State Team of the Year Norco had two of the top three Ms. Softball State Player of the Year finalists, but the Cougars had one more player who also was able to crack the lineup of this year’s elite group of 30 top players. This team can be made by any player from any size school or year in school. No freshmen are on first team this year but there are two sophomores. Go inside to read the bios of each honoree and why some of the close calls went the way they did.
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Congratulations to these players who’ve been named first team overall for the 37th annual Cal-Hi Sports all-state softball honors program:
FIRST TEAM CATCHERS
Courtney Beaudin (Foothill, Pleasanton) Jr.
It wasn’t just State Junior of the Year Nicole May why Foothill went 29-0, won the CIF North Coast Section D1 title and was top five in the nation. Beaudin proved to be one of the elite catchers (probably in the nation too), only committing one error all season. At the plate, Beaudin also led the Falcons with seven homers to go with a .493 average and 28 RBI. She doesn’t have a reported college commitment yet, but many from the Pac-12 have offered.
Alyssa Garcia (Mater Dei Catholic, Chula Vista) Sr.
She was the batterymate of first team all-state multi-purpose Lexi Sosa and also was a big factor in the Crusaders going 31-4 and winning the CIF San Diego Section Open Division crown. Garcia, who will continue to be a teammate of Sosa’s in college at NCAA champion UCLA, had a .519 batting average with five homers, 14 doubles and 32 RBI. Garcia already has been named first team All-San Diego Section.
Kinzie Hansen (Norco) Sr.
The honors keep on rolling for Kinzie. She was named an Extra Inning Softball All-American last week and this expected all-state first team selection comes this week. Hansen, already named as our 2019 Ms. Softball State Player of the Year, batted .467 this year for the State Team of the Year Cougars with five homers and 36 RBI. She’s also now been first team all-state three times in a career that saw her help Norco win CIF Southern Section titles twice with a runner-up finish in 2017. She will play next at Oklahoma.
Sharlize Palacios (Eastlake, Chula Vista) Sr.
After a junior season that ended early for her with a torn MCL, Palacios came back strong as a senior. She cracked 11 homers with 36 RBI and batted .556. In fact, including that shortened junior season, Sharlize had a .500 batting average or higher for all four of her varsity seasons. The daughter of three-time All-CIF San Diego Section catcher Kiko Palacios (1990-92) committed as an infielder to national power Arizona as a freshman infielder and will join the Wildcats next season.
Kacey Zobac (Valley Christian, San Jose) Sr.
Despite not being from a team in the Open Division, Zobac would pretty clearly be the top all-state candidate from the CIF Central Coast Section. The twin sister of Valley Christian first team all-state multi-purpose player (and Mr. Baseball State POY finalist) Steven Zobac batted more than .500 in all four of her varsity seasons. This season, she mangled the yellow ball for a .607 average with 11 homers and 35 RBI even though she was walked 25 times. Zobac also notched a feat we’ve never heard of in the mighty West Catholic Athletic League in that she was the WCAL Player of the Year for all four of her seasons. She will join her brother in the fall at Cal.
FIRST TEAM PITCHERS
Matalasi Faapito (Great Oak, Temecula) Sr.
No final stats for Matalasi were available, but we know from following the team all season that she had some notable pitching performances, including a four-hitter with one earned run allowed in Great Oak’s 2-0 loss to State Team of the Year Norco in the CIFSS D1 final. Faapito also was named to the All-CIFSS D1 first team and was All-Inland Area. She did some of her best work in the CIFSS D1 playoffs as the Wolf Pack notched victories against M.L. King of Riverside, San Clemente, Santa Margarita (Rancho SM) and Gahr (Cerritos). Matalasi will play next at New Mexico State.
Savannah Hooks (Santiago, Corona) Soph.
She’s been well-known in the SoCal travel ball circuit since she was 12 and this year Savannah emerged as one of the top prep pitchers in the region. She got the win when Santiago topped Norco 4-3 in a Big VIII League contest that ended up being the only loss Norco suffered on the season. Earlier, she also had a three-hitter and 10 strikeouts in a 1-0 loss to the Cougars. For the season, the All-CIFSS D1 first team All-Riverside pick went 15-4 with a 1.56 ERA and she had 186 strikeouts in 144 innings.
(Stockdale, Bakersfield) Jr.
The Bakersfield Californian Player of the Year was at her best in the CIF Central Section D1 playoffs. She tossed a three-hit shutout in the title game, a 1-0 win over Bullard of Fresno, and had 26 scoreless innings to end the season. Hornbuckle, who is committed to Colorado State and has a twin sister (Kaitlin) who was all-state underclass second team at catcher, had a 0.43 ERA for the season with a 19-3 record. She also had 157 strikeouts in 145 innings. At the plate, Sydney did well, too. She hit .529 with four homers and 28 RBI.
Janessa Jasso (Dos Palos) Sr.
She’s been called California’s strikeout queen and the numbers back that up. Although Jasso pitches for a small school, she goes onto first team all-state with 1,109 career strikeouts, which is among the best in state history and is No. 2 all-time for the Central Section, according to section historian Bob Barnett. This season, Janessa went 24-3 with a 0.58 ERA and had 329 strikeouts in 169 innings. Jasso also has done well enough in travel ball against elite competition to earn college attention and will be playing next at Iowa State.
Grace Uribe (Huntington Beach) Jr.
She was considered the MVP for a Huntington Beach team that at times and at full strength proved it could beat any other team on any day. The Oilers (18-9) reached the CIFSS D1 semifinals after some upsets and did so behind Uribe in the circle. Her season totals of 14-5 with a 1.99 ERA may not look that great compared to others, but the Orange County Register still tabbed her as OC Pitcher of the Year. Uribe, who has committed to Texas A&M, also was one of the top batters in the Sunset League. She had a .447 batting average with five homers and 22 RBI.
Sarah Willis (Norco) Jr.
As explained in Kinzie Hansen’s Ms. Softball State POY writeup, Willis was just about her equal. The Washington commit capped a series of dominant outings in the CIFSS D1 playoffs with a three-hitter (eight strikeouts) in the title game win vs. Great Oak. Willis ended the season 22-1 in the circle with a 0.82 ERA plus 196 strikeouts in 153 innings. She added a .350 batting average with four homers and 20 RBI. She was the Pitcher of the Year by the Riverside Press-Enterprise, an honor considered equal to its Player of the Year choice for Hansen. If we had ties or co-Players of the Year, maybe we would have done something similar.
FIRST TEAM INFIELD
Maya Brady (Oaks Christian, Westlake Village) Sr.
The summer already has started out well for Maya and her OC Batbusters club team and UCLA softball fans can’t wait to see what she does for the Bruins next season. Brady already has been Ms. Softball State Player of the Year finalist, Player of the Year for the L.A. Daily News and Player of the Year by the Ventura Star on her resume. First team all-state was therefore a lock. The daughter of former California prep pitching record-holder Maureen Brady and niece of NFL QB great Tom Brady batted .558 and .519 the last two seasons with 22 homers and 64 RBI. She also ended her career with 174 hits.
Seneca Curo (Ramona) Sr.
Three of national champion UCLA’s incoming recruiting class with Maya Brady, Lexi Sosa and Alyssa Garcia were all rather no brainers to be first team all-state. Curo is the fourth member of that class and after all of the analytics were done she’s gained a first team all-state slot, too. She had a more than solid season for the Bulldogs (first team All-San Diego), who went 19-10, with a .505 average, seven homers, 12 doubles, 47 total hits and 36 RBI. It’s her career totals, though, that put her over the top as Seneca finished with 29 homers (including 10 each as a sophomore and junior).
Jazmine Hill (Gahr, Cerritos) Sr.
Gahr went to the CIFSS D1 semifinals this season after getting to the championship game last year and of the returning players it was Hill who was the one who had the most outstanding season. Signed by Arizona State, Jazmine led the Gladiators with a .552 average. She also had six homers and 31 RBI. During one memorable week, she went 13-for-15 with five of those homers and 13 RBI.
Julia Jimenez (Etiwanda) Sr.
If you don’t know by now, career accomplishments tend to carry more weight with our all-state selections than perhaps others who only look at what happened for one particular season. Jimenez, for her, actually had what could be called an average season in 2019, but that average was .520 at the plate with nine homers and 31 RBI. Playing for a team that went 20-8-1 in the Baseline League (same league as Chino Hills), Julia ended her career with 192 hits, 33 homers, 42 doubles and 145 RBI. Another fact that was hard to miss: she only struck out six times in 455 at-bats in her four years. Jimenez will play next at Michigan.
Brooke Johnson (Chino Hills) Sr.
It’s a second straight all-state first team honor for Brooke, who head coach Mike Southworth says “exceeded her numbers in a huge way.” Johnson, who is the Inland Valley Daily Bulletin Player of the Year, led the state in reported homers with 17 and hit .544 with an on-base of .633. Brooke batted leadoff for the Huskies the last two seasons but still ended with 41 career homers and 152 RBI. She will play next for DePaul, which happens to be where her mother pitched in the 1990s.
Janelle Meono (Wilson, Hacienda Heights) Sr.
She’s the San Gabriel Valley Tribune Player of the Year and what stands out the most about Janelle is her .593 career batting average. The competition she faced in high school wasn’t that great, but Meono also is a top 40 national recruit by Extra Inning Softball and she’s signed with Arizona. Meono had 47 hits in 2019 and also had a .588 batting average. In her sophomore season, she batted .667 and had 54 hits.
Savannah Pola (Godinez, Santa Ana) Soph.
Already named as the State Sophomore Player of the Year, Savannah basically had to go up to first team when it was decided that another sophomore, pitcher Savannah Hooks of Corona Santiago, needed to be first team. Pola had a remarkable season in Godinez’s march to the CIFSS D4 title. The UCLA commit racked up 64 hits (makes the all-time state list), batted .577, scored 49 runs and had four homers with 30 RBI. As a freshman, Savannah hit .701 and had 61 hits. Her older sister, Keana, is being named all-state second team (overall) and is headed to Nebraska. Both girls previously were all-state medium schools. Savannah is the only player this year who’s been all-state underclass first team, all-state medium schools and all-state first team. We actually try for that not to happen because it takes away spots for someone else, but it just couldn’t be avoided by what Savannah has been doing.
Julia Scardina (Marin Catholic, Kentfield) Sr.
Probably our runner-up for Medium Schools State Player of the Year, Scardina had a monster season for the 25-1 Wildcats in their successful quest for the NCS D3 title. The Utah-bound shortstop racked up a whopping 55 RBI and also finished with 13 homers and a .671 batting average. Two of Scardina’s homers came in the NCS final and semifinal contests.
Paige Smith (Norco) Sr.
There’s no limit on our all-state teams about players from one team, which apparently was the case for this year’s All-CIF Southern Section D1 team since there were only two listed from Norco and Smith wasn’t on it. Smith led the Cougars in RBI with 45 and for her career she had 143, which is the same total that Ms. Softball State POY Kinzie Hansen had. Smith, who also batted .387 this season and was All-Inland Empire, will play next at Ole Miss.
FIRST TEAM OUTFIELD
Ciara Briggs (Lutheran, Orange) Sr.
It’s a repeat for first team all-state for Briggs, who also has already been chosen as the Orange County Register Player of the Year. Briggs also has already been on more than one All-American team. She led the 23-7-1 Lancers with 54 hits and a .545 average. She also had 41 runs scored, eight homers and 30 RBI. Some of Briggs’ career totals also were quite impressive (and especially considering the competition she routinely faced: 183 hits, 154 runs, 47 doubles. Ciara will play next at LSU.
Kayla Edwards (Great Oak, Temecula) Sr.
There was one constant in each of Great Oak’s CIFSS D1 playoff wins over San Clemente, Santa Margarita and Gahr (Cerritos) and that is that in each of them it was Edwards hitting a home run. She ended among the state leaders with 16 and also batted well above .500 on the season. Edwards has accepted an appointment to attend the U.S. Military Academy in West Point, N.Y. She also will play college softball there.
Alycia Flores (Grand Terrace) Sr.
The fourth year of varsity for Grand Terrace was a grand one for Alycia. She had her best season with 44 hits, 13 homers, 29 RBI, 46 runs and a .468 average. She’d also be the top honors candidate from a team that went 25-4-1 and was the second seed in the CIFSS D1 playoffs behind Norco based on wins against Great Oak, Chino Hills and others. The first-round upset loss to Huntington Beach was tough, but doesn’t diminish the season that Flores had. She also ended with a .431 career batting average and will play next Oklahoma, where her older sister (Eliyah) will be a junior next season.
Mazie Macfarlane (Whitney, Rocklin) Sr.
Already named the co-Player of the Year by the Sacramento Bee with twin sister Makenzie, Mazie makes all-state first team as an outfielder with Makenzie on second team as a catcher. The duo led Whitney to the CIF Sac-Joaquin Section D1 title and will both be headed to Utah State. Besides being able to be first team in the outfield (easier than catcher), Mazie also had slightly better batting numbers for the Wildcats than Makenzie. She ended at .533 with four homers, 48 hits, 47 runs scored and 26 RBI. Her career totals also were slightly better, but both of them certainly deserve to be all-state and they are.
Jordyn VanHook (El Camino Real, Woodland Hills) Sr.
Talk about ending the season and your career with a bang. Jordyn did that by blasting three home runs for ECR when it topped Granada Hills Charter 9-0 in the CIF L.A. City Section Open Division championship. The Arizona State recruit was then naturally named the L.A. City Player of the Year. She might’ve been the L.A. Daily News player of the year, but Maya Brady was eligible for that honor and had to be the pick. We have both of them on first team all-state. VanHook also ended the season with 11 homers, 30 career homers, a .512 batting average and had 31 RBI.
FIRST TEAM MULTI-PURPOSE
Sydney Kuma (Washington, Easton) Sr.
We’d say it’s about 50-50 for the State Small Schools Player of the Year also grabbing a spot on first team All-State. But Sydney arguably was the Player of the Year for the entire CIF Central Section. The University of Georgia recruit led the Panthers to the D4 section title with 13 homers, 46 RBI and batted .683. Kuma also had an 11-1, 0.75, 131 Ks in 93 innings pitching line. Including her freshman and sophomore seasons at Caruthers, Kuma tied the section record with 37 homers and also had a .626 career batting average. She also ended with 51 pitching wins and 728 strikeouts.
Nicole May (Foothill, Pleasanton) Jr.
Our State Freshman of the Year from 2017 and the State Junior of the Year for 2019 capped her season with a one-hitter (13 strikeouts) and hit a two-run homer in Foothill’s 2-0 victory over Heritage of Brentwood for the CIF North Coast Section D1 title. Foothill’s 29-0 season record and No. 2 final state ranking included May with a 24-0 pitching mark, 0.32 ERA plus 246 strikeouts in 151 innings. The Oklahoma commit also batted .463 (2nd on the team) with five homers and 27 RBI.
(Mater Dei Catholic, Chula Vista) Sr.
Already chosen as the San Diego Section Player of the Year, Sosa led the Crusaders to the Open Division section title. As a batter, she belted 11 homers with 38 RBI and a .462 average. She also had a .410 career batting average with 21 homers and 100 RBI. With her arm, Sosa rang up a 24-2 record for her 31-4 team (No. 4 in final state rankings). She had a 1.07 ERA and had 237 strikeouts in 177 ⅓ innings. Sosa will play next at UCLA.
Miranda Stoddard (Lutheran, Orange) Sr.
A transfer to the Lancers from Canyon of Anaheim, Stoddard made an impact at the plate and as a pitcher. The All-Orange County and PGF All-Region honoree hit .388 with nine homers and 34 RBI. She also had a 1.54 ERA in the circle with a 13-5 record. In one of her outings, Stoddard hurled a one-hitter against Great Oak of Temecula. Miranda will play next at Kentucky.
Lexi Webb (Oakdale) Sr.
With Webb leading the way, Oakdale only lost once en route to its CIF Sac-Joaquin Section title (in D3) and was considered the No. 1 overall team in the SJS regardless of division at 29-1-1. Our State Medium Schools Player of the Year crushed it with her bat to the tune of.597 (batting average) and had 11 homers, 12 doubles and two triples. She walked 30 times and only struck out four times in 104 plate appearances. As a pitcher, Webb racked up a 22-1 record with a 0.65 ERA. She also struck out 248 batters in 139 innings. She will play next at Fresno State.