High school sports

A super spring for Mariners

ANNIKA SOGSTI lashes the ball during Pacifica’s win last week against Marina. The Mariners are in a CIF-SS Division 1 quarterfinal game today. The semifinal round is Thursday and the championship final is on June 18 (Orange County Tribune photo).

Nobody wants to relive a year in which high schools sports were – in part – cancelled, trimmed or crammed together. However, Pacifica High of Garden Grove is having a pretty good spring sports season to remember.

The Mariner softball team won the Empire League title and advanced to the CIF-SS Division 1 playoffs. On Thursday, the M’s survived an 11-inning marathon to beat a good Marina High team, 3-2.  Then they defeated Vista Murrieta 5-3 on Saturday.

Today (Tuesday) Pacifica will host Roosevelt High of Eastvale in a quarterfinal game. PHS is 20-3 overall and Roosevelt is 19-3.

Of course, the West Grove school has a long tradition of excellence on the softball diamond. Of the teams participating in the Women’s Softball College World Series, two are from PHS. Dejah Mulipola and Hannah Martinez  both play for Arizona. The only other local is Jenavee Peres from Garden Grove High, who plays for UCLA.

The Pacifica girls’ soccer team lost in the semifinal round of the CIF-SS D-1 playoffs, falling 3-2 to Villa Park. But that didn’t end their season. The M’s were included in the CIF Regionals, where they advanced to the regional final before losing. Pacifica defeated North High of Clovis 1-0 in the first round, Santiago of Corona 2-1, and then lost 6-1 to Harvard Westlake, to finish a highly successful season with a 16-4-1 mark.

Pioneers had an Angel in finals

Western High of Anaheim also had a deep run in CIF-SS action in wrestling. Of course, they had an Angel on their side.

Angel Medel-Leon pinned his opponent in the 126-lb. class to clinch the Division 6 crown for the Pioneers on Saturday by a score of 40-21 over Corona del Mar, the defending champions.

Western, top-ranked all year, finished the season with a spotless 18-0 record. It’s the school’s first CIF-SS wrestling title since 2007.

Star on the sidelines for Aztecs


Not everyone who contributed to La Quinta High of Westminster’s Garden Grove League baseball co-championship was on the field. According to Paul Escobar, assistant baseball coach for the Aztecs, some of the credit goes to Aaron Thelander, a disabled student from LQHS.

“I met Aaron during his freshman year,” said Escobar. “Aaron attended every home game that year and continued to show support for the following three years. By his junior year, he had a permanent spot on the team and in the dugout.

“Aaron is a sharp guy and knows when to roust the umpires. Sometimes he had to be encouraged to tone it down a bit.”

He graduated three years ago but still comes back to cheer the team on. He threw out the ceremonial first pitch this year. Once an Aztec, always an Aztec.

And by the way … La Quinta is seeking to renovate the baseball field. If you want to help, go to: https://www.gofundme.com/f/support-la-quinta-hs-baseball-field-renovations .

“Prep Sports Spotlight” is posted on Tuesdays during the high school athletic seasons.


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