Long Beach Poly Softball Wilson

Softball: Long Beach Poly Adjusts Well To Beat Wilson

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

The562’s coverage of Long Beach Wilson Athletics is sponsored by Joel Bitonio, Class of 2009.

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.

The phenomenal Long Beach Poly underclassman have been grabbing the headlines this season, but it was four-year senior Sakarah Buckner who stole the show on Tuesday in a 11-1 win against Wilson at Joe Rodgers Stadium in six innings.

Buckner had three hits including a home run and drove in four runs from the four spot in the lineup. In front of her, junior Tiare Ho-Ching, freshman Kiele Ho-Ching and freshman Emoni Lam Sam combined to score seven runs.

“I just try to feed off their momentum,” Buckner said of her younger teammates. “When they get on it pushes me to drive them in.”

After scoring three runs in the top of the first inning on a Buckner hit and an error, Wilson starting pitcher Emily Castano slowed the offense down by getting the Jackrabbits to pop the ball up. Poly fixed the issue and scored seven runs in the final two innings.

“We made the adjustments we needed to make,” Poly coach Elizabeth Sanches said. “It’s the same type of field as Lakewood with a deep fence. Unlike like our game at Lakewood when we kept trying to hit it deeper and they just kept moving back, we were able to drive it hard through the infield and hit the gaps. These are the bats we know we have.”

K. Ho-Ching scored three times after being hit by a pitch three times, and then drove in a pair of run with a triple in the sixth inning. Lam Sam drove in two runs and scored twice after a single and a triple. All nine spots in the Jackrabbits lineup reached base.


Poly also got a great start from pitcher Nyla Springer who scattered seven hits and stuck out five in a complete game performance. At the plate, she also contributed two singles, a walk and a run scored.

“She’s stepped into the position (of being the ace pitcher) with grace, hard work and determination,” Sanches said.

After giving her team the lead, Buckner drove in the last run in the fifth inning, and came back up to smack a home run to right field in the sixth inning that capped the scoring. 

“She was playing deep so I thought she was going to catch it, but I soon as I saw her back turn I was like, ‘I’m going four and I’m not stopping,’” Buckner said.

“She’s a quiet leader who leads by example and she always finds a way,” Sanches said of her senior team captain. “She can hit for power, she can hit for contact, she’s fast as lighting and she’s smart. She’s everything a coach wants in an athlete.”

Wilson got on the board in the fifth inning when JJ Babore drove in Tatum Yates. The Bruins had some momentum coming into that game after winning three times at the Woodbridge tournament over the weekend. Coach George Molina said he can see the improvement from the first mercy-rule loss to Poly earlier this season.

“For four or five innings it was better,” Molina said. “But those big innings are tough.”

Poly is securely in third place in league, but have key revenge games against Millikan and Lakewood coming up next month.

“We feel like it’s a good start, but it can be better, so we just have to make sure to lock in and continue to play our best,” Buckner said. “We need to keep the same energy we had today. We lifted each other up, and if we keep doing that, we’re fine.”

Stay tuned for the updated Moore League schedule.

VIDEO: Long Beach Poly vs. Wilson, Softball
PHOTOS: Long Beach Poly vs. Wilson, Softball
JJ Fiddler
JJ Fiddler is an award-winning sportswriter and videographer who has been covering Southern California sports for multiple newspapers and websites since 2004. After attending Long Beach State and creating the first full sports page at the Union Weekly Newspaper, he has been exclusively covering Long Beach prep sports since 2007.