More Softball Players of the Year

Two of this season’s State Players of the Year in softball are Ryan Maddox (left) from Clovis North of Fresno (large schools) & Miaili Guachino from Great Oak of Temecula (juniors). Photos: & James Escarcega / SGV Whittier Prep Sports Zone.

If these honors were decided after the regular season (like the NFL, NBA & MLB), then every single one of the winners would be different. They are not in high school, however, since the playoffs are so important. We have additional honorees for juniors, sophs and frosh plus large schools and small schools. A large schools choice is made whenever Ms. Softball is medium schools or small schools. It was medium for this year.

For more on Ms. Softball State Player of the Year Randi Roelling, CLICK HERE.

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Congratulations to the following five players also who also have been selected this week as Cal-Hi Sports State Players of the Year. Thanks to Carlos Arias of the new website for consultations about these players.

Miali Guachino (Great Oak, Temecula)

Already honored as the Riverside Press-Enterprise Player of the Year over a strong field that included two outstanding seniors from Norco (Alyssa Hovermale & Mya Perez) plus power hitting senior catcher Jazzy Burns of Murrieta Mesa, Guachino now adds another big one as the State Junior of the Year.

Just like the state honors we do, the Press-Enterprise also hugely counts playoff success as a major factor in selection criteria. And Miali (pronounced My-Lee) might have been tops in the state period for playoff success for this season.

Even though all of what she accomplished could have been wiped out in just the second playoff game, Guachino began her run by pitching a one-hitter and smashing two home runs in a CIF Southern Section D2 playoff win over Arcadia. Ayala of Chino Hills was up next and pushed Great Oak into extra innings with the tense contest finally going to the Wolf Pack in the 11th inning. Miali struck out 19 in that win.

In the CIFSS D2 quarterfinals, Guachino had a three-hitter and homered in a 3-0 win over California of Whittier. She next came up big with a no-hitter and 20 strikeouts in a triumph over top-seeded Moorpark. Then in the title game as the Wolf Pack got past Grand Terrace it was Miali coming up with 19 strikeouts.

All totaled, Guachino went 5-0 in the playoffs with a 0.18 ERA, 84 strikeouts in 39 innings and a 0.62 WHIP. At the plate in those games, she batted .563 (9 for 16) with three homers and nine RBI.

For the season pitching in the same league that was won by Murrieta Mesa, Miali went 15-4 with a 0.57 ERA and had 280 strikeouts in 135 innings plus three no-hitters. She led Great Oak at the plate in hits and RBI (with a .333 average and 24 RBI) and tied for the team lead in homers with five.

Much of Guachino’s success was not a surprise since she emerged last summer during the travel ball circuit as one the best Class of 2024 pitchers in the nation. She has committed to Ole Miss and has been in the top 10 of the Extra Inning Softball Elite player rankings.

Great Oak softball collected its first state player of the year honor in 2019 when Ramsey Suarez was selected tops among freshmen. Guachino is the fifth junior of the year from the Inland Empire on the all-time list that goes back to 1974, joining Kinzie Hansen of Norco for 2018, Melissa Taukieaho of Etiwanda for 2011, Taylor Edwards of Vista Murrieta for 2009 and Keira Goerl of Valley View (Moreno Valley) for 1999.

Recent State Juniors of the Year: 2022 – Ryan Maddox (Fresno Clovis North); 2021 – Jessica Oakland (Mountain View St. Francis); 2020 – No selection (pandemic); 2019 – Nicole May (Pleasanton Foothill); 2018 – Kinzie Hansen (Norco); 2017 – Megan Faraimo (San Diego Cathedral Catholic); 2016 – Camryn Ybarra (Mission Viejo); 2015 – Mia Camuso (Redding Shasta); 2014 – Taylor McQuillin (Mission Viejo); 2013 – Johanna Grauer (Pleasanton Amador Valley); 2012 – Gabrielle Maurice (Modesto Beyer); 2011 – Melissa Taukieaho (Etiwanda); 2010 – Lauren Chamberlain (Lake Forest El Toro); 2009 – Taylor Edwards (Murrieta Vista Murrieta).

Mya McGowan (Poway)

A nationally ranked recruit from the Class of 2025, McGowan was a somewhat easy choice for this spot after leading Poway to the CIF Southern California D1 regional championship.

Mya McGowan had impressive one-hitter for Poway in CIF SoCal D1 title game win over Oaks Christian. Photo: San Diego Power Surge.

That playoff field was diminished by opt-outs from other CIFSS teams, but in the final there was nothing diminished by what McGowan did. She threw a one-hitter as the Titans blanked an Oaks Christian of Westlake Village squad that had made the CIFSS D1 semifinals and had already set a new state record by blasting 68 home runs as a team.

For the season, McGowan had already pushed herself arguably to the top of the San Diego Section with her pitching and hitting. She finished with a 19-1 pitching record with a 1.01 ERA and struck out 125 batters. As a batter, Mya was one of the sophomore state leaders with nine homers. She also batted .310 with 27 RBI.

“She had an incredible season,” said Poway head coach Jim Bennet, who was just named as the 2023 State Coach of the Year. “It is impressive considering she missed the first 3 1/2 weeks of the season while still finishing the varsity basketball season (where she has started for two years).

“She is very talented and competitive, but also very humble,” Bennet added. “That really came out vs Oaks Christian when she said she had to win that one for the seniors.”

There were three San Diego girls who are listed for sophomore state player of the year in the early years (based on research) for 1976, 1977 and 1981. Since 2000, there’s only been three and that includes McGowan. The last one from the section was Donna Kerr of Patrick Henry for 2005 and the only other one was Lisa Dodd of Mira Mesa for 2001.

Recent State Sophomores of the Year: 2022 – Cambria Salmon (Beaumont); 2021 – Mya Perez (Norco); 2020 – No selection (pandemic); 2019 – Savannah Pola (Santa Ana Godinez); 2018 – Sarah Willis (Norco); 2017 – Kinzie Hansen (Norco); 2016 – Vanessa Strong (Oakley Freedom); 2015 – Holly Azevedo (San Jose Pioneer); 2014 – Katie Kibby (Vacaville); 2013 – Alyssa Palomino (Mission Viejo); 2012 – Johanna Grauer (Pleasanton Amador Valley); 2011 – Gabrielle Maurice (Modesto Beyer); 2010 – Nancy Bowling (Simi Valley Royal); 2009 – Ally Carda (Elk Grove Pleasant Grove).

Freshman Taylor Faga ripped the ball with authority in helping Hollister gain its NorCal title and No. 1 state finish. Photo: Jonathan Natividad / Hollister Free Lance.

Taylor Faga (Hollister)

The team that ended No. 1 in the final state rankings had to get one of this year’s major honors, right? Well, the one that’s going to the Haybalers is for Freshman State Player of the Year and it’s Faga.

Faga also isn’t just a freshman who was the top power hitter at Hollister. She’s one of the top freshmen in the nation, plays for the Corona Angels travel ball program and will be playing this weekend for a 16-under Polynesia all-star team at the Triple Crown International Challenge in Colorado. The only other Class of 2026 girls on that team are the younger sister of NCAA legend Jocelyn Alo from Hawaii and Long Beach Poly’s Kiele Ho-Ching. Taylor clearly had the better high school season than Ho-Ching.

In Hollister’s three wins in the CIF NorCal D1 playoffs against Oak Ridge of El Dorado Hills, Whitney of Rocklin and St. Francis of Mountain View, Faga came up with two hits in each of those games. She was just a few percentage points behind teammate Grace Peffley for the team lead with a .511 batting average. Taylor also ended with 46 hits, 29 RBI, three homers, 10 doubles and 28 runs scored.

Here’s another final nugget for Faga getting this honor. The last one from the CIF Central Coast Section to be state freshman of the year was Monica Abbott of North Salinas for 2000, who happens to be one of the greatest players in the history of the sport. The only other CCS honoree has been Jennifer Mallon of San Jose Gunderson for 1991.

Recent State Freshmen of the Year: 2022 – Kai Minor (Orange Lutheran); 2021 – Brynne Nally (Garden Grove Pacifica); 2020 – No selection (pandemic); 2019 – Ramsey Suarez (Temecula Great Oak); 2018 – Cydney Sanders (San Marcos); 2017 – Nicole May (Pleasanton Foothill); 2016 – Kinzie Hansen (Norco); 2015 – Danielle Williams (Pleasanton Amador Valley); 2014 – Taylon Snow (Chino Hills); 2013 – Zoe Marrott (Moraga Campolindo); 2012 – Amanda Lorenz (Moorpark); 2011 – Tera Blanco (Huntington Beach Marina); 2010 – Ali Aguilar (Orangevale Casa Roble); 2009 – Nancy Bowling (Simi Valley Royal); 2008 – Dani Gilmore (Woodland Hills El Camino Real).

Ryan Maddox (Clovis North, Fresno)

It does happen from time to time that a large schools state player of the year is selected when there is someone from a medium school who has gained the very top Ms. Softball honor. The last time it was done was in 2016 when Nicole Bates of Ceres was medium schools and Ms. Softball while large schools went to Madilyn Nickles of nearby Merced.

An injury one season and some bad luck both caused Maddox and her Clovis North team to suffer upset losses in the first round of the 2022 and 2023 CIF Central Section D1 playoffs. Could she have still been State Player of the Year? Yes and along with Ella Parker of Sherman Oaks Notre Dame would still be regarded by most who follow college recruiting closely as the two top players in the state.

As a nod to her four-year career at Clovis North and to acknowledge the regular season that she enjoyed, Maddox is gaining this additional listing in our all-time players of the year lists. This goes along with her being the 2022 State Junior of the Year.

Despite the loss to Stockdale of Bakersfield in the playoffs, Maddox still had a 21-1 pitching record in leading the Broncos to their third straight Tri-River Athletic Conference title. She also had a 0.64 ERA and had a whopping 281 strikeouts in 152 innings.

At least one opposing coach we know (not from Clovis North) called Ryan one of the best players he’d seen in Central Section history. Her pitching, base running, fielding and hitting were all lauded. As a batter, Maddox had a .420 average this season with 28 runs scored.

For her four-year career (only eight games as a freshman due to COVID), Maddox had a 62-5 pitching record with a 0.66 ERA with 772 strikeouts in 445 innings. She also had a .433 batting average and 92 runs scored.

With her 3.96 GPA and community service added on, Maddox was recently named the Gatorade State Player of the Year. She will play next at Arizona.

Recent Medium Schools State Players of the Year: 2022 – Riley Wickum (Sutter); 2021 – Brooklyn Carrion (La Habra Whittier Christian); 2020 – No selection (pandemic); 2019 – Lexi Webb (Oakdale); 2018 – Maile Newman (Torrance West); 2017 – Brooke Yanez (Ventura Buena); 2016 – Nicole Bates (Ceres); 2015 – Rachel Garcia (Palmdale Highland); 2014 – Kylee Perez (Martinez Alhambra); 2013 – Rachel Garcia (Palmdale Highland); 2012 – Nisa Ontiveros (Bakersfield Ridgeview); 2011 – Cheyenne Cordes (Fairfield Rodriguez); 2010 – Courtney Ceo (Lake of the Pines Bear River); 2009 – Jenna Rich (El Segundo); 2008 – Erin Arevalo (Manteca East Union).

Ayla Tuua of Sacramento Capital Christian has her biggest honor yet to add to her collection: State Small Schools Player of the Year. Photo:

Ayla Tuua (Capital Christian, Sacramento) Fr.

It can easily be said that if there were no CIF regional playoffs that Ayla would not have risen to the top of the small schools state players of the year list of candidates. And despite being just a freshman, she is the one who led Capital Christian to the CIF NorCal D4 title and has to collect this honor.

Capital Christian winning in the same regional bracket as Orestimba of Newman was a key factor that pushed Tuua to the top. Orestimba had upset Sutter in the CIF Sac-Joaquin Section D5 playoffs. Sutter is considered medium for all-state teams based on competitive equity factors and that win came after Sutter had that big win over East Nicolaus, which also is considered medium schools.

In the SJS D4 final, Ayla went 2-for-4 with a double and she pitched a three-hitter with 13 strikeouts in a 4-3 win over Dixon. Then in the NorCal playoffs, Tuua had a one-hitter in a win over Fowler in the semifinals and in the finals she had a two-hitter with 12 strikeouts and went 2-for-4 with a homer and double in a 6-1 victory against Orestimba.

For the season, Tuua’s totals for the Cougars also were impressive. She finished with a .545 batting average with 12 homers and 50 RBI. In the circle, Ayla’s 6-0 record on MaxPreps seems to be a mistake since she did pitch in almost all of Capital Christian’s games. She also ended with a 1.20 ERA and had 172 strikeouts in 93 2/3 innings.

Ayla is not just a small school player, either. She was considered for the overall State Freshman Player of the Year selection and was slotted in at No. 89 overall in the most recent Extra Innings Elite player rankings covering the entire nation for the Class of 2026.

Tuua is the first-ever freshman to be Small Schools State Player of the Year. The most recent SJS player of the year in the category was Lindsey Walljasper of Manteca Sierra in 2018. Current Dominican University head coach Juliana Santos also is a former honoree for 2008 when she was in high school at Orestimba.

Recent Small Schools State Players of the Year: 2022 – Natalie Gleason (SJ Capistrano Capistrano Valley Christian); 2021 – Anabel Teperson (Kentfield Marin Catholic); 2020 – No selection (pandemic); 2019 – Sydney Kuma (Easton Washington); 2018 – Lindsey Walljasper (Manteca Sierra); 2017 – Livy Schiele (La Jolla Bishop’s); 2016 – Kailia Searcy (Lancaster Paraclete); 2015 – Zoe Casas (San Bernardino Aquinas); 2014 – Grayce Majam (Pine Valley Mountain Empire); 2013 – Zoe Casas (San Bernardino Aquinas); 2012 – Cheridan Hawkins (Anderson); 2011 – Elizabeth Caporuscio (Lake Arrowhead Rim of the World); 2010 – Sammy Albanese (Palo Alto Castilleja); 2009 – Jessica Moore (Sutter).

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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