SoCal/NorCal Players of the Week

Two of this week’s SoCal/NorCal Players of the Week are Dylan Beavers from Mission Prep of San Luis Obispo and Ava Justman of Chatsworth. Photos: &

We’ve got some heavy hitters this week who just have to steal the limelight for the totals they piled up. Our NorCal baseball player went 7-for-7 in one game at the plate with six of those hits for extra bases. We’ve also got a softball player who had three homers and 11 RBI in a doubleheader. These aren’t just small school stat hounds, either. All four of this week’s honorees, who are from San Luis Obispo, Aliso Viejo, West Sacramento and Huntington Beach, will be playing in college.

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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

Cal-Hi Sports Southern California
Softball Player of the Week

Ava Justman
(Chatsworth) Sr.

The Los Angeles City Section and the San Fernando Valley is our destination for the Southern California softball award winner, and while it might not just be Justman putting up numbers for the Chancellors, the fans are raving about Ava and she’s a big reason Chatsworth is 21-4-1 and 7-0 in the West Valley League.

Last week, the Wisconsin-committed junior left-handed pitcher and slugger led Chatsworth to four big wins and got victories in the circle in three of them.

Justman started the week by going three perfect innings in the circle with eight strikeouts and a blowout of Woodland Hills Taft. As a batter, she was 2-for-2 with an RBI and a run scored. Next up was Birmingham of Lake Balboa where Justman tossed a two-hitter with two walks and 12 strikeouts in a 4-0 victory. Ava also staked herself to victory at the plate with a two-run home run.

Justman then pitched one inning against Sylmar in the first game of the second weekend of the Chancellors Spring Fling tournament and struck out three and walked one in what ended up a 10-0 victory. She was also 2-for-3 with a double and three RBI and two runs scored with bat in hand. Ava didn’t pitch in the second game last Saturday in the Spring Fling, but she tripled home two runs and scored one herself in a 17-2 win over Verdugo Hills.

So far this season, Ava is 16-2 with a save from the circle with a 0.46 ERA and a whopping 229 strikeouts in 121 innings pitched and 435 batters faced. She’s been in double-digits for strikeouts 13 times with 18 fanned as a high-water mark. At the plate, Justman is hitting .344 with a home run, triple, five doubles, 15 RBI and 10 runs scored.

We don’t want to create any problems in the Justman household so we want to be sure and give a shout out to Ava’s battery mate and older sister Emily Justman. Big sis actually has a bigger bat this season and is hitting .411 with a homer, two triples, six doubles, 11 RBI and 20 runs scored, and in 270 chances at catcher she has no errors.

Last season, after Ava transferred from Granada Hills Charter and Emily from Oaks Christian of Westlake Village, the sisters led the Chancellors to the Los Angeles City Section Open Division title with Ava going 13-0 and hitting .422.

Cal-Hi Sports Southern California
Baseball Player of the Week

Ethan Hoopingarner
(Aliso Niguel, Aliso Viejo) Sr.

We go to Orange County and the San Joaquin Hills just west of the Highway 73 toll road for our Southern California baseball honoree, and there we find the Wolverines top pitcher and one of their top hitters as our award winner.

To say the USC-bound right-handed pitching Hoopingarner had batters hopping last week would be correct,and it’s also a big reason Aliso Niguel is 22-3 and moved up to No. 16 in this week’s Top 25 rankings.

All Ethan did was fan 14 batters and toss a one-hitter with two walks in a six-inning 10-0 victory over neighboring Laguna Hills. With bat in hand, Hoopingarner garnered a home run and a double, and scored three runs.

He hasn’t pitched since then but Ethan did weild a wicked bat in three more wins last week and had four hits, including two doubles, two RBI and four runs scored combined.

On the season from the mound, Hoopingarner is 6-0 in nine appearances with a 0.55 ERA and 68 strikeouts in 38 innings pitched and 150 batters faced. At the plate, he’s hitting .417 with a home run, 11 doubles, 11 RBI and 22 runs scored.

If this keeps happening, the Wolverines will be whooping it up with Hoopingarner.

Cal-Hi Sports Northern California
Baseball Player of the Week

Dylan Beavers
(Mission Prep, San Luis Obispo) Sr.

Before this season, we never went to San Luis Obispo for a NorCal award winner, but with SLO moving from the CIF Southern Section to the CIF Central Section, which we consider Northern California for this feature, not only do we go to SLO, but for second time to honor a baseball player after recognizing Cooper Benson of San Luis Obispo earlier this season.

We don’t often go to the same town twice but when the nomination came in from Cal-Hi Sports longtime friend and contributor, and Central Section historian Bob Barnett, we had to go back to SLO.

The 6-foot-3 Cal-bound left-handed hitting Beavers had quite a week last week in two wins over Santa Maria as according to Barnett he tied three CIF Central Section records in the first game in a 23-4 win. Beavers went 7-for-7 at bat, scored six runs, hit a home run, racked up four doubles, added a triple and had five RBI with six runs scored. The 7-for-7, four doubles and six runs scored all tied section records. In the second game against Santa Maria in a 10-0 victory, Dylan went 3-for-3 with a home run, two RBI and two runs scored.

According to Barnett, the 10-for-10 total also is the No. 3 mark in the CIF Central Section for consecutive hits.

So far this season for the 13-5 Royals, Beavers has blasted 11 home runs, and that is the top reported mark in the state. He’s also hitting .607 with four triples, five doubles, 32 RBI, 35 runs scored, and his 1.429 slugging percentage is the No. 2 reported mark in the state.

In his four-year varsity career so far, Beavers is batting .425 with 23 home runs and 82 runs batted in.

It’ll be a hoot when Beavers and the Bears play Oregon State in future Pac-12 games, and if Beavers does even close to what Mission Prep grad Patrick Laird did for Cal’s football team the past few years, the local fans in Berkeley are going to be quite pleased.

Reyna Cota’s battiing average and power numbers for River City (West Sacramento) are reaching hard-to-believe totals after the last several weeks. Photo:

Cal-Hi Sports Northern California
Softball Player of the Week

Reyna Cota
(River City, West Sacramento) Sr.

We go just across the Sacramento River from the State Capitol for our Northern California softball honoree, and there we find Cota, a Chico State-bound catcher who puts fear in opposing pitchers every time she steps into the batter’s box.

Last week, it was almost just like four days at the office for the 2018 Sacramento Bee All Metro selection.

Cota started the week by going 2-for-4 with a home run, four RBI and two runs scored in a big win over Grant of Sacramento. Then, in an 8-2 win over Laguna Creek of Elk Grove, Reyna was 4-for-4 with two home runs, a double, three RBI and four runs scored. And finally, in a doubleheader blowout of Sacramento Kennedy, Cota had five hits, including three home runs, a double and a triple, 11 RBI and seven runs scored.

So far this season for the 12-3-1 Raiders, who are 7-0 in the Metropolitan Conference, Cota is hitting .706 with 13 home runs, two triples, six doubles, 47 RBI and 35 runs scored. Stop and think about those totals again for a second.

The 13 home runs is the top reported mark in the CIF Sac-Joaquin Section and tied for No. 2 in the state. The 47 RBI is No. 2 in the section and No. 3 in the state (all according to MaxPreps).

Her 31 career home runs already qualifies for a spot on Most Home Runs (career) list in the Cal-Hi Sports Record Book. She also is over the century mark with 108 career runs batted in.

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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