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    Top underrated softball players to watch in the CIF-SS playoffs Thursday
    • May 2, 2024

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    Dan Albano’s list of 10 underrated softball players to watch in the CIF-SS playoffs Thursday:

    Hayley Brock, Fullerton: The sophomore transfer from Orange Lutheran has been a hitting machine. In 17 games, she is hitting .475 with four home runs and 22 RBIs entering the Indians’ Division 3 opener against visiting Hart.

    Kayden Connaty, Garden Grove: The senior hit .556 with nine home runs and 28 RBIs, and she went 14-4 in the circle, to lead the Argonauts to the Golden West League title. Garden Grove plays host to Barstow in the first round of the Division 5 playoffs.

    Gabby DiBenedetto, Marina: The promising sophomore catcher is hitting .410 and with a team-leading 26 RBIs. The Vikings play at South Coast League champion Capistrano Valley in an intriguing Division 1 wild-card round game. The Cougars won Division 3 last season and DiBenedetto catches an ace in Mia Valbuena.

    Taylor Falt, Anaheim: The Orange League co-champion has a few talented younger players but this junior plays shortstop and pitches. She leads the team with a .571 average, four home runs and 33 RBIs. The Colonists play host to Mark Keppel in Division 5.

    Kendra Gominsky, Yorba Linda: The senior hit eight home runs and drove in 23 RBIs — both team highs — to help the Mustangs take second place in the solid North Hills League. They play at Santa Fe in Division 3.

    Payton Kennedy, Santa Margarita: The junior first baseman and pitcher enters the Division 1 playoffs hitting .414 with six home runs and 27 RBIs. She is batting .464 with runners in scoring position. The Eagles play at Oaks Christian in a wild-card game.

    Kylie Loertscher, El Toro: The Chico State-bound senior carries a 12-4 record with a 1.83 ERA into the Division 2 playoffs for the Sea View League runner-up. She is hitting .342 with 15 RBIs. El Toro plays host to Gahr in Division 2.

    Taylor Monteleone, Cypress: The senior first baseman enters the playoffs leading the Empire League runner-up in home runs (eight) and RBIs (39). The Centurions open the Division 2 playoff at Bonita.

    Darian Rycroft, Foothill: The third baseman hit .403 in the regular season with three home runs and 22 RBIs for the North Hills League champion. The Knights play host to Aliso Niguel in an exciting Division 2 matchup. Foothill won Division 4 last season.

    Jaidyn Soldin, Costa Mesa: The senior helped the young Mustangs win the Orange Coast League title with a county-leading 46 RBIs and going 12-4 in the circle. Costa Mesa plays host to Mayfield in a Division 6 first round game.

    Please send feedback on underrated players to Dan Albano at [email protected] or @ocvarsityguy on X and Instagram

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    ​ Orange County Register