It’s time for the best of the best for California high school softball with the naming of the 30 players for the elite first team overall on the 2014 Cal-Hi Sports all-state teams. These girls will all get listed in the state record book, joining all-state first teams that date back 32 years. We’ll be posting all of them later this summer.
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Congratulations to these players who’ve been named first team overall for the 32nd annual Cal-Hi Sports all-state softball honors program:
Cortney Horne (West Hills, Santee) Sr.
Here’s a pick who’s made it this high for offense and defense. Horne, the All-East County Player of the Year and three-time All-CIF San Diego Section choice, batted .455 with five homers and eight doubles. She also was well over .400 for all four of her varsity seasons, including a .560 mark from 2012. In her four seasons, defensively, she shined by allowing just six steals in 42 attempts and had 14 runners picked off. Horne has been ranked among the nation’s top catching prospects and was slated to go to Ohio State, but instead will stay closer to home and is slated to start as a freshman next season at Cal State Northridge.
Vanessa Washington (Pleasant Grove, Elk Grove) Sr.
Just how valuable was the Eagles’ catcher to the CIF Sac-Joaquin Section Division I runners-up? On a 14-girl roster, the Sacramento Bee All-Metro Player of the Year had 15 of the team’s 24 home runs, six of the team’s 14 triples and 44 of the 193 RBI total. The Delaware State-bound star also had a team leading .406 average. As a backstop, she also only made three errors in 229 total chances. Last season, in another CIFSJS D1 runner-up finish, Washington blasted 10 homers and finishes her career with 27 total home runs.
Janell Wheaton (San Dimas) Sr.
Ranked before the season at No. 15 in the Student Sports national Hot 100 recruiting list, Wheaton had a fabulous year and already has been picked as the San Gabriel Valley Tribune Player of the Year. The future Gator at NCAA champion University of Florida racked up a .617 batting average with 58 hits and 44 RBI and also drove out five homers. Her home run total, according to head coach Don Pollard, would have been much higher but San Dimas does not have a fence. Wheaton also led San Dimas to the quarterfinals of the CIFSS Division V playoffs.
Taylor White (Chaminade, West Hills) Sr.
The All-L.A. Daily News and all-state medium schools pick just had to get all the way up to first team all-state overall as well. She simply was spectacular as a hitter for the Eagles, stole 37 of 38 bases and only committed one error. White, who is headed to Ohio State, finished with a .720 batting average on 54 hits with 34 runs, 17 RBI, 14 doubles and nine homers.
Tera Blanco (Marina, Hunt. Beach) Sr.
An All-State Underclass First Team selection last season, Blanco was a terror both as a pitcher and batter and considered one of the best all-around players in the CIF Southern Section. The OC Varsity and OC Sidelines First Team pick led the Vikings to a share of the Sunset League title and a second-round appearance in the CIFSS Division I playoffs. The Michigan-signed Blanco went 22-5 with a 1.14 ERA, 10 shutouts and 228 strikeouts in 172 1/3 innings. She batted .446 with six doubles, three triples, three homers and 23 runs batted in. For this senior class, she also was the State Freshman of the Year three seasons ago.
Kaylee Carlson (Pacifica, Garden Grove) Sr.
As a first-team all-stater from last season, Carlson had a good chance of repeating and actually moved into discussion for State Player of the Year by pitching five shutouts in the super-tough CIFSS Division I playoffs. She ended the season 22-3 with a 0.55 ERA. The North Carolina-bound standout also ended her career with just 48 extra-base hits allowed in 531 2/3 innings. She also had 569 career strikeouts and a 0.71 career ERA. Academically, Carlson was just as strong. She finished with a 4.10 GPA over her four years of high school and has received a the Presidential Award for Academic Excellence.
Rachel Garcia (Highland, Palmdale) Jr.
As a sophomore, Garcia was the Gatorade State Player of the Year and while we went with someone else she was a no-brainer choice for first team all-state overall and had to once again be this high for this season. The UCLA commit led Highland to the CIFSS D3 quarterfinals with a 21-3 mark in the circle. She also had a 0.36 ERA with 323 strikeouts in 156 innings. At the plate, Garcia batted .492 with nine homers and 36 RBI.
Johanna Grauer (Amador Valley, Pleasanton) Sr.
She may be the reigning queen of softball in the Golden State but Grauer is also a classy, humble and grateful young woman. “It is such an honor to be named Ms. Softball and it has been awesome to be mentioned on Cal Hi Sports over the years. I’m so thankful for all the accolades I’ve gotten from Cal Hi Sports, and wanted to tell you how awesome Cal Hi Sports is,” the UCLA-bound star and Contra Costa Times East Bay Player of the Year recently emailed. Grauer will find some spots in the Cal-Hi Sports Record Book but the most dominating is her 27-0 mark this past season, including mowing down the field at the prestigious Michelle Carew Classic and the Queen of the Mountain Tournament. She finished this season with three no-hitters, two one-hitters, an ERA of 0.51 in 191.1 innings pitched, with 290 strikeouts and only 27 walks. As a batter, she hit .429 to lead the team with 39 hits and 20 runs batted in.
Taylor McQuillin (Mission Viejo) Jr.
The pitching portion of the dynamic junior All-State First Team duo from the Student Sports’ national and Cal-Hi Sports’ top ranked team was dominant in the circle in leading the Diablos to a 26-1 record. She was also named the Gatorade State and National Player of the Year, an award that has academics and other off-field elements in its criteria. Despite being blind in her left eye and only having partial hearing in her left ear, the Arizona-committed State Junior of the Year had a 25-1 record and a 0.69 ERA with 316 strikeouts in 173 2/3 innings pitched this past season. The runner-up for Ms. Softball State Player of the Year walked just 18 batters, fired four no-hitters, including two perfect games, and held opponents to a .120 batting average. At the plate, she batted .323 with one home run and a .452 slugging percentage.
Alexis Osorio (M.L. King, Riverside) Sr.
As one of nine finalists for our Ms. Softball Player of the Year honor, Osorio was guaranteed a spot on this squad. And for obvious reasons. She finished 21-4 with a 0.41 ERA and struck out 358 batters in 205.1 innings pitched. According to Eric-Paul Johnson of the Riverside Press-Enterprise, Osorio’s strikeout total is an Inland Empire record for the 43-foot pitching distance and is fifth overall. Headed for the University of Alabama where she could face fellow all-staters going to Florida, Osorio had a no-hitter carrying into the ninth inning of the CIFSS D1 final against Pacifica before she and her team fell 1-0. Of her four losses, only one was 2-1 while the other three were 1-0.
Krystal Aubert (Casa Roble, Orangevale) Sr.
The Rams’ star was Miss Consistency in a four-year varsity softball career. Statistically, this past season was her best, but the University of Washington-bound shortstop had similar numbers every season including her freshman campaign. In 2014, the Sacramento Bee All-Metro First Team selection hit .494 with a career-high 41 hits, seven home runs, 34 runs scored and 11 doubles. She also had 28 runs batted in. For her career, Aubert batted .463 with 22 home runs, 109 RBI, 118 runs scored and 41 stolen bases.
Julia DePonte (Vacaville) Sr.
To be the top team in the CIF Sac-Joaquin Section and the No. 5 team in the final rankings as the Bulldogs girls were this past season took showed both top-notch pitching and hitting. State Sophomore of the Year Katy Kibby did the pitching but Washington-bound DePonte was the top batter, the senior team leader, and was a Ms. Softball finalist. She finished an outstanding four-year varsity career by hitting .516 with 39 runs batted in during Vacaville’s 29-1-1 season. While scoring 33 runs, she also had nine doubles, seven triples and seven home runs while stealing 21 bases in 22 attempts. Before heading to Seattle to join the Huskies this fall, DePonte will play travel ball this summer on the Sorcerers Gold with fellow All-State First Team selections Johanna Grauer and Kylee Perez.
Nicole Dewitt (Pacifica, Garden Grove) Sr.
She’s been one of the most feared hitters in Southern California for three years and will play next at NCAA champ Florida. Dewitt, who batted .398 with five homers, 30 runs scored and 22 RBI, also already has been voted as the CIF Southern Section Division I Player of the Year. A parent of another player at Pacifica declared, “Nicole has been probably the most physically talented and mentally tough player to come through the Pacifica ranks.”
Ashley Goodwin (Norco) Sr.
Norco didn’t get a Ms. Softball winner or a national and state number one ranking like it has had recently, but the Cougars did get a co-title in the Big VIII League, a spot in the final state rankings at No. 19 and placed this power hitting Ohio State-bound infielder on the first team. Goodwin was also selected All-Inland First Team by the Riverside Press Enterprise. This past season, she led the Cougars with 39 RBI and 28 runs scored and finished second on the team with 13 doubles, a .437 average and a .533 on-base percentage. Goodwin also finishes with 122 hits and 115 RBI during her varsity career at Norco.
Jazmyn Jackson (Archbishop Mitty, San Jose) Sr.
A repeat from 2013 as an All State First Team pick, Ms. Softball finalist, and the West Catholic Athletic League and San Jose Mercury News Player of the Year, Jackson didn’t have the best year statistically of her four years of varsity action, but she still had the kind of year other girls only dream about. Getting on base and advancing to score runs is what this Cal-bound senior did all season in leading the Monarchs to a 30-1 record and the CIF Central Coast Section Division II championship. The Mitty leadoff hitter led the team in every statistical category except runs batted in. Jackson batted .538 with 49 hits, which included eight home runs, 14 doubles, and seven triples. She had 27 RBI and 44 runs. She only struck out six times in 115 plate appearances and stole 19 bases in 20 attempts with the one caught stealing a blown call at the Livermore Stampede where she was named the MVP.
Lauren Lindvall (West Ranch, Valencia) Sr.
The University of Oregon signer and All-L.A. Daily News pick had a monster year for the Wildcats as she batted .500 with 45 RBI and 38 runs scored. She also appeared on the Student Sports Hot 100 national recruits’ list. Lindvall is the third sibling in her family to earn a D1 scholarship. She’ll join older sister Janelle in Eugene. Older sister Devon just completed her playing career at UCLA.
Ashley Lotoszynski (Amador Valley, Pleasanton) Sr.
When people think about Amador Valley, they instantly think of Ms. Softball Johanna Grauer. She may be the queen but no team can go 27-0 with wins over some of the state’s and nation’s top teams with one star player. Every top-notch team needs hitters and fielders and the Dons’ shortstop did both – and very well. More than once, her sparkling defense saved games and earned runs for the record-setting Grauer, including a couple of defensive gems in the Dons’ 2-1 CIF North Coast Section Division I championship victory. At the plate, the 3.67 GPA student-athlete and UC Davis-bound star who chose Davis because she wants to be a veterinarian led the team in several categories. Lotosynski batted .353 with two home runs, five doubles and 31 runs batted in. In 105 plate appearances, she only struck out three times.
Kylee Perez (Alhambra, Martinez) Sr.
The Medium Schools State Player of the Year and finalist for Ms. Softball wasn’t the leading hitter for average on a team that knocked the socks off the ball and batted .436 as a team. She was, however, the unquestionable leader of the 25-2 and No. 6 ranked Bulldogs. The flashy fielding shortstop who was ranked No. 2 in the Student Sports Hot 100 of the nation’s top college prospects hit .481 with 26 runs batted in and six home runs. For her career, Perez blasted 42 home runs and had 169 RBI. Once compiled, many of Kylee’s career totals will qualify for listings in the Cal-Hi Sports state record book. Perez will join club teammate Johanna Grauer at UCLA after this summer’s travel ball schedule concludes.
Sydney Romero (Vista Murrieta, Murrieta) Jr.
Following in the footsteps of her older sister, Michigan sophomore and USA Softball POY finalist Sierra Romero, little sis did ok by making second team all-state underclass last year as a sophomore and jumping to the main All-State group this season. Along the way, she also followed big sis by earning the Riverside Press Enterprise HSGameTime All-Inland Position Player of the Year. This past season, she led the team in every offensive category except runs batted in. She had 41 of the team’s 183 runs scored on a 20-girl roster, batted .612 on 63 hits, with 11 home runs, three triples, 12 doubles and 30 driven in. The Oklahoma-commit leadoff batter had slugging and OPS percentages of 1.106 and 1.757, respectively. Romero also was successful on all 13 attempted steals.
Tannon Snow (Chino Hills) Jr.
We almost put freshman sister and State Freshman Player of the Year Taylon on the first team as well, but had to have Tannon this high for sure. The three-year starter and University of Washington commit blasted away for 14 homers and drove in 58 runs for a Huskies’ squad that made it to the CIFSS Division II semifinals and was in the top 10 overall over the state rankings. She also batted .565 with 22 doubles and a 1.176 slugging mark.
Brynley Steele (Esperanza, Anaheim) Sr.
An All State Underclass Second Team selection last year makes the jump to First Team All State after leading the Aztecs to a 23-5 record, a fourth straight Century League title, and a berth in the CIF Southern Section Division I playoffs. The Arizona State-bound third-sacker was also a first team selection on both the OC Varsity and OC Sidelines All-Orange County teams. She batted .443 with eight home runs, 10 doubles, two triples, 30 runs scored, 25 RBIs and eight stolen bases.
Brianna Tautalafua (Carson) Jr.
Not only did this underclass shortstop tie for the state lead this season with 19 home runs she was key in the Colts’ march to the CIF Los Angeles City Section Division I championship for the second straight season, and a berth in the final state rankings when the team snagged the No. 20 spot. Besides the 19 long bombs, Tautalafua had stellar stats in every offensive category. She batted .563 on 49 hits with 14 doubles, 60 RBI, 63 runs scored and astronomical SLF and OPS percentages of 1.402 and 2.071, respectively. Last year, she led the Colts to the section title with 15 homers, a .587 average, 59 RBIs and 50 runs scored. She now has 39 career home runs with a year left in her high school career. She has committed to UCLA. Older sis Darian is now at Long Beach State.
Taylor VanZee (Hemet) Sr.
The Bulldogs’ senior Washington-bound shortstop and Riverside Press Enterprise HSGameTime Girls Athlete of the Year put up some huge numbers in leading her team to a second straight Mountain Pass League title and the second round of the CIF Southern Section Division 4 Playoffs. Not only does she finish her career as the area’s all-time softball hits leader, she was a standout starting libero on the Hemet volleyball team as a senior after working her way up in the program. Last season, VanZee batted .624 on 53 hits with seven home runs, six triples, 17 doubles, 39 RBI and 49 runs scored. Amazingly, she did not strike out in 29 games played. For her career, VanZee was like World War Z with hard to fathom totals of The Riverside County area tops of .596 average, 218 hits, 63 doubles,176 runs, 17 triples and a .596 batting average.
Falepolima Aviu (Rancho Buena Vista) Jr.
The San Diego Hall of Champions All CIF San Diego Section Player of the Year couldn’t get her team going in the Division I playoffs despite being a one-girl wrecking crew. She hit .651 on 54 hits, and on a roster of 14 girls the Longhorns’ centerfielder had 14 of the team’s 23 home runs, four of their five triples, 14 of the 35 doubles, 32 of the 108 RBI and 40 of the 138 runs scored. Her 54 hits were 25-percent of the team’s output as well. The speedy Aviu, who has committed to Oklahoma, also had 24 stolen bases to go with 31 as a sophomore.
Lovie Lopez (St. Paul, Santa Fe Springs) Sr.
As the catalyst at the top of the order for a St. Paul team that went 28-4-1 and won the CIFSS Division III title, Lopez snagged one of the final spots on this year’s first team. She was MVP of the Del Rey League and finished with a .441 average, blasted seven homers and had 28 RBI. Lopez, who will play next at Oregon State, also stole 32 bases and did not commit an error in the field.
Amanda Lorenz (Moorpark) Jr.
This big-time slugging outfielder makes a return to the All-State First Team after making it as a sophomore last year. She also repeats as the Ventura County Star Player of the Year. The 2012 State Freshman of the Year didn’t have as many home runs or RBI as last season (17 and 39) but she upped her average to .642 from .626 and her doubles from nine to 22. Lorenz, who committed to Florida as a sophomore, did stroke eight home runs and had 30 RBI with 48 runs scored. In 118 plate appearances, Lorenz also only struck out three times. With a year left she may very well etch her name in a few places in the Cal-Hi Sports State Record Book. She also already has been named the L.A. Daily News Player of the Year.
Alyssa Palomino (Mission Viejo) Jr.
The 2013 State Sophomore of the Year was edged out for this season’s State Junior of the Year by Diablo teammate Taylor McQuillin, but there was no doubt the OC Sidelines Player of the Year and Ms. Softball finalist was joining her fellow Mission Viejo star on the all-state first team. The powerfully-built granddaughter of Los Angeles area boxing legend Carlos Palomino and early Arizona commit nearly duplicated her Orange County record 18 home runs hit last season with 17 this year. This year’s other offensive numbers were almost equal to last year as well. The centerfielder batted .506 with 34 RBI and 36 runs scored out of the lead-off spot. In the CIF Southern Section Division II playoffs, she hit five home runs in helping lead the Diablos to a title that eluded them in her first two seasons. After three years, Palomino has 41 career home runs, a number that already is way up on the list in the Cal-Hi Sports Record Book.
MULTI-PURPOSE (Hitting, Pitching)
Rebecca Faulkner (Carlmont, Belmont) Sr.
After leading Carlmont to the CIF Central Coast Section Division I title with a three-hit shutout of eight-time champion San Benito in the final, Faulkner was named as the San Mateo Daily Journal Player of the Year and we suspect was probably runner-up to Jazmine Jackson of Mitty as the San Jose Mercury-News’ top choice. For the season, Faulkner went 19-1 in the circle with a 1.18 ERA and only lost twice as a starting pitcher during her last two seasons. She also had a .424 batting average with a team-best 42 RBI and a team-best 40 hits. Faulkner will play next at UC Riverside.
Miranda Viramontes (Chino) Sr.
The Utah-bound returning All State First Team selection from last season was literally the heart and soul from the circle and at the plate for a final No. 8-ranked Cowgirls’ team that appeared in three straight CIF Southern Section Division 2 title games. In 2012 and 2013, she pitched Chino to championships. This past season, the Ms. Softball finalist did everything she could, pitching a one-hitter with 15 strikeouts but the Cowgirls lost in nine innings, 1-0, to Mission Viejo, the state and nation’s top team. Viramontes was also named the Daily Bulletin All-Inland Valley Player of the Year for the second straight season. This past season, she was 23-1 from the circle with a 0.28 ERA and only gave up 50 hits in 27 appearances and 174 innings pitched. She struck out 298 batters with only 45 walks. As a batter, Viramontes hit .415 with 10 home runs and 36 runs batted in.
Jamie Wren (La Serna, Whittier) Jr.
While her team fell to St. Paul and fellow all-state pick Lovie Lopez in the CIFSS Division III final, Wren did lead the Aztecs to two wins over St. Paul during the regular season and was chosen as the Whittier Daily News Player of the Year. She went 25-3 in the circle with a 0.55 ERA, including 15 shutouts and a .189 batting average against her. At the plate, Wren hit .463 to lead the team and was among the team leaders in hits with 44 and in RBI with 27.
Harold Abend, who wrote most of the capsules on this post, is the associate editor of CalHiSports.com and the vice president of the California Prep Sportswriters Association. He can be reached at email@example.com. Don’t forget to follow him on Twitter: @HaroldAbend
Mark Tennis, who wrote some of the capsules and oversaw the selection process, is the editor and co-founder of Cal-Hi Sports. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Don’t forget to follow Mark on the Cal-Hi Sports Twitter handle: @CalHiSports