Two of the five players named as finalists to be baseball’s State Player of the Year are headed to Stanford with a third who went to high school across the street. For softball, there are two front-runners but three others who have been selected as finalists for the magical moments that they created for their teams.
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Congratulations to the following finalists for the annual Mr. Baseball and Ms. Softball State Player of the Year honor. The winners will be announced along with other state players of the year for each class plus medium schools and small schools not long after the annual state coaches of the year honors are announced.
MR. BASEBALL STATE
PLAYER OF YEAR FINALISTS
Henry Bolte (Palo Alto)
The number that actually stands out the most for Bolte is his 48 stolen bases for the Vikings this season. That could be an all-time record for the CIF Central Coast Section, but we don’t know for sure because it takes 51 to make the state record list (the record is 70) and while there are no CCS totals at 51 and above we don’t know if there are any between 48 and 51. Regardless, most of the stolen base records are for players from small schools. Bolte getting 48 at a school like Paly is rather insane. He led the Vikings to the CCS D1 final and a 26-7 record. That speed also was shown frequently in the outfield on defense and combined with his power makes Henry one of the leading high school prospects in the nation for the upcoming MLB Draft. The graduating senior also had a .441 average with 13 homers and 42 RBI. He has signed with Texas.
Austin Charles (Stockdale, Bakersfield)
This lanky 6-foot-6, 215-pound senior has a lot of upside as he will no doubt keep adding pounds and strength to his frame in upcoming years. He led the Mustangs to the CIF Central Section D1 title and a 26-5 final record. Austin also has a combination of pitching and hitting accomplishments, which has helped him become a Mr. Baseball for California finalist. At the plate, the UC Santa Barbara-bound prospect batted .483 with 13 homers and 57 RBI. On the mound, Charles went 5-0 with a 1.36 ERA and had 62 strikeouts in 46 ⅓ innings.
Nick Dugan (St. Bernard’s, Eureka)
A rare small school finalist for the Mr. Baseball overall selection, Nick saved his best for last as he struck out all 13 batters he faced to put the finishing touches on St. Bernard’s win on Monday of this week over Alpha Charter of Sacramento for the CIF NorCal D3 championship. In the team’s semifinal win over large-school Central of Fresno, Nick pitched a one-hitter and struck out nine. Dugan, a senior, has been well-known to college and MLB scouts since his freshman season in the great northwest corner of the state. This spring, he finished 12-0 with a 0.81 ERA and he had 137 strikeouts in 60 innings. At the plate, Dugan also stood out with a .524 average, seven homers and 40 RBI. He has signed with Stanford where he may soon be throwing to Sacramento McClatchy’s Malcolm Moore (a catcher).
Graham Grahovac (Villa Park)
The State Sophomore of the Year from 2021 became the leading junior in 2022 and already has been getting overall player of the year recognition. On Thursday, he was named the L.A. Times Player of the Year. Villa Park was one of the top-ranked squads in Southern California all season and ended 28-6 with losses in the CIF Southern Section D1 semifinals and in the CIF SoCal D1 semifinals. The Spartans did get a title at this year’s SoCal Boras Classic. Grahovac was also pitched to very carefully (including an intentional walk to load the bases vs JSerra) but still batted .376 with 14 doubles, five homers and 24 RBI.
Malcolm Moore (McClatchy, Sacramento)
Perhaps the most obvious finalist of this bunch, Malcolm already has been honored as the Gatorade State Player of the Year (which has a different criteria than the Mr. Baseball honor). He also was a Gatorade winner as a junior. This season, Moore led McClatchy to a 29-5 record and to a finalist position in the CIF Sac-Joaquin Section D1 playoffs. He hit .500 with 13 homers, 51 RBI and 49 runs scored. The four-year standout headed to Stanford also had career totals of 27 homers and 147 RBI and that’s despite all the games missed in 2020 and a few more in 2021 due to COVID.
MS. SOFTBALL STATE
PLAYER OF YEAR FINALISTS
Micaela Kastor (Oaks Christian, Westlake Village)
Her senior season ended on pins and needles in the CIF SoCal D1 final last Saturday at Roosevelt of Fresno as it came down to one pitch and one swing that determined the outcome in the bottom of the seventh inning. Micaela got a third strike call with the bases loaded that gave the Lions a 6-5 win over the CIF Southern Section D1 champions. Kastor also helped Oaks Christian (34-1) bounce back from a 4-0 loss to Los Alamitos in the CIFSS D1 semifinals by pitching a no-hitter and hitting two homers in a SoCal regional win over San Marcos and she had a two-hitter in a 2-1 win over Mission Viejo. For the season, the Notre Dame-bound Kastor went 25-1 with a 0.51 ERA plus 256 strikeouts in 151 ⅓ innings. She also batted .522 with 11 homers and 39 RBI. Micaela has already been selected as the Gatorade State Player of the Year (which goes by a different criteria than Ms. Softball).
Dakota Kennedy (Sheldon, Sacramento)
The leadoff hitting outfielder headed to Arizona was the most eye-popping talent for a team that had multiple D1 signers in its lineup. Kennedy smacked her team-leading 12th and 13th homers in the CIF Sac-Joaquin Section D1 final. The Huskies (28-6) eventually fell to St. Francis of Mountain View in the CIF NorCal D1 semifinals. Kennedy, a graduating senior, also led Sheldon in runs scored with 54 and was among the team leaders with a .465 average, 42 RBI and 14 steals.
Ryan Maddox (Clovis North, Fresno)
Despite Ryan suffering an injury that knocked her out of the CIF Central Section playoffs (Clovis North was the top seed and lost in the quarterfinals without its ace), she has been named as the Player of the Year in the Tri-River Athletic Conference. Maddox, who also was the 2021 State Sophomore of the Year, clearly was one of the top players in the state this spring. Committed to the University of Arizona, Ryan had a 20-2 mark in the circle with a 0.36 ERA plus 264 strikeouts in 136 ⅔ innings. She also was one of the Broncos’ leading hitters with a .506 batting average. She had 42 hits, three homers and 16 RBI. Clovis North ended at 21-3.
Jessica Oakland (St. Francis, Sacramento)
Our 2021 State Junior of the Year had to be great to match her accomplishments from that season when she hit 19 homers for a 26-0 club. Jessica not only did that, but more as she smashed 21 homers for a team that earlier this week was named State Team of the Year with a 31-2 final record. Oakland also batted .578 this season for the Lancers and she drove in 67 runs. Over her St. Francis career, the daughter of Lancers’ head coach Mike Oakland who will play next at the University of Minnesota finished with 44 home runs and 159 RBI. Oakland’s home run totals both as a junior and as a senior led the state according to reported leaders by MaxPreps.
Sydney Somerndike (Villa Park)
It wasn’t anyone from Roosevelt or Oaks Christian who already has been named as the CIF Southern Section D1 player of the year. It was Somerndike, who was a finalist for this award last season and has been regarded as one of the top players nationally for the Class of 2022 for several years. Somerndike also gained the CIFSS honor despite missing games for three weeks when she sprained her ankle at the Michelle Carew Classic. Villa Park had started 16-0 and was No. 1 in the state and nation at the time of that injury. Somerndike came back and had a one-hitter with 12 strikeouts in a key league win over Esperanza of Anaheim. She ended her senior season 14-1 with a 0.69 ERA and had 179 strikeouts. She also was one of the Spartans’ top hitters. Sydney also went 38-4 for her career and she recently learned that her jersey number is going to be retired by the school.