More Softball State Teams of the Year

After winning their CIF NorCal title (in D4), the girls from Capital Christian of Sacramento went a little bonkers during a TV interview. Photo: ABC 10 / Sacramento.

In addition to overall No. 1 and Division 1 No. 1 Hollister, others that can say they are mythical state champions for 2023 are Willow Glen of San Jose (D2), Central Catholic of Modesto (D3), Capital Christian of Sacramento (D4) and Holtville (D5).

For more on the 2023 State Team of the Year announcement,

Note: For the final divisional state rankings coming later this week, all of that info is for our Gold Club members only. You can get a subscription going right now, however, that is just $3.99 for one month and in addition to all of our rankings that also will include all of our upcoming all-state teams, state record updates plus additional, exclusive Gold Club content. For details, CLICK HERE.

Congratulations to these five softball teams for being added to the list of all-time state teams of the year according to our traditional Cal-Hi Sports five-division format:

Division I

The school’s highest final state ranking finish prior to this season was No. 2 in D1 in 2011. That team went 29-1 and who knows how it would have turned out for that group if it had the same postseason opportunities with open divisions and NorCal playoffs that 2023 just had?

Division II
Willow Glen (San Jose)

McKenna Campbell had the game-winning hit in the bottom of the seventh inning in Willow Glen’s win over Salinas Notre Dame. Photo: Mark Tennis.

The CCS strikes again for D2 as the Rams have won out in a close call that also involved CIF SoCal D2 runner-up El Capitan of Lakeside. This is the first ever state team of year honor for Willow Glen, which we saw win the CIF NorCal D2 title last Saturday, 6-5, over Notre Dame of Salinas.

El Capitan (26-6) beat top seed Capistrano Valley of Mission Viejo in the semifinals, but then fell to Santiago of Corona on Saturday, 5-1, in the final. Santiago comes from the same big school league as powerhouses Norco and Roosevelt, however, and doesn’t qualify to be D2 for our rankings. The Sharks are D1.

The last CCS team to be No. 1 in the state in softball for the D2 category was Archbishop Mitty of San Jose in 2012. The NorCal D2 bracket wasn’t impacted by opt outs like the SoCal D2 bracket, either.

One of the NorCal D2 first round games was 28-1-1 East Nicolaus playing 29-2 Vacaville. Willow Glen didn’t beat either of those two teams since East Nic lost in the semis to Notre Dame. The Rams also had a big win during the season over Archbishop Mitty. For more on the NorCal title game they won, CLICK HERE.

Division III
Central Catholic (Modesto)

After tough losses in the CIF Sac-Joaquin Section and NorCal playoffs in the last two seasons, the Raiders (30-4) put everything together last week in the CIF NorCal D3 playoffs and captured the championship. Now, they’ve also added the program’s first-ever state team of the year honor (although the school has many of them in football and baseball).

Central Catholic won the CIF NorCal D3 crown with a 7-0 win in the final over top seed Ponderosa of Shingle Springs. This avenged an earlier loss by the Raiders to the Bruins in the SJS D3 final. They also lost last year in the NorCal D2 semis to Lincoln of Stockton in a close game and to Vista del Lago of Folsom last year in the SJS D3 final.

Cal-bound Randi Roelling capped an outstanding career and season by throwing a no-hitter with nine strikeouts in the NorCal final. She also smacked a two-run homer. She had plenty of support from teammates Emori Machado (home run) and Taryn Caldron (two doubles, two RBI).

Winning a state team of the year honor for D3 also isn’t new for teams from Central Catholic’s Valley Oak League. In 2015, East Union of Manteca finished in the same spot and in 2019 it was Oakdale.

Players and coaches from Central Catholic of Modesto had to travel to Shingle Springs to get their CIF NorCal D3 title game win. Photo: @CIFState /

Division IV
Capital Christian (Sacramento)

The Cougars were behind teams like Orestimba of Newman and Fowler in the first look last week at teams that were classified as D4 for our state rankings, but since then they beat both to win the CIF NorCal D4 title and will come up to the top for the final rankings.

This is the first-ever state team of the year selection for Capital Christian, with a previous highest finish of No. 7 in D4 in 2010. The last No. 1 team in D4 from the CIF Sac-Joaquin Section was Ripon in 2019.

Orestimba was slotted No. 1 for D4 last week based on its victory over Sutter in the SJS D5 playoffs. Sutter at the time was 26-1 coming off of a win over East Nicolaus with its only other loss to SoCal D1 powerhouse Huntington Beach. The Warriors then rolled to the CIF NorCal D4 final, but ran into a Capital Christian squad that they lost to, 6-1.

Looking closer at the Cougars, their 19-5 final record includes two losses to Vista del Lago of Folsom in their league and one to Central Catholic of Modesto (see D3 above).

In the win over Orestimba (which followed a win over 27-3 Fowler in the semifinals), freshman Ayla Tuua further established herself as a phenom with a two-hitter and 12 strikeouts. Tuua also went 2-for-4 at the plate with a double and a triple.

Division V

Kalli Strahm led Holtville to CIF San Diego Section D2 title with her pitching and hitting. Photo:

For the final D5 rankings, there won’t be a CIF D5 regional champion listed since the two title teams from NorCal and SoCal, Live Oak of Morgan Hill and Madison of San Diego, are bigger schools with enrollments of close to or more than 1,000 students. We still like to keep D5 for our rankings for schools roughly half that size at least. That’s why the CIF SoCal D4 champions from Holtville (who represent a much smaller school than Live Oak or Madison with an enrollment of about 500) are going to be listed as D5 for us and also will be the D5 State Team of the Year.

The Vikings (26-5) won their SoCal D4 title in dramatic fashion. They were one out away from a loss in the final game to Santa Paula, but a two-run single by Demi Johnston tied the score at 3-3. Then in the top of the 10th inning, Kamryn Walker rapped out her third double of the game to spark a three-run rally. Holtville went on to post a 6-3 victory. The team also has been led by pitcher-hitter Kalli Strahm, who was our SoCal Player of the Week for what she did in helping Holtville win the CIF San Diego Section D5 title.

Earlier in the SoCal D4 playoffs, Holtville topped a Boron squad that was 23-2 by a 6-1 score and they handed Ganesha of Pomona its first loss of the season with a 9-3 victory.

This is the first-ever state team of the year honor for Holtville in school history. It’s also going to be the first time we’ll be listing a CIF San Diego Section school as team of the year for D5.

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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