San Marcos State Team of Year

When it comes to California high school softball teams for 2018, at least based on the state rankings that go back nearly 40 years and not on a computer, the only girls who truly can signal they are No. 1 above all others are these girls from San Marcos. Photo: @AthleticsSMHS /

For only the third time since 1980 and only the fourth time ever, a CIF San Diego Section team lands first in California softball. It essentially took two separate San Diego schools to make that happen, but despite Norco winning its final two CIF Southern Section Division I games by lopsided margins it has to be San Marcos getting State TOY honors. The father-daughter combo of head coach Steve Tidd and pitcher/hitter Payton Tidd was backed up by one of the most homer happy lineups in state history.

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It’s been since 2009 when a CIF Southern Section team has not finished No. 1 in the state in softball and despite a great week by this year’s champion, Norco, the Cal-Hi Sports State Team of the Year selection for 2018 can now be made official. It’s San Marcos of the CIF San Diego Section.

In a way, it took two different San Diego teams for one of them to pull off a No. 1 finish. That other team was Cathedral Catholic, which behind UCLA-bound Megan Faraimo won the prestigious Michelle Carew Classic in April over a field of the best from the Southern Section. That set it up for San Marcos to potentially beat the Dons in the San Diego Section Open Division championship, which they did 4-0 on May 26.

Payton Tidd will play next at Notre Dame. Photo:

San Marcos also had to win in a second matchup against Norco (the Knights lost to the Cougars earlier in the season 2-1) and got that done with a 3-2 triumph.

“We really appreciate it and the everyone at the school is going to be stoked,” said San Marcos head coach Steve Tidd during a Monday afternoon phone call. “This all started a couple of years ago when we knew we had a core group of players who could do something like this. In the last two years, we gave them the hardest schedule possible.”

In addition to facing Norco twice, Tidd also took his squad to the Dave Kops Tournament of Champions in Bullhead City, Ariz., where the team lost its only other game of the season 3-1 to Mater Dei (Santa Ana). Countering those two losses would be the avenging win over Norco, the win over Cathedral Catholic and going unbeaten at the Best of the West tourney.

San Marcos is the first State Team of the Year in softball from the San Diego Section since 2002 when Ms. Softball Lisa Dodd (later on a UCLA standout) led San Diego Mira Mesa to a 31-1 record. Before that, you have to go back to Madison of San Diego in 1982 (20-0) and Hilltop of Chula Vista in 1976 (17-0) to find other No. 1 teams in the state from San Diego.

“Oh yeah, we knew we were probably going to play Cathedral Catholic again and in the (San Diego) finals,” Tidd said. “We have a history with them and we know Megan very well. They’re a great team.”

In that San Diego title game, Tidd’s daughter, pitcher Payton Tidd, tossed a four-hitter and didn’t allow a run. San Marcos only got three hits off of Faraimo, but strung them together in the third inning, including an RBI double by sophomore Maddie Helms and a three-run homer by freshman Cydney Sanders.

The emergence of Sanders, who already is committed to Arizona State, to go with the returning players that San Marcos already had was perhaps the final piece of the puzzle that put the Knights over the top. She led the team with 14 homers and a .516 batting average and had 36 RBI.

“She was going to be another big stick in our lineup and we put her fifth in the order right from the beginning,” Tidd said of Sanders. “I was a little nervous putting her in that spot, but once she was there we never moved her.”

With Sanders hitting behind the team’s home run leader from last season, Alexis Orozco (and one of the top career home run leaders in San Diego Section history), plus Payton Tidd, Helms and others, San Marcos averaged nearly three home runs per game and finished with 58. That appears to be the second-best single-season total in state history. It’s higher than the listed CIF Southern Section record of 56 set in 2015 by Chino Hills, but in 2016 it is known that Etiwanda (another CIFSS school) bashed 65 homers.

Tidd, who is headed next to Notre Dame, had the team’s highest batting average at .453 with seven homers, 14 doubles and 31 RBI. Orozco batted .375 this season with 10 homers and 27 RBI.

“My gosh, it was such a fun ride (with Payton),” Tidd said of being able to coach his daughter. “Just how she’s handled her success and the team success. I’ve been able to sit back in the last week and just enjoy it and I’ve heard a lot of great things from others who she handles her business. I couldn’t be more proud.”

San Marcos players, coaches and parents will gather on Thursday night for what should be a very happy team banquet. Tidd also still needs to decide if he’ll be back to coach the team or will take time off to do what a lot of coaching dads do in his situation: Go watch their son or daughter play in college.

Congratulations San Marcos Knights, Your 2018 Softball State Team of the Year.


(Selected by Cal-Hi Sports)

Ryan Denhart was top pitcher for 2017 State Team of the Year. Photo: Mark Tennis.

2018 – San Marcos (28-2)
2017 – Los Alamitos (27-3)
2016 – Mission Viejo (27-4)
2015 – Yucaipa (31-3)
2014 – Mission Viejo (26-1)
2013 – Corona Santiago (31-5)
2012 – Norco (31-2)
2011 – Corona Santiago (28-5)
2010 – Chino Hills Ayala (29-5)
2009 – San Jose Archbishop Mitty (32-0)
2008 – Sacramento Sheldon (32-2)
2007 – Valencia (32-1)
2006 – Oakley Freedom (25-0)
2005 – Simi Valley Royal (29-2)
2004 – Garden Grove Pacifica (31-2)
2003 – Garden Grove Pacifica (31-2)
2002 – San Diego Mira Mesa (31-1)
2001 – Fresno Bullard (36-1)
2000 – Tustin Foothill (33-2)
1999 – Fresno Bullard (38-1-1)
1998 – Clovis Buchanan (35-2)
1997 – Garden Grove Pacifica (31-1-1)
1996 – Santa Ana Mater Dei (30-1)
1995 – Huntington Beach Marina (24-5)
1994 – Clovis (31-3) (plus 2 wins by default)
1993 – Covina Charter Oak (29-0-1)
1992 – Stockton Lincoln (35-3)
1991 – Stockton Lincoln (29-3)
1990 – Roseville (37-2)
1989 – Lakewood St. Joseph (26-1)
1988 – Santa Fe Springs St. Paul (21-6)
1987 – Stockton Lincoln (30-0)
1986 – Woodland Hills El Camino Real (19-0)
1985 – Huntington Beach Ocean View (32-0)
1984 – Stockton Lincoln (37-1)
1983 – Lodi (27-2)
1982 – San Diego Madison (20-0)
1981 – Santa Maria Righetti (25-1)
1980 – Santa Maria Righetti (29-0)
1979 – Santa Rosa Montgomery (26-1)
1978 – Fairfield Armijo (23-0)
1977 – Huntington Beach Marina (17-0)
1976 – Chula Vista Hilltop (17-0)
1975 – Downey Warren (18-1)
1974 – El Segundo (undefeated)

Mark Tennis is the co-founder and publisher of He can be reached at Don’t forget to follow Mark on the Cal-Hi Sports Twitter handle: @CalHiSports

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