On the same day that a California girl is once again named as the Gatorade National Player of the Year in softball, we are equally proud to announce five finalists for the Ms. Softball State Player of the Year honor, which sometimes goes along with Gatorade and sometimes it doesn’t. We also are narrowing it down to four finalists for Mr. Baseball State Player of the Year. The CIF San Diego Section has three finalists in all over the two sports, which is the same for the CIF Southern Section. The CIF Central Section also winds up with one finalist in each.
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Congratulations to these finalists who will be considered for the 2018 Mr. Baseball State Player of the Year honor (look for announcement of winner in approx. two weeks; written up in alphabetical order):
Ryan Daugherty (Capistrano Valley, Mission Viejo)
Based on what had happened through the regular season, Daugherty wouldn’t be in front of league rival Erik Tolman of El Toro, who was deservedly chosen as the South Coast League Player of the Year. But for what he did in leading Capo Valley to the CIF Southern Section Division I title we felt we had little choice but elevate Daugherty to being a Mr. Baseball State POY finalist. Daugherty’s playoff run began with a four-hit shutout over six innings in a 4-0 win over Palm Desert. Later in the playoffs he launched a walkoff homer in the eighth inning of a 3-2 triumph vs. Dos Pueblos of Goleta, then went 2-for-2 in a 4-2 win vs. Orange Lutheran and in the title game he pitched a three-hitter in six innings with six strikeouts and went 1-for-2 with a run scored in a 2-1 victory vs. Foothill of Tustin. For the season, the St. Mary’s College-bound pitcher-outfielder batted .373 and also ranked among the Cougars’ leaders in hits (41) and runs scored (31) with three homers and 18 RBI. On the mound, Ryan went 8-3 with a 1.90 ERA and had 67 strikeouts. All of those St. Mary’s College support staff people we saw last weekend at the CIF North Coast Section championships should be pumped up. The Gaels are getting a steal.
Joe Magrisi (Torrey Pines, San Diego)
If we had a comeback player of the year award, Magrisi would be getting that hands-down. In his only season at Torrey Pines after transferring from Rancho Bernardo and suffering through an injury-marred 2017 season, Magrisi was magnificent. We don’t know for sure if he’ll be the CIF San Diego Section Player of the Year, but with the season he had for the SD Open Division champions we’re making that assumption. Magrisi finished 12-0 on the mound with a 0.75 ERA and he had 130 strikeouts in 93 innings. He ended the season with four shutout innings during the Falcons’ 2-1 win over Poway to clinch the section title. Earlier in the season, of course, Magrisi made headlines with 54 2/3 consecutive innings without allowing a run to set a section record that had been held by former MLB pitcher David Wells. That total also is one of the highest in state history. The former State Freshman of the Year from four years ago at Rancho Bernardo also was a huge threat offensively. Magrisi, who will play next at Cal-State Fullerton, led the team with eight homers and 28 RBI and he was among the top three with a .303 batting average.
Sean Mullen (Stockdale, Bakersfield)
The UCLA-bound Mullen had perhaps the best pitching performance in any section final in the state this season. Facing state-ranked Clovis West of Fresno in the CIF Central Section D1 championship, Mullen got into the sixth inning without giving up a hit. He ended with a one-hitter and 12 strikeouts in six innings as Stockdale won its section cron with a 6-0 triumph. In his last two playoff games, Mullen pitched 12 shutout innings and struck out 22. For the season, Mullen finished 8-1 with a 1.30 ERA and had 72 strikeouts in 53 2/3 innings. For his career as a pitcher, Mullen went 26-7 with 216 strikeouts in 203 innings and had 2.66 ERA. He’s another finalist who also excels at the plate. Mullen batted .394 on the season with seven homers and 31 RBI. He ripped it for a .470 average as a junior and over four years Mullen had a career batting average of .369.
Cole Winn (Lutheran, Orange)
This senior wanted to experience an upgrade in competition this season so it was one reason he transferred to play for the Lancers after earning Gatorade State Player of the Year honors in Colorado as a junior. He’s already been chosen as the Gatorade POY for California, but Mr. Baseball has different criteria and includes all games through the season. Winn wasn’t pitching when Orange Lutheran was eliminated in the CIFSS D1 semifinals by Capistrano Valley so his stellar pitching stats didn’t change. He ended up 8-2 with a ridiculous 0.20 ERA and whiffed 120 batters in 70 innings. A signer with Mississippi State but picked at No. 15 in the first round of Monday’s Major League Baseball draft by the Texas Rangers, Winn also was among the hitting leaders for the Lancers. He ended with a .282 batting average with four homers and 23 RBI.
Congratulations to these finalists who will be considered for the 2018 Ms. Softball State Player of the Year honor (look for announcement of winner in approx. two weeks; written up in alphabetical order):
Megan Faraimo (Cathedral Catholic, San Diego)
California softball legend Jennie Finch surprised Megan at a restaurant on Tuesday to hand her the 2018 Gatorade National Player of the Year award. This is the fifth straight year that a California girl has won the national Gatorade trophy, but three of those — Taylor McQuillin of Mission Viejo in 2014, Rachel Garcia from Highland of Palmdale in 2015 and Madilyn Nickles of Merced in 2016 — were not later named as California’s Ms. Softball for various reasons. Local consensus is one reason Nickles was edged by current Washington star Sis Bates of nearby Ceres. That also could come into play with Faraimo since one of our other finalists, Payton Tidd, is from another San Diego area school, San Marcos, that won the CIF San Diego Section Open Division title. Regardless, Faraimo is deserving of the national award. The UCLA recruit had a 26-3 record in the circle with 405 strikeouts in 188 innings and she had five no-hitters plus four perfect games. At the plate, Megan batted .316 with seven homers and 22 RBI. She was perhaps at her best at the Michelle Carew Classic where she no-hit Orange Lutheran in the final (Cathedral Catholic won 2-0) and had 14 strikeouts. For her career, Faraimo went 78-9 with a 0.40 ERA and 1,029 strikeouts. Her career batting numbers were .351 with 23 homers and 96 RBI.
Kinzie Hansen (Norco)
She’s from the same school as 2017 Ms. Softball Taylor Dockins and also is a finalist after netting State Freshman and State Sophomore Player of the Year honors for 2016 and 2017. Hansen, who is considered by many the top Class of 2019 college prospect in the nation (FloSports, ExtraInningSoftball, etc.), led the CIF Southern Section Division I champion Cougars with a .571 batting average. She had 44 hits in all with 35 RBI and that was even though she missed six games with an injury. Hansen, who is committed to Oklahoma, also hit safely in 23 of 25 games, according to Riverside Press-Enterprise prep writer Eric-Paul Johnson. Considering the competition that Norco faced and that pitchers often gave her little to work with, Hansen seems on her way to completing a legendary prep career next season.
Danielle Lung (Clovis)
As a player of the year candidate who doesn’t hit, that makes it more difficult for Lung to hang with those like Megan Faraimo, Payton Tidd and Danielle Williams. But some of her pitching accomplishments and for what she’s done over a four-year career clearly gives her a shot and a deserving nod to be one of the finalists this year. Lung capped a 25-0 season in leading the Cougars past Buchanan of Clovis 6-3 in the CIF Central Section Division I championship. She was the ace of three section title teams in four years and in that first year as a freshman she threw a no-hitter in the section final. Lung, who is headed to nearby Fresno State, had a no-hitter this postseason in the opening round. She also makes the all-time state record book for ringing up 91 career pitching wins.
Payton Tidd (San Marcos)
If Cathedral Catholic had wrapped up its season with the CIF San Diego Section Open Division title and Faraimo had thrown a shutout against the Knights, then there would not be much of an argument that Tidd should get consideration for Ms. Softball and for top San Diego Section honors. That’s not what happened, though. Tidd was the one with the shutout of Cathedral Catholic and her team won the head-to-head matchup with Faraimo 4-0. The Notre Dame-bound standout capped a 25-2 season with a 0.47 ERA. She didn’t have nearly the strikeouts of Faraimo (180 in 133 innings) but she was a bit better as a batter (.453 average, seven homers, 14 doubles and 31 RBI). Tidd had two no-hitters on the season and blasted two of her homers in a section semifinal win over Bonita Vista. For her career, Payton went 79-10 with a 1.14 ERA and had 533 strikeouts. She also batted .398 with 17 homers and 118 RBI.
Danielle Williams (Amador Valley, Pleasanton)
It wasn’t just last Saturday in the CIF North Coast Section D1 playoffs in which Williams was blazing. In a first-round game against Mt. Eden of Hayward, the Northwestern University-bound Williams whiffed 20 batters and was one error away from a perfect game. Then in that final, Danielle homered and doubled off of Oklahoma commit Nicole May and pitched a four-hitter with 11 strikeouts in a 2-0 victory vs. Foothill of Pleasanton. For the season, Williams went 23-4 with a 0.55 ERA and had 389 strikeouts in 192 innings. She also batted .426 with seven homers and 27 RBI. For her four-year career, which began in leading Amador Valley to an NCS title as a freshman, Danielle had a batting average above .430 while in the circle she finished 84-12 with a 0.57 ERA to go with 950 strikeouts.