Long Beach Poly Softball

CIF Softball: Ho-Ching Sisters Deliver Walk-Off Win For Long Beach Poly

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 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.

Sisters Tiare and Kiele Ho-Ching produced an unforgettable moment for Long Beach Poly softball on Tuesday at Joe Rodgers Stadium.

The Jackrabbits trailed by one with one out in the bottom of the seventh inning when Tiare doubled into left center field. Kiele came up next and sent a shot to the fence in right center. The speedy sisters both came in to score on the 2-run home run as Poly walked off winners 5-4 against King in the second round of the CIF Southern Section Division 4 playoffs.

“When it comes to the Ho-Ching’s (the coaches) kind of sit back and enjoy the ride because you can’t coach that,” Poly coach Elizabeth Sanches-Martin said. “It’s in their DNA. It’s built into them. It’s a lot of fun to watch them play. They love these stressful situations and they produce.”

According to Poly coaches, this is the first time in history the Jackrabbits have ever won two CIF playoff games. Poly hosts Fullerton on Thursday in the quarterfinal.

“This is huge for our program,” Sanches-Martin added.

Both Ho-Ching sisters hit the ball hard all game, but got a bit unlucky and only had an infield single between them headed to the seventh inning.

“I got the same (off speed) pitch every at bat and it was just a matter of making the adjustment,” Tiare said. “My first at bat I rolled over, second at bat I lined out, and I just had to hit it where they weren’t.”

She did exactly that, and then was on second base to give her sister some assistance.

“We help each other out,” Tiare said. “When I’m on second I was trying to tell her where the pitch is so she can set up.”

“I was getting pitched inside so I was just hugging the plate and looking for an outside pitch, something I could drive,” Kiele said. “I was just trying to be selfless and make the most out of the situation.”

Kiele said she saw the ball hit the fence as she was rounding second base, and never thought about stopping at third.

“I was just trying to get there because I saw all my teammates (coming out of the dugout) so I just had to run and jump and dive and I made it.,” Kiele said of her game-winning head first slide.

“There was no way I was holding her at all,” said Sanches-Martin, who is always the third base coach. “And even if I tried to, she wasn’t stopping.”


King took a 1-0 lead in the fourth inning when Brooke Lebsock drove in Cheri Thompson. The Wolves ended up loading the bases, but Poly’s Nyla Springer pitched her way out of the jam.

Poly quickly took a lead of its own in the bottom of the fourth when Emoni Lam Sam reached on a fielder's choice and scored on Sakarah Buckner’s single and a throwing error. Buckner would score on Daisy Martin’s RBI single to put the Jackrabbits up 2-1.

That didn’t last long as King responded with three runs in the top of the fifth inning thanks to a pair of leadoff bunt singles and another RBI knock from Lebsock to make it 4-2.

Poly got three consecutive singles from Buckner, Martin and Janelle Morris to leadoff the sixth inning. Morris plated Buckner to make it 4-3, and it looked like the Jackrabbits would tie the game but Springer lined out into a double play and King right fielder Janai Stover made a diving catch to end the inning.

Springer (7 IP, 8 H, 3 ER, 5 K, 2 BB) closed the game strong with a 1-2-3 seventh inning to bring the top of the Jackrabbits order to the plate in the bottom half when the Ho-Ching’s delivered the thrilling finish.

“We just had to help our team,” Tiare said. “It had to be here or never.”

Martin had three hits while Tiare and Buckner each had two hits. Buckner also scored twice.

King pitcher Addison Zimmerman pitched all seven innings while scattering 10 hits and only striking out one batter.

VIDEO: Long Beach Poly vs. King, CIF Softball
PHOTOS: Long Beach Poly vs. King, CIF 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.