Softball: 1st State TOP 35 Ranks Of Year

Players and coaches from state and national No. 1 Pacifica of Garden Grove are shown with perhaps the tallest trophy in high school sports – the one they give out at the Dave Kops TOC in Arizona to the championship team. Photo: PacHS_Softball /

The earliest ever start to the high school season in Southern California prevented a preseason ranking and the prestigious Dave Kops Tournament of Champions has already happened in Arizona. Some Northern California schools still haven’t played a game yet. Still, this proved to be a perfect time to begin another season of statewide coverage with our first State TOP 35 rankings of the 2024 season.

Note: We hope you enjoy this free post on All preseason and/or first rankings for any season are free as a sample of the work we do on a regular basis (and for more than 40 years in five sports). All regular season weekly and final state rankings, however, are available only to our Gold Club members as well as our state stat star of the week honor rolls. Some of our the eventual all-state teams also will be for Gold Club members only. To check out getting a Gold Club membership to see all of these features plus all of our updated state record lists, and more, CLICK HERE.

(Through results of Saturday, March 2)

1. Pacifica (Garden Grove) 9-0
Last season’s final No. 2 team at 24-8 and the defending CIF Southern Section D1 champions would have started No. 1 in the state for the preseason and frankly probably would have been No. 1 in the nation. There will be more on us contributing to a national ranking this season in the coming weeks. The Mariners already were No. 1 in one national ranking (MaxPreps) coming into this weekend’s Dave Kops Tournament of Champions in Bullhead City, Ariz., and they came home on Sunday as the championship team. Pacifica downed Norco, 6-1, in an all-CIFSS final after defeating Arizona’s O’Connor High, 7-3, in the semifinals. Former Freshman State Player of the Year Brynne Nally is now a senior ace for the Mariners and she had a four-hitter with nine strikeouts vs Norco. Freshman Mattea Stern led the way at the plate with four hits and two RBI. Almost everyone else from last year’s team for head coach Tony Arduino is back.

2. St. Francis (Mountain View) 1-0
Due to the later start in the season up north (now it’s almost three weeks later for some teams) and weather delays, the only game so far for the Lancers (28-4 last season after being No. 1 in the state in 2022) has been a 13-3 rout of Mountain View High. They play next on Tuesday vs Gilroy. St. Francis returns one of the top 1-2 pitching combos in the nation with seniors Kate Munnerlyn (Texas A&M) and Shannon Keighran (Boise State).

3. Norco 7-2
We’ll put the Cougars at No. 2 in SoCal and No. 3 in the state to get things started, but it is more of a logjam behind Pacifica right now. In fact, the Mariners have gotten off to such a strong start that they could lose a game and still be on top of the SoCal group. Norco advanced to the TOC title game in Arizona with a mercy rule 12-1 win over Los Alamitos. Tamryn Shorter connected for her fourth home run of the season in that game, but in the final the Cougars could only collect four hits and one run. One of the two losses is to Pacifica, the other is to Chino Hills.

Stanford-bound Zoe Prystajko of Huntington Beach is one of those players who can beat you with her bat, her arm or both. Photo:

4. Huntington Beach 4-1
The Oilers started the season No. 2 in Orange County behind Pacifica and that makes sense with Stanford commit senior Ms. Softball State Player of the Year candidate Zoe Prystajko and others returning. Huntington Beach does have an early loss to Millikan of Long Beach, but also big wins over La Mirada and Marina (Huntington Beach).

5. Murrieta Mesa (Murrieta) 10-2
A loss to Norco was the only blemish on the trip for the Rams when they went to the Dave Kops TOC this weekend. They also have a big win over Orange Lutheran on the early season. Sophomore Lily Hauser already has five homers on the season and a 0.23 ERA. Junior outfielder Taelyn Holly also has been batting above .600 with four homers.

6. Lutheran (Orange) 6-2
Kai Minor is back for her junior season as one of the more electrifying players in the nation and the Lancers also have ace pitcher Brianne Weiss back for her senior campaign. Their two losses so far are to higher ranked Pacifica and Murrieta Mesa. The best wins have been against El Modena of Orange and Marina of Huntington Beach.

7. Poly (Riverside) 11-1-1
The Bears have a lot of returning strength from last year’s team that went 23-2-1, including two-way standout (hitting & pitching) Miranda De Nava. She is one of the state’s top pitchers as a recruit and has signed with Cal. Poly didn’t go out and play in a tough tourney like the TOC in Arizona, but has played a solid schedule (one big win over Great Oak) and hasn’t loss since the first game to Cajon.

8. Hollister 1-0
Last year’s No. 1 team, which is coming off of a 30-3 record and a NorCal D1 title, is going to have a big bullseye on its chest this season and has the returning power to not only survive its schedule but thrive. Head coach Andrew Barragan will need to replace pitcher Sophia Mariottini and if he does another run at the NorCal title would not be a surprise. The Haybalers played their first game at the Clovis Leadoff Classic over the weekend and got an 8-4 win vs Foothill of Tustin.

9. Poway 3-0
The Titans (30-3 in 2023) are the defending CIF San Diego Section Open Division champions and the SoCal D1 champions and they were the preseason No. 1 for the section. State Sophomore Player of the Year Mya McGowan is among the returnees. She has committed to Cal. Poway has begun its season with two shutouts in three wins. The team has a big early season matchup on Monday vs Cathedral Catholic (which was No. 2 in the SD Section for the preseason).

10. La Mirada 8-2-2
It’s a mixed bag of results for the Matadors, but looking at it closely they can be almost in the top 10 for these first rankings. Both losses it turns out are to higher ranked opponents Huntington Beach and Orange Lutheran. The big win is the one against Dave Kops TOC finalist Los Alamitos. Another key win came against JSerra of San Juan Capistrano.

11. Los Alamitos 7-3
The Griffins opened up the season with quality wins over JSerra and Long Beach Millikan, but then lost two to what has turned out to be both higher ranked teams (Pacifica and La Mirada). Their other loss was in the semifinals of the Dave Kops TOC to Norco. Los Al then won the third-place game of the event vs O’Connor of Arizona.

12. Oak Ridge (El Dorado Hills) 3-0
Last year’s CIF Sac-Joaquin Section D1 champions will roll it back with a lineup well-stocked to top returning players, including three-year pitcher Ellison Schroeder along with NC State bound infielder Carly Short. Oak Ridge already has a 9-1 win over perennial power Sheldon (Sacramento).

Last season, Corri Hicks had one of the most impressive homers that we’ve ever seen hit at the Livermore Stampede. Photo: Mark Tennis.

13. Marina (Huntington Beach) 8-2-1
Mia Valbuena was one of the top freshmen in the state last season and returns to lead what should another contending team along with Huntington Beach and Los Alamitos from the Sunset League. Marina’s two losses so far are to higher-ranked Huntington Beach and Orange Lutheran with best wins against JSerra and Millikan of Long Beach.

14. Archbishop Mitty (San Jose) 1-0
University of Oklahoma-bound Corri Hicks returns to the Monarchs as one of the top catchers in the nation. They also have returning pitching with sophomore Kyleigh Mace (USA under-16 team). Mitty played its first game last week and posted an 8-0 win over Branham of San Jose.

15. Clovis North (Fresno) 3-0
All-American Ryan Maddox has departed for Arizona, but the Broncos have started the season looking good. Senior Emma Blea had a one-hitter and seven strikeouts in the first game to lead head coach Courtney Dale’s girls past Liberty of Bakersfield. The Broncos also have key wins over Bullard of Fresno and Notre Dame of Salinas.

16. Torrance 6-2-1
One of the losses by the Tartars was in extra innings to No. 10 La Mirada. That was the same team they ousted in last year’s CIF SoCal D1 playoffs with a 12-1 win. Their other loss this early season came to higher ranked Murrieta Mesa. The wins liked the best so far have been against Moorpark and Canyon (Anaheim).

17. Cathedral Catholic (San Diego) 4-0
Heading into a big matchup on Monday against 3-0 and state No. 9 Poway, the Dons have three shutouts in their first four games. Plus, we just had to be nice to a lineup that includes hot hitters like senior Sereniti Trice and junior Tyler Price.

18. Palos Verdes (PV Estates) 5-0
Included in the Sea Kings’ unbeaten start is a win against West of Torrance, which is the one the puts them in these first rankings. Pitcher Daniella Boccanfuso has been outstanding as well. She also should be one of the team’s top hitters all season.

19. California (San Ramon) 2-0
Last year’s CIF North Coast Section D1 champions have started out 2024 with wins over Arroyo of San Lorenzo and Vintage of Napa. Kaitlyn Le, first team all-league pitcher, is back for her senior year along with several other talented players from last season’s roster.

20. Granada Hills Charter (Granada Hills) 7-0
It’s always good to get an L.A. City Section team into the rankings mix and the Highlanders make it for a very good reason. One of their early season wins in a hot start has come against Oaks Christian (No. 2 in the state in 2022 and 30-3-1 last season).

21. Oaks Christian (Westlake Village) 1-1
The Lions have only played one other game other than their loss to Granada Hills and it was a win over Valencia. They still have several players who have been integral to their success both last year and in 2022. The list includes Rylee McCoy (INF), Emelia Davis (P), Lily Knox (INF) and Ilove’a Brittingham (OF).

22. Whitney (Rocklin) 0-0
One of this team’s top players, infielder Tylie Kitchens (San Diego State), was playing basketball for the Wildcats last week in the CIF NorCal D1 playoffs. Also back from a team that went 22-8 last season and was in the NorCal D1 playoffs are pitcher-hitter Hannah Duncan and South Carolina-bound infielder Mya Flindt. Whitney is playing Pleasant Grove on Monday.

23. Pleasant Grove (Elk Grove) 1-0
Madeline Lawson is back for the Eagles after collecting 207 strikeouts in her sophomore season. Head coach Brian Cherry also will have another pitcher, Alexa Lewis, a senior who has committed to Pacific.

24. West (Torrance) 5-3
All the losses for the Warriors have come to higher ranked teams (Pacifica of GG, Murrieta Mesa and Palos Verdes). They have been a strong rival of Torrance High in the Pioneer League and that should happen again. West’s top wins so far have been over Millikan of Long Beach and El Modena of Orange.

25. Great Oak (Temecula) 2-2-1
There’s been a loss to Riverside Poly and a loss to JSerra combined with a win over Temescal Canyon so far for the Wolf Pack. This is the team, though, with returning Junior State Player of the Year Miali Guachino (signed with Ole Miss). She can hit and pitch with the best of them in the CIF Southern Section.

Sophomore Alanna Clincy of San Jose Willow Glen (holding trophy) is one of the top returning players in the CIF Central Coast Section. Photo: Mark Tennis.


26. El Modena (Orange) 7-2
Losses are to West Torrance and Orange Lutheran with a win vs Hamilton of Arizona.

27. Newbury Park 8-0
League rival of Oaks Christian should be a tough foe for the Lions once again.

28. Mater Dei Catholic (Chula Vista) 4-0
Bella Harris begins this week 8-for-12 to start the season with two triples and two doubles.

29. Granada (Livermore) 1-0
Win is against Freedom of Oakley (which has a win over Vacaville).

30. Willow Glen (San Jose) 0-0
There’s a game showing on the schedule for the Rams on Thursday this week at St. Francis (Mountain View).

31. Millikan (Long Beach) 5-6
Has played very tough schedule (including losses to Los Al and Marina HB) with wins over JSerra and South Hills.

32. Aliso Niguel (Aliso Viejo) 5-1-1
One of the early wins for the Wolverines has been against Gahr of Cerritos.

33. St. Joseph (Santa Maria) 3-0
This team was 21-5 last season and among top five in the Central Section with a lot of top returning players.

If you don’t want to subscribe, another option to support the 40 years of work we’ve done is to leave a tip. CLICK HERE to do it.

34. Tracy 3-0
Two of the three early wins for the Bulldogs have been against Amador Valley of Pleasanton (ranked high in the preseason in the Bay Area) and Gregori of Modesto (ranked high in the preseason in the Sac-Joaquin).

35. California (Whittier) 9-1
The loss was to South Hills early on when that team was out to a 6-0 start, which is balanced out with a win vs Gahr of Cerritos.


Aquinas (San Bernardino) 8-0
Buchanan (Clovis) 3-0
Capital Christian (Sacramento) 1-0
Casa Grande (Petaluma) 2-0
Del Norte (San Diego) 3-0
Gahr (Cerritos) 4-3
JSerra (SJ Capistrano) 6-8
Kingsburg 3-0
Livermore 2-0
Monterey 0-0
Rio Mesa (Oxnard) 3-0
Rocklin 2-1
Sutter 0-0
Temescal Canyon (Lake Elsinore) 8-3
Whittier Christian (La Habra) 8-2

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.

Enjoy this article?

Find out how you can get access to more exclusive content, one-of-a-kind California high school sports content!

Learn More

Post a Comment

Your email is never published nor shared. Required fields are marked *


    Latest News

    Insider Blog