This collection of 30 players represents the best of the best in California for 2013, regardless of year in school or size of school. Several of them also have earned career listings in the Cal-Hi Sports state record book.
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Congratulations to these players who’ve been named first team overall for the 31st annual Cal-Hi Sports all-state softball honors program:
Annie Aldrete (Santa Catalina, Monterey) Sr.
Named the Monterey Herald’s All-County MVP, she hit eight home runs this season to finish with a county-record of 32 career home runs. That total also gets her a spot in the Cal-Hi Sports state record book. With pitchers pitching around her, she walked 25 times but when able to put the ball in play she hit .435 while driving in 34 runs and scoring 32 times. She will be headed next season to play at national power University of Tennessee.
Sahvanna Jaquish (Redlands East Valley, Redlands) Sr.
With her calling pitches and hitting the ball all over the ballpark, the Wildcats finished undefeated in the Citrus Belt League. On the season, Jaquish, who was chosen first team all-state last year as well and was highly recommended by several in the media who saw her play, hit .548 while driving in 48 runs during her 40 hits. Half of her hits went for extra bases as well as she hit 11 home runs and had eight doubles with one triple while scoring 25 runs. She will be headed to play at LSU next year.
Kaylee Carlson (Pacifica, Garden Grove) Jr.
She was Orange County Register First Team as a freshman and Second Team as a sophomore, but coming into this season she was sidelined with tendonitis until pitching a two-hitter in a 3-0 win over Anaheim Canyon at the TOC in Arizona. She didn’t stop there. The North Carolina commit ended up going 19-1 with a 0.62 ERA and 138 strikeouts in 124.2 innings pitched. A highlight of her season was a perfect game with 17 strikeouts in a 7-0 win over Placentia Valencia. For helping lead her team to the Michelle Carew Classic title, a fifth straight Empire League title, the CIF Southern Section D1 semifinals, and a No. 5 spot in the Cal-Hi sports final state rankings, Carlson was named this season’s Orange County Register Pitcher of the Year.
Lindsey Chalmers (California, San Ramon) Jr.
The Cal Poly San Luis Obispo-committed junior that hits and bats was the only pitcher from the Bay Area to get a win over fellow first-teamer Johanna Grauer when the two teams split this season. In the game the Grizzlies won, Chalmers pitched a shutout in a 1-0 victory, part of a five straight shutout string and 13 total she had this season while finishing 15-4 with a 0.32 ERA and 182 strikeouts and only 19 walks in 131 innings pitched. She only gave up five earned runs all season against a schedule that was one of the best of any Northern California team. She didn’t see a lot of at-bats but still had nearly a .300 average.
Hayley Copeland (Esperanza, Anaheim) Jr.
The pitcher that also hits was a first team choice of the Orange County Register for a second consecutive season after helping lead the Aztecs to their third straight Century League title while earning the league’s pitcher of the year award. The team was upset in the first round of the CIFSS D1 playoffs but the South Carolina-committed Copeland still finished 18-4 with a 1.11 ERA, eight shutouts and 228 strikeouts in 144 innings pitched. She had a season-high 18 strikeouts against Placentia El Dorado. She also hit .314 with three home runs and 16 RBI.
Johanna Grauer (Amador Valley, Pleasanton) Jr.
The Arizona State-committed Ms. Softball finalist, State Junior of the Year and last year’s Sophomore of the Year was pitching her best and finished the regular season with a perfect game before she hurt her ankle shagging flies prior to the start of the CIF North Coast Section D1 playoffs. She ended up 22-2 with a 0.08 ERA and only two earned runs given up and 39 hits allowed in 152 innings pitched that saw her strike out 274 batters. Besides pitching the one perfect game this season, Grauer pitched three no-hitters and eight one-hitters. As a batter, after struggling with an average below .200 until midway through league, she ended up at .328 on the season. Grauer has recovered and will take her place on the Swedish National team this summer.
Rachel Nasland (Torrey Pines, San Diego) Sr.
After going 2-1 in CIF San Diego Section title games in the last three years, the Notre Dame-bound Nasland was selected Player of the Year by the San Diego Union-Tribune. She went 19-7 with a 0.66 ERA and had 307 strikeouts compared to just 28 walks in 180 1/3 innings. Head coach Jon Moore said: “She was 9-1 down the stretch and in the must win game of the year she fired a three-hit shutout over Poway, striking out 17 in her second game of the day. Rachel is the best pitcher ever to play at Torrey Pines and one of the best to ever come out of San Diego County.”
Erica Romero (Santiago, Corona) Sr.
Had the top player from the CIFSS Division I champion hit besides pitching, she likely would have been named Ms. Softball State Player of the Year. The San Diego State-bound senior was 30-5 with a 0.79 ERA, and pitched the team to the CIF Southern Section Division I title, the nation’s toughest playoffs to capture. In the 221.1 innings she pitched, and out of the 926 batters faced, Romero struck out 274 and only yielded 55 walks. Over the past three seasons, she’s pitched the team to three CIF-SS D1 finals with two titles, and two State Team of the Year honors, in 2011 and this past season.
Megan Sabbatini (San Benito, Hollister) Sr.
After coming back from an early-season injury, Sabbatini led San Benito to its eighth straight CIF Central Coast Section Division I title by pitching a perfect game with 10 strikeouts and going 2-for-3 with an RBI in a 10-0 win over Leland of San Jose. For the season, the University of San Diego-bound Sabbatini was a rock-solid 18-0 in the circle with a 0.90 ERA. She also struck out 167 in 117 innings and walked only 12.
Miranda Viramontes (Chino) Jr.
For the second season in a row, the Huskies were able to capture the CIF Southern Section Division II championship as this University of Utah commit dominated in the circle once again. Named by the Inland Valley Daily Bulletin as Player of the Year, she pitched a no-hitter and three one-hitters during the team’s postseason run and a personal run of 21 starts in a row with a win to end the season. During the regular season, Viramontes had a 0.36 ERA and on the year she had five no-hitters.
Ali Aguilar (Casa Roble, Orangevale) Sr.
Leading off and slapping her way on base on a routine basis, Ali was named as the Sacramento Bee Player of the Year after an impressive four years for the Rams. On the season, she hit .500 with eight home runs and 12 doubles while driving in 30 runs during a CIF Sac-Joaquin Section Division II championship season. Headed to Washington next season, she was the only high school player selected to play for the USA Under-19 team this summer. We remember when she was a freshman and we chose her State Freshman of the Year, a selection that was met with strong criticism from many parts of the state. Guess choosing her at the time wasn’t so bad, was it?
Megan Geer (Los Alamitos) Sr.
With the ability to play several positions, she hit .446 with 22 hits for extra bases this season. Hitting eight doubles and 12 home runs, she also scored 43 runs while driving in 30 runs. She was named to the All-County first team by OC Varsity and All-Area first team by the Press-Telegram and will now head to Tennessee. One scout/coach we know said he saw Geer hit “the farthest home run I’ve ever seen at the high school level.” She also had a three-homer game against Woodbridge of Irvine, a team that went on to go 9-1 in its league.
Jazmyn Jackson (Archbishop Mitty, San Jose) Jr.
The West Catholic Athletic League and San Jose Mercury News Player of the Year was very solid at the plate and in the field, and although her team was upset in the Central Coast Section Division II playoffs, the Cal-bound junior shortstop was clearly the best player in the section. This past season that saw the Monarchs go 27-1, the blazingly fast leadoff batter who can hit for average and power, averaged .542 on 52 hits, with eight home runs, 10 doubles, four triples, 44 runs scored, 29 RBIs and 16 stolen bases. She also only struck out three times and had a .979 slugging percentage
Rebecca Lee (Pacifica, Garden Grove) Sr.
The Ms. Softball finalist, Orange County Register First Team selection, and Ohio State-bound senior leader on a team with nine Division I committed players, led the team in most offensive categories and was tied or near the top of all the others. Her .495 average, nine home runs and 43 RBIs all led the team, and her 36 runs scored tied for the team lead. Lee also had 11 doubles and a .903 slugging percentage. She was also 9-for-9 in stolen base attempts. In the field, Lee only made two errors in 192 chances for a .990 fielding percentage. Her highlight game was a 4-for-4 performance with three home runs and nine RBIs against Murrieta Valley (Murrieta) in the CIFSS D1 playoffs.
Katiyana Mauga (Mira Mesa, San Diego) Sr.
Her name will go down in the record books as she finished her high school career with 41 home runs to tie her with Trina Harrison from Oceanside for the most all-time in the history of the San Diego Section. Mauga’s total also puts her into the state record book. Headed to Arizona, she also finished with 176 career runs batted in and 154 runs scored on 184 hits. All three of those totals are state record book listings as well.
Gabrielle Maurice (Johansen, Modesto) Sr.
After being named the State Sophomore and Junior of the Year for 2011 and 2012, Maurice suffered an injury that cost her the final seven games of the season. Still, and even with a struggling team surrounding her, Gabby finished with a .660 batting average with 20 runs and 20 RBIs. The UCLA-bound standout hit safely in all 19 games she played and did not strike out. She finished her career with a .542 batting average to go with 20 homers, 88 RBIs, 153 hits and 132 runs. She also was 81 of 85 on steal attempts during her career.
Alyssa Palomino (Mission Viejo) Soph.
The State Sophomore of the Year, Ms. Softball finalist, Orange County Register Player of the Year, and granddaughter of Los Angeles area boxing legend Carlos Palomino delivered a few knockouts of her own when it came to smashing the yellow ball. The powerfully-built Arizona commit hit 18 home runs to tie for the state lead this season. That number, which will get her a place in the Cal-Hi Sports State Record Book, came against some of the state’s toughest competition. It also broke the Orange County home run record set in 2010 by current Oklahoma Sooner Lauren Chamberlain when she was at El Toro. Besides the 18 long flies, Palomino hit .522 with a .660 on-base percentage, nine doubles, two triples, 33 RBIs and 50 runs scored.
Kylee Perez (Alhambra, Martinez) Jr.
Despite playing with Type-1 Diabetes, it hasn’t stopped Perez from being one of the top players in the state as she hit .618 with 12 home runs and 51 runs batted in this season for the Bulldogs. Before the season started, she was already committed to UCLA but the news of her doing it all with the medical conditions that she has had since the age of eight was just announced publicly last month. She’s on track to become one of the most decorated, record-breaking players in CIF North Coast Section history.
Kylie Reed (Norco) Sr.
What would the All-State First Team be without its queen, and that’s the Ms. Softball State Player of the Year. “Thank you for choosing me for Ms. Softball. I understand the talent I was up against, and I am extremely honored to accept this award. Being able to carry this with me to Berkeley is an amazing feeling,” Reed wrote in an email after winning. She’s not your prototypical slugger, but she can sure slap out those singles. The fleet-footed Cal-bound shortstop had 63 singles and 72 total hits to tie for the state lead this season and break the Inland Empire record for hits in a season. In four years, she has 210 career hits for another IE record. Both marks also are way up on their respective lists in the Cal-Hi Sports State Record Book. In 128 leadoff at-bats this season, Reed hit .563, scored 40 runs and only struck out three times. She had five walks and eight steals. She sparkled in the field in a league and playoffs where there are heavy hitters, fielding at a .935 percentage with only three errors in 124 chances.
Baylee Robben (Vintage, Napa) Soph.
Another of the outstanding sophomores in this year’s crop, this coach’s daughter capped a great season by coming up huge in the playoffs to lead the Crushers to a CIF Sac-Joaquin Section Division I title, and the greatest high school softball season in the history of the town of Napa. Robben led the team in home runs (5), triples (5), doubles (13) and RBIs with 57. She batted .438, scored 31 runs, stole seven bases, and had a .935 fielding percentage at second base. In the eight-game double elimination playoffs, Robben was 15-for-29 with three home runs, four doubles, 23 RBIs, and 14 runs scored.
Taylor Van Zee (Hemet) Jr.
To say the highly-regarded D1 prospect lit it up this season, and it wasn’t against weak competition, would be an understatement. In leading the Bulldogs to the CIF Southern Section Division IV championship, the senior hit an even .700 on an even 70 hits, with 14 home runs, 23 doubles, four triples, 54 RBIs, 59 runs scored, an atmospheric 1.430 slugging percentage, and she only struck out twice while walking 19 times. She was 8-for-8 on steal attempts, and only had two errors in 77 total chances at shortstop, for a very respectable .974 fielding average. In the 16-2 win over Santa Monica for the D4 title, she had two doubles and three batted in. The 70 hits was the No. 3 mark in the state this year and gets her a high spot in the Cal-Hi Sports State Record Book.
Zoe Casas (Aquinas, San Bernardino) Soph.
The Small Schools Player of the Year and another of the outstanding sophomores this season earns a spot on the first team after leading her team to a 26-2 record and the CIF Southern Section Division V championship. The speedy San Bernardino Sun Player of the Year and Florida State-committed centerfielder was at or near the top of all the team’s offensive categories except home runs, where she only hit two. Her .663 average, 63 hits, 50 runs scored, and eight triples, all led the team, while her 11 doubles got a tie. Another thing that led the team was her 16 steals and the fact she didn’t strike out all season.
Karley Wester (Edison, Huntington Beach) Sr.
For the third year in a row, Wester was named to the OC Varsity All-County first team as she hit .421 with 24 runs batted in. She also was a threat on the base paths as she stole 20 bases while scoring 31 runs. Headed to Notre Dame, her 169 career hits will put her third all-time in the county and also gets her name into the state record book. Wester also wound up with 120 runs scored and 81 stolen bases in her four years.
Amanda Lorenz (Moorpark) Soph.
Named the Ventura County Star Player of the Year, she reportedly had teams decide to intentionally walk her to start the game instead of giving her something to hit. Last year’s State Freshman of the Year was also a finalist for our Ms. Softball State Player of the Year. She batted .626 with nine doubles and 17 home runs while driving in 39 runs and scoring 44 times. Already committed to Florida, she also stole 14 bases and walked 18 times while striking out just once. She’s been compared favorably to Lauren Chamberlain, the hitting star for NCAA champion Oklahoma, as having one of the best batting strokes that many in Southern California have ever seen.
Rachel Garcia (Highland, Palmdale) Soph.
The only Ms. Softball nominee from her enrollment category was named the Medium Schools Player of the Year and is another one of the phenomenal sophomores of this season. Garcia, who pitches and hits, was also chosen as the Gatorade State Player of the Year, which includes academics in its criteria. This past season, she produced extraordinary numbers for the 22-2 Bulldogs. As a pitcher, she had the same record as the team, a 0.50 ERA, and 302 strikeouts in 139 innings pitched. Garcia also was prolific as a batter with a .709 average, including 13 home runs, 12 doubles, 42 RBIs and an astronomical 1.380 slugging percentage. In her 79 official plate appearances, the UCLA-commit had more extra base hits than outs made.
RaeAnn Garza (James Logan, Union City) Sr.
Although she was a finalist, had Garza’s overall competition this season been a little stronger, she would have been given even more consideration for Ms. Softball. The 5-foot-2 but surprisingly strong senior that amazingly does not have a Division I college offer was very tough from the circle as well as at the plate. Besides being the winning pitcher in this year’s championship game, and in three of the last four CIF North Coast Section Division I title games, she’s done very well as a hitter. From the circle Garza finished 21-1 with a 0.85 ERA and 128 strikeouts in 140 innings pitched. She had one no-hitter and four one-hitters. At the plate, she hit .412 with a home run, two triples, six doubles and 23 RBIs. She already has been chosen as the Contra Costa Times East Bay Player of the Year.
Sierra Hyland (El Diamante, Visalia) Sr.
For the fourth straight season, Hyland has been chosen as the player of the year for Tulare County. Although the Miner team didn’t get it done in the CIF Central Section Division I playoffs, Hyland’s exploits as a hitter and pitcher for this season and her career are enough for a first team all-state slot. The Cal Poly San Luis Obispo recruit batted .490 with seven homers, 37 RBIs and 37 runs scored. In the circle, she went 24-1 with a 1.16 ERA and had 221 strikeouts in 169.2 innings pitched.
Jade Vecvanags (Lutheran, Orange) Sr.
The Illinois-bound senior pitcher and hitter was also named to the Orange County Register first team for the second consecutive season. In this past season, which saw the Lancers go 24-8 and advance to the CIF Southern Section Division I quarterfinals, Vecvanags went 19-5 with a 1.26 ERA, five shutouts and 176 strikeouts in 144 innings pitched. She batted .444 on 48 hits, with nine home runs, four triples, three doubles, 30 RBI, and only 15 runs scored since she was pinch run for often. As a fielder, she had 44 total chances and didn’t make an error.
Paige Von Sprecken (Yorba Linda) Jr.
The University of San Diego-committed pitcher was pretty much the heart and soul of a young Mustangs’ team that despite being in only its third year of varsity softball still finished No. 6 in the Cal-Hi Sports final rankings. She was the Empire League MVP, MVP of the Brea Tournament, and all-tournament at the Carew Classic. From the circle, she was 24-4 with a 0.96 ERA, 220 strikeouts with only 21 walks in 168 innings pitched. She tossed 11 shutouts and three no-hitters, with two mercy-shortened and one in a seven-inning win over state No. 23 Cypress. With bat in hand, “PVS” as they call her in Orange County, hit .316 with three home runs, 10 doubles and 23 runs batted in.
Allie Walljasper (Sierra, Manteca) Jr.
Dominating in the circle and at the plate, we saw her and the Timberwolves get to celebrate as they captured the CIF Sac-Joaquin Section Division IV championship and end the season as the No. 1 team in our Division III state rankings. During the regular season, Allie was 18-2 with a 0.47 ERA while striking out 227 batters and at the plate she hit .482 with 20 runs batted in. Already committed to LSU, she already has been named by the Stockton Record and the Modesto Bee as Player of the Year.
Contributing: Paul Muyskens, Harold Abend.