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Crescenta Valley, Glendale softball pick up All-Pacific League honors

Softball: Falcons, Nitros have eight All-Pacific League selections, while Hoover standout gets honorable mention.

June 13, 2013|By Andrew Shortall, andrew.shortall@latimes.com
  • FILE PHOTO: Crescenta Valley High's #3 center fielder Hannah Cookson rounds the bases after hitting a solo home run during a game against Arcadia High at CVHS in La Crescenta on Thursday, May 9, 2013. CVHS lost 3-1.
FILE PHOTO: Crescenta Valley High's #3 center fielder… (Raul Roa / Staff…)

For most individuals, the 2013 All-Pacific League softball team selection is evidence they took a step in the right direction in their games.

A trio of locals walked away from the season with first-team honors. Crescenta Valley offensive leader Hannah Cookson and pitcher Olivia Thayer were both selected to the top squad, along with Glendale High first baseman Alia Zavala, who completed a drastic turnaround in her final high school year.

It's Cookson's third consecutive first-team all-league honor, despite a career-low offensive output as most teams chose to pitch around her than be stung by her bat. She was still spectacular for the Falcons and led her team in all power numbers with a .871 slugging percentage that come on the heels of eight doubles, seven homers and four triples. She also posted a team-best .505 on-base percentage after drawing a team-high 12 walks and hitting .435 (37 for 85) with 34 runs batted in and 31 scored.

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Although Cookson led her team in free passes, Crescenta Valley Coach Mark Samford was surprised Cookson, who batted .731 (49 for 67) with 16 home runs, 53 RBI and 41 runs in 2012, got as many chances to hack as she did.

"I don't know why they pitched to her," said Samford, who's announced he won't return to the team next season. "Given the year she had last year, she had plenty of pitches."

After being named an honorable mention a year ago, Thayer shot up to the first team in another strong year in the circle for the Falcons. The junior went 12-9 with a 1.75 earned-run average and 81 strikeouts to 21 walks this season. She did give up 78 runs on the year, but only 30 of them were earned.

"She pitched against some really good teams," Samford said of Thayer. "Her record shows our inability to catch and throw sometimes. I thought she really matured through the year."

Zavala, who played first base and spent all four years on the varsity squad, posted a team-high .540 batting average with 28 hits and 14 runs batted in. She was also a defensive anchor at first base, with 90 putouts and a .960 fielding percentage, for a young Nitros team that had its fair share of defensive struggles.

"It's ironic because in her first year she batted .090," Glendale Coach Christine Paknik said. "Each year she has progressed, she cleaned up at the end of the year and had the most RBI on the team.

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