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Claremont softball team works to gain experience; roundup

by Steven Felschundneff | steven@claremont-courier.com

It’s a theme that seems to keep winding through Claremont High School spring sports—2020 is a season for rebuilding.

The girls softball team is a perfect example, with exactly one senior on the varsity team. The good news, according to Head Coach Brian Ota, is that even though his team is young, they are talented.

The lone senior, Katlin Entrup, will be the Pack’s go-to pitcher, while junior Isabelle Rivera, who was second team all-league last season, will be at third. Sydney Diaz at center field is also a top hitter.

“We do have the skill, it’s just a matter of experience,” Coach Ota said. “They are trying their best.”

Palomares league has some very good teams including Ayala, Glendora and Bonita. The challenge for Claremont is that the top three teams advance to the CIF tournament, so they have to be better than one of the top three favorites as league play progresses.

As his team gains actual game experience, the goal will be to keep the score close and shoot for an upset. Plus, they play 15 league games instead of 10, so there is some leeway as far as early losses go. In a 10-game league, if you lose a couple of early games it’s very hard to come back.

“The goal is to make the playoffs, that is always the goal,” Coach Ota said. “We came up short last year, but came close. We have to do what we can to break into the top three.”

On Thursday after press time the Pack hosted favorite Ayala in both teams Palomares League opener.

 

Baseball comes out strong, but League is strong

At the end of last season CHS baseball got knocked down to division four, mostly because of the team’s 10-22 record. However, the Pack already has six wins this year and has faced some top teams, so the prospects are definitely looking up.

While the early success sounds promising, Palomares League looms large, with two division two teams, Bonita and Glendora, and a division one team, the Ayala Bulldogs. Ayala is so good that they are actually ranked number 17 nationally.

Similar to the softball team, the boys will have 15 league matches and will need to take third place to make it to the playoffs. The boys could get a wild card if they have an overall winning record.

“I think we are better this year than last, but league is even better than last year as well,” Coach Charlie Reynoso said. “Defensively we are good, but we are struggling a bit offensively. We are working on that.”

Coach Reynoso, a 1983 graduate of CHS, brought on board his former coach Jack Helber to be the infield coach. Coach Helber, 79, has been very popular with the team and obviously has a lot of experience.

Claremont recently took fourth place out of 20 teams in the Chino Tournament with a 4-1 record. Senior Josh Kennedy got an all-tournament award for his hitting.

On the mound this season the Pack will be counting on senior Eric Rohrer, who had an excellent game with a 4-3 win over Flintridge Prep, pitching five-and-a-half innings and striking out 11. Overall, the Pack has solid pitching according to Coach Reynoso.

Senior Nathan Garcia is a bit of an all-rounder, playing third base, outfield as well as pitching.

Coach Reynoso hopes to raise some money for needed upgrades to the current baseball facility. The team has already purchased a new scoreboard, however, the field is uneven and becomes a mud bog when it rains. He would like to replace the infield grass, and a few yards into the outfield, with artificial turf. He would also like a permanent fence to replace the temporary one that they must assemble before every baseball season.

League got going on Thursday after press time as the Pack hosted Ayala.

 

Boys golf wins Diamondback Tourney

Junior Connor Reis shot a one over par 73, leading the Wolfpack to win the the Serrano Diamondback Shootout on Saturday at Spring Valley Lake Country Club in Apple Valley.

Senior Ryan Slater shot an 80, senior Eric Guzman, 81 and junior Tyler Lee, 90. The Pack shot a 326 to beat second place Saugus at 349, followed by Paraclete, 351.

It was cold and windy, according to coach Terrance Lynch, but his team adjusted, gaining the lopsided victory. It was a good test for the boys because the quality of the team is similar to the competition they will face when league gets going next week.

The defending champion Ayala Bulldogs will be good again with half of last year’s starters returning. Basically, it will be a four-way fight between Bonita, Glendora, CHS and Ayala.

Recently the boys had a practice round at Marshall Canyon Golf Course against the Bearcats that Bonita won by 188-195.

Reis, who is the number-one seed, has just finished the CHS soccer season and now is full time on the links. This year he has focused his energy on golf, participating in tournaments in the off season.

At second, Slater is a four-time varsity player who, according to Coach Lynch, is capable of shooting par at any time.

Rounding out the top three, Lee is also a hockey player who skipped last year’s golf season to play hockey on the east coast. Two other seniors who have been on the team four years are Seth Eshleman and Nick Nahani.

Coach Lynch says he has another group of eight players that could rotate in to fill the last varsity spot, which is a pretty good position to be in as league begins.

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