SoCal/NorCal Players of the Week

Two of this week's honorees sparked teams to section titles -- Cherish Burks of Manteca East Union and Chandler Bengston of Clovis Buchanan. Photos: Grapettes.com & Twitter.com.

Two of this week’s honorees sparked teams to section titles — Cherish Burks of Manteca East Union and Chandler Bengston of Clovis Buchanan. Photos: Grapettes.com & Twitter.com.

To nominate a player for next week, email markjtennis@gmail.com by Monday at 12 noon and be sure to include a photo that we can use (which means it’s not from the local newspaper or from another web site). Please feel free to call at 209-463-9050 as well both for nominations or to see if your business or small company would like to become a sponsor for this weekly content.

Note: For purposes of this feature, we are considering the CIF Central Section to be in the north.

Cal-Hi Sports Southern California
Baseball Player of the Week

Kurt Johnson (Royal, Simi Valley) Sr.

Photo: switchpitchingblogspot.com.

Photo: switchpitchingblogspot.com.


While it’s as a left-handed pitcher that has him committed to Sacramento State, Kurt was ranked by Perfect Game USA as the nation’s top ambidextrous pitcher based on the day he threw both right-handed and left-handed in the same game during his freshman year. In that game, Johnson pitched a no-hitter, going five innings right handed and the final two innings left handed.

After going 5-2 with a 1.91 ERA last season, he is currently 7-2 with a 2.12 ERA this season after his best outing of the season last week. In that game, Johnson went eight shutout innings and struck out 13 during a 2-0 win over Glenn of Norwalk in the CIF-SS Division II playoffs.

In a story by the L.A. Times, it said: “As a 9-year-old, Johnson said he didn’t know whether he was left-handed or right-handed, so he threw both ways.”

Cal-Hi Sports Northern California
Baseball Player of the Week

Chandler Bengston (Buchanan, Clovis) Sr.

Leading the offensive attack during a 15-1 win over Clovis in the CIF Central Section Division I championship game, he went 3 for 4 with a double, a grand slam home run and six runs batted in.

Before transferring to Buchanan, he went to Central Catholic of Modesto where he was an All-State nominee for baseball his sophomore year while also playing on the Raiders’ football team that won the Division IV state championship. Bengston also has an uncle, Brent Whiteley, who once worked for one school year at the Stockton office of Cal-Hi Sports. He will be headed next to play baseball and study at Columbia.

For a video of his grand slam taken by the Fresno Bee, CLICK HERE.

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Cal-Hi Sports Southern California
Softball Player of the Week

Kourtney Shaw (Poway) Sr.

Committed to Cal since her sophomore year, Shaw is known for the movement on her pitches and that showed last week during a 1-0 win over Westview of San Diego as she pitched a no-hitter and had two hits at the plate in the CIF San Diego Section Open Division playoff win. She followed up that performance with a complete game shutout during a 7-0 win over Cathedral Catholic of San Diego.

Titans coach Jim Bennet told The San Diego Union Tribune “Kourtney has shoulders as broad as California. She’s been carrying us. The reason she’s a great pitcher is because she loves moments like this. The bigger the moment, the bigger she plays.”

Shaw also now has nine shutouts this season, which moves her to No. 1 on Poway’s career leader list.

Cal-Hi Sports Northern California
Softball Player of the Week

Cherish Burks (East Union, Manteca) Sr.

While some of her teammates had the higher runs batted in totals, it was often her they were driving in as this Oregon-bound standout scored six times during the Lancers’ two wins over the two-time defending champions Pioneer of Woodland to capture the CIF Sac-Joaquin Section Division III championship.

With East Union needing to win twice to capture the title, she went 3 for 3 with four runs scored during their 12-1 win to force a deciding game and in that 17-3 championship game win she went 2 for 3 with two doubles, two runs scored and an RBI.

“Getting ahead and jumping out early was a good feeling for us. It gave us more confidence and we were able to not have to play on our toes all the time,” said Burks to the Manteca Bulletin after the Lancers won their third section championship in program history.

Paul Muyskens is the Stockton office assistant editor for CalHiSports.com. Mark Tennis is the co-founder and publisher of CalHiSports.com. He can be reached at markjtennis@gmail.com. Don’t forget to follow Mark on the Cal-Hi Sports Twitter handle: @CalHiSports


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One Comment

  1. Brent Whiteley
    Posted May 26, 2015 at 8:32 pm | Permalink

    That’s my nephew! Chandler Bengtson..
    That was a shot!

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