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Preview: SPHS Softball Turns to Experience for Success

The South Pasadena High School varsity softball team enters the 2024 campaign with the goal of improving last year’s fourth-place finish in the Rio Hondo League.
The Tigers finished with a 12-12 record (4-8 in league) but failed to make the playoffs.
“Our main goal for the upcoming softball season is to enhance skill development, foster a positive team spirit and increase our winning percentage from previous years,” Tigers co-captain Danica Stirling said. “We plan to focus on training sessions to improve individual player capabilities while emphasizing effective communication and collaboration on the field.”
The Tigers will turn to co-captains Emma Becerra and Stirling throughout the season, supported by Daphne Malatesta, Talula Bearden, Natalie Kan and Lucia Atencio.
Last season, Becerra posted a .348 batting average and a 1.026 on-base plus slugging percentage with 24 runs and 21 RBIs. Stirling led the team with a .373 batting average and a .980 OPS, accumulating 24 RBIs and 22 runs.
Malatesta, a force in the heart of the lineup, delivered a .333 batting average with 25 RBIs last season. In her first two varsity games, Bearden, the Tigers’ No. 3 hitter, made a solid impact with a .333 batting average and a .500 on-base percentage.
Kan, a versatile player, serves as a reliable leadoff option and pitcher for the Tigers. Last season, she recorded a 5.44 ERA over 64.1 innings with 35 strikeouts on the mound, while maintaining a .329 batting average and a 1.048 OPS at the plate. Atencio posted a 4.71 ERA over 81.2 innings with an impressive 94 strikeouts.
The Tigers boast a strong roster capable of challenging league opponents such as San Marino and Monrovia. Key matchups against these schools, along with La Cañada, will play a vital role in securing a playoff spot.
“This season, we anticipate intense matchups against traditional rival San Marino [and] rising rival Monrovia. These games hold significant importance for our team,” Becerra said. “Maintaining focus during high-pressure situations will be a crucial element of our preparation. We aim to enter these matchups well-prepared, as it could mean the difference between playoffs or not.”
The Tigers, who opened the current season with a 1-1 record, will kick off Rio Hondo League play at Temple City on March 1.

The South Pasadena High School varsity baseball team aims to secure its first outright Rio Hondo League title in over two decades, striving to distance itself from San Marino High.
The Tigers, led by head coach Jaime Garcia, captured a share of the league crown with San Marino last season after finishing with an 8-4 record (15-13 overall).
Garcia did not respond to the Review’s questionnaire before its press deadline.
South Pasadena, which opened the regular season undefeated with a 3-0 record, will open league play at Temple City on Feb. 29.

First published in the February 23 print issue of the South Pasadena Review.

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