GLENDALE — For the second straight season, the Holy Family softball team qualified for the postseason. In doing so, the Gaels counted on a reliable core of juniors to accomplish that feat.
While the quartet of Rachel Turner, Elena Lomeli, Aurora Aguirre and Jennifer Rodriguez expected to be a large part of the team again next season, they'll each have something to build on after securing All-Horizon League honors for helping the Gaels go 9-7 and 6-2 in league for second place.
Turner and Lomeli were named to the first team, while Aguirre and Rodriguez were selected to the second team, as voted on by the league's five coaches.
"They all put up good numbers and helped the team out," said Holy Family Coach Greg Ziomek, whose team finished runner-up behind San Gabriel Mission before advancing to the first round of the CIF Southern Section Division VI playoffs. "They came ready to play and it's going to be great having them back next season."
Entering the season, Holy Family had aspirations that it would challenge for the league title. The Gaels had a chance to grab a share of the league crown, but came up short in the final league game against San Gabriel Mission at the Glendale Sports Complex. The Gaels' only league losses came against San Gabriel Mission.
The season still proved to be one of the most successful in program history, though, and came to be in large part due to the performances of the Gaels' all-leaguers.
Turner, a pitcher, went 6-4 with a 2.21 earned-run average. The right-hander struck out 81.
At the plate, Turner batted .339 (20 for 59) and scored 10 runs to help solidify Holy Family's lineup.
"She led the team in a lot of areas by being pretty consistent," Ziomek said. "She's got a big bat and great pitching skills.
"She always kept us close enough to stay within striking distance because she was focused. By being mature and staying focused, that helped take her to the next level."
Lomeli proved to be a valuable asset to the Gaels. Her versatility paved the way for Holy Family to slot her at second base, third base and the outfield while it recovered from a couple of injuries during the halfway point in the season.
Lomeli batted .266 (17-64) and registered three doubles and a pair of triples. She also scored a team-high 22 runs and swiped a team-best 18 bases.
"She was our team MVP [in 2010]," Ziomek said. "This year, we moved her to third and that helped lock in our defense.
"She just kept fielding very well and that helped us stay close in our [league] games against Mission and Alverno. She batted lead-off for us and she got on base anyway she could."
Aguirre excelled for Holy Family while patrolling first base. She batted .228 (13-57), but rolled up six extra-base hits. Aguirre had a team-high three triples and added two doubles.
"She was the ideal left-handed first baseman and she could also make the tough plays," Ziomek said. "She brought plenty of heart to the team.
"She also improved with her base running and had some very big hits after she started off the season slow."
Rodriguez, a third baseman/catcher, hit .211 (12-57), but collected four doubles and scored 14 runs.
Rodriguez began the season as a third baseman before being shifted behind the plate. She also developed a knack for working well with Turner as a battery.
"The move that cemented us was moving her behind the plate," Ziomek said. "She made a quick transition, and, having played third base, she also had a great arm for us behind the plate."