RIVERSIDE – For J.W. North softball coach Ernie Tamayo, getting his players ready for their game in the first round of the CIF Southern Section Division 6 playoffs was relatively easy.
Tamayo and his coaching staff didn’t have such an easy job getting the field ready for Thursday’s game. But with a lot of raking, pounding and drying compound, the group managed to remove all the puddles and have the dirt infield looking pretty good despite the heavy rain that fell overnight.
North (24-3) scored four runs in each of the first two innings Thursday. The Huskies added two more runs in the fourth and freshman pitcher Remi Martinez limited Calvary Chapel of Downey to three hits in a 10-0 victory that was stopped after four and a half innings because of the 10-run mercy rule.
North will play the winner of the Coastal Christian-Sierra Vista game on Tuesday in the second round. The site is to be determined.
Tamayo was the baseball coach at North for six years before switching to softball.
He took the team to the CIF finals in 2018, but the team missed the playoffs in 2022.
“This season has been a really big turnaround for us,” Tamayo said. “We have a really good group.”
The addition of freshmen like Martinez has helped boost the team. Tamayo said he has known Martinez since before she was born.
“Her mother used to work with me on campus,” Tamayo said.
Martinez throws seven different types of pitches, three of which she learned from her father, Angel, who was a soccer player.
“I think he might have wanted me to play soccer,” she said, “but I followed my three sisters who played softball.”
North’s players are hoping to make a deep run in the playoffs this season.
“I think we have a pretty good chance of winning CIF,” said Angelina Martinez, who had two doubles and a triple in the victory Thursday. “We have good defense and good pitching.”
The sophomore, who is not related to Remi Martinez, has “been an impact player since she got here,” Tamayo said.
Angelina Martinez, who bats third in North’s potent batting order, has two older sisters who played at North. Her oldest sister, Alyssa Martinez, plays at Cal State San Bernardino.
She hopes to get a full scholarship to an NCAA Division I college.