Prior to this season, Gracie Keene wanted to improve on her offense from freshman year. The Saugus sophomore did just that, and even though she saw improvement, she still wants to get better.
With a team-leading 35 RBIs, over 10 more than the second-ranked player, Keene’s offensive production and relentless desire to strengthen her softball abilities have earned her the honor of All-SCV Softball Player of the Year.
“I was really focused on my offense,” Keene said via text message. “My freshman year I would have liked to have performed a lot better at the plate than I did. So this year, I really worked in that area to bounce back from my freshman year.”
Keene also led her team in home runs with eight and went 34-for-54 for a .405 batting average and .738 slugging percentage.
She was also clutch at first base, executing 171 putouts and playing a role in 11 double plays on defense in addition to a .994 fielding percentage. But she wants to get better there, too.
“Over the summer I’ll be working on pretty much the same things as I did during the season,” she said. “Staying quick at first base is a big thing for me to focus on and I want to roll my offensive performance from high school into my travel season.”
Keene and the Centurions rolled to a 20-8 overall record and a 9-1 Foothill League record to capture the league title. Their only loss was a 6-5 defeat at the hands of West Ranch.
Her best memory of this season, though, is playing under the lights against Hart on senior night, a game that Saugus won 14-3.
“The energy was amazing and it was such a fun game to be a part of,” Keene said.
Keene estimates she began playing tee-ball when she was five years old. She also played soccer and tried gymnastics, cheerleading and dance. She gravitated towards softball and club soccer, but soon realized she had to make a decision.
“When travel softball started, I knew I needed to pick one or the other,” Keene said. “Softball had always been my true passion and I loved the girls I had grown up playing with, so obviously I chose it over soccer for that reason.”
Ever since that decision, Keene has been steadily improving her game. With two seasons left on varsity for Saugus, the possibilities are limitless.
“I hope to do just as well next season, if not better,” she said. “It’s a huge goal, but I want to get better and improve every season I play.”
All-SCV First Team
Leslie Reynaga, Saugus, senior
As the Centurions’ starting pitcher, Reynaga was always focused when she was in the circle. She concluded the season with a 14-4 record, giving up 46 hits while recording 96 strikeouts in 96.2 innings.
Jenna Rorick, West Ranch, senior
Rorick was the only pitcher on the Wildcats’ roster this season and balanced full-time pitching duties with hitting throughout the season. Logging a 2.90 ERA, the senior struck out 95 batters in 169 innings. At the plate, she went 31-for-88 for a .352 batting average and 19 RBIs.
Dallas Andrews, Saugus, junior
Andrews was a leader the Centurions could rally around and she could hit, too. She had a .440 batting average with 11 RBIs in addition to 21 runs.
Adrienne Chang, West Ranch, senior
A smart catcher who could get exceptional emotional reads on her pitcher, Jenna Rorick, Chang was an anchor for her team at times. She even called pitches towards the end of the season. She also had a .548 batting average with five home runs, 38 RBIs and 35 runs.
Gianna Lombardi, West Ranch, senior
Lombardi ranked second on her team in terms of batting average at .500, going 44-for-88 in 24 games. She also added 28 RBIs, two home runs and 24 runs.
Aly Kaneshiro, Hart, junior
The best on her team when it came to batting average (.479), Kaneshiro has steadily improved since joining the Indians varsity team as a freshman. This season, she was 35-for-73 and collected 19 home runs, seven RBIs and 28 runs.
McKenna Gibson, Saugus, sophomore
Gibson was one of multiple underclassmen Centurions that was powerful with a bat. With a .412 batting average, she hit seven home runs and drove in 25 runs in addition to scoring 23 runs herself.
Cheyanne Marxer, Valencia, freshman
In her first year with the Vikings, Marxer was a dynamic outfielder who never shied from dramatic plays or diving catches. She also could produce at the plate, hitting four home runs this season.
Emma Bramson, Valencia, sophomore
Bramson had the top batting average of all Vikings at .354 and was also first in home runs with five. She was part of a talented Valencia underclassmen group that finished third in the final Foothill League standings.
All-SCV Second Team
Allie Enright, Saugus, sophomore
Part of the Centurions’ underclassman corps, Enright had a .309 batting average, 13 RBIs and 14 runs this season.
Sara Olson, West Ranch, senior
The centerfielder logged 38 putouts and produced on offense, too, going 35-for-89 at the plate. She had a .481 on-base percentage and added 35 runs, nine RBIs and two home runs.
Bella Alvarez, Saugus, junior
Alvarez was tied for third on her team in terms of RBIs with 23. She had 23 runs, too, in addition to a .376 batting average and .545 slugging percentage.
Micaela Rodriguez, Canyon, junior
Rodriguez pulled double duty for the Cowboys as the starting pitcher and a powerful hitter. She’s part of a huge group of returners next year for Canyon, which only loses one senior to graduation.
Sophie Medellin, Golden Valley, senior
Medellin was a team player, doing whatever her team needed her to do. She led her team in batting average at .657 and had 18 RBIs and four home runs. She also filled the role of starting pitcher for most of the season.
Kathryn Smudde, Hart, junior
She finished the season third on the team in batting average at .439 and slugging percentage at .646. She ranked second in RBIs with 18.
Delaney Bevan, West Ranch, senior
Bevan was first on the team in home runs with seven and third in RBIs with 24. She had a .358 batting average, going 29-for-81.
Maya Avila, Saugus, senior
She capped her varsity career with a .309 batting average and .395 slugging percentage. Avila was tied for third on the team in RBIs with 23.
Delaney Scully, Valencia, sophomore
Scully led the team in hits with 31 and in RBIs with 29. She was second on the team in home runs with four and batting average at .352.
Canyon — Erynn Morales, junior
Golden Valley — Nicole Smart, senior
Hart — Brooke Dragoloski, senior
Saugus — Libbie McMahan, junior
Trinity — Catie Robertson, junior
Valencia — Lani Paragas, junior
West Ranch — Madison Flatt, senior