is very strong, so don't be surprised if the Polar Bears make another run at the Division I championship in 2015. 

"I am proud of my girls they did not down play Carson and they just wanted to prove we could play with them," Bugarin-Espinoza said. "We wish the Colts well in their quest to defend their title and we promise we WILL be back!"

Views: 261

Comment

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

Join San Pedro News Pilot

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


Sports Editor
Jamaal Kellen Street promoted Jamaal Kellen Street's blog post San Pedro High Football Holds On To Win At Lawndale
14 hours ago

Sports Editor
Jamaal Kellen Street posted a blog post

San Pedro High Football Holds On To Win At Lawndale

LAWNDALE - Talk about passing a big test...San Pedro High football appeared to have their intersectional battle at Lawndale under control when junior running back Kai Kaneshiro scored on a 15-yard touchdown run with 1:27 left in the fourth quarter, but the Cardinals quickly scored 17 seconds later on a 70-yard touchdown…See More
14 hours ago
Carolyn Kraft posted an event
Thumbnail

Sustainable Seafood Expo at CRAFTED at the Port of Los Angeles

October 2, 2016 from 12pm to 5pm
Enjoy seafood samples, chef demonstrations, educational activities and much more at the 3rd Annual Sustainable Seafood Expo Sunday, Oct. 2! Actor Adrian Grenier of “Entourage” fame will make a special appearance and discuss his work as co-founder of the Lonely Whale Foundation. After the Expo, join Adrian for an exclusive Chef's Table dinner featuring local sustainable seafood fare prepared by Executive Chef Dustin Trani of J. Trani's Ristorante. Learn how the​ fish on your dish should be…See More
yesterday

Sports Editor
Jamaal Kellen Street promoted Jamaal Kellen Street's blog post San Pedro High Girls Volleyball To Host Inaugural Tournament
Thursday

Sports Editor
Jamaal Kellen Street posted a blog post

San Pedro High Girls Volleyball To Host Inaugural Tournament

For the first time in program history, the San Pedro High girls volleyball team will be hosting their very own tournament.This Saturday starting at 8 am, all at the San Pedro High Flagship Campus gymnasium, the inaugural San Pedro Invitational will begin as an eight-team tournament with two pools of four…See More
Thursday
PVP Democrats posted an event
Thumbnail

Educators’ Institute for Human Rights Rep. & Judicial Candidate to Speak at Palos Verdes Peninsula Center Library Community Room

September 18, 2016 from 2:30pm to 4:30pm
The next meeting of the Palos Verdes Democrats will feature Catherine Leys, who will describe a program to help teachers present human rights history to students.  Efrain Aceves, candidate for Judicial Seat 42 in November, will discuss his background and qualifications. State Assembly candidate Al Muratsuchi’s campaign manager will coordinate a phone bank after the meeting ends for about 30 minutes for those who wish participate.Open to all; handicapped accessible; free admission; free parking.See More
Sep 14
SPMG Media posted a blog post
Sep 14
Karen Cristy posted events
Sep 13

© 2016   Created by San Pedro News Pilot.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service