With a league winning streak at 20 games and counting, the La Cañada High softball team has taken firm ownership of the Rio Hondo League.
The Spartans captured their second straight league crown this past season and enjoyed the spoils from such success as sophomore Emily Tinkham was named the Rio Hondo League Most Valuable Player and junior Holly Stoner was tabbed the league most valuable pitcher.
La Cañada added two first-team selections to the league awards list, along with three picks on the second team and one honorable mention.
La Cañada enjoyed a fruitful regular season as the Spartans finished 17-5 and 12-0 in league as they ran roughshod through Rio Hondo competition.
The one drawback came in the postseason, however, as the Spartans were upset in the first round of the CIF Southern Section Division IV playoffs, 8-5, against visiting Arroyo El Monte on May 18.
“We had a very good year and I’m proud of the accomplishments of this team,” La Cañada coach Chuck Gunter said. “We had a tough first-round loss, but I don’t think that takes away from the overall success.”
Tinkham, a second baseman and No. 3 hitter, batted .441 in 12 league games with an amazing 1.495 on-base plus slugging percentage that included four home runs, 20 runs and 16 runs batted in (only league statistics were provided by La Cañada).
“I was really surprised and excited to win the award,” said Tinkham, a first-team pick in 2016. “I didn’t think I was going to get it because there are so many deserving players on the team. When I found out, it was just a really great feeling.”
Perhaps there was little surprise that Stoner was named the most valuable pitcher for a second straight year.
The right-hander was dominant again in league action with a sterling 12-0 record that included a .212 earned-run average with 102 strikeouts versus only 12 walks over 66 innings. Stoner allowed five totals runs, only two of which were earned.
“I’m really excited to win it twice and it shows that all my hard work during the offseason paid off,” Stoner said. “I definitely worked on location during the summer and my conditioning because I wanted to become a stronger, smarter and better player.”
La Cañada boasted two league first-team selections in Gillian Arnold and Taryn Harris.
The honor was the second straight for Arnold, a senior infielder and second-teamer last season.
Arnold hit a team-leading .474 in 12 league games with an on-base percentage of .565. Arnold added 16 RBI and 11 runs along.
“I’ve watched her develop since she was 12 years old,” Gunter said. “Nothing came natural for her. Everything she accomplished came from hard work. This year, she worked even harder on hitting and fielding.”
As for Harris, it was the junior catcher’s second consecutive first-team pick.
Harris batted .361 in 12 games with 11 RBI and eight runs.
“Taryn is unique because we had to convert her into a catcher last year and she’s gotten good at the position,” Gunter said. “She’s focused on her hitting and on her catching fundamentals.”
La Cañada senior infielder Meghan Henry, junior infielder Alexis Abboud and junior outfielder Maddy Reilly were tabbed league second-team choices.
The league selection is Henry’s second as she batted .394 in 12 games with 13 RBI and seven runs.
Abboud locked her third straight league honor as she batted .355 in 12 games with 14 runs, five RBI and four doubles.
Reilly also merited her second straight league selection after hitting .370 with 16 runs and nine RBI in 12 games.
La Cañada senior third baseman Abby Au enjoyed her third consecutive league award by being named an honorable mention after batting .290 with 12 RBI and eight runs in 12 games.