Softball Preview: Burroughs, Burbank, Providence, Seeking CIF Ring

The Bears, Bulldogs and Pioneers are primed for a long and successful season.

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Burroughs senior Emerson Coblentz will be one key if the Bears win a CIF Southern Section title. (Photo by Rick Assad)

By Rick Assad

Between Burroughs High, Burbank and Providence, when it comes to softball, these teams are loaded with pitchers, hitters and defensive wizards.

All three squads should be in the race for its respective league banners, the Pacific League for the Bears and Bulldogs, and the Prep League for the Pioneers. 

Pitching being so important, the trio are well represented with skilled and effective hurlers.

Senior pitcher Emerson Coblentz will be critical if the Bears are to have an extended playoff season and freshman hurler Valentina Reyes will also be asked to carry a large chunk of the duty.

With Doug Nicol coaching the team, Burroughs carved out a 24-5 record and went 9-1 in the league for first place a season ago.

The Bears reached the CIF Southern Section Division IV semifinals by shutting out Buena 6-0 in the opening round, routing Chino 10-2 in the second round, beating El Dorado 6-5 in the quarterfinals before losing to Fullerton 8-1.

Nicol said the aim is always the same.

“Our goal is always to win a league title, and that hasn’t changed,” he said. “We have a unique opportunity to win back-to-back Pacific League titles and that is what we are focused on. After that, we hope to set ourselves up to make a run in the CIF playoffs, which we have been fortunate to do the last couple of years.”

Nicol believes this edition can go far.

Burbank junior Maddison Kellogg should pitch many innings for the Bulldogs this season. (Photo by Austin Gebhardt)

“I think we have as good a chance as anyone to win the Pacific League this year,” he said. “However, our league is very strong at the top with some very successful programs in Crescenta Valley, Arcadia and Burbank. It is never easy and it is a grind once you get into the league season. However, our team has put in so much hard work in the weight room, and on the field since September, so we are ready for it.”

Burroughs has fifteen players, and they are senior heavy with seven and they include outfielder/pitcher Coblentz, hard-hitting third baseman/catcher Phoebe Spangler, shortstop/third baseman Gizelle Rangsiyawong, shortstop/outfielder Alyssa Rosales, first baseman/outfielder Eliza Torres, second baseman Skylar Vanole and outfielder Lily Essakhanian.

Two juniors are on the squad and are all-league first-team slugger, first baseman/third baseman Chloe Centeno and shortstop/outfielder Alyssa Morales.

There are a pair of sophomores, and they include outfielder Karlee Earl and second baseman/shortstop Karisma Mendez.

Four freshmen are on the squad, and they are first baseman/pitcher Reyes, outfielder Chloe Zavala, catcher/outfielder Alissa Cortez and second baseman/shortstop Sophie Rangsiyawong, Gizelle’s younger sister.

“I absolutely love this team and the work ethic and positivity they bring each day,” Nicol noted. “We work very hard to build our culture and this team embodies that culture. They work extremely hard, they are committed to each other and to the team and they respect the game.”

Nicol added: “This team is very talented, both offensively and defensively. I would say what I like most about this team is the fun and love they have for the game that they bring to the field everyday,” he pointed out. “They are such a fun group to be around and they inspire me each and every day with the way they approach the game.”       

Burbank went 14-12 and 4-5 for fourth in the league and lost 6-3 to Fillmore in the first round of the Division IV playoffs.

Melissa Sanchez is the coach and is also confident her squad will be ready and able.

Providence is a balanced team with pitching, hitting, defense and speed. (Photo by Austin Gebhardt)

“I think we will compete with every team in our league,” she said. “The girls have worked hard to prepare for a tough season. We know what we need to do to put us in position to win.”   

In the circle, the Bulldogs will have junior ace Maddison Kellogg to lead the team.

Burbank has fourteen players on its team and six are seniors and they are outfielder Kara Valencia, shortstop/outfielder Belinda Lujano, catcher Eliza Bowren, outfielder Abigail Kimmer, infielder Breana Tapia and outfielder Braelyn Keegan.

Four juniors are on the team and include Kellogg, second baseman/shortstop Samantha Cafferty, first baseman Charley Barnett and first baseman/third baseman Olivia Orozco.

“Maddison will always put us in a position to win,” Sanchez said. “Our seniors this year are strong offensively and defensively. We’re looking forward to the challenge.”

One sophomore is on the squad, and she is first baseman/third baseman Kayla Orozco while there are three freshmen and they are outfielder/pitcher Kaiya Mendoza, catcher/outfielder Kassandra Davila and outfielder Chloe Updike.

Providence went 21-6 and 12-0 in league play for first place and reached the Division V second round after blasting Westminster 11-3 in the opening round and then losing to Santa Paula 5-2 in the next round under Manny Travieso, the coach.

“We’re excited about going for another league championship this year, wanting to prove we’ve got what it takes to win back-to-back,” Travieso said. “Our Prep League keeps getting tougher, so we’re stepping up our game by taking on some really strong nonleague teams this season. Playing against top-notch opponents is going to push us to improve our skills, teamwork, and mental toughness, getting us ready for a shot at CIF.”

Two gifted seniors will be in the circle for the Pioneers, Grace Workman and Olyvia Rutter, and much of Providence’s success will be in their hands.

Travieso said because there are so many seniors, it will be their final opportunity to win a championship ring.

“Looking back at how close we were to the CIF championship game a few years ago, it lit a fire in us to make it there this year,” he pointed out. “For most of our players, this is their last shot at high school softball, so we’re all in to make this season special for them.”

Travieso added: “With our experienced squad, we know how important this season is, and we’re all in to give it everything we’ve got on the field, aiming to reach our dream of making it to the CIF championship game,” he said.     

There are fourteen players on the Providence team and eight are seniors.

They are first baseman/pitcher Workman, first baseman/pitcher Rutter, shortstop/outfielder Breanna Palaez, utilityman Malia Rode, outfielder Isabella Barton, second baseman/catcher/outfielder Rachel Handy, shortstop/third baseman/catcher Belen Benito and second baseman/outfielder Kayla Archuleta.

Three are three juniors and they include second baseman/outfielder Mia Allinson, catcher/outfielder Delailah Lopez and second baseman/shortstop Gloria Galindo.

One sophomore is on the roster, and is first baseman Ariana Benito and two freshmen, and they include outfielder Siena Hartman and outfielder Siany Cruz.

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