Burbank softball's Caitlyn Brooks earns top Pacific League award

It's been a pretty successful year in the Brooks household as far as sports are concerned.

In the fall season, senior Tyler Brooks was named the Pacific League Player of the Year in girls' volleyball at Burbank High. Not to be outdone, her little sister, Caitlyn, earned her own accolades during the softball season.

A force as a pitcher as well as a terror at the plate, Caitlyn Books, a sophomore, was recognized as this season's Pacific League Player of the Year.

"When my sister found out that I won it she was so excited for me," Caitlyn Brooks said. "She's my older sister so I've always looked up to her. And she's always been so supportive of me in everything that I do.

"But it's kind of cool having both awards in our family."

Brooks led a group of 12 local players — seven from Burbank and five from Burroughs — to earn all-league softball accolades.

Making the first team for the Bulldogs was sophomore third baseman Lily Winn, senior second baseman Katie Hooper and freshman designated hitter Julia Duarte. First-team selections for the Indians were sophomore catcher Michelle Santiago and sophomore outfielder Delaney Nicol.

Earning spots on the second team were freshman shortstop Kaitlin Okimoto and senior pitcher Brice Edrington of Burroughs and sophomore outfielder Jazmin Orozco and sophomore catcher Bridgette Pisa of Burbank. The Bulldogs had an honorable mention pick in junior outfielder Kaitlin Brooks and the Indians got junior outfielder Sidney Ortega on the list as well.

Brooks was nothing but dominant in the circle in the Pacific League, finishing with a sparkling 14-0 record. On the season, she was 25-3 with a 0.78 earned-run average and opponents batted just .174 against her. In addition, Brooks had 309 strikeouts and just 25 walks. She also tallied double-digit strikeouts in 24 games.

"I really tried to keep the ball down more this season and I tried to get more groundouts," Brooks said. "I also tried to concentrate on what I was doing out there and not worry about each batter and what they were doing."

In addition to her success in the circle, Brooks was Burbank's leading hitter. Along with a .526 batting average, she also had 40 hits, 35 runs batted in, seven doubles, 12 home runs and 42 runs scored. Along with a 1.118 slugging percentage, Brooks also had a .617 on-base average.

"Caitlyn gets a lot of attention because she's such a great pitcher," said Burbank Coach Nicole Drabecki, who was voted the league's coach of the year. "But she is also a great hitter and you can't look past her in the lineup.

"But her pitching is what just amazes me. The command she has and the things she can do being just a sophomore is pretty incredible."

Burbank's three first-teamers — Winn, Hooper and Duarte — proved to powerful forces in helping the Bulldogs (25-3) capture their first Pacific League championship since 1987. Unfortunately for Burbank, despite being seeded No. 2 in the CIF Southern Section Division III playoffs, it lost in the second round to Sunny Hills, 8-7, in eight innings.

Hooper, who is headed to Cal State Northridge, ended a successful career by hitting .526 with 40 hits, 21 RBI, 25 runs scored and five home runs. Winn had a .430 batting average with 37 hits, 30 RBI, 37 runs scored, nine doubles and three home runs and Duarte enjoyed a fine first season by hitting .371 with 26 hits, 24 RBI, 29 runs, four triples and three home runs.

"When we needed some runs or some big hits we could always rely on those three to come through for us," Drabecki said.

Santiago picked up right where she left off from her freshman season and put up solid numbers as a sophomore. Along with a .443 batting average, she also tallied 35 hits, 13 RBI and 34 runs to go along with four triples and five home runs. Nicol finished with a .449 average with 31 hits, 19 RBI, 21 runs and three home runs.

"Michelle and Delaney are only sophomores," Burroughs Coach Doug Nicol said. "Four girls from our team that were named all-league are underclassmen, so that bodes well for our future for sure. I thought all of our girls who made it deserved it, and they had some great efforts."

The Indians (19-9) tied for third in the Pacific League.

In earning spots on the second team, Orozco hit .417 with 35 hits, 22 RBI, 21 runs scored and eight doubles, Pisa had a .438 average with 32 hits, 15 RBI and 19 runs, Okimoto hit .398 with 35 hits, 28 RBI, 17 runs and six triples. As a pitcher, Edrington went 10-6 with a 2.49 ERA and 65 strikeouts. She also hit .385 with 25 hits.

Rounding out the list, Kaitlin Brooks hit .400 with 32 hits, 18 RBI and 18 runs an Ortega hit .418 with 33 hits, 15 RBI, 22 runs and four triples.

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