DIAMOND NOTES: Martin’s 5-inning no-hitter paces Lady Broncos … Gardinier’s pair of bombs leads Lady Cougars, now at 39 HRs … Banning might lose a win after league rules on a baseball protest … Garewal shines against Hawaii.
Two teams were going for league softball championships.
It didn’t seem like a showdown at all for Banning High School’s varsity softball team.
In pursuit of this year’s Mountain Valley League championship, the Lady Broncos came into last week’s showdown with co-leading Moreno Valley Vista del Lago with identical 9-2 records.
Banning unloaded in a 21-0 win against the Lady Ravens, claiming first place and, likely, a league championship.
It didn’t hurt that Sarah Martin flung a 5-inning no-hitter, striking out seven batters in the process.
Completely unexpected, said Lady Broncos’ first-year coach Rosann Judes, who said, “The girls were prepared to fight for it.
“The girls had a phenomenal game at the plate.”
A pair of 8-run innings after jumping out to a quick 4-0 lead in the first proved fatal for the home team.
It’s been years, if ever, that Banning’s girls have won a league softball championship.
Thursday’s rematch, said Judes, wasn’t going to be easy despite the lop-sided victory two days earlier.
“Vista has a good team and (Banning’s girls) know they have to push hard for it.”
Martin, meanwhile, has returned from an injury.
“She’s been strong on the mound,” said Judes, “and hitting well. She’s keeping the innings short, which is helpful to … our defense … to ease her back into the game.”
Banning won the rematch, 8-2, clinching at least a tie for the league title.
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Beaumont High School, coming off a loss the previous week, fired on all cylinders in a 16-6 win over Hemet Tahquitz.
One game later, the Lady Cougars unloaded on Hemet West Valley, 12-1, in a first place showdown.
At stake was the Mountain Pass League championship.
Alyssa Gonzalez, Alyssa Mays and sophomore Bree Gardinier all homered to back Julia Shephard’s 2-hitter, surrendering only an unearned run. Shephard went 3-for-3, knocking in four runs.
It turned into a mercy rule game, ending after 4 ½ innings.
One game earlier, Gardinier’s two-home run game led the Lady Cougars’ assault on Lady Titans’ pitchers, who gave up five bombs to Beaumont.
Led by Gonzalez’s 10 home runs, plus eight from Aubrey Slider and seven from Shepherd, the Lady Cougars are on pace to crack last year’s school record of 47.
Two games remain on the regular season schedule with a playoff schedule looming.
Banning (8-17, 7-7) – Pending, a possible forfeit of the Broncos’ 9-5 win over visiting San Bernardino Pacific two weeks ago. The Pirates protested the result because they alleged Banning participated in a soft-toss batting practice type of activity prior to the game.
“That’s not allowed,” said Qua’sand Lewis, Jr., Banning’s athletic director. “We’ve got to look into it. It’s possible we might have to forfeit the game.”
Pacific, he said, hasn’t won many games this season.
Lewis said that league officials will confer with the principals from both schools.
“It’s in the rules,” said Lewis.
Banning was battling for third place heading into this week’s play. A 1-0 win over Vista del Lago didn’t hurt.
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This year’s Mountain Valley League champions, Moreno Valley, overkilled its opponents. In compiling a 13-0 record through last week, the Vikings had outscored its league rivals, 147-7.
Banning was swept three times by MoVal, 11-1, 11-0 and 11-0.
Fourth place Jurupa Valley Rubidoux (4-13-1, 4-8-1) played the Vikings to a 3-1 duel on March 22. Every other game was a mercy rule (10-run margin after five innings).
Beaumont (10-15, 2-9) – Three days after splitting a non-league doubleheader with Yucca Valley, the Cougars suffered a 6-0 loss to visiting Perris Citrus Hill, third place in Mountain Pass League play. Two days later, the third place Hawks outscored the Cougars, 11-8.
Beaumont closes out the season this week against San Jacinto.
Hemet (17-8-1, 11-2) - has clinched at least a tie in this year’s league championship with defending Southern Section Division 6 champion Tahquitz (14-9, 8-4) battling with Citrus Hill (12-13, 8-5) for second place.
Mesa Grande Academy (1-9, 1-8) – One game remains on the Cardinals’ 2018 schedule after a complete 2017 season in which no games were played.
Banning (14-4, 11-2) – Lauryn Garewal homered and scored four times, Joselyn Rojas tripled and Haili Newton knocked in four runs in that 21-0 bashing over Vista del Lago. In the rematch, Banning’s 8-2 win, Sarah Martin doubled twice and pitched a complete game with eight strikeouts. In that game, Garewal stole four bases and scored three times and Saudya Reagor knocked in two.
Beaumont (14-8, 6-1) – Alyssa Mays, Megan Watkins and Alyssa Gonzalez added home runs to Gardinier’s power display against Tahquitz. Heading into last Thursday’s first place showdown against West Valley, Beaumont had lost to Hemet while the Lady Mustangs’ lone loss came against the Lady Cougars.
Mesa Grande Academy (5-6, 5-4) – Heading into their final game of the season against Yucca Valley Joshua Springs this week, the Lady Cardinals rode a two-game winning streak after beating Palm Springs Desert Chapel and Redlands Adventist Academy.
A pair of freshman, Katelyn Reynolds, who knocked in two runs, and Reiley Logan each scored three times in a 14-3 win over RAA.
Cal State San Bernardino (15-35, 15-29) – A four-game series against Cal State Los Angeles capped the Coyotes’ 2018 season last weekend. L.A. took three out of four, losing only when a pair of Cal State relievers, Noah Simon and Konner Arnold, each tossed a scoreless inning of relief. In that 10-8 win, Ty Linebarger went 5-for-5 and Alec Ceniceros, Garrett Ouellette and Shawn Porthan homered.
University of Redlands (33-11) – Disaster struck down the Bulldogs, leading 10-1 over Chapman University-Orange, in the championship game played at La Verne. The Panthers scored 19 runs over the final three innings to beat Redlands, 20-12. The Bulldogs opened the tournament with a 13-6 win over Chapman, but the Panthers battled back to win three straight games for the SCIAC Tournament championship.
Redlands awaited hopes of a possible at-large berth in the NCAA Division 3 playoffs, a spot earned by Chapman’s win.
Mt. San Jacinto (14-26, 13-11, final) – Bouncing back from a slow, slow pre-season, the Tigers rallied to finish in a tie for fourth place with Grossmont College-El Cajon, trailing first place Palomar-San Marcos (17-7) by just four games in the final Pacific Coast Athletic Conference standings.
UC Riverside (29-20, 6-9 Big West) – In a 1-0 win over visiting Univ. Hawaii back on April 28, Banning High product Seanna Garewal scored on Hannah Rodriguez’s double to provide the game’s only run, supporting Tayler Misfeldt’s 3-hitter. Garewal had doubled her way on base.
In the next game, Garewal tripled home two runs in a 10-2 win over the Rainbows.
Heading into last weekend’s game, Garewal was hitting .305, having played in all 49 Lady Highlanders’ games, producing eight doubles, a team-leading four triples, a HR and 20 RBIs.
Cal State San Bernardino (30-20) – An opening-round 12-0 loss to heavy-hitting Chico State left Cal State San Bernardino ready to get bounced out of the CCAA playoff last weekend. But the Lady Coyotes bounced back with a 1-0 win over Stanislaus State, then pounded UC San Diego, 11-4, to work their way into a rematch with the Lady Wildcats.
With the CCAA championship on the line, Cal State’s 2-0 early lead didn’t hold up in an eventual 3-2 loss to Chico.
Haley Gilham (26-2), who is the likely favorite for NCAA Division 2 Player of the Year, beat Cal State for the second time in the tournament.