NorCal/SoCal Players of the Week

Two of this week’s SoCal/NorCal player of the week honorees are Rylee McCoy from Oaks Christian of Westlake Village and Gavin McLendon from Whitney of Rocklin. Photos: Oaks Christian softball & Ike Dodson / SportStars.

This is one of those weeks where we accomplish two of the goals of this feature with a mixture of a potential entry for the Cal-Hi Sports Online Record Book with opportunities to shine a spotlight on accomplishments of players on a statewide level who may only have gotten local recognition. In Northern California, we visit Rocklin and Wheatland, and in Southern California our stops are in San Diego and Westlake Village.

We hope you enjoy this free story on Cal-Hi For our state rankings packages in baseball and softball plus State Stat Stars of the Week, state record updates and special features, please check out our Gold Club membership today. If you’re not a member, CLICK HERE.

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

Cal-Hi Sports Northern California
Baseball Player of the Week

Gavin McLendon (Whitney, Rocklin) Sr.

For the second straight week we’re back in the Sacramento metro area only this week we visit Placer County around 25-miles northeast of the state capitol where we land in Rocklin.

Our Northern California Baseball Player of the Week may live in Rocklin and attend Whitney High, but the performance for which McLendon is being honored came just across the Sacramento River from the capitol in West Sacramento at Sutter Health Park, home of the Sacramento River Cats of the Triple A Pacific Coast League.

Last week, in a 9-0 victory over Ponderosa of Shingle Springs, McLendon, a senior left-handed pitcher, went six innings and gave up no hits with 12 strikeouts, and only two walks separating him from retiring everyone he faced.

Gavin certainly would want to give a shout out to his teammate Corden Pettey after the sophomore came on in relief in the seventh and retired all three batters he faced to preserve the combined no-hitter.

Two weeks ago, in a 6-5 victory over De La Salle that knocked the Spartans out of the top spot in the state rankings and helped the Wildcats jump from No. 19 to No. 11, McLendon came on in relief and got the save.

So far this season for an 8-1 Wildcats team that dropped a spot this week to No. 12 through no fault of its own, McLendon is 2-1 with a save in four appearances, and he has a 2.57 ERA with 23 strikeouts in 16.1 innings pitched.

Gavin also bats, and while he’s off to a little slower start than when he hit over .300 in his sophomore and junior years, he has a current .280 batting average. McLendon was the hitting star for Whitney, however, in its other game last week as he went 3-for-4 with a double and one RBI in a 5-2 triumph against Oakmont of Roseville.

Briseis Botonis of Wheatland was 2nd team All-Northern Section last season and was an all-state nominee. Photo: Wheatland softball.

Cal-Hi Sports Northern California
Softball Player of the Week

Briseis Botonis (Wheatland) Jr.

The search for the Northern California Softball Player of the Week takes us northeast on Highway 65 of the Rocklin home of our NorCal baseball honoree, where we land in the Yuba County city of Wheatland and the home of the Wheatland High Pirates. The school previously was part of the CIF Northern Section, but joined the Sac-Joaquin Section this school year.

Wheatland has some girls who can hit, but pretty much all season it’s been Botonis that’s collected the most bounty of all the Pirates.

On Saturday, in a 14-0 mercy-shortened victory over nearby Lindhurst of Olivehurst, Briseis was 2-for-2 with a triple, double, a walk, and RBI and two runs scored. On Monday of this week, and in an 11-7 win over Twelve Bridges of Lincoln, Botonis was 3-for-3 with two triples, a double, she was hit by a pitch, drove in three runs and scored twice.

As we said previously, Botonis has had the biggest bat overall for Wheatland, and this early in the season we sometimes look at a players’ overall body of work, and that was the case for Briseis, and it also gave us an opportunity to honor a player from the Northern Section.

So far this season for the 7-2 Pirates entering this week, the junior first-sacker was second on the team with a .556 batting average, led the team in home runs with five, triples with five, RBI with 23, stolen bases with seven, and she’s tied for second with runs scored and doubles with 14 and four, respectively.

Cal-Hi Sports Southern California
Softball Player of the Week

Rylee McCoy (Oaks Christian, Westlake Village) Jr.

The far western reaches of Los Angeles County right where it borders Ventura County at Westlake Village is our destination in search of the Southern California Softball Player of the Week and at Oaks Christian we’ve found a real doozy that recently has been toting an explosive bat, and last week was a perfect example.

On Thursday of last week, and in a 27-1 rout of neighboring Marmonte League rival Calabasas, McCoy, an Oregon-committed junior infielder, went 6-for-6 with a grand slam, three doubles, 10 RBI and four runs scored. The following day and in an 18-3 non-league shellacking of Arroyo Grande, Rylee was 4-for-4 with two home runs, two doubles, six RBI and four runs scored.

That translates into back-to-back days of going 10-for-10 with three home runs, including the grand salami, five doubles, 16 RBI and eight runs scored. The 16 RBI in consecutive games isn’t likely a state record since there are several on the all-time list who had 14 in one game. McCoy’s 10 RBI for one game, however, will go into the book and it also looks like a Ventura County record since there are no others from Ventura County in our files reported at 10 or more until now.

On Monday of last week, and in a 5-0 win over neighboring Marmonte arch-rival Westlake, McCoy was 2-for-2 with a double, two walks, two RBI and a run scored. Besides all the slugging Rylee, had a week that saw her go 12-for-12 and reach base in all 14 plate appearances.

Stats for a 9-6 league win over Agoura on Monday of this week were not posted, so we’re not sure if her streak was still going heading into a Tuesday afternoon league game at Thousand Oaks that we attended, but so far for 13-0-1 Oaks Christian, the No. 4 team in this week’s Cal-Hi Sports state rankings, McCoy was hitting a whopping .682 with six home runs, two triples, 10 doubles, 33 RBI and 25 runs scored. Her slugging and OPS percentage are off the charts at 1.409 and 2.121, respectively. In the field, you probably guessed it, Riley has a 1.000 fielding percentage.

The totals it would take for Rylee to go into the record book for consecutive hits would be 16 while for consecutive times reached base it would be 22.

All of these crazy totals, of course, not what McCoy and the Lions are striving for. They’re just looking to be at their best so they can reach the CIF Southern Section D1 semifinals and thus officially qualify for the SoCal D1 playoffs, which is the major championship they won last season.

Despite being from a small school, Nico Newhan has been one of the leading players in the CIF San Diego Section for the past two seasons. Photo:

Cal-Hi Sports Southern California
Baseball Player of the Week

Nico Newhan
(Maranatha Christian, San Diego) Sr.

We head to the CIF San Diego Section, the southernmost section in the state, and there we visit “America’s Friendliest City” of San Diego to find our Southern California Baseball Player of the Week.

Whenever we have an honoree who has had a parent who excelled in the same sport, we like to use the old expression “they say it’s in the blood,” and in the case of Nico Newhan, not only is he the son of former Major League baseball player David Newhan, his father is the head coach at Maranatha Christian.

Nico can swing the bat, and his most recent performances underscore that fact.

On Wednesday of last week, and in a 3-2 victory over Escondido, Newhan was 1-for-2 with an RBI double, he was hit by a pitch, and scored a run. The next day in a 9-2 win against Vista, Nico was 2-for-4 with a home run, he reached on an error, and had two RBI and two runs scored.

On Monday of this week in the 9-0 victory at crosstown Francis Parker, Newhan was the man once again after going 2-for-4 with two doubles and two runs scored.

So far this season for the 9-1 Eagles, and heading into a Wednesday match-up at home with Francis Parker, Newhan was leading the team in hitting with an even .500 batting average, he’d tied with fellow senior slugger Lukas Dawson with three home runs, and he leads the team with five doubles, 13 runs scored and eight stolen bases.

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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One Comment

  1. Tommy
    Posted March 28, 2023 at 10:48 pm | Permalink

    Wheatland is no longer in the Northern Section. They moved to the SJS this year along with Sutter.

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