High school sports

Aztecs really turned it around

LA QUINTA HIGH baseball team, co-champs of the Garden Grove League. Aztecs will play Orange Friday in the first round of the CIF-SS playoffs (LQHS photo).

When you start off the season with eight losses in your first 10 games, the chances of grabbing a league title and making the CIF-SS playoffs might look pretty slim.

But that’s exactly what the La Quinta High baseball team did, clinching a tie for the Garden Grove League crown – with Loara – and setting up a Division 6 opening round game hosting the Orange High Panthers on Friday at 4 p.m. Overall, La Quinta is 10-10 and the Panthers are 18-11.

“Our team worked hard this season and had a fairly rough preseason,” according to Paul Escobar, the assistant LQ coach. “But we turned it around.”

Indeed, the Blue and Gold reeled off six wins in a row, but was swept in two games by the Loara Saxons to fall into second. “Going into our final week of the season, we finished strong, winning our last two games against Santiago.”

The Aztecs expected to finish in second place but Los Amigos upset the Saxons 3-2 last Thursday, resulting in a co-championship between Loara and La Quinta, each team at 8-2.

For La Quinta, the top performers included senior Angel Zamora who missed pitching a no-hitter only because of the maximum pitch count. The other starting pitcher is Kevin Pulido, who also wielded a heavy bat. His home run against Rancho Alamitos is credited with helping to spark a six-game league win streak by the Aztecs.

Jayden Clark, who also plays football for LQHS, is the team captain and despite missing some early games, was a force for the team.

The head coach for La Quinta is Brian Dawson. “He always takes examples in baseball and uses them as life lessons,” said Dawson.

Coming back from a 2-8 start and achieving a league title and a spot in the playoffs is a pretty good life lesson, too.

HB, Marina in CIF-SS boys’ v-ball finals

There may be something about proximity to the beach that gives a school’s boys’ volleyball team an extra edge. Two teams from Huntington Beach won their semifinal matches on Saturday and advance to the championship games on Saturday, June 5.

MARINA and Huntington Beach are each in CIF-SS boys’ volleyball title games this Saturday (Shutterstock).

Huntington Beach High defeated Servite in five games in Division 2 play. Trent Douphner led the way for the Oilers with 31 kills.  The Orange-and-Black (14-4) will be the visiting team against Santa Barbara (7-0).

In Division 4, Marina (9-5) bested Warren High of Downey 3-1 in a semifinal clash. Daniel Purtell recorded 16 kills for the Vikings.

The championship game will have Marina hosting Valley Christian (16-0) of Cerritos.

“Prep Sport Spotlight” is posted on Tuesdays during the high school athletic season.




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