By Stephen Ramirez
This area has featured some outstanding softball players over the years, including La Mirada High School’s Jennie Finch and Santa Fe’s Laura Berg, who both earned Olympic medals.
You can add La Serna’s Jamie Wren to the list of greats. The senior has arguably been the area’s top player over the past three seasons and she saved the best for last.
Wren enjoyed another monster season in the circle and at the plate while leading the Lancers to the school’s fourth CIF-Southern Section title.
For her efforts, Wren is the Whittier Daily News Softball Player of the Year. She also won the award last season.
“It was really great to come back (to win CIF-SS) like we did,” Wren said. “We had just one goal, which was to win CIF. We were down (in the championship game), but we just didn’t stop fighting.
“I’m glad I did it with this group of girls. They were great. It was a really fun year.”
Wren was her usual self, showing her prowess in the circle and at the plate. Offensively, she was La Serna’s most-productive player. She hit .455 and drove in a team-high 34 runs. She also had seven home runs to lead the team and scored 12 runs.
In the circle, Wren was dominant.
She was 25-3 with a 1.13 ERA. She also had 176 strikeouts in 192 innings. She threw 11 shutouts, including two in the playoffs.
Her best effort might have been in the title game vs. Grand Terrace, where she overcame a sluggish start to shut out the Titans over the final four innings to allow La Serna to rally for a 5-4 victory.
“This kid has confidence,” La Serna co-head coach Mike Orona said. “When we get one run, we believe we are going to win. Jamie’s just shutting people down.”
Wren now is anticipating her collegiate career, which will take her to Ohio University. She signed to play for the Bobcats in May.
“I’m really excited for college,” Wren said. “I’m excited for the classes and for softball, and for the new environment. I’m really excited.”
CO-COACHES OF THE YEAR
Mike Reed, Mike Orona, La Serna
Mike Reed and Mike Orona took over the La Serna softball program prior to last season after Ginger Larsin retired and have kept the train steaming along.
The duo guided La Serna to the Division 3 finals last season in their first year before winning the program’s fourth title this past season, beating top-seeded Grand Terrace in the championship game.
The Lancers are 54-10 in their two seasons.
“It was our goal all season long (to win CIF-SS),” Orona said. “We just stuck with the game plan. We wanted to win a tournament, which we did this year, get to CIF and hopefully come out on top, which we did. The girls believed the whole way through, especially in (the championship) game. There was no doubt they were going to win that game.”
Said Mike Reed: “It was quite an accomplishment. We ended up being 44th in the country and 23rd in the state. The girls did a fantastic job this year. We hope to have the same results next year with a new crop of girls.”
GABBY WALKER, PITCHER, ST. PAUL, SENIOR
Walker filled a void for the Swordsmen to help St. Paul win another Del Rey League title. She was money in the circle with a 9-3 record and 1.55 ERA. She also provided production in the lineup, hitting. .321 with 15 RBIs.
JANELLE RODRIGUEZ, PITCHER, LA HABRA, SOPHOMORE
Rodriguez keyed the Highlanders run to a share of the Freeway League title. She was a X-factor in the circle, going 8-3 with a 1.24 ERA. She also had 124 strikeouts in 84 innings.
NIKO WALKER, CATCHER, ST. PAUL, SENIOR
Walker came into the season as one of the area’s top returning players and lived up to the billing. She was arguably the top player in the Del Rey League. Walker led the Swordsmen to their second-consecutive league title after hitting. .490 with 39 RBIs and four home runs.
TORI AYALA, INFIELDER, LA SERNA, SENIOR
Ayala was part of the Lancers core that keyed the run to the Division 3 crown. She provided punch by hitting .346 with 21 RBIs. She also scored 15 runs. Ayala also had some big hits in the playoffs, including two that keyed wins in the quarterfinals and finals.
SYDNEY KREIMANN, INFIELDER, ST. PAUL, JUNIOR
Kreimann was an above average defender who provided could production in the lineup. She helped St. Paul to a second consecutive Del Rey League title by hitting .391 with 21 RBIs. She also scored 24 runs.
TAYLOR BECERRA, INFIELDER, LA SERNA, SENIOR
Becerra signed with Arizona State in May and she showed why all season. She helped the Lancers to the Del Rio League and Division 3 titles after hitting .413 with 19 RBIs. She also scored 39 runs and was arguably the area’s best-fielding shortstop.
HANNAH GABRIEL, INFIELDER, WHITTIER CHRISTIAN, SENIOR
The Heralds have had some good-hitting infielders in recent seasons and Gabriel is the latest. She ranked among area leaders with a .548 batting average. She also had 20 RBIs and scored 20 runs for Whittier Christian.
DOMINIQUE MEJIA, OUTFIELDER, LA SERNA, SOPHOMORE
Mejia was one of the more versatile players in the area. But her big key for the Lancers was her ability to hit. She batted .394 with 27 RBIs to rank second on the team. She also scored 21 runs and played a major role in the La Serna’s title quest.
ANGELICA LOPEZ, OUTFIELDER, LA SERNA, SENIOR
Lopez was another key cog in the Lancers’ deep lineup. She provided power while also hitting .315 with 21 RBIs and scored 13 runs. The senior was also one of the better-fielding outfielders in the area.
LYZETTE REVELES, OUTFIELDER, SANTA FE, SENIOR
Santa Fe enjoyed one of its better seasons in recent years and Reveles played a major role. She helped the Chiefs advance to the second round after hitting .409- with 24 RBIs and scored 21 runs.
LORREN SHARP, UTILITY, CALIFORNIA, SENIOR
The Condors had a strong second-half to the season and Sharp played a major role. She was one of the top hitters in the area, hitting .446 with 16 RBIs. She also scored 17 runs to help California to the playoffs.
Pitcher: Marina Flores, Montebello, Freshman
Pitcher: Valerie Alvarado, La Mirada, Senior
Catcher: Liz Brautigam, La Serna, Senior
Infielder: Taylor Fogle, St. Paul, Senior
Infielder: Morgan Ryan, Whittier Christian, Junior
Infielder: Arianna Alvarez, Montebello, Junior
Infielder: Racquel Manzo, La Habra, Senior
Outfielder: Jaclyn Macias, California, Sophomore
Outfielder: Amanda Canizales, Whittier, Freshman
Outfielder: Myranda Bueno, St. Paul, Senior
Utility: Justice Sharp, California, Junior
FINAL TOP 10
1. La Serna (26-6)
2. St. Paul (21-7)
3. La Habra (19-9)
4. Santa Fe (13-10)
5. Montebello (16-11)
6. California (14-14)
7. Schurr (14-10)
8. Cantwell (14-13)
9. La Mirada (14-16)
10. Whittier Chr. (12-12)
Division 3: La Serna
Del Rey: St. Paul
Del Rio: La Serna
Freeway League: La Habra, Sunny Hills