Lakewood softball is trying to win a sixth consecutive Moore League championship this season while trying to redeem itself after last year’s first-round CIF Southern Section playoff loss. It was the only first round loss of the decade for the Lancers.
Tonight at 7 p.m. at Lisa Fernandez Field, Lakewood (5-3, 1-0) takes on Millikan in the first marquee league game of the season. The Rams (8-4, 1-0) haven’t beaten the Lancers since 2011.
Lakewood has won 10 of the last 11 league titles, and picked up its 63rd consecutive league win last week against Poly. During that stretch, the Lancers have four quarterfinals appearances, two semifinals and one finals in 2013.
“This year we have a little more power, and our defense is a little more solid,” Miramontes said. “We’ve got some weapons, and if we can put it all together, we’ll be tough to beat.”
Left fielder Cassie Camou is one of a handful of young talent that’s back with a year of experience. The sophomore hit a two-run home run to the fence in the second inning against Poly, and battled through a 12-pitch at bat to deliver a two-out, two-run RBI triple in the fifth. Senior third baseman Taylor Pack (pictured) is also a key near the top of the lineup, and on defense. This is her third year in the starting lineup.
“This group has really bonded,” Camou said. “We’ve grown up playing together, and we’re getting our mojo back.”
Lakewood starter Cassie Perryman is back as the staff ace, and gave up two hits and a run in five innings against Poly. The sophomore struck out nine of the 18 batters she faced, and threw a first-pitch strike to nine of the first 11 batters faced.
“I’ve been preaching getting ahead and she’s been pitching well when she stays focused,” Miramontes said of Perryman.
Kaiya Yonamine pitched two scoreless innings of relief for Lakewood, and could be a key to late-game playoff success in the future.
Millikan (8-4, 1-0) is ranked No. 4 in Division 3 after outscoring its first 12 opponents 87-44. The Rams are on a three-game winning streak, and opened league with a win over Jordan last week. Junior Maya De Sota leads Millikan with 18 hits and 12 runs scored. Freshman Kara Bresnahan has burst onto the scene with a team-high eight RBIs and 13 hits in 24 at bats. Eight different Rams have four or more RBIs.
In the circle, junior Rachel Rubio is back as the staff ace. She has a 3.07 ERA and three complete games in six starts. Junior Gretchen Goldsmith is second on the team in innings pitched.
Wilson (4-2, 1-0) has very experienced upperclassmen and a very talented freshman class for first-year coach George Molina to manage this season. Molina has been an assistant with the Bruins for nine years.
“We’ve got a lot of good seniors and freshmen who can play,” Molina said. “We’re a very deep team, and all of the starters have earned their spots.”
Senior Joette Vega has already thrown more than 50 innings with a four wins and 44 strikeouts. Junior Michelle Dominguez has a team-high 11 hits, freshman Sydney Freijanes has scored seven runs scored and sophomore Sinclair Lawhorn has eight RBIs.
Poly (1-4, 0-1) has a first-year coach in Elizabeth Sanches-Martin and showed renewed fight in the loss to Lakewood. Senior pitcher Julia Solano, senior shortstop Evelyn Sablan and junior second baseman Madison Demos will be key to the Jackrabbits’ success.
“It’s not all on them, but they’re our go-to girls,” Sanches-Martin said. “(Sablan and Demos) are our most consistent, powerful, experienced and intelligent batters. I’m just trying to figure out where to put them in the lineup.”
Jordan (1-1-1, 0-1) is hoping a huge season from senior Ileana Rivera can carry the Panthers into the playoff picture. The corner infielder has already racked up eight hits, 10 RBIs, eight runs scored and three home runs in her first 11 at bats this season. Rivera is a four-year varsity starter with a .605 career batting average and 80 RBIs in 59 games played.
Cabrillo (0-4) is struggling in the early going, and has been outscored 66-11.
Compton (1-2, 0-1) hasn’t recorded a league win in more than 10 years.
MOORE LEAGUE SOFTBALL SCHEDULE: Tuesday at 3:15 p.m.
Lakewood vs. Millikan, 7 p.m. at Lisa Fernandez Field
Poly at Cabrillo
Compton at Jordan
Visit and subscribe at The562.org for more Long Beach sports coverage.