More State Softball Coaches of the Year

In addition to overall State Coach of the Year Mike Centrullo from Mater Dei Catholic of Chula Vista, we have additional state coaching honors for the 2022 season going to Andy Meza from Alvarez of Salinas (medium schools) and Jeff Day of Caruthers (small schools).


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Andy Meza (Alvarez, Salinas)

It was a historical season in more than one respect for the Alvarez of Salinas softball team in 2022.

First, the Eagles captured their first ever CIF Central Coast Section title with a 3-0 triumph in the D1 championship game over Notre Dame of Belmont. It also was just the second section title in any sport in school history. Secondly, head coach Andy Meza has now made some history as he’s become the first ever State Medium Schools Coach of the Year from the CCS.

Alvarez was placed in D2 for our five division state rankings and was not in the top 10 at 24-4 after losing in the first round of the CIF NorCal D3 playoffs to Central of Fresno (which is D1 in its section). But the Eagles can be medium schools for the all-state teams and for other honors and because of that Meza emerged as a solid choice for coaching.

A 12-under coach for the Salinas Storm travel team, Meza has been Alvarez High’s softball coach since the 2014 season. After that first season, he’s had seven straight winning seasons. This includes 22-6 for 2015 and even includes the shortened 5-1 season in 2020 (pandemic) and 8-3 in 2021 (also a low number of games due to COVID). Even though there were so few games in 2021 compared to a lot of other schools, the Eagles didn’t miss a beat in 2022.

One of the best moves that Meza made, according to an article by John Devine in the Monterey County Herald, was elevating freshman Dani Amendola into a No. 1 role as the pitcher. She finished 9-2 with a 1.71 ERA and had 115 strikeouts in 82 innings. Senior Victoria Castillo also led the way with a .561 batting average and five homers.

Recent State Medium Schools Coaches of the Year: 2021 – Obie Galindo (Hesperia Sultana); 2020 – No selection (pandemic); 2019 – Ed Medina (Santa Ana Godinez); 2018 – Kristin Grubbs (Benicia); 2017 – J.J. Vaivao (Ventura Buena); 2016 – Bobby Flores (Grand Terrace); 2015 – Brian Goulart (Manteca East Union); 2014 – Jim Maier (Santa Fe Springs St. Paul); 2013 – Linda Merrida (Woodland Pioneer); 2012 – Randy Willis (Novato San Marin); 2011 – Jerry Dumatrait (Bakersfield Ridgeview); 2010 – Michael Roberts (San Diego University City); 2009 – Howard Miller (Torrance North).

Caruthers head coach Jeff Day is flanked by Mo Triguero (left) and Paige Sterling (right) after team won CIF SoCal D5 title. Photo: Gabe Camarillo.

Jeff Day (Caruthers)

If you haven’t figured it out by now, we’re looking for coaches from section or regional championship teams to honor who have multiple years of success, not just for the current season.

The CIF Central Section D5 and CIF SoCal D5 champions from Caruthers have been led by Jeff Day as their softball coach since 2011 and every one of his teams except one has had a winning record. This includes a 26-6 squad in 2014 and a 21-4-3 club in 2016.

Day, who helps out with the Fresno Force travel ball program, had a 2022 team that was about as prolific offensively as a team can get. The Blue Raiders consistently pounded the ball off of their trademark Blue Monster center field wall and were in double-digits for all four of their D5 section wins — 18-4, 11-8, 11-2 and 14-4 in the final over Boron. They continued to roll in the regionals, but had a tough 6-5 win in their last game against Nipomo.

Day’s girls included two who will go into the state record book. Paige Sterling will make it for RBI with 61 and also had eight homers and a .570 batting average. Giselle Aguirre will make it for hits with 64 and also had 70 runs with a .610 batting average. Caruthers multi-sport standout Mo Triguero batted .461 with 39 RBI and also was the team’s primary pitcher (18-10, 124 Ks).

The only other small schools coaching honoree in softball from the CIF Central Section has been Russell Emberson of Taft in 2014. Both the small schools and medium schools state coaching honors began in 1998.

Recent State Small Schools Coaches of the Year: 2021 – Stefanie Danna (Sutter); 2020 – No selection (pandemic); 2019 – Robert Vernon (Ripon); 2018 – Neil Stinson (East Nicolaus); 2017 – Flo Galindo (Sun Valley Village Christian); 2016 – Tony Williams (Mariposa County, Mariposa); 2015 – Margaret Neill (Lancaster Paraclete); 2014 – Russell Emberson (Taft); 2013 – Melissa Bugarin-Espinoza (San Pedro Port of Los Angeles); 2012 – Jim Pingree (Monterey Santa Catalina); 2011 – Mike Pontius (Lodi Elliot Christian); 2010 – Raoul Singh (Sutter); 2009 – Alan Borges (Eureka St. Bernard’s).

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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