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Lakewood Long Beach Poly Softball

Softball: Lakewood Walks Off Poly in Thriller

The562’s high school softball coverage for the 2023 season is sponsored by Long Beach City Councilwoman Megan Kerr.

The562’s coverage of Lakewood Athletics is sponsored by J.P. Crawford, Class of 2013.

The562’s coverage of Long Beach Poly athletics in the 2022-23 school year is sponsored by Poly alum Jayon Brown and PlayFair Sports Management.

The562’s coverage of Long Beach Poly athletics in the 2022-23 school year is sponsored by JuJu Smith-Schuster and the JuJu Foundation.

It was an eventful Friday afternoon at Lakewood High School. After a location change, Long Beach Poly (7-3, 2-2) found themselves as the visitors for a huge Moore League matchup against the Lancers (5-4, 4-0). Lakewood trailed all game but made the play when they needed it for a walkoff thriller victory, 3-2.

The Jackrabbits jumped out to an early lead in the first thanks to a single from freshman Kiele Ho-Ching followed by a two-run homerun from fellow freshman, Emoni Lam Sam. However, these runs would be the only ones scored for the next four innings. 

Long Beach Poly played perfect defense, keeping Lakewood scoreless for the majority of the game.

“When your bats aren’t producing like they usually do, your defense has to balance that,” Poly head coach Elizabeth Sanches said of her team. “I feel like our defense balanced it today but once again, we have to be able to make the adjustments at the plate.”

The Lancers finally got on the board in the fifth inning when a Julia Miramontes single led to a Poly error that allowed pinch runner Khalea Pahulu to score. In addition to scoring a crucial first run for Lakewood, Pahulu also had two incredible diving catches in right field that silenced some huge Jackrabbit bats and kept the Lancers within reach.

“I knew that Poly had some big hitters but I knew that [Pahulu] had speed,” Lancer coach Andy Miramontes said of Pahulu, who has been the starting second baseman all year. “I went on a gut feeling and moved her from second to right field. I am so proud of her, we could not have won without her.”

Pahulu’s defense saved Lakewood but the real magic for the Lancers came in the bottom of the seventh inning.

Down 2-1 with bases loaded and two outs, freshman Katelynn Lewis comes up to bat.

“I talked to the freshman and she said, ‘I got this coach,’” Miramontes said of the game-changing moment. 

“I was thinking that I have to do this for my team. No matter what it was, I knew I had to get a base hit and get on,” Lewis said. 

The freshman delivered with a two-run single to walk it off for the Lancers, ultimately overcoming the Jackrabbits 3-2.

“It was huge. The way the whole game played out, both teams playing great defense and all,” Miramontes said after the game. “She came through when we needed her.”

The Lancers are yet to play rivals Millikan, after a flooded Lisa Fernandez field canceled the game Wednesday evening. Their next game is on Thursday, when they visit Compton before finally getting to face the Rams on Monday, April 3rd.

“We’re going to take this win and the momentum with us,” Miramontes noted. “We are going to compete and use this momentum to help catapult us over Millikan.”

The Jackrabbits play again Tuesday versus Wilson at Joe Rodgers.

Nina Fife
Nina Fife is a freshman at Pepperdine University majoring in journalism. She began working with The562 in the inaugural intern class before being hired as their Social Media Director and now Assistant Editor. Nina is a proud Long Beach schools alum who graduated with valedictorian honors.