NorCal/SoCal Players of the Week

Two of this week’s honorees are Kylie Chung from Westlake of Westlake Village and Stephen Klenske from Sage Creek of Carlsbad. Photos: Courtesy family & thesagenews.com.


Raging hot batting averages for the early part of the 2019 season have helped this week’s two NorCal players of the week to gain the spotlight. For the SoCal honorees, meanwhile, it’s been more about stingy pitching. The foursome we’re honoring is from Pleasanton, East Nicolaus, Carlsbad and Westlake Village.

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Note: For these honors, we consider CIF Central Section players for Northern California. To nominate someone by 12 noon on most Mondays, email markjtennis@gmail.com.

Cal-Hi Sports Southern California
Baseball Player of the Week

Stephen Klenske
(Sage Creek, Carlsbad) Sr.

We go to the CIF San Diego Section for our SoCal baseball award winner for the second straight week but this Bobcats’ pitcher is the one because we guarantee hitters want to get even with Stephen because more often than not Klenske cleans their clocks.

Last week, the 6-foot-5, 225-pound right-hander tossed a two-hitter with six strikeouts in a 1-0 victory over defending San Diego Section Open Division champion Torrey Pines of San Diego.

So far this season, the Bobcats are 9-2 but when Stephen’s dealing from the mound they’re 5-0 and Klenske has a 0.26 ERA after only giving up two earned runs with 29 strikeouts in 27 innings pitched and 113 batters faced.

Last season Stephen was 7-2 with a 1.19 ERA and 62 strikeouts and 53 innings pitched. As a freshman in 2016 Klenske was a member of a Sage Creek team that won a CIFSDS Division IV championship for a school that only opened in 2014, and he was 2-1 with a 2.50 ERA.

For his career, the San Diego State-committed Klenske is a very respectable 16-6 with a 1.46 ERA and 139 strikeouts in 139 innings pitched and unless it’s a mistake on his reported stats Stephen has only given up one extra base hit so far in his four-year high school career.

Ryan Stemplinger gets some coaching tips last season from longtime Foothill head coach Angelo Scavone. Photo: pleasantonweekly.com.


Cal-Hi Sports Northern California
Baseball Player of the Week

Ryan Stemplinger
(Foothill, Pleasanton) Sr.

We go back to the East Bay Athletic League for the second straight week but the difference is last week we were in the Mountain Division and this week we visit the teams in the southern portion of the EBAL – Valley Division where we find a Falcons’ hitter who’s been flying so high that our NorCal baseball honoree has had a big part in helping Foothill crack this week’s top 25 state rankings.

Last week, and although Stemplinger is not really known as a power hitter, the 5-foot-11, 170-pounder had a bat that must have looked like a log to opposing pitchers.

He started with a hit and a walk with two RBI in a 4-1 win over a solid Heritage of Brentwood. In a 10-1 win over Dublin, Stemplinger hit a zinger for an RBI double in a 3-for-3 performance with two runs scored. Finally, in an 11-1 win over Lodi that got Foothill to 10-1, Ryan had a hit that drove in two runs and a walk.

So, far this season, Stemplinger is hitting a robust .556 with two doubles, eight RBI with five coming last week, and in 20 plate appearances he’s only struck out twice. Stemplinger also plays football as a wide receiver for Foothill and is looking to be a leader on this year’s baseball team after a lot of top players graduated from last year’s team that reached the CIF North Coast Section D1 final.

Weather permitting on Wednesday, the arch rivalry between Foothill and Amador Valley of Pleasanton, which also exists in softball where the Falcons girls are No. 3 in this week’s State Top 25 rankings and Amador Valley is on the Bubble, will continue on the road across town when the state No. 18 Falcons meet the No. 10 Dons. Amador Valley enters that game with a 10-0 record.

Cal-Hi Sports Southern California
Softball Player of the Week

Kylie Chung
(Westlake, Westlake Village) Soph.

For our Southern California softball honoree, we go west from Los Angeles out Highway 101 and past the San Fernando Valley to the area where Los Angeles and Ventura Counties meet, and it’s here we find Chung, and one thing we can tell you is when Kylie is dealing from the circle nothing is free for opposing batters, and when Chung is batting herself it’s not fun for pitchers trying to retire her.

Chung only went 2.1 innings and didn’t give up an earned run last week when the Warriors lost to state No. 13 Chino Hills but she did have a hit and a run batted in. In the circle and the batter’s box in the next game, however, she was lights out in a 10-2 victory over previous No. 11 and unbeaten Newbury Park that allowed a 12-2 Westlake to hold onto a No. 15 spot in the rankings.

Against Newbury Park, Chung pitched six innings and gave up four hits and one run with 10 strikeouts and two walks. As a batter she was 3-for-4 with an RBI and a run scored and got some backup from senior Alexa Campbell who blasted her sixth and seventh home runs of the season.

So far this season Chung is 9-0 with two no-hitters, four shutouts, a save and a 0.84 ERA with 86 strikeouts in 50 innings pitched, and opposing batters are hitting a paltry .089 against her. With bat in hand, Kylie is hitting .419 with three home runs, eight RBI, seven runs scored and she’s even stole two bases in two attempts when head coach Bob Creamer has turned her loose.

Price was more than right last season at East Nic with 62 hits and a .590 batting average. Photo: appeal-democrat.com.


Cal-Hi Sports Northern California
Softball Player of the Week

Savannah Price
(East Nicolaus, Nicolaus) Jr.

We might as well go full circle with a TV game show comparison for those of us old enough to remember The Price is Right, because in the town of Nicolaus in Sutter County the Price is always right when it comes to our Northern California softball honoree.

Defending NSCIF Division 5 champion East Nicolaus has a lot of girls that can smack around the yellow ball, but last week the Arizona State-committed junior shortstop, and since she donned the Spartans red and white three years ago, was and has been the undeniable linchpin of the Spartans.

In two games last week, Price was 2-for-2 with a walk, sacrifice fly, three RBI and two runs scored in an 11-1 win over Lindhurst of nearby Olivehurst, and then she went 2-for-3 with two doubles, two RBI and two runs scored in an 8-0 victory at Gridley.

So far this season for 9-0 East Nicolaus, Price leads the team in just about every statistical category except home runs. Savannah has a .667 average, one homer, three triples, four doubles, 14 RBI and 17 runs scored, and its only come in 18 at-bats because she’s walked 12 times and only struck out once for a .750 on-base percentage and an astronomical 1.388 slugging percentage and a 2.139 OPS percentage. On defense she has one error in 15 chances.

Last season, when she was All State Small Schools by Cal-Hi Sports, Price hit .590 with 58 RBI and 52 runs scored, and in her freshman season when the Spartans were upset in the NSCIF D5 title game 1-0 in 8-innings by Colusa, she hit .486 with 49 RBI and 42 runs scored.

Did we mention she also plays volleyball and is a pretty solid middle blocker?

As for the football team the school of 315 was 13-1 in each of the past three seasons and the CIF NorCal Division VI-AA runner up each time, but in 2015 when they went 13-2 they won the CIF state VI-AA Bowl game championship.

East Nicolaus softball coach Neil Stinson also is the leader of the Spartans in football and last fall his team (representing a school of 315 students) went 13-1 with its loss to Hilmar in the CIF NorCal D6-AA regional final. We’ll see if East Nic loses a game in softball this season with Price and the rest of her teammates continuing to shine.

Harold Abend is the associate editor of CalHiSports.com and the vice president of the California Prep Sportswriters Association. He can be reached at marketingharoldabend@gmail.com. Don’t forget to follow him on Twitter: @HaroldAbend


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