As a consequence of the 2020 high school baseball and softball seasons being canceled after not even one-third of scheduled games were played in the state, we cannot produce all-state teams in those sports for 2020. We do not want to forget about those seniors from the Class of 2020, however, who were going to complete outstanding prep careers in those sports. So instead of all-state nominations or actual all-state honors, we’re going to present a series of senior salutes for these athletes through the month of June. Go inside to see which ones we are saluting today and find out how you can submit a senior salute of your own.
For Senior Salutes No. 4, CLICK HERE.
(Kylie Barber, Jeweliana “Jewels” Perez, Kiannah Pierce, Grace Pieson, Alessandra Samperio, Jaya Travis, Noah Beal, Adam Christopher, Jacob Kilbane, Nicholas Perez, Antonio Rojas, Kieran Sidebotham)
For Senior Salutes No. 3, CLICK HERE.
(Luke Avidor, Treven Crowley, Danny Garcia, Preston Howey, Austin Machado, Landon Wallace, Rylie Atherton, Avery Croxall, Talia Hannappel, Lafu Malepeai, Vianney Perez, Briana Velazquez)
For Senior Salutes No. 2, CLICK HERE.
For Senior Salutes No. 1, CLICK HERE.
NOTE: We can’t obviously write up every senior softball or baseball player from throughout California, so here are the qualifications. They’re basically similar to someone being chosen as an all-state nominee. Generally will look for those who were in third year of varsity in 2020 with at least one all-league selection or some major accomplishments from last season. Must also have information easily available via MaxPreps, Twitter page or similar method. We hope not to have to look up most of our Senior Salutes on our own (like all of them in the first group). To send in a Senior Salute with information similar to what you see below and let the entire state know how proud you are of a particular player, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
NOTE: This will be a series of free posts on CalHiSports.com and it’s no charge from us to post one sent in by someone else. It’s the least we can do to highlight these seniors who’ve lost so many experiences this spring. We will alternate between baseball and softball players being listed first. For those with seniors moving on to college with no other sons or daughters still coming up, we wish you the best. For those who do have upcoming siblings, please consider getting a Gold Club membership to our site to help us continue all of the work we do on behalf of California high schools in five sports (football, boys bb, girls bb, baseball & softball). For more on special offer to get signed up for $3.99 for one month, CLICK HERE.
SENIOR SALUTES (BASEBALL)
Vinnie Bachelier (Capital Christian, Sacramento)
A Universty of Nevada commit at second base, Bachelier possess a strong athletic build that has him in perfect position for the game and the middle of the diamond. Bachelier has displayed an easy release with the ball exiting his hand well. He is ranked as a quality player with tools for college baseball. His team was 1-1 in the brief season and Bachelier did not see any action yet. A four-year varsity player, he had a .409 career batting average, including an amazing .477 as a freshman (41 hits). His career 55 RBI, 1.052 OPS and 30 steals are also impressive. Bachelier has one advantage: he is a switch-hitter who has showed some pop to his pull side.
Eddie Curley & Joe Soberon (Clayton Valley, Concord)
What a 1-2 pitching combo that the Ugly Eagles had going to start this season. Who knows where it might have taken them? Before the season, Curley and Soberon created a fundraiser for @MakeAWish getting donations based on their strikeout totals for the season. #StrikeoutsForWishKids. In 40 innings this season, the two had already combined for 60 strikeouts leading Clayton Valley to a 6-1 start before the season was halted. Both sldo are three-year varsity players and maintain GPAs over 4.0. Soberon was the Diablo Valley Athletic League pitcher of the year in 2019 and Curley was a first team all-league selection and a NORCAL Player of the Week. Soberon ended his career at 15-7 with a 2.19 ERA and had 139 Ks in 156 2/3 innings. Curley wound up 11-3 with a 1.09 ERA and had 118 Ks n 96 innings. He also was batting .350 this season. As you would expect, both also are going to continue to play and no doubt excel in college — Soberon at UC San Diego and Curley at St. Mary’s.
Jacob Gonzalez (Glendora)
The projected Class of 2020 all-state player from Glendora possesses a long and athletic build that projects well physically. He has smooth actions defensively with soft hands out front, loose arm action with projectable arm strength, second base tools. A left-handed hitter, he uses the whole field with his line-drive contact. Gonzalez should keep improving with additional strength and physical maturity. A verbal commitment to Mississippi, he started 2020 with a .346 batting average and .937 OPS. Jake also notched two saves in three appearances on the mound (0.00 ERA).
Carson Hamro (Rancho Buena Vista, Vista)
One of the top college prospects from the San Diego area, Carson is a UCLA commit with a long and angular build, high waist and lots of room to get stronger. His fastball topped out at 91 miles-per-hour and reportedly gets on hitters quick due to the good angle with his release point. Hamro also has an outstanding high spin rate curveball that impresses scouts. A 2020 Perfect Game All American, Hamro’s team was 2-3 to start the campaign. He also was batting .333 to start with a .908 OPS.
Christopher Lozano (Cleveland, Reseda)
The Cleveland Cavaliers were off to a 6-2 start to the campaign. Christopher was also off to a solid start, with a .393 batting average (11-for-28), five RBI, four doubles, a .485 on-base percentage and 1.021 OPS. Lozano also was 0-0 in just one pitching appearance. A four-year varsity player who finished with a .310 career batting average and 51 RBI, Christopher already had All-L.A. City honors. He also was 7-7 in his career as a pitcher (including 4-2 in 2019) with a 3.94 ERA.
Corbin Yaws (Taft)
Central Section standout had a section-leading 11 pitching wins as a junior and was named First-Team MaxPreps.com California Small Schools All-State and Second-Team Cal-Hi Sports Small/Medium School All-State. Yaws was the first All-State recognized Taft baseball player since Noah Parsons in 2016. He also finished with a 1.42 ERA. Yaws was on everybody’s watch-list for his senior year because he was one of the top pitchers in the section. A four-year varsity player, he had a career record for Taft of 17-6 all-time. He had only pitched twice in 2020 with a 1-1 record at the time of the season shutdown. As a batter, Yaws was also off to a solid start at the plate, batting .450 as his team went 5-2.
SENIOR SALUTES (SOFTBALL)
Drew Barragan (San Benito, Hollister)
The Balers’ Barragan made a huge impact in her first season with the San Benito High softball team in 2019. The daughter of coach Andrew Barragan answered the bell and then some in the circle and with the bat. A first-Team All-PCAL selection and Cal-Hi Sports All-State nominee, she was batting .833 when the season halted, and was 1-1 in the circle. Drew also came through with a career .465 batting average with four home runs and 1.188 OPS. As a pitcher, Barragan also was 11-7 with a 3.36 ERA in her career.
Tyler Denhart (Los Alamitos)
The top pitcher for the state No. 1 and nation’s No. 2 ranked softball team at the time of shutdown was Denhart. She was a perfect 6-0 this season during a run where the Griffins won their first 10 games to claim the top state slot. The kicker that put head coach Rob Weil’s team over the top was earning the championship at the rugged “Tournament of Champions” in Bullhead City, Arizona. Denhart had a 2.55 ERA with 33 strikeouts in 31 frames in that tourney. Overall, her three-season varsity record was an impressive 12-4 with a 2.11 ERA. Tyler will play next at Southern Utah University.
Bailey Doherty (Atascadero)
Central Coast schools had only one year to get in their hits facing Bailey Doherty of Atascadero, who, as a sophomore, took over the everyday starting position in the circle. After going 8-6 as a frosh, she went 43-5 thereafter. In her sophomore season, Doherty finished with a 0.75 earned run average, 282 strikeouts with a 20-2 record to lead the Greyhounds to a 23-4 overall mark and four rounds deep in the CIF Southern Section playoffs. The Cal-Poly SLO commit also got her first taste of perfection during her sophomore season as she threw her first perfect game against Frontier (Bakersfield). Doherty threw a total of three perfect games her sophomore year and four no-hitters total. The senior finished her career with 10 no-hitters and five perfect games. As a junior last year, Doherty led the Greyhounds once again — going 20-2 this time with a 0.89 ERA and racking up 276 strikeouts — getting the her school just one win away from a section title shot, but this time in the CIF Central Section following the switch by other schools in San Luis Obispo County. At the plate, Bailey was a .403 hitter with 16 home runs and 83 RBI over four seasons. This season, she was 3-3 with a 1.60 ERA and 84 Ks in 48 innings. Dougherty also was batting .414.
Maddie Helms (San Marcos) San Diego Sec
We first started following Maddie as a valuable member of San Marcos’ 2018 team that won the CIF San Diego Section Open Division title and finished as the State Team of the Year. Major rebuilding followed in 2019 and in 2020 the team was 3-3 and Maddie had yet to find her groove. Still, that doesn’t take anything away from the huge four-year career for Helms, who finished as a .411 batter with 17 home runs, 58 RBI and a 1.210 OPS. Helms had a monster junior season in 2019 with 10 home runs and 35 RBI (.421). That followed a year in which she batted .423. So far this year, Maddie also was 1-0 as a pitcher.
Virginia Nemeth (Glendora)
In 2019, Glendora’s Nemeth was a nemesis for the team’s opponents and shared the Palomar League Co- Most Valuable Player honor with Ayala’s (Chino Hills) Hannah Hughbanks. A Seattle University commit whose team was 7-6-1 as play halted, Nemeth was off to a torrid start — batting .488 (20-for-41) with six extra-base hits and a 1.236 OPS. A four-year varsity player, Virginia had a career .366 batting average with 20 home runs (including 12 in 2019) and a 1.160 OPS.
Elizabeth Thomas (Ripon Christian)
This San Joaquin County standout needed only the three seasons to sprinkle her name all over the record books at Ripon Christian. Her 2019 season was one for the ages as she earned the Southern League Most Valuable Player award. According to MaxPreps.com, she led the entire state with 73 RBI and that also ranked her at number 14 nationally among reported players to that site. Her astronomical stat line included a .609 batting average, 1.163 slugging percentage and 12 home runs. In 2020, she was slower to start, by her lofty standards, batting .417 (5-for-12) at the plate with a double, a triple and seven RBI. Some of Thomas’ career totals will be difficult for others coming up in the CIF Sac-Joaquin Section to match. This includes 155 RBI, 17 homers, 136 hits, .527 batting average, .631 on-base percentage, .883 slugging percentage, and 39 doubles and 155 RBI. And in her 77 games, Thomas only struck out 13 times with 50 walks that she took. She will play next and go to school at Cottey College, a private women’s university in Missouri.
Chuck Nan is a former banking executive and free-lance sportswriter from Northern California now living in Orange County and is providing Orange County information/writeups to Cal-Hi Sports. Chuck is former sports editor of the Martinez News-Gazette and is author of the book “The San Francisco Giants: Fifty Years by the Bay” published in 2006.