BURBANK — The Bellarmine-Jefferson High softball team was able to be successful this past season because of some new blood.
Along with first-year Coach John Castaneda, the Guards had a large group of first-year players who helped the program become successful.
At the head of that list was freshman third baseman Monique Landini. Landini was a driving force for Bell-Jeff, providing the team with offensive punch while supplying solid defense.
“She just had a great year for us,” Castadena. “She was one of those players for us when we needed a big hit, more times than not she would come through. She made a big impact for us and she was only a freshman.”
Landini’s didn’t go unnoticed in league, as she was voted the Santa Cruz League Player of the Year.
Landini was one of a host of players from Bell-Jeff, as well as Burroughs, Burbank and Providence, to earn all-league honors for the 2010 season.
Proving her prowess at the plate, Landini batted .593 and had 35 hits, 23 runs batted in, five doubles, five home runs, a .966 slugging percentage and a .657 on-base average. She also scored 32 runs. In addition, she stole 17 bases in 17 attempts.
Landini was one of eight Bell-Jeff players to earn all-league accolades.
The most-valuable pitcher of the league was awarded to Guards sophomore hurler Jacklyn Pons, who had a 14-4 record. At the plate, she hit .392 and had 20 hits, 10 RBI, five doubles and 17 runs scored.
Earning places on the first team were junior outfielder Mari Rosa, junior catcher Katlyn Villareal and junior shortstop Sarah Martinez.
While Rosa had a .387 average with 24 hits, 27 runs scored and 14 RBI, Martinez hit .365 and had 23 hits, 23 runs scored, 20 RBI, five doubles, three triples, three home runs and a .683 slugging percentage and Villareal hit .373 with 22 hits, 20 RBI and 18 runs scored.
Making the second team for Bell-Jeff was sophomore outfielder Ashley Ketchum, freshman outfielder Diana Rosa and freshman second baseman Caitlin Teng.
The players helped the Guards (15-5) enjoy a huge turnaround in 2010, which included the Santa Fe League championship, the program’s first in 17 years.
In 2009, the Guards placed third in league and had a 5-11 record.
Bell-Jeff also won a playoff game this past season, defeating North County Christian, 18-7, in a first-round CIF Southern Section Division VII game.
Burroughs also enjoyed a fine season that included winning the Pacific League championship. It was the Indians’ first crown in 28 years.
Under Coach Jose Valle, Burroughs (18-10) defeated Burbank in the final regular-season game to clinch the undisputed championship. The Indians also won their playoff opener against Paso Robles, 3-2, before falling in the second round to Ayala, 12-0.
Valle was voted the Pacific League Coach of the Year and the Indians landed six players on the all-league list.
Making the first team were sophomore pitcher Heather Haynes, senior shortstop Vanessa Simile and sophomore catcher Shannon Trujillo.
Haynes helped lead Burroughs, going 11-5 in the circle with six shutouts in 16 games. She also struck out 106 and walked 29 in 109 innings. In addition, she allowed just 12 earned runs, had a 0.77 earned-run average and opposing teams hit just .176 against her.
Trujillo had a .365 average with 17 runs scored, 31 hits, two home runs, 16 RBI and 42 total bases and Simile had a .289 average with 15 runs scored, 22 hits and 14 walks. She also stole 19 bases in 19 attempts.
Making the second team for the Indians were junior third baseman Hallie White and senior outfielder Jenna Serranzana. Junior first baseman Taylor Bulivac was an honorable-mention pick.
Burbank (17-10) stayed in contention for the league championship throughout the season. The Bulldogs finished in third place.
In the playoffs, Burbank fell in a Division III wild-card game to Pioneer Valley, 10-9.
Burbank was led by senior shortstop Kassy Uchida, who earned all-league first-team honors.
Uchida, who is headed to Utah State, put up monster numbers for the Bulldogs. She hit a team-best .635 and had 47 hits, 29 RBI, 30 runs scored, six doubles, five triples and three home runs. In addition, she had a .647 on-base average, a .973 slugging percentage and struck out just five times. On defense, she had a .953 fielding average and made five errors in 106 chances.
Since transferring to Burbank for her sophomore season, Uchida has been an all-league selection all three years. She ends her career as one of the most productive hitters in program history, accumulating a .517 average to go along with 116 hits, 74 RBI and 78 runs scored.
Also making the first team was teammate Megan Schafer. The senior outfielder hit .513 and had 40 hits, 17 runs scored, 11 RBI, three triples, two home runs and a .692 slugging percentage.
Teammate Kassi Smith, a senior first baseman, was a second-team pick and senior third baseman Alyssa Meredith was an honorable-mention selection.
Providence (8-14) made the playoffs after placing third in the Liberty League. The Pioneers fell in their Division IV playoff game to Nordhoff, 10-0.
Earning all-league accolades for the Pioneers were senior shortstop Andy Rubalcava and catcher Michelle Longtain. While Longtain had a .390 average with 16 hits and 11 RBI, Rubalcava hit .356 and had 21 hits, 16 RBI and 15 runs scored.