DIAMOND NOTES:  First place Lady Cougars turning on the bats … Defending CIF champions sweep Beaumont baseballers … Sarah Martin returns to Lady Broncos … SCIAC baseball title up for grabs between Redlands, La Verne.

Some twists and turns from area baseball and softball play:

Cal State’s women were still alive, barely.

The University of Redlands will face a stiff challenge from LaVerne in the SCIAC baseball race.

Banning’s girls have a decent shot at winning the Mountain Valley League softball title. Moreno Valley Vista del Lago holds first place, but the Lady Broncos are making a move.

Beaumont’s girls’ home run-hitting Lady Cougars – 24 entering this week’s play – may well notch an outright Mountain Pass League title this season. The Lady Cougars finished in a three-way tie with Hemet and West Valley last season.

Moreno Valley is running away with the Mountain Valley League baseball race at 8-0. Second place is up for grabs, though, with Vista del Lago (6-2-1), Jurupa Valley Rubidoux (4-3-1) and Banning (5-4) in the chase.

The Broncos split with San Bernardino last week. Their 7-6 loss was costly.

PREP BASEBALL

Banning (6-13, 5-4) – Ivan Hernandez struck out nine over a 6-inning stint, beating San Bernardino, 9-5, last week. It was a game marred by nine Broncos’ errors, leading to a myriad of unearned runs. Banning made up for it with an array of hitting led by Gabe Canales’ double, two singles and three RBIs. Jacob Serrano had a pair of hits, knocking in two. Cristian Mariscal, meanwhile, went 2-for-4, scoring twice and driving in two.

Beaumont (9-12, 1-6) – Defending CIF Southern Section champion Hemet Tahquitz, whose coach Ron Savage, scouted the Cougars earlier this season, must have learned something. The Titans (11-7, 4-3) swept Beaumont, 11-0, 4-2 and 5-4 last week.

The championship-tested Titans beat Simi Valley Grace Brethren, 2-1, last June to capture the Division 4 championship, finishing at 25-5.

In the 11-0 loss, losing pitcher Jake De Longchamp doubled and singled. Teammate Jose Meza had a pair of singles. Alex Ward doubled in the 4-3 loss for the Cougars.

In that 5-4 loss, DeLongchamp doubled and singled, David Corona and Martin Sanchez each had a pair of hits to keep it close.

Mesa Grande Academy (0-6, 0-1) – It hasn’t been a good season for the Cardinals, who are chasing a lethal 1-2-3 combination of Bloomington Christian (5-5, 4-0), Bermuda Dunes Desert Christian (10-5-1, 4-0) and Redlands Adventist (7-3, 3-1).

PREP SOFTBALL

Banning (9-4, 6-2) – Joselyn Rojas homered and doubled, Haili Newton delivered three hits and Lauryn Garewal scored three times in the Lady Broncos’ 16-3 win over San Bernardino last week. Banning hit the Lady Cardinals with a 10-run first inning, backing a pair of frosh pitchers, Elayna Lamas and Sarae Raegor.

Six RBIs from Garewal, who homered and doubled twice, came in a 27-0 win over San Bernardino.

Also, the return of Sarah Martin – hitting a homer and a triple – who struck out 11 Lady Cardinals in five innings. It means that only four San Bernardino outs came by way of Banning’s defense.

Beaumont (13-7, 4-0) – A first place showdown with Hemet West Valley turned into a 7-1 Lady Cougars’ win last week. Hot-hitting Mahkenzy Lewis tripled and singled twice. Joey Casey added a triple and single, plus there was a double from Megan Watkins. Katelyn Shephard limited the Lady Mustangs (11-10, 3-1) to one run, but pitched out of a few tight jams.

What followed was a 21-2 blowout of Perris Citrus Hill. Aubrey Slider’s batting line: 4-for-5, four runs, 6 RBIs, triple and double. Watkins posted a 4-for-4 line, scoring four times.

Mesa Grande Academy (3-5, 3-3) – First place Desert Christian (10-3, 6-0) was on the Lady Cardinals’ schedule this week. A win by third place MGA could launch a late-season attack on the Victory League championship.

COLLEGE BASEBALL

Cal State San Bernardino (11-31, 11-25) – Eight games remain for the Coyotes, four-game series against Cal State San Marcos and Cal State Los Angeles. The Coyotes got plenty of mileage out of Tyler Robles (.353, 4 HR), Alec Ceniceros (.278, 7 HR), Erik Allegro (.312, 3 HR) and Gabe Chavez (.259, 24 RBIs), plus pitcher Konner Arnold (6-2, 4.41 earned run average).

University of Redlands (28-9, 16-5) – Co-SCIAC leading La Verne, remember, took two out of three from the Bulldogs on April 6-7, then took two out of three from Chapman University-Orange last weekend while the Bulldogs were idle. The SCIAC Tournament is May 4-6.

Mt. San Jacinto (12-25, 11-10) – The highlight of this season, perhaps, was the Eagles’ six wins over an eight-game stretch, including two wins over first place Palomar College-San Marcos that lifted the Eagles into third place in the Pacific Coast Athletic Conference. The hot streak was short-lived, however, dropping five of their last seven for a likely sixth place finish.

COLLEGE SOFTBALL

UC Riverside (26-19, 3-8) – Seanna Garewal, the Banning High product, singled, got hit by a pitch, but committed an error in UC Davis’ Big West Conference doubleheader sweep over UCR last week, 9-2 and 3-2.

Cal State San Bernardino (25-17, 15-15) – Sitting in sixth place, needing a top four finish to reach CCAA Tournament. A split in four games against Cal State East Bay-Hayward was not helpful. A highly fortunate finish is needed, especially with four games against last place Cal State San Marcos while fourth place Sonoma State (18-16) has four against seventh place Humboldt State (14-16).

University of Redlands (15-21, 10-14) – This year’s SCIAC Tournament field is set, but there’s a tightly-bunched race for the top four spots with La Verne (17-7), Pomona-Pitzer and Whittier both at 16-8, with fourth place Claremont at 15-9. Fifth place Redlands is out. The Lady Bulldogs close out their season with back-to-back doubleheaders against Chapman and La Verne this weekend.

Mt. San Jacinto (15-23, 5-11) – The Lady Eagles opened the season with wins in three out of their first four games, but at no time did MSJC ever notch more than two wins in a row. Dropping its last four games, the Lady Eagles surrendered 45 runs.

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