Softball notebook: Malaya Majam-Finch, niece of legendary Jennie Finch, is a force

Malaya Majam-Finch smiles on the field.
Fullerton High softball star Malaya Majam-Finch is dominating at the plate and in the circle during her freshman season.
(Luca Evans / Los Angeles Times)

When she was younger, Malaya Majam-Finch would toddle into the living room of her grandparents’ quaint house in La Mirada and find, essentially, an open-air trophy case.

There were two Honda Sports Awards for softball, given annually to the best college female athlete in each sport. A memento of an NCAA national championship. A heap of old gloves. All a shrine to Aunt Jennie.

Yes, Majam-Finch’s aunt: that Jennie Finch, former All-American at Arizona. One of the most famous players in softball history. The pitcher who once made Albert Pujols look silly.


From a young age, Majam-Finch begged her grandpa Doug to give her pitching lessons. She ate it up, her father, Shane, Finch’s brother, said with a grin. Studying statistics. Constantly evaluating herself against the trajectory of an all-time great.

“It really fuels me to want to push to become like her and compete at that stage,” Majam-Finch said. “It helps a lot in the process of building that fire and staying motivated.”

Now a 14-year-old freshman at Fullerton High, Majam-Finch is building a legacy as a dominant two-way player who stands alone from the shine in her grandparents’ living room. Outfielders take a few steps back when she steps to the plate, and opposing parents chuckle in amazement at the crack of her fastball against the catcher’s mitt. She is an imposing 5-foot-10, broad-shouldered, age more of a trick than a true reflection on her physicality and mentality.

In a win over Brea Olinda on Friday, she continued a dominant season with a six-inning masterpiece in the circle: 10 strikeouts, one hit given up, no runs. She’s hitting .461 and has not surrendered an earned run in 42 innings.

“She’s lived up to every expectation that we have,” coach Trevor Holton said.

Expectation is a tricky thing when your aunt is Jennie Finch. At one point this season, another coach told Holton — to his memory — “yeah, she’s good. She’s Jennie Finch’s niece.”

The sentiment was clear: Of course she’s this good. Look at her aunt. So Majam-Finch is caught between paths — trying to emulate that aunt’s trek to greatness while paving her own route.

Does she want people to know she’s Jennie Finch’s niece? Majam-Finch tilted her head at the question after the Brea Olinda game, smiling slightly.

“I wouldn’t say I don’t,” she said. “But it doesn’t necessarily help too much. I feel like just being myself, and having enough to prove, I think my performance can speak for myself most of the time.”

It has spoken well enough so far.

Parker’s reign continues

Senior Ella Parker is continuing to demolish softballs for 10-1 Sherman Oaks Notre Dame, hitting .640 with seven homers through 11 games. That is, when she gets the chance to hit them.

In a 6-4 victory over Woodland Hills Louisville on Thursday, she was walked four times, marking 14 free passes drawn this season.

“Ella is an amazing hitter,” Louisville coach Christina Lupacchini wrote in a text Friday. “It’s a game of strategy which worked and also beat us yesterday.”

Parker, however, might not be Notre Dame’s best hitter this season. That crown would go to freshman Charley Tapia, who is batting .724.

Another standout freshman

Santa Clarita Golden Valley High‘s Kal’ea Tindal is another top performing freshman this early season.

The Golden Valley softball team is just 2-12, but Tindal is hitting — take a deep breath — .800, according to her statistics on MaxPreps.

“She’s the most special player I’ve seen this year,” Notre Dame coach Justin Siegel said.

Undefeated teams

Previously undefeated and No. 1-ranked Norco fell to Corona Santiago 4-3 on Saturday. That leaves a handful of programs still vying for perfect records, including:

—Moorpark is 9-0 and has a slew of offensive talent, including junior Madison Finnerty, a Lehigh University commit who is the team’s top pitcher in addition to hitting .615.

—Westlake Village Oaks Christian (12-0-1) continues to stack up victories in a season playing for late coach Pete Ackermann.

—Rancho Cucamonga (13-0-1) is soaring behind the dynamite senior pitching duo of Jordynn Jennings and Macy Brandl.