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. 5, CLICK HERE.
(Vinny Bachelier, Eddie Curley & Joe Soberon, Jacob Gonzalez, Carson Hamro, Christopher Lozano, Corbin Yaws, Drew Barragan, Tyler Denhart, Bailey Doherty, Maddie Helms, Virginia Nemeth, Elizabeth Thomas)
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.
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 email@example.com.
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 (SOFTBALL)
Katalina Contreras (Grossmont, El Cajon)
Contreras was one of the top sluggers in the San Diego Section during her three years on the Grossmont softball team. The power hitter helped the Foothillers reach the semifinals of the CIF San Diego Section Division 1 playoffs in 2019 and knocked in an impressive 10 home runs while hitting at a .511 average for the year. Her 10 home runs put her in the top 50 for home runs in the state and she tied with her fellow teammate Samaria Roope for ninth in the San Diego Section. During her junior season, she led Grossmont in RBI, home runs and runs scored. The Foothillers were 4-4-1 for the 2020 season before the shutdown, with Contreras picking up eight hits in 16 plate appearances.
Ashley Donaldson (Branham, San Jose)
A four-year player for the Bruins, Donaldson never stopped producing for the San Jose side. The future UC Santa Barbara Gaucho became a threat even in her freshman season, as Donaldson led Branham with a batting average of .481 in her first year. The catcher improved her batting average each season and it appeared her senior year could have been her best. Donaldson started 2020 on a tear, as she had a team high 11 RBI, 12 hits and 10 runs in only six games while hitting at a .632 clip at the plate. Branham was 5-1 on the season, with its lone loss coming from Archbishop Mitty (San Jose). Donaldson was named the Blossom Valley Athletic League Mt. Hamilton Division MVP in 2019.
Grace Guzman (Napa)
The future UCLA Bruin was a staple at the top of a potent Napa Grizzlies lineup during her four years with the program. The leadoff hitter was always a struggle for opposing pitchers, as the speedster would consistently pull off infield singles and struck out only 19 times in 319 plate appearances. Guzman was a starter during her freshman season when the No. 8 seed Grizzlies–then Indians–upset No. 3 seed Del Campo (Fair Oaks) for the Sac-Joaquin Section Division II title. Over her four years with the program, the outfielder snagged 76 bases and scored 104 runs. The Grizzlies ran into State Junior of the Year Nicole May of No. 3 Foothill (Pleasanton) in their first year in the North Coast Section Division 1 playoffs.
Kaitlynn Humphreys (Centennial, Corona)
Earning all-league honors as a freshman, sophomore and junior is one thing, but doing it in the same Big VIII League as national powerhouse Norco and state-ranked Corona Santiago is something else. Kaitlynn, the daughter of Huskies’ head coach Krista Humphreys, has earned a scholarship to play at Cal State Fullerton. She suffered a knee injury in the first game of this season, but still played in four games and went 5-for-13 with one homer and five RBI. Humphreys’ career average was .440 and as a junior she batted .438 with five homers and 31 runs scored. In a game last season against the State Team of the Year from Norco that Centennial lost, Kaitlynn went 4-for-4. She also had a huge game-tying homer in a 7-5 win against M.L. King of Riverside. Krista Humphreys said: “Kaitlynn was one of the most feared hitters in the Big VIII League. Her work ethic and passion for the game was unlike any other. She is going to do big things at the next level.”
Kaylie Radwich (Buena, Ventura)
The Buena softball program over the last four years has moved from Division IV to Division I in the CIF Southern Section and Kaylie Radwich had a hand in that. The right handed pitcher and first baseman was a pitcher for the Bulldogs for two years and put up a 10-4 record in 2019. The hurler had an ERA of 2.44 in her junior season through 91.2 innings and struckout 101 batters. Radwich also picked up 12 RBI on 19 hits and had a .328 average at the plate.
Erin Schnabel (Cardinal Newman, Santa Rosa)
After a successful season that saw the Cardinals reach the semifinals of the North Coast Section Division IV playoffs in 2019, Cardinal Newman was expected to have another solid year behind the power bat of Schnabel. A roster that only sported three seniors jumped out to a 4-2 record and was the frontrunner in the North Bay League Redwood Division. Schnabel crushed pitchers during her junior campaign, as she smashed a team high eight home runs and had a fifth of the Cardinals’ RBI for the season at 63. The power hitter came in with a .570 average for the season and was second in hits with 45. Schnabel also was fourth in the state in RBI during 2019 and top in the NCS.
SENIOR SALUTES (BASEBALL)
Nolan Dunkle (Justin-Siena, Napa)
The Napa Valley has produced some quality baseball players over the years and Dunkle is no different. The hard throwing pitcher was the catalyst in helping the Braves upend Cardinal Newman (Santa Rosa) during his sophomore season in the first round of the North Coast Section Division III playoffs. The hurler clocked in close to 90 mph and fanned 58 batters in 38.1 innings in 2019. Dunkle allowed only one earned run in his first 10 innings for his senior season while leading the team in RBI and hits. Justin-Siena ended the season with a record of 4-2 and grabbed a 6-0 victory over fellow Napa Valley side St. Helena.
Ben Grable (Flintridge Prep, La Canada)
A player more than able to dominate a game was Grable. He showed he has the brains and brawn, as the Northwestern commit was a driving force for the success of Flintridge Prep. The two-way player clocked in over 90 mph on his fastball and was leading the Rebels in all offensive categories during his nine-game senior campaign. Grable cruised at a .500 average through his first nine games and had already knocked in 12 runs on 16 hits and scored nine runs during only 35 plate appearances. The 6-foot-4, 205-pound senior has the potential to be the prototypical third baseman at the college level. Grable played all four years for Flintridge Prep and smashed in a team high 35 RBI on 38 hits during his junior season. He will play next at Northwestern.
Nick Kresnak (Acalanes, Lafayette)
Kresnak was one of the top hitters in Northern California during his time with the Dons, as the University of Washington commit helped power Acalanes into a top 25 finish in the short-season 2020 state rankings. The physical third baseman led the Dons in hits during his junior campaign with 30 and also came in second in RBI at 19 while hitting at a .366 average. Kresnak also played quarterback for Acalanes, but skipped his senior football season to focus on Bbaseball. The right handed pitcher also sported a 1.09 ERA for a 6-2 record last season for a quality 23-3 side. Acalanes only managed four games during the early season, but the Dons did walk away with a solid 4-2 win over Foothill (Pleasanton) and tied a once ranked Vacaville side 4-4 in nine innings.
Dustin Niles (Foothill, Palo Cedro)
One of the most feared pitchers from the CIF Northern Section over the past couple of seasons has been the tricky Dustin Niles from the small community of Palo Cedro east of Redding. The uncommitted senior was already having an impressive final high school season, as Niles was 1-0 with a 0.58 ERA in 12 innings. The right handed pitcher fanned 23 batters in 12 innings and managed only two walks while leading the Cougars to a 4-0 record. The 6-foot-4 lanky pitcher was 7-1 with a 1.15 ERA in 54.2 innings during his junior season.
William Reece (Strathmore)
The Strathmore hitter was a menace on the basepaths during his four years in the CIF Central Section. The 5-foot-11 140-pound speedster was already causing chaos in 2020, as the senior snagged 16 stolen bases in only nine games this season. Reece led the Spartans in runs, hits and stolen bases during his junior campaign and was already on his way to a solid final year. The team captain helped power Strathmore to a semifinals berth in the CIF Central Section Division VI playoffs in 2019. Reece was also the staff ace, as he sported a 0.58 ERA with a 8-2 record in 13 appearances during his junior season. The senior was 4-1 in five appearances for Strathmore this year.
Ian Torpey (Pioneer, San Jose)
The Montana State commit had a solid career for the Mustangs of the CIF Central Coast Section, as the two-way player thrived on the mound and at third base. The senior was the ace of the staff this season, as Torpey was 2-0 in three appearances and struck out a staggering 27 batters in only 13 innings this year. Torpey was also top three in runs, hits and RBI on his Pioneer team during his junior season alongside fellow slugger Hayden Matulich. The hurler only allowed one earned run for his senior year and sported a 0.54 ERA. The Mustangs were 4-3 on the year before the season came to a close.
Daniel Poulter is a special Northern California correspondent for Cal-Hi Sports and does high school sports reporting for other media outlets, primarily the Napa Register. Follow him on twitter @DanielJPoulter.