Crescenta Valley High’s Heather Bacon, Baillie Kirker and Stephanie Ziemann were teammates on the softball diamond one last time in the San Fernando Valley Classic All-Star Game.
The Falcons trio, which leaves behind it a cavalcade of accolades and moves forward to respective college endeavors, was part of an East squad that fell to the West, 3-1, on an overcast Tuesday afternoon at Birmingham High.
The loss hardly detracted from the experience, though.
“It’s definitely an honor to be picked [for the game],” said Kirker, the state’s all-time home run queen, who will play at the University of Arizona. “It was definitely fun, it was a good experience.”
The biggest highlight for the Crescenta Valley trio was likely Ziemann’s sixth-inning single to center field. It was one of only three hits for the East in a game that was all about pitching.
“[That was] probably the best pitching we’ve seen all season,” said Ziemann, an All-CIF selection last year who will play softball at San Jose State.
Kirker added that it might have been the best pitching they had seen their entire high school tenure.
It was tough to argue, as the teams’ pitching staffs struck out a combined 24 batters. East pitchers struck out 13 and gave up five hits, but were victimized by three unearned runs. And none of the hits were of the extra-base variety.
While stingy pitching was the game’s highlight, the overall atmosphere was a bonus, as well.
“You got to meet new people,” Ziemann said.
“Or play with people you played with before [on travel ball teams],” Kirker added.
Kirker, the reigning All-CIF Southern Section Division III co-MVP, started at designated player, but was moved to shortstop and even first base, where she recorded a pair of putouts in the fifth.
At the plate, however, she went 0 for two. She fouled out to third base in the sixth, the first batter who wasn’t retired via strikeout by Rebecca Patton of Granada Hills, the West MVP, who struck out seven over three scoreless innings, including the first six she faced.
She was also in the home run derby, but was unable to put any over the fence on Tuesday despite 53 round trippers in her illustrious career. It clearly wasn’t a day for hitters in that respect, as Shawna Wright of Lancaster, who had 50 career home runs, won the derby with three longballs, as there were just six hit in the contest.
Ziemann, who started in left field, went one for two at the plate. Her single came in the sixth, the only hit allowed by Patton.
After Crescenta Valley’s Kali Cancelosi declined to play in the game, Bacon took her spot on just a day’s notice.
She went 0 for two at the plate and got quite a few innings’ worth of work in the outfield, a position she couldn’t remember the last time she had played.
Bacon, the Pacific League co-MVP, came on in the circle in the eighth, tossing a scoreless stanza, while allowing a hit and a walk.
“It was just really fun,” said Bacon, who didn’t hesitate to accept the invitation. “I was excited cause it’s a one-time thing.”
The West took a 1-0 lead in the first thanks to two East errors, before the East tied the game in the third when East MVP Adriana Sanchez of Alemany scored on an RBI groundout by Katie Budrick of Burroughs.
Another unearned run gave the West a 2-1 lead in the third before an insurance run in the eighth via three errors made it 3-1.
Flintridge Sacred Heart Academy’s Jessica Ferri, the Mission League Most Valuable Player, was also a member of the East roster, but, still recovering from a knee injury, was unable to play.
In addition, seven Crescenta Valley softball players were named all-Pacific League.
Bacon received top honor, league’s Co-MVP.
Bacon, who was 8-0 in Pacific League play, led the league in wins and strikeouts with 76 and her 0.29 earned-run average was the second-best in league
Named to the first team were Kirker, Ashby and Cancelosi.
Alyssa Sovereign, Ziemann, and junior Kaela Green were all named to the second team.