Riverside County produced the 2011 honoree and has two on the list for 2012. The Cal-Hi Sports State Player of the Year list in softball extends back to 1974.
Here are the six players who have been selected as finalists to be 2012 Cal-Hi Sports Ms. Softball State Player of the Year:
Vanessa Alvarez (Archbishop Mitty, San Jose) Sr.
Following in the footsteps of her mentor and former Mitty and current Oklahoma star Keilani Ricketts, the Cal-bound senior led the Monarchs to a high rankings in the POWERADE FAB 50 and Cal-Hi Sports top 20. She also pitched and hit the team to its second straight CIF Central Coast Section Division II title and 10th since 1990. Her record this season was 25-1 with 24 complete games and 14 shutouts, including 11 straight. She had a 0.86 ERA with 197 strikeouts in 170.2 innings pitched. In three years as the starting pitcher, she had 652 strikeouts. This past season as a hitter Alvarez had a .450 batting average on 45 hits with 27 runs scored.
Johanna Grauer (Amador Valley, Pleasanton) Soph.
There’s only been one sophomore to win Ms. Softball and that was also the only three-time winner, Olympic champion pitcher and Placentia Valencia legend Michelle Granger. The Arizona State-commit led the team to a FAB 50 No. 2 and Cal-Hi Sports No. 2 ranking entering the CIF North Coast Section final (which her team lost). For the season, Grauer finishes with a 24-1 record with 20 shutouts, a 0.33 ERA on only eight earned runs in 171 innings pitched, 48 hits in 607 batters faced, and 328 strikeouts for a state-leading 13.12 strikeout-per-game total. She also had a .356 batting average as one of the team’s top hitters.
Cheridan Hawkins (Anderson) Sr.
The Oregon-bound left-handed pitcher and slugger mowed down the opposition again this year to lead her team to its second straight CIF Northern Section Division IV championship. Hawkins finished with a 0.69 ERA in 203.1 innings pitched. In her last two games, she had 30 strikeouts combined and finished the season with a state-leading 440 strikeouts after fanning 510 in her junior season. Her career 1,221 strikeouts gets her a spot in the Cal-Hi Sports State Record Book. As a batter this season, Hawkins hit .551 on 59 hits with four home runs, 20 doubles, 46 RBIs and 30 runs scored.
Emily Lockman (Norco) Sr.
Leading the Cougars in the circle to a No. 1 ranking in the state and nation, Lockman already has been named the Gatorade State Player of the Year. There is different criteria for that honor and Ms. Softball so it’s not automatic that the winner of one is the winner of the other. On the run to a CIFSS Division I championship, Emily went 31-2 in the circle with a 0,35 ERA. In 220 innings, she struck out 145 while at the plate she hit .389 and drove in 33 runs. She will be headed to Nebraska next season.
Sierra Romero (Vista Murrieta, Murrieta) Sr.
At one point this season, Romero had a four-game home run hitting streak that saw her hit seven home runs on the way to one of the top totals in the nation. She finished with 21 long balls to lead the state and rank No. 2 on the all-time state list. Romero also hit for average at .556, drove in 54 runs and scored 38 as the Broncos reached the CIFSS Division I semifinals before losing to Norco. Showing patience at the plate, she walked 23 times while striking out just seven. Romero finished her high school career with 45 home runs and will now head to Michigan.
Darian Tautalafua (Carson) Sr.
After hitting 15 home runs last season, Tautalafua did two better this year with 17 as she came up one home run short of setting the state record for career home runs. She did tie the previous record, however, with 53. The Long Beach State-bound Tautalafua also batted .490 for the season and drove in 45 runs as the Colts reached the L.A. City Section championship game.
Comments or corrections? Email Mark.Tennis@espn.com.