In addition to Taylor McQuillin, statewide honors also are going out to Mia Camuso from Shasta of Redding (juniors), Holly Azevedo from Pioneer of Woodland (sophs), Danielle Williams from Amador Valley of Pleasanton) (frosh), Rachel Garcia from Highland of Palmdale (medium schools) and Zoe Casas from Aquinas of San Bernardino (small schools).
For more on Ms. Softball State Player of the Year Taylor McQuillin, CLICK HERE.
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Congratulations to the following five players also who also have been selected this week as Cal-Hi Sports State Players of the Year.
Mia Camuso (Shasta, Redding)
For different reasons, this choice was just about as hair-splitting as the overall Ms. Softball comparisons. This was primarily due to no juniors from anywhere in the state who led teams to a major CIF section championship.
Camuso has been ripping it for power and average since her freshman season and despite the usual concerns about lack of big-time competition in the CIF Northern Section, she did place at No. 12 in the most recent Hot 100 national recruiting player rankings for the Class of 2016 by FloSportsSoftball.com.
At Shasta this season, Camuso won the triple crown for batting average, homers and RBI among large schools in the CIF Northern Section and helped Shasta to the Division III title game. She was recently voted as the section’s player of the year over a two-time previous winner, Dominique Jackson of Chico Pleasant Valley. Camuso’s power numbers included a new section record of 16 homers plus 61 RBI and a .604 batting average.
If her name sounds familiar to some in the Bay Area, she’s a granddaughter of the late Chuck Camuso, one of the winningest baseball coaches in CIF Central Coast Section history and a well-known, almost legendary, referee.
Camuso has committed to Oregon, which has certainly had a lot of success with CIF Northern Section players in recent years, including pitchers Cheridan Hawkins (Anderson) and Jessica Moore (Sutter). Both of those players have been State Small Schools Players of the Year, but no Northern Section player has been labeled as the state junior of the year before.
Right there and very close to Camuso in this choice was infielder Mackenzie Boesel from Lutheran of Orange, catcher Dejah Mulipola from Pacifica of Garden Grove and infielder Jessie Harper from West Ranch of Pacifica.
Last 10 State Juniors of the Year: 2014 – Taylor McQuillin (Mission Viejo); 2013 – Johanna Grauer (Pleasanton Amador Valley); 2012 – Gabrielle Maurice (Modesto Beyer); 2011 – Melissa Taukieaho (Etiwanda); 2010 – Lauren Chamberlain (Lake Forest El Toro); 2009 – Taylor Edwards (Murrieta Vista Murrieta); 2008 – Jolene Henderson (Sacramento Sheldon); 2007 – Perelini Koria (San Pedro); 2006 – Jordan Taylor (Valencia); 2005 – Megan Langenfeld (Bakersfield Centennial).
Holly Azevedo (Pioneer, San Jose)
It was another of those apples and oranges comparisons for this category between Azevedo, who pitched and hit Pioneer to a top 10 final national ranking, and last year’s freshman honoree, hitting machine Taylon Snow of Chino Hills.
Azevedo was just a touch more dominant. She had what the San Jose Mercury-News said was “one of the most dominating seasons in the annals of Central Coast Section softball” when it named her as its player of the year.
The only earned run that Azevedo gave up in the circle came in a 1-0 loss to Archbishop Mitty in the CCS D2 final. She and her team finished 28-1 and she had a final ERA of 0.04. The UCLA commit also only allowed 55 hits in 177 innings and struck out 256. In addition to pitching, Azevedo improved her hitting and was one of the Mustangs’ leaders with a .383 average.
Before Azevedo, the most recent CCS Sophomore of the Year was Kim Reeder from Notre Dame of Salinas in 2003. The last one from San Jose was pitcher Jennifer Mallon of Gunderson in 1992.
Last 10 State Sophomores of the Year: 2014 – Katie Kibby (Vacaville); 2013 – Alyssa Palomino (Mission Viejo); 2012 – Johanna Grauer (Pleasanton Amador Valley); 2011 – Gabrielle Maurice (Modesto Beyer); 2010 – Nancy Bowling (Simi Valley Royal); 2009 – Ally Carda (Elk Grove Pleasant Grove); 2008 – Madison Shipman (Valencia); 2007 – Jolene Henderson (Sacramento Sheldon); 2006 – Taylor Petty (San Pedro); 2005 – Donna Kerr (San Diego Patrick Henry).
Danielle Williams (Amador Valley, Pleasanton)
Just one year after Amador’s Johanna Grauer was the Ms. Softball State POY, the Dons don’t have to wait long for another player to get a statewide honor.
Williams got stronger and stronger as the season progressed and led the team to another CIF North Coast Section Division I title. She’s already been selected as the East Bay Player of the Year by the Contra Costa Times.
In the final game, Williams tossed a four-hitter with 11 strikeouts and went 2-for-2 in a 5-1 triumph against James Logan of Union City. She ended 24-3 in the circle with a 0.79 ERA and was the Dons’ leading hitter with a .532 average. She also had seven shutouts, one no-hitter and collected 41 hits.
Williams is the younger sister of former Amador Valley standout Krista Williams (now at Northwester) but is not related to 2006 Ms. Softball State Player of the Year Amanda Williams from Freedom of Oakley. Amanda Williams also is one of just two previous state freshmen of the year from the East Bay. She got that honor in 2003. The other is Zoe Marrott from Campolindo of Moraga for 2013.
Two other freshmen who were strongly considered for this honor were pitcher Megan Faraimo from San Diego Cathedral Catholic and catcher Aly Shipman of Valencia.
Last 10 State Freshmen of the Year: 2014 – Taylon Snow (Chino Hills); 2013 – Zoe Marrott (Moraga Campolindo); 2012 – Amanda Lorenz (Moorpark); 2011 – Tera Blanco (Huntington Beach Marina); 2010 – Ali Aguilar (Orangevale Casa Roble); 2009 – Nancy Bowling (Simi Valley Royal); 2008 – Dani Gilmore (Woodland Hills El Camino Real); 2007 – Tatum Edwards (Murrieta Vista Murrieta); 2006 – Kamerin May (Corona Santiago); 2005 – MacKenzie Oaks (Bakersfield Stockdale).
Rachel Garcia (Highland, Palmdale)
This was the easiest of this year’s picks and was already in the books when Garcia was the only player from a school designated as medium who was a finalist for Ms. Softball State Player of the Year.
As mentioned in the writeup for Ms. Softball, she was considered the runner-up to Taylor McQuillin of Mission Viejo for that choice and easily could have been the winner. Garcia also was, in fact, the Medium Schools State Player of the Year as a sophomore.
In that sophomore year, Garcia batted .709 with 13 homers and 44 RBI and went 22-2 as a pitcher with a 0.50 ERA and 302 strikeouts. The senior year totals were .667 with 20 homers and 57 RBI plus 26-2 in the circle with a 0.20 ERA and 418 strikeouts. For her career, the UCLA-bound standout hit .593 with 44 homers and 152 RBI plus 87-13 as a pitcher with 1,315 strikeouts and 0.48 ERA.
Last 10 Medium Schools State Players of the Year: 2014 – Kylee Perez (Martinez Alhambra); 2013 – Rachel Garcia (Palmdale Highland); 2012 – Nisa Ontiveros (Bakersfield Ridgeview); 2011 – Cheyenne Cordes (Fairfield Rodriguez); 2010 – Courtney Ceo (Lake of the Pines Bear River); 2009 – Jenna Rich (El Segundo); 2008 – Erin Arevalo (Manteca East Union); 2007 – Samantha Beasley (Spring Valley Steele Canyon); 2006 – Marissa Drewrey (Oakdale); 2005 – Kim Reeder (Salinas Notre Dame).
Zoe Casas (Aquinas, San Bernardino)
Although she was the honoree for small schools as a sophomore two years ago, Casas is the winner this year in yet another very difficult decision.
Sutter’s Taylor Pack and Taft’s Caitlyn Emberson both had monster years and capped terrific four-year careers that in many years would be enough to earn the state small schools player pick.
Casas, who is bound for Florida State, had the best season of her four years at Aquinas with a .736 batting average, including 15 doubles, two triples, two homers and 39 RBI. Her career total of 251 hits set a new Cal-Hi Sports state record, surpassing the previous record of 244 set in 2011 by Brenna Moss from North of Bakersfield.
Of her other career totals, Casas also makes our all-time state list for batting average (.681) and runs (193). She hit .644 last year, .663 as a soph and .684 as a freshman.
Last 10 Small Schools State Players of the Year: 2014 – Grayce Majam (Pine Valley Mountain Empire); 2013 – Zoe Casas (San Bernardino Aquinas); 2012 – Cheridan Hawkins (Anderson); 2011 – Elizabeth Caporuscio (Lake Arrowhead Rim of the World); 2010 – Sammy Albanese (Palo Alto Castilleja); 2009 – Jessica Moore (Sutter); 2008 – Juliana Santos (Newman Orestimba); 2007 – Brittany Rumfelt (Lakeport Clear Lake); 2006 – Kaila Shull (Lodi Elliot Christian); 2005 – Katie Cotta (Linden).