Best high school softball team in every state

Steve Montoya | MaxPreps.com Thursday, February 13, 2020 12:01pm

A look at the top high softball teams in each state heading into the 2020 spring season.

Video: O'Connor softball wins 6A 2019 state championship
The Eagles look for a repeat and start as Arizona's top squad.

From four-time defending champions to teams on the rise and squads that fell a little short in 2019, we project the top teams in each state to start the 2020 season.

Norco, the defending 2019 MaxPreps National Champions from Southern California, enters as the favorites in the Golden State. In Florida, Lakewood Ranch has an abundance of talent. And in Ohio, Champion looks to be a champion for a fourth-straight year.

Best high school softball team in each state
Graphic by Ryan Escobar
Alabama
Fairhope 
The Pirates return the Class 7A Pitcher of the Year in Alea Johnson for her sophomore year in 2020. The LSU commit led Fairhope to a 41-6 record in 2019. Fairhope also returns Bella Wiggins who hit .461 as a sophomore. Keep an eye out for eighth-grader Shelby McKenzie, who appeared in 22 games in the circle and won 11 games.

Alaska
East (Anchorage)

The T-birds enter the 2020 season as back-to-back Division 1 state softball champions. East has made eight straight championship-game appearances, which includes four straight titles from 2012-15.

Arizona
O'Connor (Phoenix)

The defending 6A state champions come back loaded with Rylee Holtorf, considered one of the top players in all of the Class of 2021. The Washington commit hit .551 last season. The Eagles also return Oklahoma commit Jocelyn Erickson and many more.

Arkansas
Sheridan

The Yellowjackets aim to win a sixth-straight state title in 2020. Sheridan has Arkansas commit Kaitlyn Howard back in the circle once again. Howard has been state MVP, All-State, and All Conference and is not only is a top-tier pitcher, but hit over .400 with six home runs.

California
Norco

The defending 2019 MaxPreps National Champions need to be beat in 2020 before we can take away their top-team status in California. Coach Richard Robinson returns major talent, including two of the nation's top pitchers in 2020 Washington signee Sarah Willis and 2021 Oregon commit Stevie Hansen.

Colorado
Season played in fall.

Connecticut
Masuk (Monroe)

Won its second-straight Class L title in 2019 and finished as a national Top 25 team. The Panthers return All-State pitcher and Amherst commit Madison Procyk for 2020.

Delaware
Smyrna

The Eagles look for a three-peat as DIAA champion. Smyrna has University of South Florida commit Payton Dixon back in the circle after going 16-2 as a sophomore in 2019.

Florida
Lakewood Ranch (Bradenton)

The Mustangs return as many as 10 Division 1 softball commits to their lineup. Avery Goelz, a Florida commit, is back after batting .543 with nine home runs. Duke signee Claire Davidson and UConn commit Payton Kinney return in the circle. The list goes on for Coach T.J. Goelz and the talented Mustangs.

Georgia
Season played in fall.

Hawaii
'Iolani (Honolulu)

Former major leaguer Benny Agbayani and the Raiders captured their first state softball championship in 19 years. His oldest daughter graduated, but younger daughter, Ailana Agbayani, was selected to the All-State first team.

Idaho
Mountain View (Meridian)

The Mavericks return as the defending 5A state champions. Back in the circle will be senior and Colorado State-Pueblo commit Oakleigh Kearby, who went 19-2 and hit .492 last spring.

Illinois
Huntley

Junior pitcher Briana Bower struck out the last batter as Huntley defeated St. Charles East last spring to win the school's first state title. Bower, a Mississippi State commit, is back after a 27-5 sophomore season and a 1.06 ERA.

Indiana
New Palestine

The Dragons are seeking a fourth-straight state title in 2020. In their final eight games of the 2019 season, New Palestine outscored its opponents 89-6. Maryland commit Micahela Jones and Louisville-bound Same Booe lead a talented cast ready to defend their crown.

Iowa
Assumption (Davenport)

Iowa plays its softball into the summer and Assumption will be clear the favorite in 2020 as the Knights go for a fourth-straight title. No school in Iowa history has ever won four-straight championships.

Kansas
Lawrence Free State

Oklahoma State commit and Kansas Gatorade Player of the Year award winner Tatum Clopton will be back for her junior year. The MaxPreps All-American led the Firebirds to a 23-2 record and second-straight 6A state championship.

Kentucky
Male (Louisville)

The Bulldogs finished 39-0 last season and ended up No. 4 overall in the MaxPreps Final Top 50 Softball Rankings. Male returns Class of 2020 catcher Lily Davis, who belted nine home runs and hit .454 last spring.

Louisiana
St. Amant

The Gators hit a three-run home run in the top of the 7th inning that propelled them to the Class 5A state title last spring, their first since 2005. St. Amant returns All-State pitcher Alyssa Romano, outfielder Rylee Rossi and infielder Julia Kramer.

Maine
Scarborough

Tom Griffin's squad finished its third-straight season as undefeated state champions. The Red Storm have not lost since June 2016. Senior pitcher Bella Dickinson, a Southern New Hampshire University signee, is 60-0 with three state titles in her high school career.

Maryland
Bohemia Manor (Chesapeake City)

The Eagles have won three-straight 1A titles and have one of the top pitcher's in the country returning. Madison Penta, an Auburn commit, tossed a no hitter and tied a state championship record with 19 strikeouts in the title game.

Massachusetts
Lowell

The Red Raiders fell 1-0 to Methuen in the 2019 state quarterfinals, but Lowell returns pitcher Giana Lacedra, the Massachusetts Gatorade Player of the Year award winner. Lacedra went 20-2 overall with a 1.00 ERA as a freshman in 2019.

Michigan
Escanaba

The Eskymos enter 2020 seeking a third-straight D2 title with Wisconsin signee Gabi Salo back for Escanaba. She went 26-2 last spring and struck out 351 batters on the way to being named Michigan State Player of the Year.

Minnesota
Northfield

The Raiders are defending Class 3A state champions and return 2019 All-State selection Brynn Hostettler in the circle. Hostettler struck out 267 batters and finished with a 0.81 ERA in her sophomore season.

Mississippi
Neshoba Central (Philadelphia)

Coach Trae Embry's 2019 team finished No. 10 in the MaxPreps Final Top 50 rankings. It'll be tough replacing Gatorade Player of the Year winner Aspen Wesley, but Neshoba Central returns several players who played key roles last spring.

Missouri
Majority of the schools play in the fall.

Montana
Great Falls

The Bison return Gatorade Player of the Year winner Anna Toon, who helped the Bison win their second consecutive Class AA state championship. She struck 114 batters in 100 innings last spring.

Nebraska
Season played in fall.

Nevada
Shadow Ridge (Las Vegas)

The Mustangs are coming off the school's first state title and UNLV 2020 commit Jasmine Martin finished her junior year off with a bang, striking out six in the circle and clubbing a three-run home run.

New Hampshire
Exeter

D-I Pitcher of the Year Sam Wilberg is back for the Blue Hawks and enters her senior season with 390 career strikeouts. Wiberg and Exeter capped off the spring with the school's first state title.

New Jersey
Donovan Catholic (Toms River)

The state's top team last year looks to repeat again in 2020. Notre Dame commit Karina Gaskins will be back as NJ.Com's Player of the Year and Gatorade award winner hit .642 with 19 home runs last spring.

New Mexico
Artesia

The defending 4A state champions went 26-4 in 2019 and return MaxPreps All-American pitcher Rylee Crandall. She went 22-1 with a 0.61 ERA for the Bulldogs and also hit .411 with 13 homers.



New York
Williamsville East (East Amherst)

It was a special year in 2019 for Flames, finishing 27-0, Class A champions and 10th overall nationally. MaxPreps All-American pitcher and Missouri commit Summer Clark returns for her junior year.

North Carolina
West Stanly (Oakboro)

The Colts finished 28-2 overall in 2019 on the way to the 2A state title. Duke commit Jordan Hatch is back after going 26-1 in the circle and winning the state's Gatorade award. West Stanly also returns several others with star power.

North Dakota
Central Cass (Casselton)

The Squirrels seek the Class B three-peat. Coach Scott Kost and his squad finished as the state's top-ranked team for a second-straight year with back-to-back titles.

Ohio
Champion (Warren)

The Golden Flashes are out for a fourth-straight state title in 2020. Champion senior Allison Smith is one of the top, if not the top, players in all of the state. The Ohio State signee won 16 games as a pitcher and hit 18 home runs at the dish.



Oklahoma
Season played in fall.

Oregon
Clatskanie

The Tigers went 27-0 in 2019 and won the 3A state title, the school's first. The team's two top pitchers from last spring will be back as juniors this year.

Pennsylvania
Spring-Ford (Royersford)

The Rams finished 26-2 overall in 2019 and return several Class 6A All-State players. State Gatorade Award winner Brianna Peck headlines the list as the Class of 2021 standout shut opponents down as a pitcher while also hitting over. .500.

Rhode Island
Scituate (North Scituate)

The Spartans returns Gatorade Award winner Haley Venturini after the Class of 2021 pitcher went 13-1 with a 0.16 ERA striking out 235 batters. She also pitched six no hitters.

South Carolina
Hartsville

It was a perfect season for the Red Foxes, who finished 29-0 and won a D4 title. Hartsville returns 2022 pitcher Alyssa Poston, who went 20-0 in the circle and struck 171 in 171 innings.



South Dakota
No high school softball.

Tennessee
Lexington

The Tigers finished 2019 with a 47-6 overall record, hitting .359 as a team while blasting 26 home runs — 11 came off the bat of Class of 2020 utility player Mary Taylor.

Texas
Barbers Hill (Mt. Belvieu)

The Eagles wrapped up 2019 with a 40-4 record and return a bunch of talent for the 2020 season. One of the top players in the Class of 2020 is Jessica Mullens, a Texas State commit. Barbers Hill also returns Texas-commit Sophia Simpson and  Samantha Landry, a verbal commit to Louisiana-Lafayette

Utah
Tooele

The Buffaloes won the 4A state championship, and Class of 2021 pitcher Attlyn Johnston was named the 4A MVP in 2019. The junior finished her season with an 0.49 ERA with 288 strikeouts.

Vermont
Bellows Free Academy (St. Albans)

Coach Berthiaume's club won the 2019 D-I softball championship, beating Missisquoi Valley 3-2 to win the title. Junior center fielder Caitlyn Desaro was the hero, throwing out a runner out to secure the victory.

Virginia
Glen Allen

The Jaguars' season ended with a 3-2 playoff loss to Stone Bridge, which finished the year as the state's top-ranked team. Glen Allen returns 2021 pitcher and Michigan-commit Emerson Aiken



Washington
Garfield (Seattle)

The Bulldogs won the 3A title in 2019, a first for a Seattle public school. They lost Kaia Simpson to graduation, but still have the services of Nicola Simpson, a 2021 pitcher who finished 9-1 overall with 190 strikeouts. She also batted .543.

West Virginia
Hoover (Clendenin)

The 2019 Huskies went 35-1, finished Top 25 nationally and won a third-straight Class A championship. Delani Bucker is back after posting a 20-1 overall record in the circle. The Appalachian State signee also batted .495

Wisconsin
Poynette

The Pumas went undefeated and won the Division 3 title and enter 2020 seeking their sixth program crown. Casey Fountain, the Capitol North Conference Player of the Year, returns for her senior campaign.

Wyoming
Will begin playing high school softball starting in 2021.