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2008 All Area ?Softball:

Without a Doubt

Much like many of the CIF Southern Section-record 18 home runs she belted, there was no doubt Baillie Kirker was the area’s best softball player this past season.

August 21, 2008|By Grant Gordon

Her often-overlooked defense was impeccable, her offense was powerful, clutch and record-breaking and the Crescenta Valley High squad she led was one of the best softball teams the area’s seen in years, perhaps ever.

So, it was without hesitation that the greatest slugger the area has ever seen was unanimously voted by the sports editors and writers of the La Cañada Valley Sun, Burbank Leader and Glendale News-Press as the 2008 All-Area Softball Player of the Year.

“If you put everything into perspective,” Falcons Coach Dan Berry says, “in terms of hitting, defense and leadership, it’s all become a complete package.”

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The complete package known as Baillie Kirker earned a laundry list of postseason accolades — including this, her second All-Area Player of the Year award in three seasons — after stringing together a season-long hit parade that resulted in unprecedented statistical dominance.

The 18 home runs boosted her career total to 37, which is, likewise, tops in the Southern Section record book. But her 66 runs batted in were just about as impressive, as they were a mark that was, according to cifss.org, the section’s second-best season total ever and put her career numbers up to 143 — just 10 away from the career record.

Those numbers led to her being named the Division III co-Most Valuable Player. Kirker was also named to the Cal-Hi Sports All-State First Team and voted the Pacific League Player of the Year.

“For us, it was just amazing to see Baillie perform,” says senior Caitlyn Cox, an All-Area outfielder.

With the 18 home runs and 66 RBIs came a .632 average, a 1.389 slugging percentage, 60 hits, 47 runs, 12 doubles, 12 walks and three triples.

“I just wanted to help the team, whatever came along with it was a plus,” Kirker maintains.

Kirker certainly did more than just help. Two of her most clutch efforts came against Pacific League-rival Burbank, the No. 2 team in the CIF Southern Section Division III rankings behind Crescenta Valley for much of the season.

In the teams’ second go-round, it was a Kirker double against Kristin Peraza, arguably the area’s top pitcher, that led to the Falcons’ only run in a 1-0 win that clinched the league crown. Kirker also played a big part in the Falcons’ first win over the Bulldogs, going deep to opposite-field right.

It wasn’t just on the offensive end in which Kirker excelled, however.

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