We’re at the midpoint of the softball season with several contenders emerging in the player of the year chase. In the past, this award almost always went to a pitcher because of how dominating and important that person was to their team. But with the rubber moved back and pitchers struggling to adapt, the player of the year chase is as wide open as ever. Like I wrote in baseball, by no means is player of the year limited to this list, you never know who might have a great second half or go nuts in the playoffs, but for now, I’ll share who I think the top ten candidates are, and of course, these are in no particular order.
Above: San Dimas third baseman Sara Moore in the MVP running with another fine season.
Cassie Padilla, Bishop Amat, Jr — The numbers are staggering. The shortstop on the area’s top team is batting .593 with 24 RBIS, 10 doubles and five home runs.
Courtney Gano, Bonita, Sr — The Washington-bound shortstop is putting it all together, like Garza in baseball, you can make a strong argument she’s the front-runner for the Hacienda League-leading Bearcats. Gano is hitting .554 with 21 RBIs and two homers, and has a slugging percentage of .911. But those I’ve asked said she’s playing even better defensively.
Stephany La Rossa, Diamond Bar, Sr. — On her way to UCLA, La Rossa is obviously one of the area’s best shortstops, but the Brahmas have struggled in recent years. But at 4-1 in the Hacienda, La Rossa is in the MVP chase, hitting .487 with 13 RBIs and two homers.
Natalie Sanchez, Bishop Amat, Sr. – Is anyone doing more in the circle and at the plate than Sanchez? She’s 16-1 with a 1.74 ERA with 57 strikeouts. At the plate she’s hitting .417 with 23 RBIs and three home runs.
Britney Rodriguez, South Hills, Jr. — Will join La Rossa at UCLA, but she’s still only a junior and one of the most feared hitters in the area. We finally obtained South Hills’ stats and her numbers are impressive, batting. 479 with 20 RBIs, 5 HRs and a .938 slugging percentage. Sam Nieves is right there too, batting. 518 with 21 runs scored and 2 Hrs.
Samantha Valadez, Charter Oak, So., — Only seen her once, but she’s having a great season like the others. She leads the Sierra with a .556 batting average to go with 20 RBIS and five home runs. For her to be in contention though, the Chargers need to win more.
Veronica Ramirez, Azusa, Sr. – I remember seeing her as a freshman and thinking extremely high of her. She’s the best player in the Montview, but the problem is, she’s on a struggling team. She’s batting .514 with 16 RBIs and two homers. In the circle she has a 2.23 ERA with 58 strikeouts.
Patricia Parks, Chino Hills, Fr. — The only freshman to make the list is a serious contender, doing it in a part-time role in the circle and at the plate for the Sierra League leading Huskies. She’s batting .356, but look at the power, 7 home runs and 19 RBIs. In the circle, she has a 1.69 ERA and is 4-0
Sara Moore, San Dimas, Sr. — Having another solid year, hitting .434 with 13 RBIs and three homers. Moore is not the only one on her team in consideration for the league-leading Saints. Courtney Hine (.466) and Aleena Avalos (.444) can swing with the best of them too.
Paige Medina, Arroyo, Sr. — Impressive numbers for the Mission Valley League leading Knights. She’s hitting .548 with five home runs and 12 RBIS. If they make a CIF title run, she’s in the mix for sure.
Note: There are no stats on Glendora or St. Lucy’s, so hard to follow what’s going on. South Hills agreed to send me weekly updates, so I have them now.