Inside the Cal-Hi Sports Record Book

Francis Christy of Petaluma Casa Grande, arguably the top catcher of the 2012 Area Code Games, will have a tough decision in June when the MLB Draft comes around.

Francis Christy of Petaluma Casa Grande, the top catcher of the 2012 Area Code Games, will have a tough decision in June when the MLB Draft comes around. Photo: Harold Abend

Three boys basketball standouts, including Mr. Basketball Aaron Gordon, join state’s career rebounding all-time list. Recently retired coach ends career with 659 victories. Our stat stars feature begins a new focus of tracking upcoming milestones and honoring performances that make our exclusive state record book.

We collect these weekly highlights in support of the Cal-Hi Sports State Record Book & Almanac, which is the exclusive home for state records and has been published seven times since 1980. These highlights are for games played mostly from March 31 to April 6, with some performances from this week. To send in a stat star of your own, email highlights to

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Boys Basketball

John Fenton (Central Catholic, Modesto)
Despite not playing varsity as a freshman, Fenton finished his career with 1,399 career rebounds. His placing on the all-time state list also will no doubt cause he and his family extra attention because it’s right in front of the legendary Bill Walton.

Aaron Gordon (Archbishop Mitty, San Jose)

The two-time Mr. Basketball State Player of the Year is not the only newcomer to the all-time state record book this year for career rebounding. Gordon, who had more than 20 rebounds in three separate CIF state title games, gobbled up 1,666 in his four years at Archbishop Mitty. That total is No. 1 all-time for the CIF Central Coast Section by a wide margin (no others from the CCS are above 1,370) and is No. 2 all-time for Northern California.

Keonta Vernon (Tulare)
One of the state’s top grid-hoop athletes and known for shattering a backboard during his sophomore year, Vernon makes it with a total of 1,479, according to CIF Central Section historian Bob Barnett.

Updated Cal-Hi Sports
State Career Rebounding Leaders

2,209 – Darnell Robinson, Emeryville Emery, 1990-93
1,765 – Grant Verhoeven, Visalia Central Valley Christian, 2009-2012
1,732 – Angelo Chol, San Diego Hoover, 2008-2011
1,666 – Aaron Gordon, San Jose Archbishop Mitty, 2010-2013
1,593 – Cliff Pondexter, Fresno San Joaquin Memorial, 1970-73
1,582 – DeMarcus Nelson, Vallejo (2001-03) & Sacramento Sheldon, 2004
1,523 – Wendell McKines, Richmond, 2004-2007
1,519 – Bill Cartwright, Elk Grove, 1973-75
1,503 – Robert Swift, Bakersfield Garces (2001-03) & Bakersfield, 2004
1,500 – Jason Collins, North Hollywood Harvard-Westlake, 1994-97
1,496 – Wendell Kallenberger, Garden Grove Rancho Alamitos, 1963-66
1,491 – Roscoe Pondexter, Fresno San Joaquin Memorial, 1968-1971
1,479 – Keonta Vernon, Tulare, 2010-2013
1,456 – Taylor King, Santa Ana Mater Dei, 2004-2007
1,445 – Mitchell Butler, North Hollywood Oakwood, 1986-89
1,411 – Elias Delgadillo, Chula Vista Castle Park, 1968-1970
1,399 – John Fenton, Modesto Central Catholic, 2011-2013
1,396 – Bill Walton, La Mesa Helix, 1968-1970
1,371 – Wayne Englestad, Rosemead Bosco Tech, 1981-84


Lindsay ended this team’s East Sequoia League winning streak at 51 consecutive games, in a 7-4 victory. J.J. Heredia did most of the damage, going 3-for-3 at the plate, with one double and four RBIs. The last time Corcoran lost a league game was against Lindsay on March 24, 2009 by a 5-3 score. Corcoran established a new section record and the 51 consecutive league wins is the fourth longest in state history.


Delanie Gourley (El Capitan, Lakeside)
With 15 strikeouts in her team’s 5-2 victory last week over Valhalla of El Cajon, Gourley has gone over the 1,200 plateau for her career. That total moves her up clearly among the top 20 on the all-time state list. Gourley already has broken the CIF San Diego Section record for career strikeouts, which previously was 1,106 by Cassidy Coleman from Horizon (2007-2010). Gourley, who is known as much around San Diego for her hitting and will play next at Florida, also ripped a home run against Valhalla.


Boys Basketball

Rick Francis (Sonora) 
A successful coach in the Mother Lode region of the state for nearly four decades, Francis announced last week he was retiring.

Francis has guided the Wildcats for 37 seasons and ends with a reported 659-396 career record. He recently surpassed the retired Jim Boyd from Vanden of Travis AFB (614 wins) as the winningest head coach in CIF Sac-Joaquin Section history.

Francis had a streak of 23 straight years (1985-2007) in which his Sonora teams played in the CIF Sac-Joaquin Section playoffs. He also finishes with 10 league championships and one section crown.

“I’ve been blessed to be around so many wonderful kids, parents and coaches,” Francis told the Sonora Union Democrat. “It’s been a great ride but sometimes all good things must come to an end. But ol’ basketball coaches never die, they just dribble away.”



Alyssa Palomino (Mission Viejo)
The Arizona-committed sophomore has been on a tear at the plate of late, and if she keeps it up she’ll rise even higher on our all-time list for home runs in a single season. In fact, at the pace she’s going, the Diablos’ outfielder could very well top the list. This past Tuesday in a 7-4 win over Laguna Hills, Palomino hit home run No. 14 this season. Last month, she blasted one 305 feet for the only run in a 1 -0 victory over crosstown Capistrano Valley in the championship game of the Saddleback Valley Tournament. If the girls get as deep or deeper in the playoffs as last year, Palomino could be near 25 home runs. Three girls have gone over the 20 home run mark with two last year. Shannon Colquitt (King-Drew Medical, Los Angeles) is the all-time leader with 27 home runs in 2009. In 2012, Sierra Romero of Murrieta Vista Murrieta hit 21 and 20 were smacked by Heather Morales of Indio. Also, with seven last year, Palomino already has 21 for her career, a number that almost makes that list in the record book even though she has almost two-and-a-half seasons remaining in her high school career.



Anthony Arias (Fairfield)
Continuing with a recent hot streak of pitching, Arias tossed a three-hitter with eight strikeouts earlier this week in a 4-0 shutout against Bethel of Vallejo. Arias followed up strongly from his two previous starts, a one-hitter with 10 strikeouts vs. American Canyon and a no-hitter with 11 strikeouts vs. Vanden of Travis AFB.

Phil Bickford (Oaks Christian, Westlake Village)
Nearly recording every out with a strikeout, Bickford struck out 16 of the 19 batters he faced during a 13-1 win over Bishop Montgomery at the Redondo Tournament.

Francis Christy (Casa Grande, Petaluma)
A member of the 2012 New Balance all-Area Code Games Top Hitters and Pitchers list, Christy made a list that included many of the nation’s best players (20 position players, 10 pitchers). The list only had one catcher on it — Christy. He was the top choice of the panel of experts last August, not just because of his bat, but mostly for his rocket arm and defense behind the plate. So far this season, the 6-foot-3, 220-pound backstop who hits left-handed and throws with his right, has been the heart and soul of a 14-1 Gauchos’ team that is 9-0 in one-run games, including the last five straight. As a team, Casa Grande has five home runs and Christy has them all, including a 400-plus foot blast on Wednesday to lead off the seventh inning that tied the score at 2-2 in a game the Gauchos won 3-2 over Rohnert Park Rancho Cotate. Christy is committed to Oregon, but with the kind of demand for catchers of his stature he might be made an offer by an MLB club that’s too hard to refuse. “I’m just going to wait and see,” the soft spoken big fella told Cal-Hi Sports.

Jacob Erickson (Mater Dei, Santa Ana)
We have mentioned his performance some in our state rankings, but he deserves another mention. Despite being the No. 4 pitcher on the depth chart, he has recently pitched like a No. 1. Erickson pitched a complete game shutout while striking out 11 in a 6-0 win over Oaks Christian of Westlake Village in the finals of the Boras Classic SoCal bracket. On the season, he has pitched 22.2 innings in six games while walking just one batter and striking out 25.

Fernando Espinoza (Sunnyside, Fresno)
He set a new school record by driving in six runs and had three doubles during a 14-0 win over McLane of Fresno in North Yosemite League action.

Matt Hammonds (Orange Lutheran)
In his best start of the season, Hammonds allowed just two hits while striking out four as he pitched a complete game shutout in the semifinals of the Hard 9 National Classic. The Lancers defeated Esperanza of Anaheim 1-0.

Matthew Huss (Argonaut, Jackson)
The junior standout whiffed 16 batters and gave up no earned runs when Argonaut topped Bret Harte of Altaville 13-2 last week. In the same game, Huss also went 3-for-4 at the plate.

Ethan Liddle (Lincoln)

He went 2-for-3 with a home run and raised his season batting average to .667 in a 7-1 win over Bear River of Lake of the Pines. Liddle helped the Zebras halt a three-game losing streak after they began 11-1.

Daniel Patzlaff (Fountain Valley)
A junior shortstop for the No. 3 ranked team in the state, Patzlaff came up big earlier this week to make sure the Barons wouldn’t suffer their second loss on the year. He went 3-for-3 scoring four times and hitting two home runs, including the walk-off game-winner, in a 12-11 win over Huntington Beach.

Michael Strem (St. Francis, Mountain View)
With the help of his center fielder throwing out a runner at home to end the game, Strem hurled a complete-game shutout while striking out a career-high 10 batters, as the No. 2 ranked in the state Lancers captured their own Elite 8 tournament championship with a 1-0 win over No. 19 Amador Valley of Pleasanton.


Syndee Cisneros (Laton)
She threw her third no-hitter of season in a five-inning game as she struck-out 11 batters, striking out the final eight, in a 14-0 win over Avenal. In Laton’s next game with Tranquillity, teammate Melissa Castaneda tossed a no-hitter and struck out 10 batters as it won 15-0.

Johanna Grauer (Amador Valley, Pleasanton)
Despite getting a small cut Tuesday on the tip of her index finger right where she releases her rise ball, the Arizona State-bound junior that drew raves from Southern California softball analysts for her performance at the Michelle Carew Classic, and who many experts consider the top high school pitcher in the state and nation, still cut down her two opponents this week. On the day she cut her finger, the 2012 State Sophomore of the Year went out and pitched a one-hitter with 13 strikeouts in a 5-0 victory over Livermore Granada. In a 5-0 victory the next day over Danville Monte Vista, Grauer gave up four hits but struck out 14. She had some help from Nicolle Yozzo, who was 7-for-7 in the two games combined. Last week at the Carew Classic where the Dons went 4-1 and captured the consolation title, Grauer had 50 strikeouts in 31 innings pitched and only gave up two earned runs against some of the state’s top teams.

Bradi Kooyman (Elliot Christian, Lodi)
Just a freshman, Kooyman appears to be the latest hitting sensation from a small school that’s had plenty of them, including state career RBI leader Kaila Shull. Kooyman had three doubles in going 3-for-3 last week in a 12-11 loss to Chavez of Stockton. That raised her batting average to .880 (22-for-25), which already includes six triples and four doubles.

Danielle Martin (Calistoga)

It was a game played earlier this week, but we had to mention it now as Martin doubled twice and drove in six runs as the Wildcats defeated Tomales 31-19. While the 50 combined runs, 36 hits and 12 errors in the game stands out, those team numbers don’t make our Cal-Hi Sports State Record Book.

Katy McJunkin (El Diamante, Visalia)
She set two new school records by driving in seven runs and was a perfect 4-for-4 at the plate. She also hit for the cycle in a 19-1 win over Hanford.

Samantha Mejia (Ridgeview, Bakersfield)

Just a freshman, she had a career high of 17 strikeouts in a 6-5 eight-inning win over Golden Valley of Bakersfield.

Kiannah Molinga (Sierra Pacific, Hanford)

She set a school record with eight RBIs, as she hit two triples and went 3-for-4 at the plate in a 14-5 over Woodlake. She came back the next day against Fowler, as Sierra Pacific won 3-2, with two home runs, had three RBIs and led her team to the championship in the Fowler Easter Classic with a 3-1 win over Chowchilla. In that game, Molinga went 3-for-4, with two doubles, a home run and three RBI’s.

Christa Nygard (Tomales)
Despite going 3-for-5 with two doubles and six runs batted in, it wasn’t enough to prevent a 31-19 loss for the Braves against Calistoga.

Rochelle Roberts (Vanden, Travis AFB)
A returning all-state underclass pick, Roberts is off to a strong start for the Vikings. In a 10-0 win last week over Fairfield, she pitched a one-hitter with 10 strikeouts and had a double, triple and seven RBIs. Roberts has had a season high for strikeouts so far this season of 16.

Marina Salinas (Kingsburg)
Salinas went a perfect 5-for-5 at the plate and set a school record with five hits, Salinas also had three RBIs in a 7-4 over Exeter.

Brooke Shigematsu (Lincoln, Stockton)
We’ve mentioned Brooke before because we’ve watched her grow up since she was in kindergarten. The junior infielder has to get mention now for some phenomenal hitting. In a 9-6 loss last week to Lodi, Brooke hit two home runs to give her seven for the season. Already this week, in a 8-7 loss to Chavez of Stockton, she’s gone 3-for-3 with another homer. Even though Lincoln has tended to lose a number of high scoring games this season, Shigematsu has shined and is now tied for the reported CIF Sac-Joaquin Section lead for homers. She also has improved her batting average to .520.

Paige Von Sprecken (Yorba Linda)

Paige proved that she and the team’s performance at the Michelle Carew Classic last week was no fluke, after it went 4-1, knocked off previous state and national No. 1 Amador Valley (Pleasanton) 3-1 in the tournament opener, and finished second to Pacifica of Garden Grove. The San Diego-committed junior came back strong this week, as she spun a one-hitter in a mercy-shortened 10-0 victory over a previously state-ranked Cypress team that came into the game with a 14-2-1 record. Not only is the pitching for real at the school that’s only had varsity softball for three years, but the hitting appears genuine as well.

Paul Muyskens,  Bob Barnett and Mark Tennis contributed to this report

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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