HomeBlocksFront-TopSoftball Preview: Spartans Aim to Dethrone Temple City for League Crown

Softball Preview: Spartans Aim to Dethrone Temple City for League Crown

The La Cañada High School varsity softball team resumed play last week with goals of to snatching the Rio Hondo League crown from Temple City and embark on another CIF Southern Section playoff run.
Spartans coach Travis Lovejoy led the team to a second-place finish in league last season, boasting a 9-3 record (16-11 overall). Their season ended with an elimination by Aliso Niguel High of Aliso Viejo in the second round of the CIF-SS Division III tournament.
“Every year, our goal is the same: compete for a league championship, make the CIF playoffs and make a deep run in the playoffs,” Lovejoy said. “The two ways we can accomplish that are by coming together as a team, and by getting better every day so that our last game of the season is our best game of the season.”
La Cañada will depend on its exceptional pitching staff to achieve its objectives. Senior Elle Leckrone, the reigning league MVP, and junior Bentley Labrecque, honored as a first-team all-league selection last year, will play pivotal roles in the Spartans’ quest for a league crown.
“Our pitching sets us apart,” Lovejoy said. “Most teams are lucky to have one really good pitcher. We have three varsity-caliber pitchers, two of whom earned all-league honors.”
The Spartans will lean on returners such as senior Ashley Lovejoy, a second-team all-league catcher, senior Mia Salardino, an all-league honorable mention outfielder, and junior Grace Rocco, a first-team all-league outfielder. The La Cañada manager is also eager to witness the development of the freshman duo Riley Labrecque and Leslie Milton as the season unfolds.
“I think every high school team struggles with the same thing every year: integrating new varsity players and finding a way for the girls to gel as a team,” Travis Lovejoy said.
The Spartans, who opened the season with a 1-3 record, will kick off league play at Monrovia on March 5.


Flintridge Sacred Heart Academy senior Meaghan Coyle recorded a 095 ERA and 101 strikeouts across 88 innings last year

The Tologs are gearing up for the 2024 campaign with goals to secure a sixth straight Sunshine League title and a return to the CIF Southern Section playoffs. FSHA finished first in league last year with an 8-0 record (17-5 overall) but experienced an early end to the season, being eliminated by Oxnard in the first round of the CIF-SS Division IV playoffs.
“We lost seven starters from last year’s team, so we will be young and inexperienced,” FSHA coach Kirk Nishiyama said. “Our hope is by the time league starts that will have gained the in-game experience necessary to be successful.”
To replicate last year’s success, Nishiyama said the Tologs will heavily depend on senior Meaghan Coyle, their All-CIF pitcher, and junior Ava Nawrocki, a first-team all-league centerfielder and three-year varsity player.
Coyle amassed 101 strikeouts in 88 innings with a minuscule 0.95 ERA. She held opponents to a .185 batting average and finished with an impressive 14-2 record. Nawrocki emerged as one of FSHA’s top hitters last season, boasting a .514 batting average and a 1.415 OPS with 27 RBIs, 30 runs, 12 doubles and six triples in 21 games.
Nishiyama noted that his young core of infielders, including sophomore Juliette Smith, freshman Sienna Gundersen and freshman Jayne Bender, will offer solid defense behind Coyle.
FSHA has identified the league matchups against Harvard-Westlake High of Studio City and Immaculate Heart High of Los Angeles as key games this season. Nishiyama said these two schools will be FSHA’s main competition in league play, but the Tologs should feel confident after going a combined 7-0 against them in the last two seasons.
Flintridge Sacred Heart Academy will compete in a string of nonleague and tournament games until it begins league play against Immaculate Heart High on March 7.


Flintridge Prep senior Asta Uziel and the Wolves will look to earn another CIF Southern Section playoff appearance this season

Under head coach Julie Mejia, the Wolves had a competitive season last year, securing a third-place finish in the Prep League with an 8-4 record (12-8 overall). Flintridge Prep earned a CIF Southern Section Division VII postseason appearance but was eliminated by Los Amigos High of Fountain Valley in the second round. Mejia did not respond to the Outlook Valley Sun’s questionnaire before its press deadline.
The Wolves began the 2024 campaign with a pair of nonleague victories over Pasadena and South Pasadena last week. Flintridge Prep will begin league play by hosting Providence High of Burbank on March 6.

First published in the February 22 print issue of the Outlook Valley Sun.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Most Popular

[bsa_pro_ad_space id=3]