By Fred J. Robledo, Staff Writer
You won’t find anyone working harder or cheering harder than Bonita High School’s Chloe Wurst. The lefty turned herself from ordinary into one of the elite pitchers in the CIF-Southern Section in just a few years, earning a scholarship to West Texas A&M after leading the Bearcats to the Miramonte League title, and the CIF-Southern Section Division 3 semifinals. Wurst threw consecutive no-hitters in victories over Los Altos and Diamond Ranch, striking out a combined 25 in the process. (To continue reading along with the coach of the year story, click thread).
2010 Tribune Softball All-Area Team
Coach of the year: Scott Fisch, South Hills
Player of the Year: Chloe Wurst, Bonita, Sr.
Pitcher: Kortnie Clark, San Dimas, Sr.
Pitcher: Carly Argyle, Glendora, Jr.
Catcher: Britney Rodriguez, South Hills, So.
Utility: Dekota Monarrez, West Covina, Jr.
Infield: Kristen Stewart, South Hills, So.
Infield: Stephany La Rosa, Diamond Bar, Jr.
Infield: Aleena Avalos, San Dimas, Jr.
Infield: Natalie Hernandez, Glendora, Sr.
Outfield: Makaila Garcia, Northview, Sr.
Outfield: Breeanna Sandoval, Bonita, Jr.
Outfield: Alyse Gutierrez, West Covina, Jr.
Pitcher: Jackie Wagner, Arroyo, So.
Pitcher: Sabrina Anguiano, Bishop Amat, Fr.
Catcher: Kayla Norrie, San Dimas, Jr.
Utility: Jackie Carlin, Bishop Amat, Jr.
Infield: Courtney Gano, Los Altos, Jr.
Infield: Jacki Campa, Bonita, Sr.
Infield: Sydney Stewart, Diamond Ranch, Sr.
Infield: Vanessa Bracamonte, Wilson, Sr.
Outfield: Janelle Casillas, Arroyo, So.
Outfield: Nicki Sprague, Charter Oak, Fr.
Outfield: Andrea Gutierrez, West Covina, Sr.
She allowed two hits or less in eight games, threw three one-hitters and struck out 10 or more 17 times, including a season-high 19 strikeout performance against St. Lucy’s.
Wurst finished 19-4 with a 0.82 ERA and 277 strikeouts, and also was a big contributor offensively, batting clean-up and hitting .357.
She was selected the Miramonte League player of the year, was named to the CIF-SS Division 3 first team and for her efforts, has been selected the 2010 Tribune softball player of the year.
“She was the heartbeat of our team,” Bonita coach Ken Carlson said. “The growth she experienced from last year to this year was tremendous.
“It wasn’t just her pitching but her total leadership on and off the field. When we were down she was the one that brought everyone back up. She was a great vocal leader and leader by example, a rare combination these days.”
To know how far Wurst came, look at the way she battled Gatorade state player of the year Jessica Hall and Ayala on the road in the Division 3 semifinals.
It took Ayala eight innings to squeeze a run off Wurst and win 1-0, which the Bulldogs turned into a championship a few days later.
Wurst allowed just four hits and struck out 11, leaving many wondering if Hall is the best the state has to offer, then Wurst is right there with her.
“That game said a lot about Chloe and what type of competitor she’s become,” Carlson said. “No disrespect to Jessica Hall, she’s a great player, but Chloe is right there with her. If this was a marathon, you’re talking about being just a few steps behind at the finish line.”
Wurst heads a star-studded 2010 all-area team, which includes a pair of formidable pitchers in San Dimas senior Kortnie Clark and Glendora junior Carly Argyle.
Clark, whose career includes three CIF-Southern Section divisional semifinal appearances and a championship appearance, helped the Saints to a Valle Vista League co-title, earning VVL player of the year honors.
She finished 20-8 with a 3.02 ERA while also hitting .511 with 19 RBIs.
Argyle earned first-team Sierra League honors after leading the Tartans to a tie for the Sierra League title, which included a league-ending win over eventual Division 3 champion Ayala and Hall, the first time the Tartans’ had beaten the UCLA-bound Hall.
Argyle’s season included a no-hitter in a 1-0 victory over Los Altos.
South Hills junior catcher Britney Rodriguez, who already has given a verbal commitment to UCLA, helped the Huskies reached the Division 5 championship game.
One of the best defensive catchers also brought it offensively, batting .436 with 19 RBIs, four doubles and two home runs.
West Covina junior Dekota Monarrez pitched and caught for the Bulldogs, earning first-team utility after an incredible season as the plate.
Monarrez batted .408 with 22 RBIs and 10 home runs. She hit five of her homers against rival South Hills in games that decided the league title.
The first-team infield was paced by South Hills sophomore Kristen Stewart, juniors Aleena Avalos of San Dimas, Stephany La Rosa of Diamond Bar and lone senior Natalie Hernanez of Glendora.
Stewart, also a San Antonio League first-team selection, batted .514 with 34 RBIs and 15 doubles and played a key role during the Huskies’ playoff run.
Avalos, the Valle Vista League first-team shortstop, emerged as one of the area’s best all-around players, hitting for average and power.
Avalos batted .588 with 26 RBIs, five homers, seven doubles and four triples.
Hernandez has been the glue at shortstop for Glendora for three years, and had a big senior year. The Sierra League first-teamer batted .401, an especially tough assignment considering the pitching depth in the Sierra League.
La Rosa, arguably the area’s best non-pitcher, had another sensational year.
The UCLA commit batted .514 with 17 RBIs, five homers and nine doubles, the second straight year she batted over. 500.
The first-team outfield was paced by Northview’s Makaila Garcia, Bonita’s Breeanna Sandoval and West Covina’s Alyse Gutierrez.
Garcia was a blend of speed and power, nearly winning the area’s triple crown with her incredible offensive numbers. She batted .577 with 34 RBIs and an area-best 12 homers.
Sandoval, one of the area’s best defensive outfielders and baserunners, was a key role in the Bearcats’ charge to the Division 3 semifinals.
She earned Miramonte League and Tribune first-team honors for the second straight season after batting .409 with 22 runs scored and 20 RBIs and seven doubles.
Gutierrez earned San Antonio league first team honors because of her production at the plate. She played a key role in the Bulldogs’ league title, batting .397 with 25 RBIs and six homers.
Coach of the year story
By Fred J. Robledo, Staff Writer
This was no ordinary season for South Hills High School softball coach Scott Fisch, who helped the Huskies reach the CIF-Southern Section Division 5 championship after a season of heartbreak and setbacks that would have derailed most.
The unseeded Huskies scored more runs in the playoffs than anyone else, outscoring their opponents 54-5 before losing to back-to-back champion Whittier Christian in the finals at Deanna Manning Stadium in Irvine.
Regardless of the outcome, the Huskies finished 23-8-1 and captured the Valley’s attention with its determination and grit for reaching the finals for the first time since their 1997 title, and by doing so have earned Fisch Tribune coach of the year honors for 2010.
“It was a rewarding season, there is no doubt,” Fisch said. “The players overcame a lot, they battled through a lot and at the end lived up to the potential that a lot of us thought they had.
“They didn’t win it all, but few expected us to get there. It’s a real testament to their hard work, and how they came together when the time was right to make a (playoff) run.”
The Huskies’ struggles started early, losing their season-opener 6-3 to Los Altos, then a three-game winless stretch a couple weeks later followed by the biggest blow of all.
Tony Ha, 18, the brother of Huskies standout catcher Britney Rodriguez and a regular cheerleader at Huskies’ games, died in a mid-season car accident that left Rodriguez and her teammates devastated.
But one game after another, visiting teams lined up in support of Ha and the Huskies, wearing wristbands or sending flowers, huge first steps in the healing process.
“At that point the game didn’t matter really,” Fisch said. “It wasn’t about the wins, the numbers or where you batted in the line-up, it was about getting along and coming together, and the support we received, especially from other teams, were moments to cherish.
“It was an extremely tough time, especially for Britney. But I think all the support helped her, it prolonged the difficulty of dealing with something so hard to imagine, but it helped her and helped all of us.”
Even though it appeared the Huskies were turning the corner, their swagger was still missing. They lost three straight games to rival West Covina, which cost them the San Antonio League title.
In addition, one of their two standout pitchers left the team for personal reasons, leaving the reigns to sophomore pitcher Sydney La Follette as they headed toward an uncertain postseason that wasn’t expected to last long.
“We had a lot of people tell us as the beginning of the year this was going to be an outstanding season, but it wasn’t playing out that way,” Fisch said. “The three losses to West Covina were tough to swallow, they were demoralizing because we thought we were good enough to get past them, but they had our number.
“Then when one of our pitchers quit, it wasn’t that things were falling apart, but it’s another setback, and you don’t know how girls are gong to react to it.”
But La Follete responded to the challenge and her teammates followed, going on a scoring barrage in the playoffs that surprised everyone, including their coach.
“The key was Sydney,” Fisch said. “I sat her down and told her the job is hers now. She didn’t have to worry about me pulling her for someone else, or someone else warming up if she struggled. We were going to ride her no matter what, and I think the calm of knowing she was it really gave her a lot of confidence going forward.”
That confidence was contagious.
“You can say we didn’t face a lot of pitching early, but when you get to the quarterfinals and semifinals of the playoffs and you’re still scoring, you’re doing something right,” Fisch said. “We didn’t have that offensive spark in the championship, but we have almost everyone back, and the confidence they gained is going to help move us ahead next season.”
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