Torrance completes sweep of North in thrilling game

North Torrance High's Makato Nakawake throws to a Torrance batter in last Friday's Pioneer League baseball game. The Tartars outlasted the Saxons 2-1. North hosts Lawndale, while Torrance is at home against Wiseburn-Da Vinci Friday at 3:30 p.m. (Photo by Joe Snyder)

By Joe Snyder

North Torrance High’s baseball team put in a lot of effort and made some outstanding defensive plays but, in the end, it was an error that enabled host Torrance to pull off a 2-1 win over the Saxons last Friday at Torrance Park.

A fumbled ball at third base enabled the Tartar baserunner Hector Chavez to score the winning run in the bottom of the seventh that all dims the Saxons’ hopes of advancing to the CIF-Southern Section playoffs as they fell to 2-6 in the Pioneer League and are 6-13 overall.

The contest was highlighted by several outstanding defensive plays; one an outstanding throw by right fielder Colin Anderson that gunned down a Torrance baserunner trying to advance to third base after a single in the bottom of the fourth. After a scoreless five innings highlighted by a pitching dual between North’s Makato Nakawake and Torrance’s Brenner Martinez, Anderson got the Saxons on the scoreboard in the top of the sixth on a solo home run over the left field fence.

The Tartars, who improved to 15-6-1 overall and 6-2 in Pioneer action, came back to tie the game at one when Mateo Rickman singled home Slater Nunez.

Despite the error, Torrance’s Chavez was able to barely beat out the throw for the winning run.

“Our group played great defensively,” North head coach Andre Van Owen said. “Our shortstop (Lucas Blackwood) and Anderson made great plays. They were Big League plays. Our guys battled. Makato (Nakawake) pitched an outstanding game.”

On April 10 at North, Torrance rolled over the Saxons 10-2. Chavez keyed the Tartars by going 2-for-3 with four runs batted in. Rickman hit a three-run homer.

Isaiah Aguilar went 2-for-3 and scored a run.

The Saxons’ playoff hopes are slim but they have two games against last place Lawndale at home this week. Both games begin at 3:30 p.m. That is due to the Cardinals’ baseball field being torn up due to renovations of their athletic fields. However, North will host first place West Torrance (8-2 in league) next Tuesday and visit the Warriors next Thursday in 3:30 p.m. league games. North needs to win all four games for playoff hopes.

Torrance, which is in the thick of the race with West and El Segundo for the Pioneer championship after winning league last season, visited Wiseburn-Da Vinci at Entradero Park in Torrance on Wednesday and hosts the Wolves Friday at 3:15 p.m. The Tartars host South Torrance next Tuesday at 6 p.m. and visit the Spartans next Thursday at 3:15 p.m.

In non-league play Saturday at Torrance Park, the Tartars shut out Capistrano Valley Christian High 5-0.

Serra High is 2-6 in the Del Rey League but recorded a 3-2 win over first place Bishop Amat from La Puente last Friday at Serra.

Adrian Pineda pitched a complete game and had eight strikeouts.

Marc Emmerson had two hits and two RBI’s. Kelvin Martinez hit a home run and walked twice.

At Bishop Amat on April 9, the Cavaliers fell to the Lancers 12-6.

Despite the loss, Henry Sorman hit a two-run homer. Amari Hackett went 3-for-4 including a double and Emmerson was 2-for-3.

Serra hosted rival Bishop Montgomery last Tuesday and will visit the Knights today at 3 p.m. The Cavaliers, then, have a non-league double header against Aquinas in San Bernardino, beginning at 11 a.m. on Saturday, before resuming league at Paraclete in Lancaster Monday at 3 p.m. Serra hosts the Spirits next Wednesday at the same time before hosting South Torrance in a non-league game on April 27 at 11 a.m.

Gardena continued to struggle as it remains winless at 0-4 in the Marine League with a pair of losses to Banning. At Banning in Wilmington on April 9, the Panthers failed to get a hit in an 8-0 loss to the Pilots. At Gardena last Thursday, Banning rolled to a 13-1 win. The Panthers also lost a San Fernando Tiger Classic game at home to Bravo 5-4 last Saturday.

Gardena hosted defending Marine champion and CIF-Los Angeles City Section Division I runner-up Carson last Monday and visit the Colts today at 3 p.m. The Panthers host Canoga Park in a Tiger Classic game Saturday at 10 a.m. before resuming league at home against Narbonne next Monday at 3 p.m. and visiting the Gauchos next Thursday at the same time.


Lady Saxons stay hot with recent wins

North Torrance High’s softball team remained in a first-place tie with rival West Torrance in the Pioneer League after shutting out Wiseburn-Da Vinci from El Segundo 9-0 last Friday at North.

Winning pitcher Isis Jones pitched a complete-game one-hitter with 10 strikeouts and four walks.

Nicole Orozco went 3-for-4 with four runs batted in and one run scored. Priscila Iniquez was 2-for-4 with two RBI’s.

In a non-league game on April 10 at Mira Costa in Manhattan Beach, the Lady Saxons outlasted the Mustangs 5-4 in eight innings.

North hosted rival Torrance on Wednesday and is at home against Lawndale Friday at 3:30 p.m. in Pioneer games. The Saxons visit South Torrance next Monday and host West in a showdown next Wednesday in 3:30 p.m. league games.

Gardena’s rebuilding team remains winless in the Marine League after three losses last week. At Gardena on April 8, the Lady Panthers were routed by defending CIF-Los Angeles City Section Open Division champion Carson 21-2. Last Thursday, Gardena was shut out by host San Pedro 14-0. At Narbonne, the Panthers scored a season-high eight runs but it was not enough in a 19-8 loss to the Gauchos.

Gardena hosts Banning in league today at 3:15 p.m. The Panthers visit Rancho Dominguez Prep in Long Beach next Monday, also at 3:15 p.m.


Local athletes strong in T&F championships

The South Bay Track and Field Championships were held in the rain last Saturday at West Torrance High.

For the boys, Torrance High sophomore Nicolas Obimbgba won the 100-meter dash at 10.8 seconds and finished second in the 200 clocking 22.68. He also keyed the Tartars to a third-place finish, behind winner Santa Monica (44.2) and second place Manhattan Beach Mira Costa (44.27) in the 4×100 relay in 44.76.

The Tartars’ 4×400 relay also placed third timing 3:38.35.

Junior Jake Silverman, who keyed Torrance’s football team to the CIF-Southern Section Division X championship last fall, was second in the 100-meter-high hurdles in 15.59.

The Tartars also had a third-place finish in the pole vault by junior Joshua Radeke at 11 feet, six inches. Redondo’s Louis Goldman won the event at 14 feet.

In the 3,200, Torrance’s Ethan Wessels finished fourth clocking 9:57.2.

North Torrance’s best showings were by Faiz Ogun (100, fifth place, 11.23) and Aden Flowers (high jump, sixth, 5-4).

South Torrance’s Logan Thompson placed second in the discus (129-7) and third in the shot put (46-2.5).

For the girls, Torrance exceled with wins in the 1,600 by Natalie Wang (5:03.2) and in the 3,200 by Maya Okada (11:32.33).

Carson won the 4×100 relay at 49.23 to 50.68 for second place Redondo and 52.28 for third place Torrance. West Torrance was fourth clocking 52.57.

North Torrance’s best showings were by Kyiah Mason (high jump, fourth place tie, 4-2) and Abby Clark (discus, fifth, 96-1). Mason finished in a four-way tie with Ava Silva (West Torrance), Kaitlin Sandoval (Torrance) and Kaitly Quach (Torrance). Palisades’ Annibelle Refaes won the event at 4-10 by lesser misses over second place Camilla Brennan of Redondo.

Torrance’s Kiana Greer took third in the shot put (35-8) and fourth in the discus (97-5).

Neither Gardena nor Serra competed in the event. Serra, along with several other local high schools, will have athletes in the always prestigious Mt. San Antonio College Relays in Walnut on Friday and Saturday. The Del Rey League Prelims were also on Wednesday with the finals next Wednesday. The Pioneer League will also have its championships next Thursday and the Marine League has its prelims on the same day.