SoCal/NorCal Players of the Week

Chico High (logo shown at left) celebrated winning the CIF Northern Section D2 baseball title behind one of our honorees this week. At right, pitcher-hitter Madison Mendez of Santana Santee has shown she’s one of the top players in the San Diego area this season. Photos: Twitter.com & EastCountySports.com.

The trick for this week’s selections is to give preference to those players who sparked their teams to section titles that already are in the books or to those players who aren’t in elimination playoff games at the time we’re getting these honors out. It’s not as if Dalton Smith (Chico), Jeremey Rivera (L.A. Locke), Alexandra Lee (S.F. Washington) or Madison Mendez (Santana) didn’t do anything, though. All four did plenty.

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Note: For these honors, we consider CIF Central Section players for Northern California. To find out how your business could benefit by sponsoring these honors each week or to nominate someone by 12 noon on most Mondays, email markjtennis@gmail.com.

Cal-Hi Sports Southern California
Baseball Player of the Week

Jeremey Rivera (Locke, Los Angeles) Sr.

We will always look for Locke baseball players since the school may be the only one in the history of the sport to once have two Hall of Famers on the same team. That was in the early 1970s with Eddie Murray and Ozzie Smith. Rivera has been a standout in multiple ways all season for the Saints this season and this is a good week to write him up.

Showing no signs of rust despite not pitching in over two weeks, he took the mound against Maywood in the CIF LA City Section Division II playoffs and pitched a complete game shutout. In the 8-0 win over the Nighthawks, Rivera allowed just three hits while striking out a season-high nine batters.

A threat all season long once on base, Rivera was also a perfect two for two on stolen base attempts as he stole a total of four bases without getting caught last week. During his senior season, he is hitting .531 with 41 runs scored and 41 runs batted in while also stealing 38 bases out of 41 attempts.

While the season is not over and Locke plays Arleta in Saturday’s semifinals, Rivera is 7-2 on the mound for the second year in a row while improving his ERA to 1.65 this season with one no-hitter.

Cal-Hi Sports Southern California
Softball Player of the Week

Madison Mendez (Santana, Santee) Soph.

In the circle or at the plate, this sophomore has been a big part of the Sultans’ success since last season and she had a big week last week in their CIF San Diego Section Division II playoff wins over Otay Ranch of Chula Vista and Bishop’s of La Jolla.

During an 8-2 win over Otay Ranch, Mendez had a double and drove in two runs before going 4 for 4 at the plate during a 6-1 win over the Knights. Getting the win in the circle in both games as well, she allowed just one earned run over 14 innings while striking out 11.

Committed to Weber State, Mendez is 22-6 with a 1.78 ERA as a pitcher while also hitting .333 with eight home runs and 24 runs batted in.

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Cal-Hi Sports Northern California
Baseball Player of the Week

Dalton Smith (Chico) Sr.

Smith’s final start of the season ended with him being lifted in the air by catching teammate Kyle Bettencourt as he pitched a complete game during the Panthers’ 8-1 win over Red Bluff in the CIF Northern Section Division II championship game.

Making sure his team would make it back-to-back section championships, Smith allowed just three hits and one walk while striking out six. “He’s our guy,” said Chico head Coach Chip Carton after the game to the Red Bluff Daily News. “For this year, he got us there and continued to pitch well.”

In the final, Smith also was 2 for 4 with an RBI and two runs scored. Bettencourt went 3-for-3 and had four RBI.

All season long, Chico’s arch-rivals from Pleasant Valley (Chico) was ranked higher and looked poised to be the section champion. At the end, though, it was Smith, Bettencourt and the rest of the Panthers standing tallest.

For the season, Smith finished the year 7-2 with a 1.95 ERA on the mound while driving in 28 runs at the plate.

Cal-Hi Sports Northern California
Softball Player of the Week

Alexandra Lee (Washington, San Francisco) Soph.

It’s been a sensational sophomore season for Lee, who ended it by scoring the winning run during a 4-3 win over Oakland Tech of Oakland in the final game of the Transbay Series.

Finishing with two hits in the game as well, Lee went 3 for 5 with an RBI the day before in Washington’s 10-9 win in game one of the best of three series that matches the Oakland Section champion vs. the S.F. Section champion.

In 17 games this season, Lee hit .654 with 34 hits, 14 runs batted in and 23 runs scored. Not known for her power, the slap hitter had five doubles and one triple with three of those doubles coming in one game during a 17-2 win over Galileo of San Francisco.

Paul Muyskens is the Stockton office editor of Cal-Hi Sports. 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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