Here's one of over 400 winners at the Special Olympics held in March at Sotomayor in NELA | Photo by Dave Abbott

Spring Season in NELA Gets Underway

2019 April Editions Sports


By Dave Abbott of NELA Sports One

The Special Olympics, held at Sotomayor in Glassell Park, warmed the hearts of NELA.  The girls softball team at Eagle Rock High got off to a booming start this spring season. The retirement of a coach at Lincoln High evoked gratitude for a remarkable career. 
And those are just the highlights. Here’s more, as of Mar. 27:

Girls Softball

Eagle Rock’s junior Elianna Reyes, a transfer from Alhambra on her way to San Diego State, said she “wanted to make a statement coming into the [Northern] League” on March 22, and she did just that. Elianna went 3 for 3 with 3 home runs (one was a towering shot over the right field fence) at Eagle Rock High against Franklin High. She also had 2 stolen bases, 5 runs scored and 5 RBI’s in her Eagle Rock debut. The final score was 10-0.

The Wolves of Sotomayor defeated Lincoln 10-9. It was Sotomayor’s first win over Lincoln ever. Prior to this game, Lincoln had a 14-0 record against the Wolves and had outscored them 196-10.


The Coach Retires

Mark Shapiro, Head Coach at Lincoln High School

After 21 years as softball head coach at Lincoln High, Coach Mark Shapiro will be passing the baton to a new head coach next year. During Mark’s career as head coach, his teams played 592 games, winning 75% (444) of them. The 2007 Lincoln team won the city championship. No other Northern League team has won one of those!

“Mark built a program that was always one of the best,” said Dick Dornan, Sports Information Director for CIF LA City Section. “What truly stood out was Mark’s care for his players.”

Belen Benitez, a player on the 2007 championship team, had this to say: “Mark Shapiro was a role model and a father figure for my sisters and me. Shapiro taught me the fundamental tools to be come a mentally and physically strong competitor. He believed in me. I feel blessed to have been a product of his legacy.”

Boys Volleyball, Baseball and Tennis


Eagle Rock, the defending Northern League Champions, got off to a strong 5-0 start in League competition. Lincoln is in 2nd place at 4-1, Franklin at 2-3 and Sotomayor 0-5. There are 5 more League games scheduled for each team.

Marshall and Wilson are out front with 2-0 records. Marshall swept 2 games against Eagle Rock and Wilson did the same to Franklin.

Eagle Rock, now 7-0 in League play, looks to be on its way to repeat as Northern League champions. There are 4 more matches to go in league play before the playoffs.

Competitive Cheer

The Northern-Central League Championship was held on March 15 at Wilson High School, with 10 teams competing. Hollywood won. Marshall came in second and Eagle Rock third.

The Special Olympics

The Special Olympics at Sotomayor | {Photos by Dave Abbott. Splash Art Photography

Over 400 children from 19 elementary and 8 middle schools competed in the Track and Field Games at Solomayor. The event was the culmination of a six-week track and field training program that provides opportunities to learn through sports competition. Local students from Dahlia Heights and Buchanan Street Elementary schools competed in the games.

The All-City Nominees

The winter sports season officially ended in March with the announcement of Boys and Girls All-City Teams, including these players from Eagle Rock, Lincoln, Marshall:

Boys Basketball
For ALL-CITY Division II– Christian Dunbar of Eagle Rock High was named Coach of the Year. Star player, Mitchell Gravino, a senior at Eagle Rock, was named Player of the Year. Also named to the team were Jordan Purvis, a junior at Eagle Rock, and Augustin Rodriguez, a junior at Lincoln High.

Girls Basketball
Named to the ALL-CIF LA City and ALL-CITY Open Division, were Eagle Rock High players Charlize Ea, a senior, and Amanda Williams, a sophomore. Division II saw April Esquivel, a senior at Marshall, named to the team.

Photos:  Dave Abbott, Splash Art Photography
To contact Dave about this coverage or to purchase
his photos of NELA high school sports, visit:

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