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Varsity Times Insider: The latest sports news from Southern California's high school teams

Eric Sondheimer has been covering high school sports for the Los Angeles Times since 1997 and in Southern California since 1976. Get his latest from the field and follow all our prep sports coverage and analysis here.

1717 posts
  • Softball

Top-seeded Norco was taken to the limit by Huntington Beach on Thursday in the Southern Section Division 1 softball quarterfinals, but Norco pulled out a 6-5 victory when Kinzie Hansen delivered a walk-off RBI double in the ninth inning.

Norco will face Los Altos in the semifinals. Los Altos defeated Great Oak 2-0 behind pitcher Savannah Diederich.

Chino Hills defeated Pacifica 3-0 in eight innings and will face Gahr in the semifinals. Gahr defeated Mater Dei 4-3 on an eighth-inning home run from Taylor Stephens.

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It was a sweep by four West Valley League teams on Thursday in the quarterfinals of the City Section Open Division baseball playoffs.

Four unearned runs in the fourth inning broke a 1-1 tie and lifted Birmingham to a 5-3 win over Kennedy. Johnny Tincher had a two-run double after two runs scored when a Kennedy throwing error with two outs led to the big inning. Erik Rivas went three for three with two doubles for Birmingham.

Birmingham will face Chatsworth in the semifinals on Wednesday at USC. Chatsworth got a shutout from sidearmer Gabe Achucarro in a 6-0 win over San Fernando.

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In his latest commissioner’s message, Rob Wigod of the Southern Section asks, “Is it time for us to have a conversation?”

State associations in Ohio, Michigan and Colorado recently passed stricter controls over transfers. In California, the opposite has been taking place. The CIF, fearing rising legal costs, has been liberalizing transfer rules.

Wigod accurately states, “I don’t think there is any question that principals, athletic directors and coaches have expressed a preference for stricter transfer rules, and parents would prefer that we didn’t have any transfer restrictions at all.”

  • Baseball

Burt Call, who just completed his 19th season as baseball coach at Mater Dei, is not returning. That’s the word from parents and players associated with the team.

On Thursday afternoon, Principal Frances Clare confirmed his departure with an email to parents.

“We are grateful to Burt for his many years of service as head coach,” she said.

  • Baseball

Dalton Ponce of Etiwanda performed quite a tight-rope act on Wednesday, pitching out of jams again and again to enable the Eagles to advance to Friday’s Southern Section Division 1 quarterfinals after a 3-1 victory over La Mirada.

La Mirada (26-4-1) had more hits and more scoring opportunities than Etiwanda, but Ponce came through with big pitches when it counted. He got out of a bases-loaded situation in the fifth inning and escaped the sixth inning with runners on first and third.

In the seventh, La Mirada finally scored on Brandon Rho’s RBI single, his third hit of the game. With runners on first and third and two outs, Ponce struck out Emilio Morales to end the game. He gave up seven hits, struck out four and walked five. La Mirada had nine runners stranded.

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The City Section Open Division quarterfinals in prep baseball will take place on Thursday, and you can count on all eight remaining coaches having their entire pitching staffs available for these must-win games.

Because the semifinals won’t take place until next Wednesday or Thursday at USC, it means everyone is available. It sets up for some great strategic decisions, and we’ll finally find out who really is the No. 1 pitcher for particular teams.

The schedule: Banning at Cleveland; Roosevelt at El Camino Real; Kennedy at Birmingham; and San Fernando at Chatsworth.

The City Section is set to hold its track and field championships on Thursday at El Camino College. Field events are to begin at 2 p.m., and running events at 5:30 p.m. General admission tickets are $10.

In the girls 100, Angelina Camello of San Pedro and Kaityln Williams of Carson have the two best qualifying times at 12.39 and 12.47, respectively.

In the boys 100, Omari Williams of Dorsey ran 10.87 at last week’s prelims at Birmingham. Anthony Richardson of Carson was next at 10.90.

  • Baseball

Senior Lukas White of Valencia has been named the Foothill League player of the year in baseball. Senior Bryce Collins of Hart was the pitcher of the year.

First-team all-league:

Ryan Carolan, Hart, Sr.; Josh Cerpa, Hart, Sr.; Will Chambers, West Ranch, Sr.; Luke Chung, Valencia, Sr.; Hewitt Grissom, Saugus, Jr.; Charles Harrison, Canyon, Jr.; Cody Jefferis, Hart, Sr.; Nolan Kutcher, Saugus, Jr.; Cade Nicol, West Ranch, Jr.; Nicholas Perez, West Ranch, So.; Cole Roederer, Hart, Sr.

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  • Baseball

Senior Lukas White of Valencia has been named the Foothill League player of the year in baseball. Senior Bryce Collins of Hart was the pitcher of the year.

First-team all-league:

Ryan Carolan, Hart, Sr.; Josh Cerpa, Hart, Sr.; Will Chambers, West Ranch, Sr.; Luke Chung, Valencia, Sr.; Hewitt Grissom, Saugus, Jr.; Charles Harrison, Canyon, Jr.; Cody Jefferis, Hart, Sr.; Nolan Kutcher, Saugus, Jr.; Cade Nicol, West Ranch, Jr.; Nicholas Perez, West Ranch, So.; Cole Roederer, Hart, Sr.

  • Baseball

Senior Lukas White of Valencia has been named the Foothill League player of the year in baseball. Senior Bryce Collins of Hart was the pitcher of the year.

First-team all-league:

Ryan Carolan, Hart, Sr.; Josh Cerpa, Hart, Sr.; Will Chambers, West Ranch, Sr.; Luke Chung, Valencia, Sr.; Hewitt Grissom, Saugus, Jr.; Charles Harrison, Canyon, Jr.; Cody Jefferis, Hart, Sr.; Nolan Kutcher, Saugus, Jr.; Cade Nicol, West Ranch, Jr.; Nicholas Perez, West Ranch, So.; Cole Roederer, Hart, Sr.