GLENDALE â€” Just like that, Jessica Ferri pitched herself to the top of the Mission League ladder.
Though the Flintridge Sacred Heart Academy junior softball hurler and her teammates didn't qualify for the CIF Southern Section Division IV playoffs this season, Ferri proved she could handle the workload against quality teams in the formidable league.
Ferri proved herself in a big way, as she was named the league's co-pitcher of the year with sophomore Lindsey Webster of Alemany.
In addition, four Flintridge Sacred Heart position players received all-league accolades.
Ferri, a right-hander, earned a spot on the all-league second team last year. Though the marks she put up this year were drastically better, earning co-pitcher of the year accolades wasn't something that entered Ferri's mind.
â€œI'm surprised a bit,â€ said Ferri, who finished the season at 10-8 with 228 strikeouts and a 0.78 earned-run average. â€œIt didn't cross my mind that it would happen, especially since we went 4-6 in league.
â€œI'm still in a bit of shock, but it's a great compliment.â€
Ferri struck out 122 in 2007, setting the stage for her to do bigger things and possibly continue to put up gaudy numbers. Under first-year Coach Kirk Nishiyama, it happened.
Nishiyama put faith and trust into Ferri to help guide the inexperienced Tologs.
â€œShe deserved [being named co-pitcher of the year], that was a pretty obvious choice,â€ said Nishiyama, whose team finished at 10-10 and 4-6 in league for fourth place. â€œStatistically, she and Lindsey were even.
â€œMy argument would be that without Jess, we wouldn't have had four wins in league. We were in every game and mostly competitive because of her. She kept us in every game.â€
Webster went 21-7 and struck out 246 in helping the Warriors share the league title with Chaminade.
Flintridge Sacred Heart senior center fielder Amy Leos and freshman outfielder/catcher Alanna Pires received first-team honors.
Leos batted .284 (19 for 67) with one home run and seven runs batted in. Pires hit .292 (21 for 72) and scored nine runs.
â€œAmy provided leadership and came through with some big hits,â€ Nishiyama said. â€œAlanna made a difference for us by being versatile on defense and setting the table at the top of the lineup.â€
Junior first baseman Mary Knauf and junior shortstop/third baseman Taylor Crotty of Flintridge Sacred Heart picked up second-team accolades.
Knauf batted .143 (nine for 63) with one home run and six runs batted in. Crotty hit .206 (14 for 68) and drove in four runs.
â€œ[Mary] was solid for us defensively,â€ Nishiyama said. â€œWe were able to plug Taylor at different positions and she adjusted well.
â€œI'm satisfied with having five of our players on the all-league team. Having four of the five coming back next year will help us have a nice nucleus.â€
?CHARLES RICH covers sports. He can be reached at (818) 637-3228 or email@example.com.