With a Pacific League title to defend, the Burroughs High softball program will be without a decorated player who was its best pitcher as well as its best hitter from a year ago.
Senior Presley Miraglia will not compete for the Indians because of grade issues.
Miraglia, who was the 2016 All-Area Softball Player of the Year, was the league’s pitcher of the year in 2017, helping Burroughs win a share of the title.
In the circle, Miraglia was 19-5 with a 2.58 earned-run average over 144 innings. She struck out 165 and walked 29. At the plate, Miraglia had a team-best .533 batting average and was tops in runs batted in with 24.
While Burroughs also lost key players to graduation, Burbank has most of its team back. At Providence, the squad is waiting to be at full strength with a group of its players still competing for the school’s basketball team, which is in the state playoffs.
With Miraglia leading the way, the Indians (19-2, 12-2 in league) earned a share of the Pacific League championship with Crescenta Valley last season. It was Burroughs’ third straight title.
Moving up to CIF Southern Section Division I, the Indians lost in the first round of the playoffs to Oaks Christian, 7-1.
“It’s going to be extremely tough not having Presley out there for us,” Burroughs coach Wes Tanigawa said. “Pres really knew how to work this team and how to get this team going. Not having her is going to be an eye-opener.
“We have some younger pitchers and we thought we were going to be able to work them in and get them some experience behind Presley and have them ready for next year. But now we’re going to have to have them jump in with both feet.”
Taking over the pitching duties will be sophomores Sidnie Dabbadie and Isabella Kam.
Burroughs will have some experience with senior second baseman Nikki Ricciardella (.328 batting average, 17 runs, eight RBI) and senior outfielder Hannah Talavera (.371, 23 runs, eight RBI).
Also returning to bolster the Indians are senior first baseman Kaylee Vigil, sophomore first baseman Chloe Bookmeyer, sophomore third baseman Memorie Munoz and senior outfielder Jessie Amaya.
“Losing our big bat, along with some seniors who graduated, we are looking for people to be able to step up for us at the plate,” Tanigawa said. “We are hoping to have enough to compete for the top spot in league. We know that [Crescenta Valley] is going to be tough again in league.”
The Bulldogs are coming off a season in which they went 12-14, 8-6 in the Pacific League for fifth place. The team didn’t qualify for the Division III playoffs.
“We have just about the entire team returning and just about all of our starters,” Bulldogs coach Mike Delaney said. “We have a lot of players who can play multiple positions, which is really a nice thing to have.
“This team is really tight and I have to do very little managing of them. We have some great leadership and they really take care of themselves and take care of all their little issues inside their own group.”
The Bulldogs will go with a pitching tandem of senior right-hander Allie Benson and sophomore left-hander Alyssa Porras.
Three returning all-league players for the Bulldogs are senior outfielder Anysia Gonzalez (.457 batting average, 21 runs, 18 RBI, five triples), junior utility Alex Davis (.415, 26 runs, 16 RBI) and senior first baseman Erin Lashkari (.339, 21 RBI, 15 runs).
Returners who Delaney hopes will step up are senior utility Macey Jensen, junior second baseman/catcher Amaya Broyls, sophomore shortstop Katie Treadway, senior third baseman Bene Snyder and junior catcher Nikki Davis, along with junior outfielders Carly Oldfield and Sarah Garelick.
“We have had a consistent message through the fall and coming into the season that we want to get back to the playoffs after not making it last year,” Delaney said. “That was a big disappointment for all of us. And we are going under the philosophy that Burbank High should be in the playoffs every year and there should be no excuses for that.
“I think that as far as our league goes, it’s CV that I’m most concerned about. They just seem to get stronger and stronger.”
Last season, Providence went 8-7, 5-2 in league and placed second in the Liberty League behind Archer (7-0 in league). The Pioneers lost in the first round of the Division VII playoffs to Ramona Convent, 10-0.
The Pioneers had to cancel games because they didn’t have enough players due to members still competing in basketball.
“We just have to wait for the basketball team to get done to have our whole team,” Providence coach Joel Curtis said. “Even with them I think I will only have about 12 girls. It’s tough, but that’s what happens at a small school when players play multiple sports.”
The Pioneers have a new pitcher in senior Madison Gibson, a first-team all-league selection last season for Bellarmine-Jefferson. Because Bell-Jeff isn’t fielding a softball team for the second straight season, Gibson doesn’t have to sit out the CIF waiting period.
Gibson will share time in the circle with senior Celeste Lee and sophomore Amanda Bin.
Players who should also contribute are senior catcher Sarah Cox, senior third baseman Francesca Marvilla, sophomore utility Vea Guillermo and sophomore outfielder/catcher Ava Yood-Howard.
“I preach to them that you’re going to play where we need you the most,” Curtis said. “It’s good that we have girls who can play multiple positions. We have four freshmen who can play as well.
“I just hope we will have things together in time for league. I expect Archer and Oakwood to have good teams in our league.”