NorCal/SoCal Players of the Week

Two of this week’s NorCal/SoCal Players of the Week are Eric Bitonti from Aquinas of San Bernardino and Abi Pikas from Pacheco of Los Banos. Photos: highlandnews.net & Twitter.com.


They are both from Merced County and from towns 17 miles apart who are longtime football rivals, but schools from Los Banos and Dos Palos are from different CIF sections. This week, Pacheco of Los Banos and Dos Palos share common honors as they have players who are NorCal players of the week in softball and baseball. Pacheco’s honoree also has gained entry into the all-time state record book. For SoCal this week, the honors are more spread out as we visit San Bernardino for one and San Diego for the other.

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Note: For these honors, we consider CIF Central Section players for Northern California. To nominate anyone, email markjtennis@gmail.com.

Cal-Hi Sports Northern California
Softball Player of the Week

Abi Pikas (Pacheco, Los Banos) Jr.

For our Northern California Softball Player of the Week stop, we find ourselves just off I-5 where Highway’s 33 and 165 intersect and on the western side of the San Joaquin Valley. At Pacheco we find a coach’s daughter who has set a new Northern California hitting streak record.

Last week, and in the NorCal Classic Tournament in Tracy run by Abi’s father and Pacheco head coach Charlie Pikas, and in a tourney format that rain forced into round-robin instead of brackets, the Panthers went 3-1 in four games but despite losing a game Pikas was perfect as a batter at the plate.

In a 9-7 victory over Hayward Mt. Eden, the Tennessee-Chattanooga-bound Pikas was 4-for-4 with three runs scored. In the second game, a 15-5 win against Esparto, Pikas was 2-for-2 with an RBI and two runs scored. Pacheco lost the third game, 11-5, to Mariposa County of Mariposa, but Abi was 3-for-3 with a triple, a double, and a run scored. In the nightcap, a 12-8 victory over Piedmont, Pikas was 4-for-4 with two RBI and three runs scored. All told that made Abi 13-for-13 for the four games.

When we went back to Pacheco’s last game, which was against Lathrop on April 13, we found that Abi was 6-for-6 with three RBI and three runs scored. What that means is that heading into a Wednesday afternoon game with Grace Davis of Modesto, Pikas had reached base by way of a hit in 19-straight at-bats.

According to the Cal-Hi Sports Online Record Book the 19 consecutive hits is the most ever in Northern California and the No. 2 mark all time on the Most Consecutive Hits (Official At-Bats) list in the record book. The current record is 28 consecutive hits set earlier this season on March 10 by Miranda Pozos of Bloomington.

When we contacted Coach Pikas to confirm the stats he was a bit surprised since the Lathrop game was played 10 days prior to the NorCal Classic.

“It definitely caught me off guard with the email because it had been a little over a week since we played Lathrop and I had forgotten about that game,” Charlie Pikas said.

So far this season for the 11-11 Panthers, Abi was hitting for a .608 average on 45 hits with a home run, three triples, two doubles, 14 RBI, and 33 runs scored. In 79 plate appearances she’d only struck out three times. Pikas had also stolen 32 bases including eight in the four games on Saturday. The 32 stolen bases is tied for the No. 7 reported mark in the state and is No. 1 in the CIF Sac-Joaquin Section.

We’ll be watching to see if Abi can add to the 19 consecutive hits when she takes the field on Wednesday against Davis.

Derek Von Allmen helped Dos Palos to 18 wins this season at the start of this week. Photo: Twitter.com.


Cal-Hi Sports Northern California
Baseball Player of the Week

Derek Von Allman (Dos Palos) Sr.

To find our Northern California Baseball Player of the Week we head to “The Valley” as the locals like to call the CIF Central Section and we land around midway between I-5 and Highway 99 just southeast of Los Banos and west of Madera. At Dos Palos, we find a pitcher and slugger who is being honored not for just his most recent outing but for his overall body of work this season.

Last week, in a 19-0 win over host Tranquility, Derek was anything but tranquil. In fact, Allman was more like all in after going 3-for-3 with three doubles, a walk, three RBI, three runs scored and two stolen bases, all in four innings. The previous day he had a hit, a walk, an RBI and he scored twice and stole a base in a 12-2 victory over Mariposa County of Mariposa in which the right-handed pitcher tossed a one-hitter with nine strikeouts. That same day he had a hit, an RBI and a stolen base in a 6-2 victory against LeGrand. Following the Tranquility win, Von Allman was 2-for-2 with a sacrifice and an RBI in a 4-2 win over Hilmar. Following the Hilmar game, Derek had a hit, a walk, two steals and he scored twice in a 13-1 victory against Ben Holt College Prep of Stockton. And finally, in a week with six games and six wins, Von Allman, who plays shortstop when he’s not on the mound, was held hitless in a 1-0 victory over Mendota, but he came on in relief and struck out the side to record the save.

Two weeks ago in a 14-1 win over Selma, Von Allman tossed a no-hitter with nine strikeouts and three walks. With bat in hand he was 3-for-3 with a walk, stolen base and three runs scored.

Since the Selma win, Derek has only given up two hits and one earned run in his last 11 innings pitched. He had one bad outing against Paso Robles but on an 18-5 season and heading into a Tuesday game at Coalinga, Von Allman was 3-1 with the one save, a 2.51 ERA and 39 strikeouts in 22.1 innings pitched. At the plate, the Broncos’ senior was hitting .437 with 21 RBI, 19 runs scored, plus on a team with 81 stolen bases Von Allman was tied for the lead with 14 thefts.

Derek would probably like to give a shout out to a whole bunch of teammates but we’ll choose one and that’s sophomore pitcher Peyton Van Worth. In the Tranquility win when Von Allman was smacking around the baseball, Van Worth pitched a no-hitter and struck out all 12 batters in the four-inning affair with three walks separating him from perfection.

Cal-Hi Sports Southern California
Baseball Player of the Week

Eric Bitonti (Aquinas, San Bernardino) Jr.

The heart of the Inland Empire is where we venture in search of our Southern California Baseball Player of the Week, and in San Bernardino at Aquinas we find a junior slugger and pitcher who is more than worthy of the honor.

We don’t know much about crypto-currency, but for Aquinas fans it’s probably safe to say an investment in Bitonti is paying better dividends than Bitcoin, and last week was a perfect example of what Eric has been doing this season for the 23-2 Falcons.

Bitonti started last week with extra dividends after his Monday performance at the plate and on the mound in a 10-1 victory on the road at Linfield Christian of Temecula. With bat in hand, Eric was 5-for-5 with a home run, double, four RBI and four runs scored. On the mound, the 6-foot-5, 224-pound Oregon-bound right-hander, who reportedly hits around 90-miles per hour on his fastball, only gave up two hits with a walk and five strikeouts. He followed that up by going 3-for-3 with two doubles, three RBI and two runs scored in a big lopsided win over Upland Western Christian. Finally, in a nail-biting 3-2 nine-inning victory over visiting Ontario Christian of Ontario, Bitonti didn’t get a hit but walked four times, two intentional, and he scored the winning run in the bottom of the ninth inning. The Ontario Christian game was the one time he was retired last week as all told Bitonti reached base safely in 12 of 13 plate appearances.

So far this season, and heading into a Tuesday afternoon 16-0 win over Desert Christian Academy of Bermuda Dunes where he scored three runs, Bitonti was hitting .554 with eight home runs, 17 doubles, 40 RBI and 49 runs scored.

The 49 runs scored has been the top reported mark in the state and tied for No. 12 nationally. The 40 RBI was tops in the Southern Section and No. 4 in the state, and the eight home runs is tied for No. 6 in the state and second in the CIF Southern Section.

On the mound, Bitonti was 6-1 with a 0.50 ERA and 44 strikeouts and only nine walks in 42 innings pitched.

With his selection, Bitonti now adds a statewide honor to his being named the Press-Enterprise Inland boys athlete of the week.

Kyra Chan has been collecting hits at a record pace this season for Torrey Pines of San Diego. Photo: sportsrecruits.com.


Cal-Hi Sports Southern California
Softball Player of the Week

Kyra Chan (Torrey Pines, San Diego) Sr.

Our travels in search of the Southern California Softball Player of the Week take us to San Diego about two miles east of the Pacific Ocean and Del Mar. At Torrey Pines, we find a Stanford-bound senior who not only has had some recent superb outings at the plate, but she has a streak of eight games dating back to March 29, all wins, in which she has had at least two hits in a game.

Last week was like another day at the office for Kyra. In a 5-3 win over Rancho Buena Vista of Vista she was 2-for-2 with a double and a walk. Later in the week Chan was 3-for-4 with three runs scored in a 7-6 victory against La Costa Canyon of Carlsbad.

So far this season, and heading into a Wednesday afternoon game with crosstown Canyon Crest Academy, Chan was putting up the kind of numbers that could earn her the CIF San Diego Section Player of the Year award. Kyra was batting .632 with a home run, two triples, 13 doubles, 20 RBI and 34 runs scored. Her on-base percentage stood at .683, she had a .926 slugging percentage, and an astronomical 1.600 on-base plus slugging percentage. Amazingly, in 82 plate appearances Chan had only struck out three times.

The Falcons’ centerfielder, who can also play in the infield, has two other streaks besides the eight-gamer going in a 16-5-1 season. In 22 games she has at least one hit in every game, and in 35 total chances in the field Chan has not made an error. She’s not quite perfect as a base runner but in 22 attempts she’s stolen 19 bases. Pretty impressive.

Harold Abend is the associate editor of CalHiSports.com and the vice president of the California Prep Sportswriters Association. He can be reached at marketingharoldabend@gmail.com. Don’t forget to follow him on Twitter: @HaroldAbend


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