NorCal/SoCal Players of the Week

Two of this week’s SoCal/NorCal honorees are Dylan Goff of Etiwanda and Kailani Tatro from Pinole Valley of Pinole. Photos: &

As the funnel narrows with the CIF Southern Section playoffs complete and the rest of the state concluding their playoffs before the start of the CIF Southern and Northern Regional playoffs, the players and their performances aren’t as earth-shattering as when a lot more action was taking place, but even with several dozen teams still in action the competition is stiffer and that makes those honored pretty exemplary. This week, for our next to last player of the week selections for the 2021-22 school year, we visit Etiwanda and San Bernardino in Southern California and Fairfield and Pinole in Northern California.

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

Cal-Hi Sports Northern California
Softball Player of the Week

Kailani Tatro (Pinole Valley, Pinole) Jr.

The search for the Northern California Softball Player of the Week honor takes us to the West Contra Costa city of Pinole, just north of Richmond and a couple of blocks off Interstate 80 to the east.

Pinole Valley has had some notable athletes as graduates, including 1992 Heisman Trophy winner Gino Torretta when he played at the University of Miami, but right now it’s Tatro that’s been go-to for the Spartans softball team both as a slugger and pitcher.

Pinole Valley only had one game last week in the CIF North Coast Section Division 3 playoffs but Kailani made the most of it in a 9-0 victory by the No. 2 seed over seventh-seeded Kennedy of Fremont.

The Spartans’ girls had their hitting shoes on and Tatro had the biggest bat after going 3-for-4 with an RBI double and a run scored. She also tossed a three-hitter from the circle.

So far this season, and heading into a Wednesday semifinal at home with San Rafael, Tatro is hitting .524 with five home runs, 12 doubles, 48 RBI, 20 runs scored and five stolen bases. Plus, she’s only struck out five times in 99 plate appearances. She’s also perfect 1.000 in the field on 30 total chances.

As a pitcher, Tatro is 23-2 for the 24-2-1 Spartans with a 1.46 ERA and 227 strikeouts in 158 innings pitched. The 227 strikeouts in the No. 5 reported mark in the CIF North Coast Section.

Tyler James and team from Vanden have already qualified for the CIF NorCal regional playoffs, the first CIF games beyond the second level in California in 100 years. Photo:

Cal-Hi Sports Northern California
Baseball Player of the Week

Tyler James (Vanden, Fairfield) Sr.

The CIF Sac-Joaquin Section and the city of Fairfield is our destination for uncovering our Northern California Baseball Player of the Week and we find him just north of the gates of Travis Air Force Base at Vanden.

The CIFSJS Division 3 playoffs has gotten a lot of attention statewide but unfortunately it’s as a result of a dustup between fans, apparently from Atwater Buhach Colony, and umpires, plus two batting practice rules interpretations in a series against Del Campo of Fair Oaks. Del Campo was a 2-1 winner in three games between those teams’ semifinal matchup.

Meanwhile, on the other side of the bracket, James was quietly taking care of business for top-seeded Vanden to help advance the team to Thursday’s championship game with No. 2 seed Del Campo.

In the semifinal series between 29-4 Vanden and Central Catholic of Modesto, it also took three games but the Vikings prevailed largely in part due to the bat of the 5-foot-11, 175-pound senior third baseman.

The final game, and the one that punched the ticket to the D3 championship for Vanden, was decided when James stepped to the plate and launched a solo home run with one out in the bottom of the sixth inning for the game’s only tally.

James finished with two of the Vikings’ three hits and his hit total output matched the combined two-hitter of Vanden’s pitchers, Eric Diez and Trevor Morse.

The Vikings lost the second game of the series, 6-1 in Modesto, and in that game James had one of only three of the team’s hits.

Vanden won the first game 9-4 at home, and in that contest, Tyler blasted a three-run home run that was part of a six run third inning that wiped out a 3-1 deficit.

So far this season for a Vanden team that broke into this week’s state rankings at No. 33, and heading into the match-up with Del Campo, James is hitting .449 with eight home runs, two triples, 13 doubles, 33 RBI and 33 runs scored, plus he has five stolen bases.

The eight home runs is tied for the No. 17 reported mark in the state and tied for fifth in the Sac-Joaquin Section.

Cal-Hi Sports Southern California
Baseball Player of the Week

Dylan Goff (Etiwanda) Sr.

The Inland Empire is where we land in search of our Southern California Baseball Player of the Week. At Etiwanda, we find a junior right-handed pitcher who continued a perfect season and he did it in the most important game of the campaign.

Last week, the 6-foot-1, 175-pound Goff gave up six hits and he hit two batters, but he had no walks and fanned nine, and the run he gave up was unearned as he pitched Etiwanda to a 6-1 victory over Torrance in the CIF Southern Section Division 2 title game. It was the second CIFSS title for the Eagles and the first since 2017.

In fact, so far no one has really teed-off on Goff. That perfect season previously mentioned translates into an 11-0 record so far. To go with the unblemished record, Dylan has a 0.70 ERA after only giving up eight earned runs in the 80 innings he’s pitched. He’s also only walked 22 batters and has 85 strikeouts. He’s also perfect in the field with no errors.

The season will be continuing for 25-8 Etiwanda in the CIF Southern Regional playoff, but what division the Eagles will be placed in and what seed Etiwanda garners will be decided at the seeding meeting this coming Sunday. It’s pretty safe to say that whatever is decided on Sunday won’t change the fact the Goff likely will be getting the start when action begins next week for the state’s No. 34 ranked Eagles.

Jada Villegas of Cajon was great in the CIFSS D5 playoffs, but her most impressive outings of the season so far may have come in two league games against Beaumont. Photo: Victorville Valley Press.

Cal-Hi Sports Southern California
Softball Player of the Week

Jada Villegas
(Cajon, San Bernardino) Soph.

For our Southern California Softball Player of the Week selection, we head to the Inland Empire and land in San Bernardino not too far from Cal State San Bernardino. At Cajon we find a sophomore pitcher who has been producing results all season for the Cowboys girls and who has a remarkable comeback story already in her young career.

Last week, Villegas capped off the section playoff season by tossing an 8-inning four-hitter with 10 strikeouts and only two bases on balls as No. 4 seed Cajon pulled out a 2-1 victory over second-seeded El Toro to claim the CIF Southern Section Division 5 championship.

So far this season, and heading into the CIF Southern Regional playoffs where the division and seed for Cajon will be determined at Sunday’s seeding meeting, Jada has had an outstanding season. The sophomore had two Citrus Belt League battles with fellow sophomore and standout pitcher Cambria Salmon of No. 19 ranked Beaumont and came away 1-1 after a 1-0 victory in nine innings where she pitched a five-hitter with 11 strikeouts, and a 2-0 loss in which she only gave up two hits and had 12 strikeouts.

Heading into the CIF Southern regional playoff for the 24-6 Cowgirls, Villegas is 20-5 with a 0.95 ERA and 217 strikeouts and only 30 walks in 154 innings pitched.

When she was 12 years old and already known as a prime pitching prospect, Jada was hit by a line drive in a travel ball game. The blow to her face was bad enough but in falling backward she also broke two bones in her left leg. It was quite a process of rehab to battle back from that experience and that makes what she’s done this year even more remarkable.

We also know Jada would want to give a shout out to Kim Rodas, who plated Mercedes Alba with a game-winning walk-off single against El Toro after Alba had doubled to lead off the bottom of the eighth.

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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