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The Top 20 Player of the Year Candidates in North Coast Section softball in 2022

The NCS is home to some big-name softball stars, and also numerous under-the-radar gems.

The 2022 California high school softball season is officially over, as of last week's CIF Regional Championships. And many of the best individual seasons in the state in 2022 came from players in the North Coast Section. 

The NCS is home to some big-name softball stars, and also numerous under-the-radar gems. Without further ado, here are the 20 players we think made the best cases in 2022 for Player of the Year/Most Valuable Player consideration, plus a handful of honorable mentions at the end.

Tianna Bell – Heritage – SR.

As the top hitter on the section's Division 1 champion, one could argue that Bell was the top position player in the NCS this season, and she was aptly name co-Player of the Year by 49ers Cal-Hi Sports. Through the semifinals, the versatile infielder and Cal commit hit .577 with nine homers, 39 runs scored, a .642 OBP, 1.025 SLG, and 1.668 OPS, all of which were team-highs.

Alex Cutonilli – Heritage – SR.

Cutonilli, a SS/3B, was second on the Patriots in batting average (.520), SLG (.946), and OPS (1.513) while leading the in RBIs and total extra-base hits.

Kasey Aguinaga – Heritage – SR.

After missing some of the season with an arm injury, Aguinaga was one of the best pitchers in the section upon returning in late March and getting into a rhythm. Through Heritage's section championship, she was 12-0 with a 1.00 ERA, and it was particularly her work in the playoffs that set her apart. After allowing just two earned runs in 11 innings against Monte Vista and Clayton Valley Charter, the Boise State commit threw a no-hitter against Vintage with 15 strikeouts in the semifinals, and shut out Granada in the title game. Aguinaga also hit .538 in 13 at-bats.

Makayla "Mickey" Winchell – Granada – SR.

A Notre Dame commit, Winchell led one of NorCal's best offenses in almost every single category. She hit .505 with an OPS above 1.400, seven home runs, 30 RBIs, and 39 runs scored. Winchell was named the section's co-Player of the Year by 49ers Cal-Hi Sports.

Taylor Rodriguez – Livermore – SR.

One of the most underrated softball players in California, Rodriguez had an unbelievable two-way season to lead the Cowboys/Cowgirls to an EBAL title and NCS Division 2 semifinals appearance. In the circle, the Dominican commit and 49ers Cal-Hi Sports CIFNCS Pitcher of the Year led the section in wins (24) and strikeouts (327) in 188 innings of work. She finished with an ERA of 1.15, and it was below 1.00 before Marin Catholic needed an 11th inning to score five runs on her for an 8-3 semifinals win. Rodriguez was also Livermore's best hitter, batting .393 with team-highs of 27 RBIs, seven home runs, .750 SLG, and 1.167 OPS.

Shelby Morse – Vintage – SR.

Speaking of two-way stars, Morse also had a season for the books for the NCS Division 1 semifinalist. The Embry-Riddle commit led the Crushers with 26 RBIs, a .513 batting average, .881 SLG, and an OPS of 1.424, and also hit seven home runs. In 62 innings in the circle, Morse went 9-0 with a ridiculous 0.34 ERA and 111 K's.

Raimy Gamsby – Vintage – SR.

Gamsby was the other half of one of the state's best pitching duos, and another good hitter as well. She took on most of Vintage's toughest assignments and went 8-3 with an 0.82 ERA and 193 strikeouts in 93.2 innings of work through the first round of the playoffs. The Rutgers signee also hit .290 with a home run and nine RBIs.

Braxton Brown – Benicia – JR.

Brown was a workhorse in the circle and one of the best two-way threats in the section to help lead the Panthers to a CIFNCS Division 2 title and Division II Regional finals appearance. She totaled 145.1 innings and went 20-4 with a 2.55 ERA, a mark that was lower before navigating some elite offenses in Benicia's six-game playoff trudge. On offense, she hit .337 with six home runs, 23 RBIs, a .418 OBP, and a 1.069 OPS.

Emma French – Benicia – FR.

One of numerous other Panther hitters who have an MVP case, French established herself as the top freshman position player in the section for the D2 champion. She frequently came through in the clutch while batting .419 with team-high marks in SLG (.733), OPS (1.173), and RBIs (40), and also shining defensively at shortstop.

Kira Morris – Eureka – JR.

Another one of the best two-way players in the section, Morris carried a heavy load for the 27-3 Division 3 finalist and Division IV Regional semifinalist. She was tied for the most wins in the section with 24 against only two losses, and registered a 1.31 ERA and 263 strikeouts in 171.1 innings. Heading into a tough season-ending outing against Monterey, she was sitting on ERA of just 1.10. Morris was also an offensive force. She was second on the team in hitting (.505), slugging (.923), OPS (1.458), extra-base hits (20), and runs scored (36), while leading Eureka with seven homers and leading the entire section with room to spare with 54 RBIs.

Raegan Jackson – American Canyon – SR.

With 10 home runs and an OPS above 2.000, Jackson was one of the top hitters in the section for the 20-7 D2 quarterfinalist. The CSUN commit also led the Wolves with a .582 batting average, .667 OBP, 11 doubles, five triples, 26 total extra-base hits, and 37 RBIs, in addition to 15 stolen bags and 33 runs scored.

Jordan Woolery – Clayton Valley Charter – SR.

One of the top-ranked 2022s in the country, Woolery hit .652 with eight home runs, 24 total extra-base hits, 40 RBIs, and a massive 1.980 OPS. The UCLA signee also scored 33 runs and is a top-notch defensive player at SS and 3B.

Kailani Tatro – Pinole Valley – JR.

A nationally ranked two-way player in the Class of 2023, Tatro has been one of the top softball players in the NCS since the start of her high school career. This season she went 23-3 with a 1.48 ERA and 230 strikeouts in 165 innings, and she might've been even better at the plate, batting .512 with a 1.411 OPS, five home runs, 12 doubles, and 48 RBIs. Tatro was also a standout defensive player both around the circle and playing 1B for the Division 3 semifinalist.

Cassiti Baroni – Fort Bragg – JR.

For the second straight season, Baroni hit over .450 and had an ERA below 1.00 to lead the Timberwolves to the Division 4 finals and continue cementing herself as one of the section's top two-way players. She hit two home runs and 12 doubles, drove in 30 runs, and scored 25 herself while also going 20-4 with 211 K's in 148 innings of work.

Paige McLeod – San Ramon Valley – JR.

McLeod was was one of the most consistent two-way players in the section to help guide the Wolves to a Division 1 semifinals appearance. She registered a 1.35 ERA in 160.2 innings of work playing an EBAL schedule, and also hit .400 with five long balls, 23 RBIs, and a 1.135 OPS. She was named First Team All-EBAL.

Sadie Leonard – Redwood – SR.

The MCAL Pitcher of the Year, Leonard led the 21-7 Giants to a league title going 19-5 with a 0.73 ERA in 152.2 innings. Leonard was second in the NCS with 318 strikeouts and also was one of only two players in the section to toss over 150 innings and have an ERA under 1.00. Additionally, the Williams College commit was an important offensive contributor for Redwood, hitting .276 with 25 RBIs and a team-high (tied) three home runs.

Rose Malen – Marin Catholic – SR.

The other player in the section to throw 150 innings with a sub-zero ERA (0.71) and also leading an MCAL powerhouse, Malen went 17-4 in 157 innings. She racked up 284 K's for the Division 2 semifinalist, and was also one of the Wildcats' top bats with a .329 BA and 26 RBIs.

Jamie McGaughey – Casa Grande – SR.

One of the best hitters and most underrated players in the section, McGaughey hit .648 with six homers and a 1.920 OPS playing a Vine Valley League schedule. She also led the Gauchos in total extra-base hits (15) and RBIs (29) while scoring 20 runs, and plays third base.

Jade Johnson – James Logan – SR.

Johnson guided the Colts to a 19-6 record, Mission Valley League title, and Division 1 quarterfinals appearance with her dominant two-way play. Through 21 games, the San Francisco State commit hit team-highs of .567 BA, 29 RBIs, and a 1.540 OPS, and she also hit four home runs. In the circle, she went 12-3 with a 1.07 ERA in 98 innings of work.

Thomara Drummer – San Rafael – FR.

As just a freshman, Drummer led the Bulldogs to a Division 3 championship as both their ace and one of their best hitters. She had team-high marks in batting average (.500), on-base percentage (.553), and RBIs (35), and also totaled 18 extra-base hits and 22 runs scored. Drummer also pitched 110.1 innings and finished with a 1.08 ERA and 157 strikeouts. She tossed a complete game shutout and two-hitter to beat Eureka 1-0 in the section championship game.

Tiare Guerrero – Rancho Cotate – SR.

Guerrero, a Holy Names-bound middle infielder, was one of the North Coast Section's best combinations of contact and speed in 2022. She batted .631 with a .670 OBP, and her 53 hits in 25 games came out to over two hits a game on average. 11 of them were doubles to give her a 1.432 OPS, and she stole 27 bases on her way to scoring 33 runs.


Alyssa Villarde – California – JR.

McKenna Beach – Eureka – SR.

Skylar Stroh – Heritage – JR.

Alex Mello – Granada – JR.

Saskia Raab – Granada – SO.

Delaney Aumua – Granada – FR.

Lorenzza Marcacci – Benicia – SR.

Robynn Balmediano – Benicia – SR.

Kyra Mason – Benicia – SO.

Jaida Fulcher – American Canyon – SO.

Sammy Horn – Marin Catholic – JR.

Lauren Osheroff – Marin Catholic – JR.

Abigail Kaneko – Berkeley – SR.

Soo-Jin Berry – Clayton Valley Charter – JR.

Jackie Alday – Clayton Valley Charter – SR.

Aneesa Brewer – Pinole Valley – JR.

Myia Weiler – College Park – JR.

Sophia Jin – San Ramon Valley – FR.

McKenna Curtis – Del Norte – SO.

Sophia Skubic – St. Vincent de Paul – SR.

Olivia Rivera – Maria Carrillo – JR.

Paytin Salfi – Cardinal Newman – SR.

Lucy Hendricks – Fort Bragg – SR.

Rachel Block – Head-Royce – SR.

Aribella Farrell – St. Helena – JR.