Kirker named DIII co-POY

GLENDALE — In a tradition rife with Pacific League titles, deep CIF postseason runs and Division I college players, Crescenta Valley High softball never had a Falcon voted division player of the year.

That was until Baillie Kirker, of course.

The University of Arizona-bound junior who's made a habit out of making history did it again, becoming the first Falcons player bestowed the honor, as she was named All-LA84 Division III co-Player of the Year.

“I was actually really surprised, shocked,” said Kirker of receiving the award that previously fell under the All-CIF moniker. “They usually give it to [a player on] the championship team.”

The championship squad still got its share, as La Serna pitcher Holly Consterdine split the POY honor.

Kirker wasn't the only Crescenta Valley player to receive recognition. For a second straight season, Ashleigh Viers-Gordillo received Division III accolades, as she was a first-team selection, while Stephanie Ziemann, a second-team pick, gave the Falcons a trio of honorees.

“It's three outstanding young ladies,” Falcons Coach Dan Berry said. “They're a great representation of Crescenta Valley High School.”

The trio was key in leading Crescenta Valley to the CIF Southern Section Division III semifinals, the first time the Falcons had advanced that far since 2000. Their perfect season came to an end with a 3-2 loss to eventual-champion La Serna.

Consterdine struck out nine and allowed just four hits in the contest.

Against her, Kirker went one for two, with a single, a strikeout and a walk. In addition, she made a slew of splendid plays at shortstop.

“She did what she could do to keep us in that game,” Berry said. “I think that [performance] pretty much solidified her being co-player of the year.”

While that performance might have solidified the honor, Kirker's mind-spinning offensive numbers proved too good to be overlooked.

The junior shortstop ended the year with a Southern Section-record 18 home runs. While Kirker's roundtrip prowess grabbed headlines, her other numbers were equally amazing.

She posted a .632 batting average, tallied 66 runs batted in and scored 47 runs.

“Baillie's pretty much an amazing player all-around,” Ziemann said. “She's always been a great player.”

Evidenced by the fact this was the third year she's received All-LA84 (All-CIF) honors.

Viers-Gordillo, a senior first baseman, finished up a stellar four-year varsity career. The lead-off hitter hit .460 with 47 runs, 42 RBIs and seven home runs.

“She always got on, she always started the rallies,” Ziemann said.

The fleet-footed Ziemann, a junior center fielder, was stellar with the glove and at the plate, batting .524, while scoring 34 runs and driving in 26 more.

“Stephanie was a very big asset,” Kirker said. “She played her best.”

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