Following a sensational freshman season as the starting pitcher of the Crescenta Valley High softball team, Dee Dee Hernandez came back for her sophomore campaign looking to check some boxes.
The left-hander was able to achieve many of the goals she sought, including one that translated into historic significance while dominating in the circle.
Hernandez, a member of the Mexican National Team, came back better than ever in helping Crescenta Valley win the CIF Southern Section Division III championship in May.
After being selected the Pacific League Pitcher of the Year and CIF Southern Section Division III Player of the Year, Hernandez earned more state and national accolades as she was named to the Cal-Hi Sports All-State Softball Underclassmen first team and honored as a MaxPreps National High School Underclass All-American.
It was because of those accomplishments that Hernandez has been selected the 2018-19 Glendale News-Press Girls’ Athlete of the Year. It marked the first time Hernandez was bestowed with the honor.
Hernandez, a left-hander, went 23-5 with a 0.98 earned-run average in 28 appearances. She struck out 164 and walked 20 in 158 innings. At the plate, Hernandez proved to be a juggernaut, as she hit .602 (53 for 88) with three home runs, 17 doubles, 25 runs, 42 runs batted in and a .943 slugging percentage for the Pacific League-champion Falcons (27-5-1, 14-0 in league). She also recorded a 1.616 on-base plus slugging percentage.
Crescenta Valley won the league title for the third season in a row and notched its first CIF crown since 1986.
“I think I gained a lot of experience from last year and that helped me going into this year,” Hernandez said. “It’s about going out there and learning more. You just have to keep going.”
Hernandez pitched a no-hitter in the CIF Division III championship game to lift Crescenta Valley to a 3-0 win against West Ranch at Deanna Manning Stadium in Irvine. She faced one batter over the minimum and struck out 11.
Hernandez was one of two Crescenta Valley athletes to pick up All-CIF honors, joining senior shortstop and Cal State Fullerton-bound Alyssa Hernandez.
As a freshman, Hernandez went 21-2 with a 0.42 earned-run average and 162 strikeouts to just four walks in 131 1/3 innings.
“Dee Dee is such a great athlete overall and we are very proud of her,” said Crescenta Valley coach Amanda Peek, who was tabbed the CIF Division III Coach of the Year. “The thing with Dee Dee is that she’ll just keep on going and she’s nowhere near her peak.
“Things are just beginning for her with two more years of high school and then heading off to college for four years. “She’s not afraid to go up against anybody. She proved that all year long.”