SoCal/NorCal Players of the Week

Two of this week’s SoCal/NorCal Players of the Week for baseball & softball are senior Ethan Cloyd from Dunn School (Los Olivos) and senior Sydney Kuma of Washington Union (Easton). Sydney is a multi-sport athlete shown playing soccer. Photos: Courtesy school & Juan Esparza Loera /

Two of the strongest nominations for this week in SoCal baseball were from the same school. We considered Co-Players of the Week, but as many may know ties for anything just isn’t in our DNA. We also honor a daughter of a former MLB player and current third base coach of the Arizona Diamondbacks. This week’s foursome is from Los Olivos, Brentwood, Palm Desert and Easton (near Fresno).

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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
Baseball Player of the Week

Ethan Cloyd
(Dunn, Los Olivos) Sr.

Usually when writing about any team or individual from Dunn, the first thoughts are of the school’s unique nickname: Earwigs.

This time, though, it was about the current 18-3 baseball team’s one-two punch of seniors Ethan Cloyd and Brandon Lawrence. Cloyd gets the nod as player of the week for having also had an outstanding four-year career. Lawrence may have had the better week and also is a four-year varsity regular, but Cloyd has had the more noteworthy career.

Courtesy of Dunn head coach David Lawrence, here’s what the pair did in the team’s games last week:

Cloyd went 4-for-8 in the three outings at the plate with three homers and seven RBI. He also pitched nine innings, picking up a win, and had 14 strikeouts. Lawrence also belted three homers and had nine RBI with five innings of pitching and no runs allowed. Proud Pop also points out that Brandon has five homers in the last six games and has 41 RBI (the top reported total in the CIF Southern Section, according to MaxPreps).

Cloyd, who is headed to Cal in the fall, is batting .561 on the season with five homers and 31 RBI. He won his fourth game on the mound last week with a four-hitter and struck out 12 in a 7-1 win against Santa Maria.

Cloyd’s career includes a .605 batting average from his sophomore season. He also entered this week with a .513 career average with 143 hits and 118 RBI. As a pitcher, Ethan’s career ERA is 1.86 with 168 strikeouts in 161 innings.

Both Cloyd and Lawrence will be up for all-state small schools honors. Their team will be in the CIF Southern Section Division V playoffs and starts first on Thursday against Knight of Palmdale. We know that there are some insanely gigantic schools that also are in the competitive-equity seeded CIFSS D5 playoffs (like Long Beach Poly believe it or not) but players from those schools will never be considered “small schools” for the all-state teams and we’re not completely re-vamping our post-season honors programs to account for competitive equity playoff divisions.

Cal-Hi Sports Northern California
Baseball Player of the Week

Ryan Jackson
(Heritage, Brentwood) Jr.

East Contra Costa County is our destination for the NorCal baseball honoree where we find one of the top all-around juniors in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Jackson takes a hard swing during recent game. Photo:

The Patriots’ Jackson doesn’t put the kind of fear in pitchers Major League Hall-of-Famer Reggie Jackson did, but although the 5-foot-11, 170-pounder doesn’t hit for a lot of power, what he does do is hit and get on base, and he isn’t too shabby in the RBI and runs scored categories, either.

So far this season, Jackson has 39 hits, and according to Patriots’ Athletic Director Nate Smith, that is already a single season school record in the 15 years since Heritage opened.

In three games last week, Jackson had nine hits and three walks in 15 plate appearances, and Heritage went 2-1 and is now 14-6 overall and 5-1 and in first place in the always tough Bay Valley Athletic League.

In a 14-6 win over neighboring Deer Valley of Antioch, Jackson was 3-for-3 with a walk, three RBI and four runs scored. The Patriots’ lost 8-7 to second-place Freedom (Oakley) but he was 2-for-3 with a triple, a walk, two RBI and a run scored. Finally, in a 16-2 non-league romp against Lincoln of Stockton, the Patriots’ shortstop was 4-for-4 with another triple, a walk, three RBI and three runs scored.

Besides the school record for hits, Jackson leads the team in batting average at .591, RBI with 23, runs with 22, triples and doubles with three and seven, respectively.

“Ryan is a baseball player through and through,” Smith remarked. “He studies all aspects of the game.”

Ryan has been pitching, and although he’s no Nolan Ryan on the mound, Smith feels he is one of the best pitchers in the league but hasn’t seen action recently do to a sore elbow.

In seven starts and appearances, Jackson is 4-0 with a 0.83 ERA and 53 strikeouts and only 13 walks in 33.2 innings pitched. Opponents are hitting a paltry .162 against him.

“It wouldn’t be a stretch to say he’s the best player in the league,” Smith said. “Good range at shortstop, great glove, dominant on the mound and a threat every time he’s up at the plate

He’s only a junior, so he might start garnering some offers, but surprisingly despite his numbers on the field and a current 3.67 GPA this semester, he doesn’t have any yet, but what Jackson does have in hand is the Northern California Baseball Player of the Week award.

Cal-Hi Sports Northern California
Softball Player of the Week

Sydney Kuma
(Washington, Easton) Sr.

Whenever we go to the CIF Central Section, we remind readers that for our Player of the Week features The Valley, as the locals like to call the CIF Central Section, is considered part of Northern California.

So, for this week’s NorCal softball honoree, we head to the Easton area of Fresno where we find a Georgia-committed senior that has been tearing the cover off the yellow ball as a hitter, and isn’t too shabby in the circle either, and the cherry on top is she was a nominee for the second straight week of longtime Cal-Hi Sports friend and contributor, and Central Section historian Bob Barnett.

Last week, in a 5-3 victory over Liberty of Madera Ranchos, Sydney had a home run and a double and five RBI, plus she had 10 strikeouts from the circle. Earlier in the week and in a 13-inning 6-3 win over Chowchilla, Kuma was 2-for-3 with a triple, four bases on balls, three RBI and a run scored. She also pitched all 13 innings and although she gave up a few hits and walks, Kuma fanned 14 batters.

So far this season at the plate for a 13-2 Panthers’ team that is tied with Chowchilla for first place in the North Sequoia League, Kuma has opposing pitchers fuming and is the Central Section reported leader with 11 home runs, her .659 batting average is the No. 2 mark in the section, plus she has six triples, four doubles 34 RBI, 30 runs scored, and the 11 home runs is among the state top 20.

From the circle, Sydney is 4-0 with a 0.70 ERA, 45 strikeouts in 40 innings, plus she’s only given up one extra base hit and opposing batters are hitting a mere .170 against her.

We can’t let it go without noting that Kuma is a four-sport athlete. She averaged 8.6 ppg and 5.8 rpg and the Panthers 15-11 basketball team, she led the 16-13-3 soccer team with 34 of the team’s 65 goals, and finally on the CIF Division V state champion volleyball team, you guessed it, Sydney was the star and led the team with 657 of the team’s 1,497 kills.

Kuma may be from a small school but that’s a State Athlete of the Year type resume.

Cal-Hi Sports Southern California
Softball Player of the Week

Jasmine Perezchica
(Palm Desert) Jr.

The Coachella Valley just southeast of Palm Springs on Highway 111 is our destination where we get to use the old expression “they say it’s in the blood” for this week’s winner. As we do quite often, Jasmine is not just being honored for last week but for her overall body of work this season.

The Aztecs are 20-6 and finished 13-2 in the Desert Empire League, plus they’ve won seven straight games, and a lot of it has to do with their shortstop and daughter of former Major League shortstop, current Arizona Diamondbacks third-base coach and Coachella Valley high school baseball legend Tony Perezchica.

With no offense to her father, and we don’t think he’ll mind the ribbing, let’s face it, he’s a baseball guy and ribbing is part of the game, the one thing Jasmine didn’t inherit from pops is that fact that she can hit home runs, and the nine she has this season are nine more than her dad had in his entire MLB career.

Last week, in a 5-1 win over Heritage (Romoland) and a 6-4 win over neighboring La Quinta, the Arizona-committed Perezchica had a home run and a triple, with three RBI, three runs scored and a stolen base.

So far this season, besides the nine long taters, Perezchica has a .568 batting average, nine triples, 13 doubles, 29 RBI, 40 runs scored and 18 stolen bases. She has an astronomical 1.178 slugging percentage and her 54 hits is the No. 2 reported mark in the CIF Southern Section.

Last season, she didn’t hit for a lot of power but as a sophomore Perezchica had a .627 batting average.

Her father may have been a big leaguer but Jasmine has her own big bat and also the Southern California Softball Player of the Week honor to go with it.

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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