Softball season roundup 

Saugus outfielder Sabrina Dockery (9) runs to second base against Valencia shortstop Jeanelle Bacat (16) during the sixth inning of Tuesday's game at Saugus High School on April 9. Habeba Mostafa/ The Signal

Softball in the Santa Clarita Valley is all wrapped up, with Valencia having repeated as Foothill League champions while nearly every other team saw program milestones.  

Here are the 2024 all-Foothill League selections: 

Player of the Year: Kaylie Stauffer, senior, Saugus  

Stauffer earned the MVP award after her sensational year at and behind the plate. Stauffer broke the single-season home record of her former teammate Alyssa Ramirez after blasting 14 out of the yard in 2024. Stauffer was more than just a power hitter and finished off her senior campaign batting .494 with 42 hits and 53 RBIs. 

Saugus catcher Kaylie Stauffer (6) Dan Watson / Signal File Photo

Pitcher of the Year: Carly Kearns, junior, Valencia 

Kearns repeats as Pitcher of the Year to the surprise of no one. Kearns earned the award as a sophomore but took a big jump in her game in her junior season, in which she finished with a perfect 12-0 record in the Foothill League with 74 strikeouts, two walks and just one extra-base hit.  

Carly Kearns (7) of Valencia pitches against Hart on Tuesday, 030524. Dan Watson/The Signal

First team  

• Jessica Carr, junior, Canyon.  

• Alexis Lopez, senior, Hart. 

• Savanna Smith, sophomore, Saugus. 

• Avery Alvarez, senior, Saugus. 

• Jasmine Reyes, senior, Saugus. 

• Abby Garcia, senior, Valencia. 

• Blair Rune, sophomore, Valencia. 

• Hope Seper, senior, Valencia. 

• Krista Viereck, senior, West Ranch. 

• Savannah Gatewood, senior, West Ranch. 

Canyon High School junior Jessica Carr (16) strikes out multiple Golden Valley High School players during their game on Tuesday at Canyon High School. 041624 Katherine Quezada/The Signal

Carr led Canyon from the circle for the third straight season and finished league play with a 2.48 ERA and 86 punchouts.  

Lopez capped off her fourth varsity season hitting over .420 for Hart with another excellent year. The infielder finished off her senior season with 18 hits and six doubles while batting .474. 

Golden Valley baserunner Italia Ballestrasse (88) beats the throw to Hart’s Alexis Lopez (7) at second base at Hart High on Tuesday, 031224. Dan Watson/The Signal

Smith, Alvarez and Reyes joined Stauffer in the .500 club as all four starters cleared the feat at the plate in league play this season. Smith and Reyes led the team with five doubles while Alvarez blasted out four homers. 

Garcia, Rune and Seper were nearly automatic at getting on base. Garcia finished with a league-high .677 batting average, while Seper matched her with 21 hits, while also leading the team with seven doubles in league play. Rune filled some big shoes behind the plate as a sophomore but delivered clean showings with Kearns, while batting .390 with three home runs in league. 

Abby Garcia (1) of Valencia hits an RBI triple in the fourth inning against La Serna High at Valencia High on Tuesday, 050724. Dan Watson/The Signal

Viereck and Gatewood both capped off their legendary West Ranch careers with strong senior seasons. Both added 17 hits in league play while Viereck added six doubles and Gatewood led the team with four triples and a trio of dingers. 

Second Team 

• Gabriella Wensley, senior, Canyon. 

• Italia Ballestrasse, senior, Golden Valley. 

• Nia Melendez, freshman, Hart.  

• Allie Specht, junior, Hart. 

• Sadie Curtis, junior, Hart.  

• Kennedy Thompson, senior, Saugus.  

• Malia Horvat, sophomore, Saugus. 

• Jeanelle Bacat, senior, Valencia. 

• Sydney Bolder, freshman, Valencia. 

• Trinity Diaz, senior, West Ranch. 

Golden Valley High School senior Italia Ballestrasse (88) pitches the ball to the Canyon High School Cowboys during their game on Tuesday at Canyon High School 041624 Katherine Quezada/The Signal

Honorable mention 

• Mia Reese, senior, Canyon. 

• Larkin Smith, freshman, Castaic.  

• Aliyah Clarke, senior, Golden Valley. 

• Nicole Specht, freshman, Hart. 

• Amelia Johnson, sophomore, Saugus. 

• Riley Josett, freshman, Valencia. 

• Isabella Swanson, junior, West Ranch. 

Valencia falls to La Serna, still top dog for 2025 

La Serna softball stunned Valencia last week, taking the No. 2 Vikings out of the postseason early. 

Nonetheless, Valencia accomplished just about everything it set out to with a perfect 12-0 record in the Foothill League.  

Victoria Tejeda (2) of Valencia catches La Serna base runner Emma Apodaca (12) off the bag for the third out of the second inning at Valencia High on Tuesday, 050724. Dan Watson/The Signal

While the Vikes will graduate another talented, college-softball-bound senior class, Valencia remains the team to beat in 2025. Kearns and a plethora of talented non-seniors will return and aim for yet another Valencia 12-0 year. 

Saugus still young but strong 

The Centurions had one of their youngest rosters in recent years in 2023 but still put up a second-place finish in league. The core of the group has grown immensely, repeating as league runner-ups in 2024 with a pair of tight games with Valencia.  

Saugus fell to the Sierra Canyon Trailblazers in the postseason but have plenty to look forward to in 2025. 

Saugus shortstop Savanna Smith (5) runs to home plate during the fifth inning of Thursday’s game against Hart at Hart High School on March 14. Habeba Mostafa/ The Signal

Saugus will retain the bulk of its infield as it returns Smith at shortstop, Horvat at second and Johnson at third in 2025. Pitchers Kona Ramsbottom, Taliya Mata and freshman Riley Nelson will also all return for the Centurions to play for their first league title in three years. 

West Ranch ends historic year in CIF second round  

The Wildcats made a huge rebound this season following their 2023 season.  

West Ranch won its first playoff game, beat Saugus, and defeated Hart, all for the first time in five years. 

West Ranch batter Savannah Gatewood. Signal file photo

The Wildcats blasted 16 hits and 18 runs on the Duarte Falcons before falling to the top-seeded Palos Verdes Sea Kings.  

West Ranch will graduate a plethora of talented hitters including Viereck and the Cal Baptist-bound Gatewood. However, with returners like Swanson, Payton Borland, Noami Stoll and Ava Esparza-Nguyen, the Cats may still be on the rise. 

Hart finds a way 

The Indians took some lumps in 2024 but found their way back into the postseason. 

Hart’s playoff hopes came down to its final regular-season game with Canyon, which also was playing for a postseason spot. The Indians took the game 7-2 behind a two-hitter from pitcher Allison Specht. 

Hart junior Allison Specht (55) pitches during the first inning of Thursday’s game against Saugus at Hart High School on March 14. Habeba Mostafa/ The Signal

Freshman Nia Melendez took the league by storm and finished her rookie year with 36 hits, 30 RBIs, seven homers and a .522 batting average. Melendez came up instantly to varsity alongside freshman Nicole Specht, who batted .432 with nine doubles this season. 

Hart will return talented juniors Allison Specht, Sadie Curtis and Jillian Rhodes in 2025. 

Canyon takes strides 

The Cowboys may have fell just short of an automatic playoff spot but the program continues to build momentum. 

Canyon finished the season 13-12-2, marking the program’s first season over .500 since 2017. 

Reese and Wensley led the team, batting over .340 on the year while sophomore Karina Montero led the team with six home runs and a .395 batting average. 

Canyon High School sophomore Karina Montero (10) hits a home run scoring the first point against the Golden Valley High School Grizzlies during their game on Tuesday at Canyon High School. 041624 Katherine Quezada/The Signal

Montero and Carr return to Canyon next season alongside the Sussi sisters — Jazzlen and Jaylynn — along with Isabella Heasley and Maci Dunnagan as the Cowboys aim to return to the postseason. 

Golden Valley coming out of rebuild 

The Grizzlies may not have been near the top of the Foothill League playoff race, but the team certainly spiced up the race with huge wins over the Wildcats and Indians. 

Golden Valley beat Hart and West Ranch for the first time in six years, possibly entailing a near and bright future for the Grizzlies. The team was flooded with underclassmen who quickly adjusted to the varsity speed and will now lead the way for the next wave of freshmen. 

Ilana Watson, Layla Moreno, Emma Valenzuela and Cassandra Farrow all return in 2025. 

Castaic jump starts in 2024 

The Coyotes again took strides as a program in their second year with seniors.  

Bella Daye, Jadeyn Gallegos, Mallory Smith and Dakota McGaughy led the way in their senior campaigns and all finished the season batting over .297.  

The team will return the freshman sensation Larkin Smith, who led the team with 31 hits, 17 doubles, three home runs which collectively put her at a .534 batting average on the season. 

Castaic will also look for more steady production from Romaya Crawford, Londyn Gallegos and Emma French in 2025. 

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