SoCal/NorCal Players of the Week

Two of this week’s SoCal / NorCal honorees for softball and baseball are Tianna Bell from Heritage of Brentwood and Roc Riggio of Thousand Oaks. Roc is shown visiting Fenway Park last fall as part of an All-American event. Photos: @HeritagePats / &

For week two of our Baseball and Softball Players of the Week feature, we start out in Ventura County and then head to Los Angeles County and Santa Fe Springs before heading north to the Fresno area and then Brentwood in East Contra Costa County.

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Note: For these honors, we consider CIF Central Section players for Northern California. To nominate anyone, email We are picking the winners on Tuesday nights until spring football games are over.

Cal-Hi Sports Southern California
Baseball Player of the Week

Roc Riggio (Thousand Oaks) Sr.

We begin this week’s baseball/softball trek around the state in that baseball hotbed near the Ventura/Los Angeles County border.

We also begin hoping we didn’t jinx this young man’s streak of hitting home runs in consecutive games by mentioning the state record he was approaching. That’s why a number of media reps from the Ventura/L.A. area went to the Lancers’ game earlier this week against Westlake of Westlake Village. They wanted to be there if Riggio had been able to homer for the sixth straight game, which would have tied that state record. He didn’t homer, although we’re also sure he didn’t care that much about that since Thousand Oaks still won 14-9 and teammate Charlie Saum did come through with a couple of round-trippers himself.

Despite not tying that record, which was first set at six straight games with a homer in 1997 by future MLB all-star Chase Utley when he played at Long Beach Poly in 1997, Roc still deserves much credit. It’s been 16 years since we have had someone in the state even hit home runs for five games in a row (Jon Eubanks of Chula Vista Eastlake in 2005) and we would guess that Roc is the only one to begin a season doing it.

Riggio, who has signed with Oklahoma State, began the streak and his senior season with a home run when Thousand Oaks opened the season with a 15-2 win over Rio Mesa of Oxnard. He followed by hitting home runs in wins against Grace Brethren of Simi Valley, Agoura of Agoura Hills, Pacifica of Oxnard and Oaks Christian of Westlake Village. After he homered vs. the Lions, he became just the sixth known player in California history to do reach five or six games. His total after the streak ended earlier this week already has been added to our on-line state record lists.

Jordyn King shows off her letter of intent with New Mexico State. Photo: Keith Durflinger /

Cal-Hi Sports Southern California
Softball Player of the Week

Jordyn King
(St. Paul, Santa Fe Springs) Sr.

We head about 15 miles due east of Los Angeles International Airport to a city and Catholic school close to the intersection of the I-5 and I-605 freeways. There we find a New Mexico State-bound senior who has been a big part of a 4-0 start for her team.

Now, after what she has done to help St. Paul to its great start, King adds a statewide award to being named the Whittier Daily News Player of the Week after snagging the Southern California Softball Player of the Week honor.

The St. Paul mascot is the Swordsmen, but King doesn’t use a sword to do her damage at the plate, she uses a bat. However, the one thing she does do that resembles what a sword does is slice and dice the opponent’s bats when the Santa Fe pitcher and slugger has been working in the circle.

In three games last week, King was more like a queen.

The week started a little slow for King but the Swordsmen girls didn’t really need her much in a 10-0 victory over nearby Norwalk, but she still was on base twice and scored a run. In an 8-inning 6-4 victory over a La Palma Kennedy team that’s faced some state-ranked opponents, King went 3 for 3 with a double, a walk and a run scored. She also pitched and although she did give up six hits and walk three, Jordin struck out seven and didn’t give up an earned run.

Two weeks ago, in a 3-2 victory over San Dimas to open the season, King was 2 for 3 with an RBI and she pitched all seven innings giving up four hits and four walks but she struck out six and once again did not give up an earned run.

So far in the four games, King was batting a team-leading .667 and from the circle she was 2-0 with a 0.00 ERA with opposing batters hitting a paltry .175 when facing her.

Cal-Hi Sports Northern California
Baseball Player of the Week

Brian Monges
(Madera South, Madera) Jr.

It didn’t happen in our first week of the NorCal/SoCal Baseball and Softball Players of the Week but it did this week and that means we remind our readers that for all our Player of the Week features for all sports we consider the CIF Central Section as being in Northern California.

That having been said, we head about 25 miles northeast of Fresno on Highway 99 where we find a junior who’s had the biggest bat on a Stallions’ team with a lot of big bats in its lineup.

In two games last week, Monges was on fire at the plate and then continued his hot streak in a game this week. Monges started last week going 2 for 4 with a triple, two RBI and a run scored in an 8-1 victory over Liberty of Madera Ranchos.

Since then, Brian has been about as close to perfect as you can be after going 8 for 8 in his last two games. In a 21-0 thrashing of Caruthers, he was 4 for 4 with a double, stolen base, two RBI and four runs scored, and he reached base a fifth time when he got plunked. Monges followed that up on Monday with another 4 for 4 performance in a 12-2 rout of Selma. In that game, he knocked in one, scored three times, and got on base a fifth time by getting hit by a pitch once again.

So far this season, Brian is batting .833 with an .857 on base percentage.

Monges has only pitched one inning of relief, and that was in the Selma win when he retired the three batters he faced and fanned one.

Speaking of Madera South pitchers, we couldn’t not also give a shout-out to Stallions’ ace Triston “Murf” Gray. The Fresno State-committed junior right-handed pitcher and shortstop has been pretty hot himself at the plate and from the mound. Gray is hitting .600 with five RBI and five runs scored. He also has a 2-0 record with a 1.27 ERA and he’s struck out 22 batters in only 11 inning pitched.

Cal-Hi Sports Northern California
Softball Player of the Week

Tianna Bell
(Heritage, Brentwood) Jr.

We head out to the Delta and East Contra Costa County for our Northern California softball award winner where we find the latest Patriots’ star who is off to an amazing start.

Heritage and its coach and former NFL running back Ron Rivers has had some great players but not many have had the start Bell has had in leading the Patriots to a 6-0 start and a No. 12 spot in the most recent Cal-Hi Sports Top 35 state rankings.

The award is technically for last week since in this strange season we looked at her body of work for her first five games and before we got stats from this past Tuesday’s game.

Last week, in a 10-0 blanking of Bay Valley Athletic League rival Freedom of Oakley, a team that used to dominate the BVAL, Bell had a double, RBI and a run scored. The Class of 2022 recruit committed to Cal then rang up her fourth home run of the season on Thursday in an 11-1 rout of Antioch.

Her Tuesday stats weren’t reported when we were preparing to post, but according to Rivers and Heritage AD Nate Smith, Bell was 3 for 3 with a double, three RBI and three runs scored.

Add it all up and you have 11 hits in 15 at bats for a .733 batting average with four home runs, four doubles, 14 RBI, and 11 runs scored. She’s walked twice and been hit by a pitch.

Bell’s slugging percentage and OPS are off the charts at 1.916 and 2.650, respectively. The slugging percentage is the top reported mark in the state even before factoring in Tuesday’s game. Her four homers were tied for second in the state and her 11 RBI was a top 20 mark.

We know Bell would want to give a shout-out to junior left-handed pitcher Kasey Aguinaga. She had a 5-inning perfect game with 12 strikeouts in the Freedom game.

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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