There were closer calls among several of the other State Player of the Year choices in softball this year than at the top, but in the end joining Ms. Softball Taylor Dockins of Norco as a statewide honoree are Megan Faraimo from San Diego Cathedral Catholic, Kinzie Hansen of Norco, Nicole May from Foothill of Pleasanton, Brooke Yanez from Buena of Ventura and Livy Schiele from Bishop’s of La Jolla.
For more on Ms. Softball State Player of the Year Taylor Dockins, 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 Player of the Year.
Megan Faraimo (Cathedral Catholic, San Diego)
Leading the Dons to a CIF San Diego Section Open Division championship, she pitched a complete game shutout with 17 strikeouts in their 3-0 win over Ramona to end the season.
Faraimo, recently chosen as the San Diego Pitcher of the Year, has been committed to UCLA for more than one year and is regarded as one of the top Class of 2018 recruits in the nation according to FloSoftball. She now has the prep resume to match the recruiting. Faraimo went 27-1 in the circle with a 0.60 ERA while also hitting .402 with 26 runs batted in. Starting 29 games this season, she pitched 22 complete games with 14 shutouts while striking out 251 batters in 175.1 innings. With still her senior year to come, she is 52-6 with a 0.52 ERA and 624 strikeouts in the circle and has driven a total of 74 runs and hit 16 home runs in her first three years of high school.
Faraimo is the first San Diego player to be named State Junior of the Year since Kristie Skoglund of San Diego Madison in 1982. You have to go back to 1978 for Mary Lou Ramm (Chula Vista Hilltop) for the one before that.
Last 10 State Juniors of the Year: 2016 – Camryn Ybarra (Mission Viejo); 2015 – Mia Camuso (Redding Shasta); 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).
Kinzie Hansen (Norco)
Last year’s State Freshman of the Year was a rock behind the plate for the Cougars and was another reason why they finished 33-1. Although she only hit three homers, Hansen batted fourth in Norco’s lineup and led the team with 43 RBI. She also had the team’s second-best batting average at .470.
There was the possibility that another sophomore (especially one who pitches and hits) could have come up and gotten this honor, but we didn’t think anyone else did enough to knock her off that perch.
Then when you add in how highly regarded that Kinzie is as a national recruit that just will make it even harder for someone else. She was ranked No. 1 for the Class of 2019 in the nation by FloSoftball and has committed to NCAA champion Oklahoma.
“She had a great freshman year and other than her home runs she was better in every way,” said Norco head coach Rick Robinson. “I can only imagine how good she’s going to be in the next two years.”
None of Norco’s recent Ms. Softball State POYs have been a Sophomore State Player of the Year. Hansen is not only the first from Norco but the first from any Inland Empire school unless you are counting Don Lugo of Chino as Inland Empire. Don Lugo had 1990 State Soph POY Leah O’Brien.
Last 10 State Sophomores of the Year: 2016 – Vanessa Strong (Oakley Freedom); 2015 – Holly Azevedo (San Jose Pioneer); 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).
Nicole May (Foothill, Pleasanton)
Two years after arch-rival Amador Valley got this honor with Danielle Williams, the Falcons are getting it with May. This also keeps going a trend of the CIF North Coast Section Division I title team getting one of our player of the year honors. Last year, it was Freedom of Oakley with sophomore Vanessa Strong. May also is the fourth State Freshman of the Year from the East Bay since 2003. The other two have been Zoe Marrott of Moraga Campolindo for 2013 and Amanda Williams of Freedom for 2003.
With May leading the way, Foothill captured the CIF NCS Division I championship. The talented youngster struck out 293 batters and finished with a 0.84 ERA. She was also selected by the All-Bay Area News Group to its first team and was one of just two freshmen on the first team. Before she even played high school softball, May committed to play in college at NCAA champion Oklahoma. She was offered by the Sooners back in September of 2015 and made her decision in August of 2016.
Last 10 State Freshmen of the Year: 2016 – Kinzie Hansen (Norco); 2015 – Danielle Williams (Pleasanton Amador Valley); 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).
Brooke Yanez (Buena, Ventura)
Putting the final touches on an outstanding four-year varsity career, Yanez helped lead the Bulldogs to an undefeated season (27-0-1) and a CIFSS Division IV championship. She also previously was the only player from our medium schools category who was listed as a finalist to be Ms. Softball State POY for what she did at the plate and in the circle. She joins Buena head coach J.J. Vaivao with a statewide honor since he previously was announced as Medium Schools Coach of the Year. The only other player strongly considered for medium schools was Benicia’s McKenna Gregory.
At the plate, Yanez hit .397 while leading the team with 33 runs batted in and 11 home runs. She also finished with 72 career runs batted in and 23 home runs. In the circle, Yanez also led the way as she went 19-0 with a 0.58 ERA while striking out 214 in 121.2 innings pitched. In the team’s final game, a win over San Marcos of Santa Barbara for the CIFSS D4 title, she pitched a no-hitter. For her four years with the Bulldogs, Yanez also ended with 37 wins and 583 strikeouts in the circle. Back in November, the CIFSS Division IV player of the year signed a letter of intent to play in college at UC Davis.
Note: Alhambra of Martinez had the POY in this category in 2014 with Kylee Perez and some may wonder about Briana, her younger sister. Since then, Alhambra has been moved up into the CIF North Coast Section D1 playoffs. Briana therefore would now be considered large school.
Yanez is the first-ever Medium Schools State Player of the Year from Ventura County. The county had the Large Schools POY in 2005 in Andi Ramirez of Simi Valley in a year in which a small schools player, Katie Cotta of Linden, was the overall Ms. Softball.
Last 10 Medium Schools State Players of the Year: 2016 – Nicole Bates (Ceres); 2015 – Rachel Garcia (Palmdale Highland); 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).
Livy Schiele (Bishop’s, La Jolla)
From previously published articles, it looks like Livy and Bishop’s basketball star Destiny Littleton are good friends. They now share something in common: both are Small Schools State Players of the Year. Littleton, of course, also was our Ms. Basketball State POY just a few months ago.
Schiele wins in this category over others considered, such as Hailey Dolcini of Fortuna and Chloe Romero from Academy of Careers & Exploration (Helendale), for her impressive career totals and for having the type of talent that has her headed to Auburn of the SEC for college.
Playing for her father, Art, who has coached her for more than 10 years including travel ball, Livy had a career-high 34 RBI with six homers and 18 doubles this season for a team that went 19-8. Her batting average “dipped” to .533 after it was .621 and .611 as a sophomore and junior.
For her career, Schiele set a CIF San Diego Section record and will go into the state record book with a top five total with 203 runs scored. She also makes the state record book for career hits with 200, a total that also ranks third in section history. In other career categories, Livy stands at No. 3 in section history for doubles (48), No. 2 in section history for triples (22) and No. 5 in stolen bases (106).
Schiele is only the third from San Diego to ever be named State Small Schools POY, but she’s not the first from Bishop’s. The Knights also had the State Small Schools POY in 1990 with Ginger Bial.
Last 10 Small Schools State Players of the Year: 2016 – Kailia Searcy (Lancaster Paraclete); 2015 – Zoe Casas (San Bernardino Aquinas); 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).
Stockton office assistant editor Paul Muyskens contributed to this report. Mark Tennis is the co-founder and publisher of CalHiSports.com. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Don’t forget to follow Mark on the Cal-Hi Sports Twitter handle: @CalHiSports