Ms. Softball 2024: Kate Munnerlyn

Ms. Softball State Player of the Year Kate Munnerlyn is shown pitching during one of the games St. Francis had with arch-rival Archbishop Mitty. Photo: @sfhsathletics /

It’s never easy and it wasn’t again and while she already has the major honor from Gatorade, it ended up that the state’s most long-running softball player of the year honor has gone to Kate Munnerlyn from St. Francis of Mountain View. She’s the second honoree from St. Francis in three years following Jessica Oakland in 2022.

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In another of the more difficult choices over the past several years, with several worthy and deserving candidates in the mix, despite her team not fulfilling its destiny and following up a CIF Central Coast Section Open Division championship with a CIF Northern Regional Division I title and State Team of the Year honors, it boiled down to one of the finalists having numbers and an overall body of work against top-notch competition that was just too hard to overlook.

The result is Kate Munnerlyn from a St. Francis of Mountain View team that finished No. 3 in the Cal-Hi Sports Final Rankings has been named the 2024 Ms. Softball State Player of the Year after edging out Kaniya Bragg of State Team of the Year Pacifica (Garden Grove), super slugger Taylor Shumaker of Esperanza of Anaheim and others.

Kate Munnerlyn holds CCS Open Division title trophy for top-ranked St. Francis. Photo: St. Francis athletics.

In winning the Ms. Softball State Player of the Year award, Munnerlyn becomes only the third player from the CIF Central Coast Section to be honored dating back to the inception of the Ms. Softball award for the 1974 season.

The other winners from the Central Coast Section have been the great Keilani Ricketts of Archbishop Mitty (San Jose), the 2009 honoree, and two years ago when Munnerlyn was a sophomore her St. Francis teammate and reigning Big 10 Player of the Year Jessica Oakland of Minnesota was the 2022 award winner.

“Wow. Thank you so much,” was the initial response by Munnerlyn after being told she was the Ms. Softball winner. “I feel very blessed to have won Cal-Hi Sports Ms. Softball Player of the Year.”

“It’s a great honor to be recognized with those two amazing athletes,” Munnerlyn continued. “Keilani is a legend and Jess has been a role model to me ever since I set foot at Saint Francis. She has really showed me the amount of hard work needed to be your best.”

It was previously mentioned that Munnerlyn and her Lancers teammates were not able to pull off an unbeaten season and win the CIF NorCal D1 championship after a loss to eventual champion Amador Valley, but since they started regional playoffs for softball the Ms. Softball winner has not always come from a winner of the top CIF regional division. Last year’s winner, Randi Roelling, was from the CIF Northern Regional Division III champion Central Catholic of Modesto.

The bottom line is Munnerlyn checked all the boxes and her numbers on a St. Francis team that ended up 28-1 was more than enough to overcome the team’s inability to seal the ultimate deal.

“She deserves it,” remarked St. Francis head coach Mike Oakland, the father our 2022 honoree. “She has been the foundation of the program for quite some time and she had a fantastic senior season.

“Kate is a great leader and competitor and she definitely turns up the intensity on game day,” Oakland continued. “We would not be anywhere near as good as we are without her. She has single-handedly taken our program to a new level.”

In the circle, the Texas A&M-bound senior, who may be the most dominant left-handed pitcher in California since Ricketts, went 15-0 with a 0.52 ERA after only giving up eight earned runs and amassing 183 strikeouts with only 30 walks in 107.1 innings pitched. Opposing batters only could muster a paltry .111 batting average when facing Kate. She gave up no earned runs in 15 of 20 appearances, including the 4.1 innings she pitched in the season-ending 4-1 loss to Amador Valley that she did not start. In those 20 appearances, Munnerlyn also had six in which she gave up no hits, including two complete game no-hitters in a 5-0 win with 11 strikeouts over Livermore at a hastily arranged game in lieu of the rain-cancelled Livermore Stampede, and a mercy-shortened 12-0 win with seven strikeouts over state No. 33 Willow Glen of San Jose. All told she had 10 outings with double-digit strikeouts.

With bat in hand, Munnerlyn hit for a very respectable .356 average, was third on the team with six home runs, tied for second with 35 RBI, and was among the leaders with six doubles.

Aside from the no-hitters, one of her top performances came in the co-championship title game of the Michelle Carew Classic when Kate tossed a one-hitter with 10 strikeouts in a 2-0 victory over state No. 4 Canyon of Anaheim. It was in that game that Munnerlyn showed the California softball world her stuff, and it was right there and then that she established herself as a front-runner for Ms. Softball.

During the West Catholic Athletic League season in an away and home series with arch-rival and state No. 12 Archbishop Mitty of San Jose, and just a few days after she pitched the no-no against Livermore, Munnerlyn got it done in the circle and at the plate.

In a 6-0 win at Mitty she pitched a two-hit shutout with 11 strikeouts. As a batter, Kate was 3-for-3 with a home run, double, walk, four RBI and a run scored. Two days later at home Mitty touched her up for seven hits, both home runs and four of the eight earned runs she gave up all season, but she matched her season and career-high of 17 strikeouts and went all the way in a 10-inning 10-8 victory that was won on a walk-off two-run home run by Lancers’ senior Rebecca Quinn.

Munnerlyn had 17 strikeouts on two other occasions. First was in the Carew Classic opener when she pitched a two-hit shutout in a 2-0 victory over Roosevelt of Eastvale, and then in WCAL action she did it again when Kate spun a three-hitter in a 14-2 victory over Valley Christian of San Jose.

Another notable performance was a two-hitter with 14 strikeouts in a 6-inning 10-0 victory over CCS Division II champion Capuchino of San Bruno.

Kate got dressed up when she was honored at the year-end 49ers Cal-Hi Sports Bay Area banquet held at Levi’s Stadium. Photo: @49erscalhi /

Although it doesn’t make the Cal-Hi Sports Online Record Book, for her four-year varsity career Munnerlyn posted an amazing 48-4 record in 80 appearances in the circle. Her career ERA wound up at 0.77 and she finished with 475 strikeouts. In four years, Kate also only surrendered eight extra base hits.

As a batter, Munnerlyn’s hitting really picked up the last two seasons, so despite getting only one hit and two RBI in 10 plate appearances as a freshman and sophomore, she still finished her career with a .343 batting average. All 12 of her home runs, six this season and six last season, all 14 doubles and 66 of her 68 career RBI came in the past two seasons.

Her days with the Lancers have concluded and now Munnerlyn is off to College Station, Texas where she will become a member of the Aggies.

“I am going to miss her when she is gone. She will be impossible to replace,” Oakland said. “However, I am really looking forward to watching her grow and compete at Texas A&M the next four years.”

Kate’s playing days at St. Francis may be behind her but she has lasting memories of Oakland and her Lancers’ teammates.

“The culture and the expectation of winning that Coach Oakland has built at the school,” was Kate’s response when asked about the number one thing she will take with her from her time at St. Francis and as a Lancer. “He is a tough coach but someone who really cares for all his players. He pushes us to be our best and I think everyone really believes that he is a great coach.

“On top of that, my teammates have had a huge impact on me and playing softball,” Munnerlyn continued. “I have created strong friendships and memories with them. I will deeply miss them when I leave for Texas A&M on July 1st.”

What is Kate most looking forward to at the next level and does she have any immediate goals?

“I’m most looking forward to making new friends on the team, learning from Coach (Trisha) Ford, and going to the football games and experiencing the traditions of Texas A&M. For now, I’m looking forward to finishing up my travel ball season this summer and then heading to college to start to put the work in with my teammates early.”

Besides playing softball, Kate plans on studying kinesiology to pursue a career as an athletic trainer or physical therapist.

Munnerlyn now adds the state’s most prestigious award for a high school softball player to previously being named the Gatorade California Player of the Year and the Bay Area News Group Player of the Year.

Congratulations Kate Munnerlyn, the 2024 Cal-Hi Sports Ms. Softball State Player of the Year.


Jessica Oakland showed intensity playing the infield at St. Francis in 2022. Photo:

2024 – Kate Munnerlyn,
Mountain View St. Francis INF-P
2023 – Randi Roelling, Modesto Central Catholic P-INF
2022 – Jessica Oakland,
Mountain View St. Francis INF
2021 – Jayla Castro, Rocklin C
2020 – No selection (pandemic)
2019 – Kinzie Hansen, Norco C
2018 – Payton Tidd, San Marcos P-OF
2017 – Taylor Dockins, Norco P-DH
2016 – Nicole Bates, Ceres INF
2015 – Taylor McQuillin, Mission Viejo P
2014 – Johanna Grauer,
Pleasanton Amador Valley P-DH
2013 – Kylie Reed, Norco INF
2012 – Emily Lockman, Norco P
2011 – Lauren Sweet, Corona Santiago C
2010 – Jessica Hall, Chino Hills Ayala P
2009 – Keilani Ricketts, SJ Archbishop Mitty P-DH
2008 – Jessica Spigner, Valencia P-SS
2007 – Jordan Taylor, Valencia P
2006 – Amanda Williams, Oakley Freedom P
2005 – Katie Cotta, Linden P-DH
2004 – Anjelica Selden, Travis AFB Vanden P
2003 – Lisa Dodd, San Diego University City P-DH
2002 – Alicia Hollowell, Fairfield P
2001 – Marissa Marzan, Fresno Bullard P
2000 – Jamie Southern, Clovis, P-INF
1999 – Andrea Vidlund, Orangevale Casa Roble, P
1998 – Amanda Freed, Garden Grove Pacifica, P
1997 – Amanda Freed, Garden Grove Pacifica, P
1996 – Amanda Scott, Clovis P
1995 – Courtney Dale, Fresno Bullard P (Jr.)
1994 – Sara Griffin, Simi Valley P
1993 – Sara Griffin, Simi Valley P
1992 – Leah O’Brien, Chino Don Lugo P
1991 – Jennifer Brundage, Irvine P
1990 – Karen Jackson, Roseville P
1989 – Lisa Fernandez, Lakewood St. Joseph P
1988 – Michele Granger, Placentia Valencia P
1987 – Michele Granger, Placentia Valencia P
1986 – Michele Granger, Placentia Valencia P
1985 – Jackie Oakley, Huntington Beach Ocean View P
1984 – Samantha Ford, Newhall Hart P
1983 – Shawn Andaya, Lodi P
1982 – Kandy Foust, Santa Maria Righetti P
1981 – Tracy Compton, Santa Maria Righetti P
1980 – Tracy Compton, Santa Maria Righetti P
1979 – Mary Lou Ramm, Chula Vista Hilltop P
1978 – Teri Young, El Segundo P
1977 – Karen Andrews, San Diego Henry P
1976 – Jan Jeffers, Lompoc P
1975 – Barbara Reinalda, Cerritos Valley Christian P
1974 – Barbara Reinalda, Cerritos Valley Christian P

Harold Abend is the associate editor of and the vice president of the California Prep Sportswriters Association. He can be reached at Don’t forget to follow him on Twitter: @HaroldAbend

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