All three local softball teams lost some key players to graduation, while some players decided not to compete this season.
Burbank looks to continue its improvement from last season after qualifying for the CIF Southern Section playoffs a year ago after missing the postseason the previous season.
Burroughs will also look for a return to the playoffs after its dominate pitcher graduated and moved on to college.
For Providence, it moves from the Liberty League to the Prep League and will be guided by first-year coach Frankie Garcia.
Here is a closer look at the teams.
Burbank went 16-12, 10-4 in the Pacific League last season, bouncing back to finish third. In the Division IV playoffs, the Bulldogs fell in the wild-card round to Norwalk, 4-2.
“We have 10 seniors on our roster this year, but really just five with a lot of experience,” Burbank coach Mike Delaney said. “It is really kind of a year of transition for us.
“Our starting shortstop from last year won’t be with us because she decided to take the year off to concentrate on her studies. Then the girl who was going to replace her at short transferred out at Christmas break. So, we’ve had to switch some things around. It’s just been that kind of year.”
Moving to shore up the shortstop position is senior Alex Davis. Last year playing infield and outfield, Davis earned All-Pacific League first-team honors after collecting 30 hits, batting.366 with 23 runs, 19 runs batted in, three home runs and three triples to go along with a team-best slugging percentage of .585. In addition, Davis had 12 stolen bases in 13 attempts.
“Alex will also pick up some of the pitching duties as well,” Delaney said. “She is just a very versatile player.”
Two other all-league returnees are senior catcher/third baseman Desiree Gomez ( 354 average with 23 hits, 19 RBI, seven runs and three triples), who was a second-team selection, and senior pitcher Alyssa Porras (11-5 with a 1.94 earned-run average with 76 strikeouts and 27 walks in 11 2/3 innings), who was honorable mention.
Another key returner is second-team all-league catcher/infielder Amaya Broyls, who hit .354 with 29 hits, 18 runs, 16 RBI and two home runs.
Other players who could make an impact are sophomore outfielder Victoria Sanchez, sophomore utility Erika Montoya, senior utility Sarah Garelick, senior outfielder Izzy Sanchez and senior pitcher Savannah Benson.
The team could also benefit from the return of senior Emily Monterrey, who didn’t play the last two seasons. As a freshman, she earned all-league honors after batting .474 with 26 RBI and 12 runs.
Crescenta Valley captured the league championship last season and Burroughs was runner-up.
“If Alyssa pitches to the caliber she pitched last year and we get support from Savannah, our other pitcher, and Alex, I think we can do better than we did last year,” Delaney said. “We have been hitting the ball really well.
“In our league, I think you have to give it to CV right now. They seem to be the most complete team out there. They have a great pitcher that really gives them the edge … I think we’ll be battling it out with Burroughs and Arcadia for the other spots.”
The Pioneers are coming off a season in which they went 4-11, 1-4 in the Liberty League.
Providence lost it’s two all-league players to graduation, senior third baseman Francesca Maravilla and senior catcher Sarah Cox.
Since taking over the program, Garcia, who last coached at L.A. Valley College, said she has been pleased with the work ethic and the attitude of the players.
“It’s a great group of young ladies and they have been extremely receptive and they are working hard, and that’s something I appreciate coming in new,’ Garcia said. “It is a big transition for everybody to have a new coach come in and maybe do some things differently from the previous coach. They have been open to learning and to some minor technique changes. They are really adjusting very well.”
The lone player Garcia singles out for the Pioneers is senior Madison Gibson, who will pitch and will likely be the team’s top hitter.
“Madison has the most experience for us out there,” Garcia said. “If she can maintain her focus, she can maintain where she is right now and we can keep her injury free she will be our leader this season.”
In the team’s new league, Garcia said she is not sure what to expect.
“Since I’m coming from college, people have told me that we’re stepping up in this new league that will be tougher,” she said. “All I know about is what they did in last year’s league. So, I’m stepping into a clean slate as far as the new league.
“We really don’t want to focus on how another team is going to be, but instead who we’re going to be and how we are going to compete.”
A year ago, the Indians went 14-5-1 and 12-2 in the Pacific League, finishing second to the Falcons. In the Division III playoffs, Burroughs lost in the first round to Redlands East Valley, 4-0.
Burroughs lost a key player to graduation in senior Presley Miraglia, a four-year standout who is now at Long Beach State. Last season, Miraglia, a former All-CIF and Pacific League Player of the Year, earned first-team all-league honors.
At the plate, Miragila had a .536 batting average with 15 hits, while in the circle she was 5-1 with a 0.65 earned-run average with 44 strikeouts and two walks over 43 innings.
The Indians, under coach Wes Tanigawa, do return last year’s league player of the year, junior first baseman Chloe Bookmyer, who batted .659 with 26 hits, 16 runs scored, 15 runs batted in, six doubles and an .886 slugging percentage.
Another returning all-league player is junior pitcher Isabella Kam, who was honorable-mention.
Other key returning players for the Indians include seniors Morgan Mersola, Mia Storer, Sierra Harvey, Citlali Mendez, Megan Williams, Hannah Skinner, Lauren Valencia and juniors Memorie Munoz and Sidnie Dabbadie. Joining the squad are Kelsey Acosta, Dyani Del Castillo and Alyssa Valenzuela.