By Fred Robledo
@SGVNSports on Twitter
Los Altos high school was the area’s biggest surprise of the 2017 softball season and it came with the emergence of junior pitcher Savannah Diederich, who dominated in the circle and carried a big stick for the Conquerors.
Diederich, a junior who is verbally committed to the University of Mississippi, struggled along with the Conquerors just a year ago, finishing 11-13-1 and third in the Hacienda.
Amazing what a year of work will do.
Diederich was dominant this season, finishing 22-7 with a 1.40 ERA and 219 strikeouts while leading the Conquerors to an undefeated Hacienda League title run and 24-7 overall record.
Diederich also performed well in the CIF Southern Section Division 3 playoffs, leading the Conquerors to the quarterfinals before losing a pitching duel to Ayala, 1-0.
What made Diederich even more threatening is what she did with a bat in her hands, hitting .437 with three homers, 10 doubles and 24 RBIs to earn Hacienda League player of the year honors.
For her efforts, Diederich has been named the Tribune’s 2017 softball player of the year.
Joining Diederich with top honors is Los Altos coach Lydell McCullough, who was named the Tribune’s coach of the year.
McCullough had coached previously with Los Altos, but after Los Altos struggled to a losing season a year ago, it brought McCullough back and he quickly restored the tradition with a league title and quarterfinal playoff run.
Joining Diederich and McCullough on the Tribune first team are 16 standouts led by a deep arsenal of four pitchers.
South Hills’ Natalie Lugo, a three-time Tribune player of the year and headed to the University of Florida in the fall, was strong in the circle again, but didn’t have the defensive help as years past.
She put up her usual solid numbers, finishing 9-9 with a 1.43 ERA with an area-leading 233 strikeouts in 144 innings.
St. Lucy’s Dakota Casper helped carry the Regents to the Division 2 semifinals, throwing a gem in a 4-0 quarterfinal victory over Villa Park before losing a heartbreaker in the semifinals to Camarillo, 1-0.
Casper, the Baseline League MVP, finished 19-6 with a 2.29 ERA while also batting .275 with three home runs.
Glendora junior pitcher Noemi Flores was named the Palomares League MVP after leading the Tartans to the league title, finishing 11-4 with a 2.50 ERA.
Charter Oak senior pitcher EmaRae Flores rounds out the first team of pitchers. She was solid all season, finishing 18-5 with a 2.26 ERA and leading the Chargers to the Division 2 quarterfinals.
Two underclass catchers were named to the first team, St. Lucy’s sophomore Audrey Sellers and Charter Oak junior Jantzen Owen. Both were not just extremely solid defensively, they also brought a lot of offensive firepower.
Sellers, a Baseline first-team selection, batted .476 with nine home runs, 10 doubles and 32 RBIs.
Jantzen, a Hacienda league first teamer, batted .377 with six home runs, four doubles and 38 RBIs.
Seven infielders landed on the first team, which included two super sophomores in Wilson’s Janelle Meono and South El Monte’s Chasity Martinez.
Meono, a University of Arizona commit and Valle Vista first-teamer, helped lead the Wildcats to the Division 6 semifinals, batting a ridiculous .667 with eight triples, five doubles and three home runs.
Martinez led the Eagles to the Mission Valley League title and was league MVP. She led the Eagles to the Division 5 quarterfinals, batting .451 with four homers, nine doubles and 37 RBIS.
Bishop Amat featured two infielders on the first team with senior shortstop Gabby Bracamonte and third baseman Madeline Ramirez, who were both named to the Del Rey first team.
Bracamonte batted .400 with five doubles and two triples while Ramirez hit. 419 with three home runs, six doubles and 17 RBIs.
Los Altos junior Kelly Monroy, Glendora’s Amanda Woods and St. Lucy’s Samantha Garcia also were named first team infielders.
Woods, a Palomares first-teamer, batted .357 with 20 RBIs and Garcia, a Baseline first-teamer, batted a whopping .543 with seven home runs and 24 RBIs.
Monroy, a shortstop, was named to the Hacienda first team after batting .500 with 10 doubles and 22 RBIs.
Three outfielders made the first team, which included Glendora sophomore Chloe Bahruth, Los Altos’ Melissa Felix and San Dimas senior Brooke Jackson.
Jackson, also the Valle Vista League MVP, batted a team best .455 with seven home runs and 26 RBIs.
Bahruth, named to the Palomares first team, batted .325 with a team-best 30 RBIs.
Felix, a junior named to the Hacienda first team, batted .443 with 18 RBIs.
TRIBUNE 2016-17 SOFTBALL ALL-AREA TEAM
Player of the year: Savannah Diederich, Los Altos, Jr.
Coach of the year: Lydell McCullough, Los Altos
Pitcher: Natalie Lugo, South Hills, Sr.
Pitcher: EmaRae Flores, Charter Oak, Sr.
Pitcher: Dakota Casper, St. Lucy’s, Sr.
Pitcher: Noemi Flores, Glendora, Jr.
Catcher: Jantzen Owen, Charter Oak, Jr.
Catcher: Audrey Sellers, St. Lucy’s, So.
Infield: Janelle Meono, Wilson, So.
Infield: Kelly Monroy, Los Altos, Jr.
Infield: Samantha Garcia, St. Lucy’s, Jr.
Infield: Madeline Ramirez, Bishop Amat, Sr.
Infield: Amanda Woods, Glendora, Sr.
Infield: Gabby Bracamonte, Bishop Amat, Sr.
Infield: Chasity Martinez, South El Monte, So.
Outfield: Chloe Bahruth, Glendora, So.
Outfield: Melissa Felix, Los Altos, Jr.
Outfield: Brooke Jackson, San Dimas, Sr.
Pitcher: Kennedy Cuevas, Edgewood, Jr.
Pitcher: Destinee Lopez, Bonita, Sr.
Catcher:: Clareese Santiago, Glendora, So.
Catcher: Giselle Bahena, Bishop Amat, Sr.
Utility: Andrea Wood, Los Altos, Sr.
Utility: Nevaeh Castruita, South El Monte, So.
Infield: Shynia Torrez, Arroyo, Sr.
Infield: Mia Ayala, Wilson, Fr.
Infield: Taylor Tetone, Glendora, Sr.
Infield: Camyl Armendariz, Bonita, Fr.
Infield: Karissa Duran, Bishop Amat, Sr.
Outfield: Morgan Salgado, Charter Oak, Fr.
Outfield: Clarissa Reynoso, San Dimas, Jr.
Outfield: Ruth Munoz, Diamond Bar, Sr.
Outfield: Katie Greep, St. Lucy’s, Jr.
Outfield: Alyssa Avalos, St. Lucy’s, Sr.
FINAL TOP TEN
1. St. Lucy’s (19-7)
2. Los Altos (24-7)
3. Glendora (20-9)
4. Charter Oak (21-8)
5. South Hills (18-13)
6. Bishop Amat (14-12-1)
7. South El Monte (24-4)
8. San Dimas (18-10)
9. Wilson (17-11-2)
10. Edgewood (18-1)
Del Rey: St. Joseph
Hacienda: Los Altos
Mission Valley: South El Monte
Montview: Sierra Vista
Valle Vista: San Dimas