HomeBlocksFront-TopSoftball Preview: Glendale Eager to Earn Spot in CIF Playoffs

Softball Preview: Glendale Eager to Earn Spot in CIF Playoffs

The Crescenta Valley, Glendale and Hoover high schools’ varsity softball teams are gearing up for the 2024 campaign, with goals to compete for league titles and leave a lasting legacy in the CIF Southern Section playoffs.

Under the guidance of head coach Jack Monroe since the 2021 season, the Nitros have shown consistent improvement each year. Progressing from a single win to five, they secured a sixth-place finish in the Pacific League with a 4-6 record (8-17 overall) last season. As the 2024 campaign approaches, Monroe is confident that his team will achieve double-digit wins and achieve a winning record.
“My ultimate goal is to send our seniors out having had a playoff experience,” Monroe said. “This is a confident group of girls who have been through more than their share of adversity. We talk about learning from our mistakes, not dwelling on them, and when something is out of our control, just acknowledge it and move on. These girls have put in the work, now it’s time to just have fun and enjoy the ride.”
Senior captain Jazmin Combs, a four-year varsity standout, leads the team and is prepared to guide them into the CIF playoffs. She was a key contributor last season with a .308 batting average and a .877 on-base plus slugging in 22 games.
“I only have two goals for the team: One being for us to make it to CIF and the other being for everyone, especially the seniors, to enjoy playing with each other one last time,” Combs said. “I think our biggest strength is our bond. I love coming to practice seeing my girls, and putting in our work together. I love them as if they were my sisters.”
Glendale’s senior roster, alongside Combs, includes Faith Alvarez, Chloe Dobie, Natalia Rubalcava and Michelle Shadanyan. This group will serve as positive role models for the seven underclassmen on the team.
Junior Natalie Minkler, the ace of Glendale’s pitching staff, along with sophomore catcher Carla Bedolla will play a crucial role in Glendale’s success this season.
“If we are going to reach our goals, everyone on the roster is going to have to contribute their best effort. That being said, there is no denying that a lot of what we want to accomplish will rely on our pitcher, Natalie Minkler, and her continued development in the circle,” Monroe said. “Bedolla has stepped up into the catcher’s role after our senior starting catcher [graduated]. Her competitive drive, work ethic and fearless attitude more than makes up for her inexperience at the position.”
Combs and the Nitros have highlighted the Muir High of Pasadena and Hoover High games on the schedule as matchups they are looking forward to.
“I think Muir is a great team. I love how competitive they are and how intense the game gets when we play each other,” Combs said. “Unfortunately, last season we didn’t get to play Hoover at all, so I’m very excited to see how they have improved over offseason.”
The Nitros will participate in several nonleague games in the coming weeks before opening Pacific League action at Pasadena on March 12.


Crescenta Valley High junior Carley Mulcahey will share pitching duties with senior Perri Derian this season.

The Falcons finished with an even 5-5 record in the Pacific League last season, landing them in third place. Crescenta Valley’s journey in the CIF Southern Section Division III playoffs was cut short by Kennedy High of La Palma in the first round, concluding the season with a 13-12 overall record.
Head coach Joel Curtis and the Falcons maintain the same objective this year: to achieve a winning record and contend for a league crown.
To reach this goal, the Falcons will face formidable opponents in the league, including Burroughs High of Burbank, Arcadia and Burbank.
“We have 14 good players,” Curtis said. “We have strong pitching, hitting and defense [but] we need to hit situationally a bit better.”
The Crescenta Valley pitching staff is led by senior Perri Derian and junior Carley Mulcahey, while the lineup boasts impact batters, including senior Haley Krohn, senior Jaiden Sabelis, senior Anais Ochoa, junior Alexa Johnson and junior Mila Reddy, among others.
After a series of nonleague and tournament games, including a trip to Arizona for the Dave Kops Tournament of Champions in Bullhead City, the Falcons will kick off Pacific League action at Muir High in Pasadena on March 12.


Hoover High junior Evelyn Ortiz and the Tornados will open Pacific League action at Burbank on March 12.

The Tornados are still searching for their first winning record in decades following a 1-10 overall finish and no league wins last season.
In her second year, head coach Deb Cohen will lead the Hoover squad, focusing on competitiveness and improvement in each game. Cohen did not respond to the Glendale News-Press’ questionnaire before the press deadline.
The Tornados kicked off the regular season with an away game against Marshall Fundamental in Pasadena on Feb. 15. They will host their next five nonleague games before starting Pacific League action at Burbank on March 12.

First published in the February 16 print issue of the Glendale News-Press.

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