CHATTER: DISAPPOINTING END FOR A.V.
There had been many examples during their stay in Kalamazoo, Mich., that gave the Antelope Valley All-Stars the feeling it might not be their year at the Big League Softball World Series.
The first inning of Friday's third-place game against San Juan, Puerto Rico, might have been the most frustrating of all.
After Candice Miller and Shannon Bailey hit back-to-back home runs, Alaina Devenney was robbed of a potential third straight solo shot when the center fielder reached over the fence to catch the ball.
For Antelope Valley, that was the closest it came to scoring the rest of the day, as Puerto Rico scored twice in the fourth and added two more in the fifth to prevail 4-2 at Vanderberg Park.
"I knew it was over the fence. Another two inches further and it would've been out for sure," said Devenney, the lone holdover from Antelope Valley's 2005 championship team. "I hit it well, but I got it just a little bit high up and she reached back and got it."
Vanessa House and Evan Ruiz managed the only hits the rest of the game against reliever Kaylin Camacho and Puerto Rico (8-2) took advantage of errors in the fourth and fifth to hand Antelope Valley (9-4) consecutive losses for the first time all postseason.
"We didn't hit like we should've and that's what happens," Miller said. "We hit two home runs and then we just settle on those runs like we've got it in the bag."
Heather Black took the loss in relief of Courtney Evans for Antelope Valley, which was looking to rebound from a 7-1 semifinal setback Thursday to Seymour, Conn.
"Our goal was to be on (ESPN)," Miller said. "Or we at least wanted to play (Kalamazoo) again (after a 2-0 loss Monday)."
Vanessa House and Evan Ruiz collected the remaining hits for Antelope Valley. Miller's home run was her second in the World Series and fifth in the postseason. Bailey's was her third overall and first in Kalamazoo.
After the contest, veteran coaches Ray Beltrami and Walt Pattison told players it would be their last game with Antelope Valley. Beltrami and Pattison led District 51 to nine World Series appearances in 12 years, including two titles.
-- Erik Boal
Search over for Conquistadores
It took longer than expected, but El Camino Real of Woodland Hills finally filled its head boys' basketball coaching position.
David Rebibo, the junior varsity coach at Crespi of Encino and a former El Camino Real and Chatsworth basketball player steps in to replace Alex Lopez, who left to be with his NBA hopeful brothers, Brook and Robin.
"It's going to be a new era for El Camino basketball," the 23-year old Rebibo said. "It'll take time but it'll be quite an achievement if we can turn it around."
Athletic director Richard Yi hoped to have a coach in place by the end of July, but because ECR could only offer a coaching position without a teaching job, several candidates declined offers.
The Conquistadores won their first playoff game in 28 years under Lopez, but return just one starter, senior Justin Brooks, off last year's team.
-- Roman Veytsman