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Surprises highlight Prep League softball awards

Softball: Poly's Heather Choi named pitcher of year and Mayfield's Mireya Hernandez is most valuable player, while Flintridge Prep and Westridge take honors.

June 29, 2012|By Andrew J. Campa, andrew.campa@latimes.com
(Cheryl A. Guerrero/Staff…)

There were certainly a few surprises that took place during the Prep League softball season and those unexpected successes were highlighted within the league's awards.

Flintridge Prep, Mayfield School, Pasadena Poly and Westridge each earned acclaim that included Cubs junior catcher Mireya Hernandez taking home the most valuable player award and Panthers senior hurler Heather Choi being named the league's pitcher of the year.

"The goal every year is to win league and I thought we could do it," Panthers Coach Santee Vallejo said. "But our biggest question to start was pitching and, at the end, pitching was a strength."

Choi proved a pleasant surprise, finishing second among league players in wins with an 11-4 record and a 2.66 earned run average.

"I wasn't trying to be the best pitcher, I just wanted to win," Choi said. "That's what is most rewarding, winning a league title."

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Poly finished 15-6 overall, shared the league title with Rio Hondo Prep and advanced to the second round of the CIF Southern Section Division VI playoffs.

Besides Choi, Panthers senior third baseman Julia Tsai (.435 batting average with 30 hits, 22 runs, 19 RBIs and four doubles) and sophomore right fielder Natalie Treister (.412 average with three homers and 22 RBIs) were named to the first team.

Even though the two-time defending champion Cubs ceded their crown, Hernandez still secured an elite prize.

"I actually had no idea I won until now," said Hernandez, when interviewed over the phone. "I was told at the team banquet that I was 'the MVP' but I thought that meant for the team and not league. This is a real blessing."

Hernandez finished first among league players in homers (four) and RBI (34), second in batting average (.506) and third in slugging percentage (.831) for the third-place Cubs (13-11).

Hernandez is joined by junior hurler Jessica Parada, who was 7-8, but boasted a 1.32 ERA, while batting .475 with 29 runs, 22 RBIs and 38 hits.

Westridge, which finished fourth in league with an 8-9 record and a Division VI wild-card victory, earned one first-team selection in sophomore pitcher Jackie Pai (8-3, 1.35 ERA).

"She really kept us in several games this year," Tigers Coach Kelly Korras said. "It's great to know she'll be back."

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