Ashby is queen of Pacific League

Glendale News Press

GLENDALE — Having made staggering contributions both at the plate and in the circle, a case could have been made that Crescenta Valley High's Erin Ashby proved to be the most versatile softball player in the Pacific League.

A case was made that she was the most valuable player and it concluded with the junior standout being voted the 2010 All-Pacific League Player of the Year by the league's coaches.

"It was an honor to be granted that award with all the great players in the league," said Ashby, who played an instrumental role in the Falcons going 18-9 overall and finishing second in league with a 12-2 mark that included 10 consecutive league wins in which they avenged earlier losses to league champion Burroughs and Burbank.

The Stanford-bound Ashby was a first-team selection last season, but converted from playing third base to pitching for the Falcons this season.

"[I'm] happy for Erin," Falcons Coach Dan Berry said. "I thought that was a culmination of hard work.

"It's not easy to be told the year before you're gonna take over the pitching and, oh by the way, we want you to be the leadoff hitter and we want you to be a captain. It was a great job by her to be able to do so many things. She did a fantastic job."

In addition to Ashby, senior shortstop Alyssa Sovereign, one of the league's top hitters and arguably its best fielder, and junior first baseman Sydney House garnered first-team accolades, as did Hoover senior pitcher Christina Iezza and Glendale junior pitcher Casey Ramirez.

Ashby hit a team-best .568 (50 for 88) and also led her team with 38 runs scored, nine doubles and five triples. She added 32 runs batted in and 10 walks, while striking out just five times. Her pitching numbers saw her go 13-6 ith a 1.72 earned-run average. She tossed 118 innings and allowed 90 hits and 29 earned runs. Ashby struck out 137 to 25 walks.

Admittedly, Ashby said there was extra pressure for her this season, transferring from a starting spot in the infield to taking over the pitching duties.

"With any situation there's pressure," she said. "Especially not being a pitcher, there was pressure, but you have your team to worry about and that's the most important thing."

Sovereign, who will play at Penn State, also made a transition from second base to shortstop and from being the team's No. 2 hitter to its No. 3 batter.

"I thought she did a tremendous job," said Berry of Sovereign, adding that it was her choice on whether she would switch to shortstop or elect to stay at second base. "She chose to do whatever was going to help the team. Making that switch to shortstop said a lot about her.

"It was a tremendous job by her all season."

Sovereign hit .565 (52 for 92) on the season, knocking in a team-high 42 runs and scoring 31 runs, as well. She had a team-high five home runs and five triples along with seven doubles. In the field, she made just four errors.

"Sissy was completely solid in the field, she led the defense," Ashby said. "Sissy's a great player."

House came into her own, particularly late in the season, as the first baseman and No. 5 hitter came up with plenty of clutch hits.

"Sydney's always had a lot of great potential and talent and I think she got the opportunity to show it," Ashby said. "She was a great contributor to our team."

House hit .405 (32 for 79) with 27 RBIs, 16 runs and four home runs.

For Hoover, which went 12-14 and 5-9 in league to tie for fifth place, Iezza was arguably its most consistent and valuable presence.

"She just came back [this season] totally focused, totally dedicated," Hoover Coach Rich Henning said of Iezza. "I thought she was one of the better pitchers in the league."

In the circle, she went 8-9 with a 3.38 ERA, striking out 112 to nine walks in just over 107 innings. She also had 20 hits in 62 at-bats for a .323 average with 21 runs and 21 RBIs.

Ramirez pitched Glendale, which went 5-9 in league also, to its biggest victory of the season, a 2-1 win over Hoover in the teams' season finale. Ramirez held the Tornadoes to five hits and over the season had 57 strikeouts in 57 innings, according to Coach Christine Paknik.

Hoover's Kaitlyn Williams turned in a solid freshman campaign, hitting .308 (20 for 65) with 10 walks, 18 RBI and 17 runs and was rewarded with a second-team honor.

Williams is a player Henning is certainly glad to have coming back and one he knew would make an immediate impact.

"You can't even believe how excited I am about [having her for three more years]," he said. "The talent rises to the top immediately."

Another freshman, Meghan Spencer of Glendale, notched second-team all-league honors, as well. Paknik said she hit .460.

CV's lone second-team honoree was sophomore Allison Lacey, who spent most of the season at third base despite having started at catcher last year.

"Ali could play whatever we could ask her to play. She has the right mentality for the game," Berry said. "She's another one that could've very easily been a first-teamer."

Lacey finished with a .381 average (24 for 92) with 27 runs and 17 RBIs. She also had 12 walks, led the team with 12 sacrifice bunts and made only one error in the field.

Receiving honorable mention among the locals were Glendale's Janete Avina, Hoover's Kenya Buckley and CV's Nicole Salas.

Avina was a sophomore catcher who hit .280 and caught every inning for her team.

Buckley was a speedy sophomore outfielder who led the Tornadoes with nine stolen bases and 21 runs scored. She hit .262.

"Just a natural athlete," Henning said. "Except for maybe pitching, she could play probably anywhere on the field."

Salas was a senior left fielder and captain for the Falcons, hitting .390 (30 for 77) with 24 RBIs and 15 runs.

"I thought she became one of the better outfielders in the league," said Berry of Salas.

Noticeably absent from any recognition was Falcons center fielder Cece Martinez, who hit .402 with 33 hits in 82 at-bats. She also had 22 runs, 15 RBIs, made just one error and struck out but three times in the season.

League selection is voted on by the league coaches, but done in an allotment fashion based on league finish.

Including honorable mention, Burroughs had seven selections, both CV and Burbank had five, Arcadia, Hoover and Glendale all had three and Muir had one.

The coach of the year was Jose Valle of Burroughs.

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