And for the first time in eight years, that champion would once again be San Pedro High softball.
On Saturday, May 20, the Pirates staged a fearless rally in the bottom of the seventh inning to turn away Banning of Wilmington, 2-1 to capture the storied program’s 17th CIF-Los Angeles City Section Division I championship at Cal State Dominguez Hills in Carson, capping off a spectacular run in which the Pirates shook off a ragged first half of the year to win 18 out of their last 20 games, including their final 10 in succession for the crown.
Behind the San Pedro News Pilot Prep Softball 2017 Coach Of The Year Robert Whitney, San Pedro would finish 25-9-1 overall, and 9-1 in the Marine League, capturing the Pirates’ first league title since 2010.
Senior catcher Andrea Cline, the 2017 CIF-LACS Division I Player Of The Year, senior pitcher Cindy Robles and senior third baseman Ricki Justiniano would all have career years for the Pirates, while senior shortstop Deanna Gonzalez, senior center fielder Andrea Trejo, junior left fielder Taiya Reyna and junior right fielder Anessa Quiroz all stepped their game up in crucial moments during the playoffs.
Cline would have the most feared run, hitting .393 with three home runs & 21 RBIs, producing three-game winning hits for San Pedro, including a walk-off RBI-double in the eighth inning to defeat Carson on April 6.
The 2017 year also marked the end of one of the most spectacular careers.
Port Of Los Angeles High senior pitcher Analise De La Roca wasn’t able to reach the CIF-LACS Division 1 final yet again for the fourth straight year along with the rest of the Polar Bears, but she didn’t go down without leaving as the program’s all-time greatest strikeout queen, finishing with 894 career strikeouts and a 74-10 lifetime record.
The New Mexico State-bound De La Roca went 28-2 in the circle with a 0.60 ERA and 357 strikeouts, while also hitting .609 with nine home runs and 32 RBIs at the plate in being named for the second straight season as the CIF-LACS Division I Pitcher Of The Year.
In all, the Polar Bears went 31-2-2 overall, and 14-0 as seven-time Coliseum League champions before falling in the Division I semifinals to Banning on May 17. POLA took on some of the top City teams all year long outside of league and prevailed in most of them against the likes of Division I semifinalist San Fernando (scoreless tie), Polytechnic of Sun Valley (two wins), Cleveland of Reseda, Chatsworth, Sylmar, Eagle Rock and Banning (one win, one loss).
Due to both posting spectacular seasons both individually and team wise, De La Roca and Cline, the two childhood best friends, are your 2017 San Pedro News Pilot Prep Softball Co-Players Of The Year.
Two freshmen sensations would breathe new life into the Mary Star softball program as All-Camino Real League first team selections pitcher Alessandra Samperio and second baseman Ashley Rico would help the Stars go 14-9 overall, 6-6 league before being eliminated in a CIF-Southern Section Division 6 wild card home loss to Hillcrest of Riverside on May 16.
Samperio went 13-9 with a 1.27 ERA and 209 strikeouts while also hitting .410 at the plate with a home run and 15 RBIs. Rico meanwhile hit a cool .479 with five home runs and 22 RBIs, even hitting a walk-off homer to defeat Walnut in an Ontario Christian Tournament game on March 9.
Here is the full All-San Pedro News Pilot Softball Team for 2017…
Amanda Vitalich (Mary Star, sr.)
Ricki Justiniano (San Pedro, sr.)
Allie Dukes (POLA, soph.)
Deanna Gonzalez (San Pedro, sr.)
Noelany Benitez (POLA, jr.)
Taiya Reyna (San Pedro, jr.)
Miranda Marquez (Mary Star, jr.)
Gianna Fletcher (Mary Star, sr.)
Cindy Robles (San Pedro, sr.)
Angie Vargas (POLA, INF/P, jr.)
Robin Grayson (POLA, sr.)
Gigi Gentile (Mary Star, sr.)
Ashley Rico (Mary Star, fr.)
Mackenzie Winkle (San Pedro, sr.)
Andrea Trejo (San Pedro, sr.)
Melanie Arent (POLA, soph.)
Anessa Quiroz (San Pedro, jr.)
Allison Torstensen (POLA, soph.)
Alessandra Samperio (Mary Star, fr.)
Sarah Leyba (Mary Star, 3B/OF, fr.)
CO-PLAYERS OF THE YEAR
Analise De La Roca (POLA, Pitcher, sr.) & Andrea Cline (San Pedro, Catcher, sr.)
COACH OF THE YEAR
Robert Whitney (San Pedro)
SAN PEDRO NEWS PILOT PAST PREP SOFTBALL PLAYERS OF THE YEAR
2012: Marina Vitalich, Mary Star
2013: Marina Vitalich, Mary Star; Nicolle Miranda & Allison Bayer, Port Of Los Angeles
2014: Marina Vitalich, Mary Star
2015: Marina Vitalich, Mary Star & Nicolle Miranda, Port Of Los Angeles
2016: Analise De La Roca, Port Of Los Angeles