A wild 2023 softball regular season has officially ended.
Valencia returned to the top of the Foothill League but took its first league loss of the year to Hart in their season finales. Saugus enters the playoffs as the league’s third seed while Canyon ended a long dry spell and will head into the playoffs for the first time in nine years.
The top three seeds will all head into Division 2, while Canyon heads into the Division 4 bracket.
Foothill League Final Standings
- Valencia (17-5-1, 11-1)
- Hart (19-9, 10-2)
- Saugus (17-10, 9-3)
- Canyon (7-13, 5-7)
- West Ranch (7-18, 5-7)
- Golden Valley (4-20, 2-10)
- Castaic (2-17, 0-12)
Here’s everything you need to know for the first round of CIF playoffs:
The champs host Tesoro
Valencia will be the only local team in action on Thursday when the opening round officially begins. The Vikings will play host to the Tesoro Titans (14-7-1), the third-place team from the South Coast League.
Tesoro boasts five players hitting over .350 this season to Valencia’s five hitting over .440. The Titan hitting group is led by Kiara Cisneros, who finished the regular season batting .471 and Kennedy Proctor, who had 24 hits and five home runs this year.
The Vikings will likely face Loula McNamara, a sophomore pitcher with some solid velocity and a nice change-up. McNamara will likely go head-to-head with Vikings sophomore ace Carly Kearns. The pitcher finished her season 11-1, with over 70 strikeouts and next to no walks.
Hope Seper has been as consistent as they come at the plate. Seper, a junior, finished the year batting over .500 while catcher Addison Snyder followed with over 30 hits and nine home runs.
Valencia has made the playoffs just about every year of the program’s existence. However, the program has hit a bump in the postseason, where the team hasn’t won a game since 2018. First-year head coach Sean Pollard and the Vikes will look to end that rut Thursday when The Vikings host Tesoro at 3:15 p.m.
Hart heads to North Torrance
The Indians will face another league runner-up in the North Torrance Saxons (21-6).
North’s offense is led by Priscilla Iniguez, a junior with a lot of power at the plate. Hart’s bats wil need to deal with Fullerton commit Aseel Khatib in the circle.
The Indians have never shied away from facing great pitching and have their own set of future collegiate stars. Cal Baptist commit Kate Penberthy led the team at the plate this year, batting .529 with eight home runs and 16 doubles. Notre Dame commit Tenley Sweet trails Penberthy with a .478 average, 11 doubles and four homers. Sophia Parra and Alexis Lopez also finished their junior seasons batting over .400 for Hart.
Hart has seen strong performances from pitchers Emily Marr and Allison Specht this season. If one has happened to be off, the other has picked up the slack this season.
Hart heads down to Torrance on Thursday to take on the Saxons at 3:15 pm.
Saugus draws Redondo Union
The Centurions will travel to Redondo Beach to face the Bay League champion Redondo Union Sea Hawks (16-9).
Redondo will showcase its star sophomore pitcher, Bailey Murray. The sophomore will go head-to-head with Saugus’ young star pitcher Kona Ramsbottom.
The Sea Hawks offense has firepower all over the lineup. Kaya Aguirre, Annie Maden and Canada 16U catcher Kayla Roe are just a few names Ramsbottom will have to battle with.
Saugus has its fair share of bats that can light up any field. Madison Campeau, Sami Stadtlander and Shae Sabedra are veteran hitters and will look to keep their senior season’s alive with a win over the Sea Hawks.
Saugus heads to Redondo Union on Thursday at 3:15 p.m.
Canyon set to face Woodbridge
The wait is officially over. Canyon softball has returned to the playoffs. Canyon will face the Pacific Coast League champion Woodbridge Warriors (15-7-1).
The Cowboys will battle with Woodbridge ace Mia Tamkoc, a standout strikeout pitcher.
The Warriors have some tough outs at the plate with the bats of Anna Kim, Clarissa Stayrook and Alfred University-commit Alexis Martinez.
Canyon’s Jessica Carr has had an incredible season as the sophomore has shined in the circle and at the plate. Carr and pitcher Gabby Wensley will be a good mix to hopefully keep the Warriors out of sync on offense.
Head coach Todd Wensley will need his seniors Phoenix Pair, Isabella Jimenez and Danielle Rodriguez to continue to produce at the plate.
Canyon heads to Woodbridge for a Division 4 matchup on Thursday at 3:15 p.m.