The No. 1 and No. 2 teams in the final state and national rankings combine for six first team picks to headline this year’s 36th annual Cal-Hi Sports All-State Softball Team. This also ended up being a great year for catchers and we went with six of them on first team. This group of 30 players is the best of the best regardless of year in school or size of school. The ones that played in the toughest, top section playoffs have an advantage, but there are a handful of medium school players and one small school player who cracked the top squad.
For the all-state second and third teams, CLICK HERE.
For the all-state underclass teams (Gold Club post), CLICK HERE.
For the all-state small & medium school teams, CLICK HERE.
For Gold Club post of our all-time all-state first team softball archive back to 1992 (with second team back to 2004), CLICK HERE.
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Congratulations to these players who’ve been named first team overall for the 36th annual Cal-Hi Sports all-state softball honors program:
Kinzie Hansen (Norco) Jr.
Our State Junior of the Year (and also State Freshman of the Year for 2016 and State Sophomore of the Year for last season) missed six games with an injury, but did more than enough to keep her perch as the most highly regarded player for her class. Despite not being a pitcher, Hansen also looms as a national player of the year candidate for next season. She was Norco’s leading hitter in helping the Cougars win the CIF Southern Section Division I title and go 28-3 with a final No. 2 state and national ranking. Hansen, committed to Oklahoma, had 44 hits for a .571 batting average with 35 RBI and was on-base at nearly a .700 pace. She also already has been picked as the CIFSS D1 Player of the Year and Riverside Press-Enterprise Player of the Year.
Terra McGowan (Mission Viejo) Sr.
She was basically the lone holdover from Mission Viejo’s run of dominance that started to wane last season. During McGowan’s freshman and sophomore seasons, she was a contributor on teams that were 30-1 and 27-4. She’s always been among the top prospects nationally for her class and will play next at Arizona State. As a batter, McGowan ripped seven homers and had a .500 average this season.
Shea Moreno (Sheldon, Sacramento) Sr.
Despite the Huskies falling short of making it 4-for-4 in winning CIF Sac-Joaquin Section Division I titles for all of Shea’s four years, she still gets a first team all-state berth. Moreno already has been named as the Sacramento Bee’s Metro Player of the Year. She led a 25-5 squad with a .495 average, seven homers, 44 RBI and 38 runs. Those numbers pushed her career totals to .441 with 15 homers, 129 RBI, 122 runs and for Sheldon teams that racked up 109 wins. Moreno has also been known on the recruiting trail since she committed to UCLA as a freshman.
Ally Shipman (Valencia) Sr.
It’s the end of an era at Valencia with Ally moving on to Tennessee (which is the same school where her older sister Madison played) because both of the girls were four-year standouts. She’s been near the top of her class as a national recruit and is a repeat all-stater. This year, the stats were lower but she was walked 34 times and still ended with seven homers, 33 runs scored and 25 RBI. Ally was the L.A. Daily News Co-Player of the Year last season with teammate Shea O’Leary and was by herself this time.
Colleen Sullivan (Poway) Sr.
After sitting out last season for various reasons, Sullivan came back to the Titans and smashed 17 homers with an .500 batting average and 50 RBI. Her home run total tied the all-time section record. Sullivan was first team All-San Diego Section and second team FloSoftball All-American. Colleen was an early commit to UCLA after a strong freshman season, struggled as a sophomore and spent much of the 2017 high school season working with a personal trainer. There were some awkward moments at the start of the season, but Poway was the third-best team in the section behind San Marcos and Cathedral Catholic and it all generally worked well.
Kacey Zobac (Valley Christian, San Jose) Jr.
It might be fair to call Kacey the Kinzie Hansen of Northern California. She’s that good. Zobac, who has a twin brother (Steven) on Valley Christian’s State Team of the of Year in baseball, had a .612 batting average this season and only struck out once. She also had six homers, 10 doubles and 21 RBI. Defensively behind the plate, Zobac threw out all five runners who bothered to even try to run against her. Valley Christian won the West Catholic Athletic League playoff title, but lost in the CCS Open Division playoffs to league rival St. Francis of Mountain View (the eventual champion). Zobac has committed to Cal.
Megan Faraimo (Cathedral Catholic, San Diego) Sr.
There were many who thought Faraimo should have added the Ms. Softball State Player of the Year honor to her resume even though she and her team didn’t win the last game. We didn’t go in that direction, but she nonetheless was a very deserving Gatorade National Player of the Year honoree. Faraimo, headed to UCLA, improved as a strikeout artist in her senior season with 405 in 188 innings (compared to 251 in 175.1 as a junior). She had a signature outing with a no-hitter and 14 strikeouts when Cathedral Catholic blanked Orange Lutheran to win the Michelle Carew Classic title. Megan also ended 26-3 with a 0.22 ERA and batted .316 with seven homers and 22 RBI. “She’ll be an Olympian someday,” said editor Carlos Arias of SoCalSidelines.com.
Danielle Lung (Clovis) Sr.
To say that Lung was the heart and soul of the 30-2 Cougars, who won the CIF Central Section D1 title and were No. 4 in the final state rankings, might be corny but it was true. She didn’t pitch in the two games that the Cougars lost and established herself as one of the best in section history with a 25-0 record and pitching in three section title game wins in four years. Lung, who had a no-hitter as a freshman in the first section final she reached, ended her career with 91 wins. She will pitch next for Fresno State.
Kendall Mangel (Chino Hills) Fr.
With three straight shutouts in the CIFSS D1 playoffs, Mangel established herself as an elite talent. The Maryland commit wound up 27-3 with a 1.25 ERA and had 113 strikeouts in 195 2/3 innings. The only game she lost in the postseason was 1-0 to Gahr of Cerritos in the CIFSS D1 semifinals. Mangel already has been named as the Inland Valley/San Bernardino Sun-Bulletin Player of the Year and we considered her as the runner-up to San Marcos’ Cydney Sanders as the State Freshman of the Year.
Nicole May (Foothill, Pleasanton) Soph.
Although she was edged as the State Sophomore of the Year by Norco’s Sarah Willis, May had another all-state first team season and remains in line to go 4-for-4 in being an all-state first teamer for all four of her high school seasons. Both losses during a 20-2 season in the circle were to arch-rival Amador Valley, which also was a team that May beat twice. The Oklahoma commit also struck out 209 batters in 129 innings with a 0.65 ERA. In addition to that, May also batted .404 and struck four homers.
Molly Millar (Buchanan, Clovis) Sr.
She joins Danielle Lung of Clovis on the first team not just for the year she had but also for her four years with the Bears. Millar lost all three of her games this season to Lung and Clovis, but the final one was in the CIF Central Section D1 final. She ended 20-3 with 192 strikeouts in 144 innings with a 0.77 ERA and she had 12 shutouts with one no-hitter. As a sophomore, Millar pitched Buchanan to the same section title that Clovis has won the last two years. Molly’s academics were even more impressive. She had a 4.65 GPA and was valedictorian of her senior class. She will play next at Stanford.
Jordan Schuring (St. Francis, Mountain View) Jr.
For coming through in the clutch and leading St. Francis to its first-ever CIF Central Coast Section Open Division title, Schuring wasn’t a sure thing to be first team all-state but grabbed one of the last spots decided. Schuring had to battle a concussion early in the season that caused her to miss some game, but at the end was tough as nails. She ended 23-6 with a 1.48 ERA and had 164 strikeouts with a .191 opposing batting average. At the plate, Jordan also shined by batting .400, including many RBI hits late in the season.
Vanessa Strong (Freedom, Oakley) Sr.
If you don’t know by now, having a solid if not spectacular four years does carry a lot of weight in these annual selections. Strong qualifies on both fronts. This season, she went 18-2 in the circle with 169 strikeouts in 126 innings and a 0.78 ERA. Her team also was the No. 1 seed at the start of the CIF North Coast Section Division I playoffs. As a sophomore, she was the East Bay Player of the Year in pitching Freedom to the NCS D1 title. This year, she already has been named NorCal Pitcher of the Year by SportStars Magazine.
Danielle Williams (Amador Valley, Pleasanton) Sr.
We’ll continue to list Danielle as a pitcher although she could easily have been listed multi-purpose. Her hitting was that good this year. Williams led the Dons to the CIF North Coast Section D1 title by throwing a shutout (four-hitter, 11 Ks) and hitting a homer and double in a 2-0 win in the final over defending champion Foothill of Pleasanton. She finished 23-4 with 389 strikeouts in 192 innings and batted .426 with seven homers and 26 RBI. Danielle, who will play next at Northwestern, was a four-year standout at Amador Valley who stepped right in as a freshman immediately after the school’s previous four-year standout, Johanna Grauer, won Ms. Softball and headed off to UCLA.
Maya Brady (Oaks Christian, Westlake Village) Jr.
Forget about the family ties (mother Maureen is one of the most prolific strikeout pitchers in state history and uncle Tom of course) for a second. Maya is simply a legit first-team all-state player and is one of the top juniors in the nation. She’s kind of stuck behind Kinzie Hanson of Norco to ever be a player of the year for her class and school’s division but Brady had a sizzling junior season. She helped Oaks Christian win 28 games and a second Marmonte League title in three years. She hits for power, average, possesses blinding speed and eye-popping defense. Brady’s totals included a .519 batting average with 10 homers, 10 doubles, 32 RBI, 28 steals and 51 runs scored. She has committed to UCLA.
Rachel Cid (Tracy) Sr.
We joked on Twitter that Rachel had an edge in being named an All-American by FloSoftball and MaxPreps in that the two people who compiled those teams (myself) and Tom Mauldin of MaxPreps are both former sports editors of the local Tracy Press. Cid was no joke to opponents of the Bulldogs and would rank with Amador Valley’s Danielle Williams as the top two all-state candidates from Northern California. Cid led the team to its first CIF Sac-Joaquin Section D1 title with a .564 average plus nine homers and 41 RBI. In the section title clincher vs. three-time defending champ Sheldon of Sacramento, Rachel hit two homers. She has signed with Oregon and is expected to be an immediate contributor to the Ducks.
Kelli Godin (Mater Dei, Santa Ana) Sr.
In addition to being the Orange County Register’s Player of the Year in softball, Kelli also was the Register’s Female Athlete of the Year. That’s because of her prowess in other sports, including her participation on Mater Dei’s track team at the same time softball was going on. Goodin is a softball player first and had a memorable senior season. Included was her .538 batting average despite the difficulty of Mater Dei’s schedule. Goodin also had 28 runs scored, 22 RBI and everything else her speed on the bases and o defense could do for the Monarchs. The FloSports and ExtraInningSoftball All-American will play next at UCLA. Some have picked her for the outfield in postseason honors based on projected position and travel ball position, but she was at third base for the recent high school season and that’s the position we use.
Brooke Johnson (Chino Hills) Jr.
She has been a pitcher at Chino Hills for part of her career there so far, but this year didn’t have to do that due to the arrival of freshman Kendall Mangel. We have picked both Husky girls to the all-state first team, but it does seem a bit strange to write up an all-state team for the first time in many years without a girl named Snow from Chino Hills. Mangel and Johnson, though, had no trouble leading the way after the last of the Snow sisters, Taylon, graduated in 2017. Johnson, who has committed to DePaul, was the Huskies’ top power hitter. She had 11 homers, 11 doubles, 30 RBI, 30 runs scored ana .425 batting average.
Alexa Neil (Ramona) Sr.
This fall signee with Cal-State Fullerton just couldn’t be denied this first team berth. She just missed being all-state underclass (mainly behind another teammate) after last season but this season she amazed with 71 hits and a .607 batting average. The 71 hits will be among the best totals in state history. Neil also had a whopping 22 doubles with three homers and 22 RBI. For her four-year career, according to MaxPreps, Alexa had 196 hits and a .468 batting average.
Lexi Orozco (San Marcos) Sr.
While she was surpassed as the Knights’ top power hitter by freshman Cydney Sanders, Lexi did more than enough both this season and for her career to land one of three first team all-state slots given to the FloSoftball FAB 50 and Cal-Hi Sports No. 1 team. After bashing 10 and 12 homers in the past two seasons, Orozco hit 10 this season and also had 29 RBI to go with a .375 average. For her career, she ended with 36 round-trippers, 129 RBI and a .378 average. Lexi will play next at Utah State.
Cydney Sanders (San Marcos) Fr.
The second freshman to crack the elite overall top 30 is Sanders, which makes sense because she was our State Freshman of the Year. Sanders, an early commit to Arizona State, emerged as the leading power hitter and leading hitter for average for a team that ended up No. 1 in the nation (FloSoftball FAB) and No. 1 in the state. Her three-run homer in the CIF San Diego Section Open Division final helped lead the Knights to a 4-0 win over Cathedral Catholic and gave her 14 homers for the season. She also batted .516 with 47 hits and 36 RBI. Sanders belted four of her homers in the playoffs alone.
Paige Smith (Norco) Jr.
Nobody connected to Norco will ever forget Smith hitting a grand slam homer during the Cougars’ win over Gahr of Cerritos in the CIFSS D1 final. She clearly was the team’s third top honors candidate after Kinzie Hansen and Sarah Willis and like those two joins them on the all-state first team. Smith, who is committed to Ole Miss, had seven homers and 40 RBI for the state’s No. 2 club. She also had a .457 averaged with 20 runs scored.
Ciara Briggs (Lutheran, Orange) Jr.
She still has another year to go with the Lancers, but already has been All-Orange County three times. An LSU commit who is among the top 10 on FloSoftball’s Hot 100 national list for the Class of 2019, Briggs shined with a .490 batting average plus eight homers and 30 RBI. She opened the season with eight hits, three homers and eight RBI in the first five games and kept up her strong play the rest of the way.
Serena Huchingson (Newbury Park) Sr.
We agree with the Ventura County Star, which already has chosen Huchingson as its Player of the Year (which likely was a close call involving Oaks Christian’s Maya Brady). A four-year starter and headed to Boise State, Huchingson was the Panthers’ leader in home runs (six), RBI (37) and second in batting average (.462). The team also won the CIFSS D2 title and late in the season notched a head-to-head win over Oaks Christian. It’s not like we weren’t going to pick Brady first team all-state anyway, but Huchingson had the type of season and career that pushed her up onto the first team as well.
Madison Huskey (Gahr, Cerritos) Sr.
It was hard to differentiate players from Gahr’s talented lineup that took the Gladiators to the CIFSS D1 final. Huskey is the one we went with on first team not just for what she did as a senior but also for her career. Last year’s big power numbers weren’t duplicated, but Madison still hit .398 with five homers, 17 runs scored and 16 RBI. She will play next at Washington and is destined to be one of the Huskies’ most popular players just because of her last name alone.
Savannah Diederich (Los Altos, Hacienda Heights) Sr.
Entering the CIFSS D1 semifinals, there was a chance that Savannah could have done something special in her last two games that would have swayed the final Ms. Softball State Player of the Year vote. The opposite happened as Norco won convincingly, but Diederich is still an easy pick to be on this year’s all-state first team. Headed for Ole Miss, Diederich led Los Altos to a 28-3 record with a 26-2 pitching mark. She had 239 strikeouts in 170 1/3 innings with a 1.36 ERA. With bat in hand, she had 22 RBI, nine doubles and a .360 batting average.
Mailee Newman (West, Torrance) Sr.
Already named as the Medium Schools State Player of the Year (which this year also could have included girls from D2 state ranked teams), Newman gains this first team overall all-state tag as well. She led the Warriors to the CIFSS D3 title and mythical D3 state crown. As a pitcher, Newman went 26-3 with a 1.44 ERA. At the plate, she raked for a .457 average with three homers and 34 RBI. Also already named as the South Bay Daily Breeze Player of the Year, Newman will play next at Idaho State.
Payton Tidd (San Marcos) Sr.
Earning the CIF San Diego Section Player of the Year honor over Megan Faraimo was one reason that Tidd also was selected as the 2018 Ms. Softball State Player of the Year. Tidd’s four-hit shutout in the Open Division section final (with Faraimo pitching for Cathedral Catholic) helped determine both honors. Still, the future member of the Notre Dame softball team had great numbers both pitching and hitting that were hard to beat. The daughter of San Marcos head coach Steve Tidd batted .453 with 14 doubles, seven homers and 31 RBI. In the circle, she wound up 25-2 with 180 strikeouts in 133 innings.
Lindsey Walljasper (Sierra, Manteca) Sr.
A familiar name to softball fans in the local Stockton-Modesto area, Walljasper adds this first team all-state selection to already being chosen State Small Schools Player of the Year. Sierra’s playoff division makes it small schools, but regardless Walljasper has been there for three CIF Sac-Joaquin Section titles in four years. The younger sister of LSU’s Allie Walljasper batted .456 this season with seven homers and 23 RBI. She also went 17-2 as a pitcher with a 0.19 ERA and 100 strikeouts. Walljasper will play next at Nebraska.
Sarah Willis (Norco) Soph.
Having to replace Taylor Dockins as the ace pitcher at Norco wasn’t easy but Willis did the job. She transferred from Ayala of Chino Hills and knew that Dockins had set the CIFSS record for career wins. Willis wound up 25-3 with a 1.26 ERA and pitched the Cougars to the CIFSS D1 title. And like Dockins (the 2017 Ms. Softball State Player of the Year), Willis could hit. She had six homers, 23 runs scored, 21 RBI and a .436 average. Willis already has committed to Washington and already has been chosen as the Cal-Hi Sports State Sophomore of the Year.
Mark Tennis is the co-founder and publisher of CalHiSports.com. He can be reached at email@example.com. Don’t forget to follow Mark on the Cal-Hi Sports Twitter handle: @CalHiSports