SoCal/NorCal Players of the Week

Two of this week’s honorees are Andrew Mits from Estancia of Costa Mesa (SoCal baseball) & Olivia Moscardi of Atascadero (NorCal softall), who recently gave a home run ball to her first grade teacher. Photos: &

While we don’t have any entries for the Cal-Hi Sports Online Record Book to track this week, we do have some exceptional talent that we’ve uncovered for statewide recognition that usually might only get local props, and that’s the other important function of this feature. This week our stops are in Costa Mesa and South El Monte in Southern California, and in Northern California we visit Atascadero and Larkspur.

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

Cal-Hi Sports Southern California
Baseball Player of the Week

Andrew Mits (Estancia, Costa Mesa) Sr.

Our journey in search of the Southern California Baseball Player of the Week takes us to Orange County and not far inland from the Pacific Ocean around midway between Highway 55 and the Santa Ana River where we land in Costa Mesa.

It’s at Estancia where we find Mits, a senior right-hander who has been giving opposing batters fits for two-plus seasons, and last week was a perfect example of when Fits pitches there’s a good chance the pitch of Fits will go directly into catchers’ mitts.

In an almost win situation last week if Estancia is to have any chance of repeating as Orange Coast League champions, the Eagles turned to their ace and Fits delivered. The 5-foot-11, Nebraska Concordia University-bound Fits spun a two-hitter with 11 strikeouts and three walks as Estancia was an 8-0 winner over crosstown arch rival Costa Mesa. Fits also had two hits and drove in the only run he needed in the victory.

It was the first league loss for Costa Mesa and it got Estancia to 14-4 overall, 6-2 in Orange Coast play, and a game behind Costa Mesa with four games remaining in league beginning on Tuesday with host Orange.

So far this season entering this week, Fits was 7-0 with a 0.16 ERA on only one earned run with 70 strikeouts and a mere 13 walks in 43.2 innings pitched.

We mentioned Fits has been giving opposing batters fits for more than one season.

In 2022, he was named the CIF Southern Section Division 6 Player of the Year after helping lead Estancia to the CIF Southern Regional Division V championship. He was 11-4 with a 0.65 ERA and 110 strikeouts and only 24 walks in 97 innings pitched. Last year, his numbers were just as good and he was named Orange Coast League Pitcher of the Year along with CIF Southern Section First Team. He was 9-4 with a 0.75 ERA and 124 strikeouts with 27 walks in 74.2 innings pitched.

All that adds up to a 27-8 career record so far with a 0.59 ERA and 284 strikeouts with only 64 walks in 215.1 innings pitched.

But wait. There’s more. As evidenced by his RBI last week, Fits hits. So far this season, he’s batting .396 with five doubles, 11 RBI and 13 runs scores. Fits hit over .300 each of the first two seasons as well and his career total so far stood at .369 batting average with one homer and triple, 13 doubles, 52 RBI and 57 runs scored.

Jazmine Leyva is making a name for herself at South El Monte High, but got the exposure she needed to land a scholarship offer from the Corona Angels travel ball program. Photo:

Cal-Hi Sports Southern California
Softball Player of the Week

Jazmine Leyva (South El Monte) Sr.

To find the Southern California Softball Player of the Week, we head around 12 miles east of downtown Los Angeles to the western portion of the San Gabriel Valley just east of the Whittier Narrows Recreation Area lakes near the intersection of Highway 60 and 164 and it’s at South El Monte High where we find our honoree.

Leyva epitomizes the slugging pitcher profile and last week, and in fact all season, and for the past three seasons for that matter, the junior hurler who plays the outfield when she’s not in the circle has met the profile to a tee. Her skills as a batter and in the field that she’s shown for the Corona Angels travel ball team also has helped Jazmine become a Class of 2025 committed player for UCLA.

Last week, in a 7-0 victory over rival El Monte Arroyo, and in a battle for first place in the Mission Valley League, Leyva laid into the Knights’ girls from both the circle and at the plate. As a pitcher, she tossed a two-hitter with 10 strikeouts and no walks. She was also 3-for-4 as a batter with two doubles, an RBI and a run scored. Later in the week, and in a 6-5 victory over league rival El Monte, Leyva went 5.1 innings and only gave up one earned run with 13 strikeouts and a walk. She also had two hits, including a home run with an RBI and two runs scored.

So far this season for 13-5-2 South El Monte and heading into stretch of no games for a week and a half, Leyva is 5-2 with a 3.41 ERA and 77 strikeouts with only 11 walks in 39 innings pitched. Known more for her slugging than pitching, she is batting .686 with nine home runs, 10 doubles, 23 RBI and 31 runs scored.

The nine home runs is tied for the No. 7 reported mark in the state and No. 6 in the CIF Southern Section.

For her three-year varsity career, Leyva has a .606 batting average with 21 home runs, 44 doubles, 87 RBI and 90 runs scored. Her 22 doubles as a sophomore also was good enough that it put Jazzy’s name into the state record book.

Cal-Hi Sports Northern California
Softball Player of the Week

Olivia Moscardi (Atascadero) Sr.

To find the Northern California Softball Player of the Week, we took directions from longtime Cal-Hi Sports friend and contributor, and CIF Central Section historian Bob Barnett who nominated Moscardi through his weekly Milestones missive, and while we’re at it we remind readers that for all player of the week features in all sports, girls and boys, the Central Section is considered Northern California.

According to the nomination by Barnett, Moscardi had one memorable week with bat in hand, and although they weren’t all wins for the Greyhounds she smashed seven home runs in five consecutive games.

Olivia started on March 25 with a home run in a tournament loss to Visalia Golden West and two home runs in a loss to Lemoore. Atascadero got back to winning in its next game and Moscardi stroked two home runs in a 12-8 win over Visalia Mt. Whitney and she finished the week with a round tripper in a 13-2 win against Templeton.

Olivia also finished the week with 17 RBIs, and according to Barnett that is second-best in section history. Moscardi also had a home run on March 22, and that makes six consecutive games with home runs and eight home runs overall.

So far this season for 8-6 Atascadero and heading into an April 4 game with Goleta Dos Pueblos where she will try to keep the streak alive, Moscardi is batting .627 with 10 home runs, eight doubles, 34 RBI and 25 runs scored.

The 10 home runs is the top reported mark in the Central Section and tied for No. 4 in the state. The 34 RBI is also tops in the Central Section and is tied for No. 6 in the state.

And here’s another twist. Olivia has signed with the University of Nevada, which also is where last week’s NorCal Player of the Week, catcher Bella Tonso of Roseville, will be going.

Junior Sam Gersch is having a breakthrough season for Redwood of Larkspur. Photo:

Cal-Hi Sports Northern California
Baseball Player of the Week

Sam Gersch (Redwood, Larkspur) Jr.

The shadows of majestic Mt. Tamalpais in the Redwood Empire portion of the CIF North Coast Section is where we find this week’s Northern California Baseball Player of the Week and it’s in Larkspur at Redwood High.

Last week, and in three wins Gersch, who is an outstanding two-sport student-athlete with 4.23 GPA and who also played on the Redwood soccer team that won the Marin County Athletic League championship, had a big bat in all three wins that gets Redwood to 11-1 this season and got them a spot on the bubble of the most recent Cal-Hi Sports state rankings.

Gersch started last week with a triple, double, two walks, an RBI and two runs scored in a 7-4 MCAL win over Novato. He followed that up by driving in two runs in an 8-4 victory in the second game of the home and away series with Novato. Finally, in the third game of the week, and in a 9-2 league win in Novato at San Marin, Sam was the man once again after going 2-for-2 with a double, RBI and run scored.

“It could have been more on Saturday,” said veteran Redwood head coach Mike Firenzi. “After he already had two hits I had to take him out because his hamstring tightened up a bit, and the bases were loaded twice later in the game when his spot in the order came up.”

So far this season, Gersch is hitting for a .586 batting average with a home run, triple, four doubles, 10 RBI and 13 runs scored.

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. Debbie Schneider
    Posted April 2, 2024 at 4:29 pm | Permalink

    Olive we are so proud and excited for you! Keep up the great amazing sport that you love!❤️

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