SoCal/NorCal Players of the Week

Two of this week’s honorees are Michael Quedens from St. Mary’s of Stockton and Ilove’a Brittingham from Oaks Christian of Westlake Village. Photos: & Oaks Christian athletics /

The funnel will start to narrow as the playoffs get into full swing, not only in the CIF Southern Section which starts this week, but the entire state. However, this week not only have we uncovered some talent that might only get local kudos, but we also have an entry for the Cal-Hi Sports Online Record Book, so we fulfill both of the things we use this feature to track. This week’s stops are in Fullerton and Westlake Village in Southern California, and in Northern California we visit Stockton and San Rafael.

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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
Softball Player of the Week

Ilove’a Brittingham (Oaks Christian, Westlake Village) Sr.

To find the Southern California Softball Player of the Week for this week, we head to the far western reaches of Los Angeles County to a school less than a quarter mile from the border with Ventura County.

It’s in Westlake Village at Oaks Christian where we find our honoree, who has been putting up some impressive numbers all season and last week was a perfect example.

Quite often we like to have some playful fun with our award winners’ names with things like rhymes, and in the case of Brittingham the opportunity was just too good to pass up.

They have been loving Ilove’a for quite some time at Oaks Christian and the love for Ilove’a was never greater than last week.

There have been great softball teams over the years at Oaks Christian under the late and legendary head coach Pete Ackerman, including three CIF Southern Section championships and the 2022 CIF Southern Regional Division I title several months before he passed, but in all the years he was at the Lions’ helm, surprisingly no player had ever hit three home runs in a game.

That all changed last week when lovin Ilove’a put a charge in three blasts that cleared the fence and gave her four RBI and three runs scored in a 5-1 win over crosstown Marmonte League arch rival Westlake.

The win secured a third straight Marmonte League title and Brittingham has been a member of all three teams, including the 2022 SoCal champions.

Later in the week, Ilove’a had a double, walk, two RBI and two runs scored in a non-league 14-7 win over state-ranked Oxnard Rio Mesa to close out the regular season.

Brittingham only got into 14 games in the SoCal championship season and her numbers weren’t spectacular, but since Cheyenne Coyle took over as head coach last season, Ilove’a has been one of the team’s top power hitters and has led the team in home runs the last two seasons.

Last season, Brittingham had 13 home runs, 43 RBI and 35 runs scored.

This season for an 18-4 Oaks Christian that jumped four spots to No. 18 in the most recent Cal-Hi Sports state rankings, and heading into a CIF Southern Section wild card matchup on Thursday with visiting Santa Margarita Catholic of Rancho Santa Margarita, Ilove’a leads the Lions with 18 home runs, a .566 batting average and 39 runs scored, and her 35 RBI is second to Rylee McCoy.

The 18 home runs for the BYU-committed Brittingham ties for the No. 13 reported mark nationally, and is tied for No. 2 in both the state and Southern Section.

With at least one more game to play Ilove’a is already going to get some love from the Cal-Hi Sports Online Record Book as the 18 home runs secures her a spot on the Most Home Runs (Season) list.

Miguel Velasquez of Fullerton is a junior catcher to watch for the next level. Photo: @FiveToolCA /

Cal-Hi Sports Southern California
Baseball Player of the Week

Miguel Velasquez (Fullerton) Jr.

Orange County is our destination in the search for the Southern California Baseball Player of the Week and it’s in Fullerton not from downtown where we find the honoree at historic Fullerton High, a picturesque campus that dates back to 1893.

Velasquez has had a solid bat all season but last week, in the final Freeway League game to end the regular season, the Indians’ 6-foot-2, 200-pound catcher came through when his team really needed him.

In a 6-3 victory in the first game of a home and away series with neighboring Buena Park, Velasquez launched two home runs and had a double that produced three RBI and three runs scored.

Fullerton lost the away game two days later but with the win last Tuesday the Indians clinched a third straight league title.

So far this season and heading into a Friday match-up with Gahr of Cerritos in the CIF Southern Section Division 1 playoffs, and not including the second game last week, Velasquez was hitting .392 with four home runs, eight doubles, 24 RBI and 26 runs scored. The big fella can motor as well as evidenced by his 22 stolen bases.

In a bit of a twist, its highly unlikely Miguel will need a dorm room or any type of housing for college since he’s already committed to Cal State Fullerton, which is only around a mile east of the Fullerton High campus.

Cal-Hi Sports Northern California
Baseball Player of the Week

Michael Quedens (St. Mary’s, Stockton) Sr.

We head to the port city of Stockton in search of the Northern California Baseball Player of the Week, and land north of the deep port facility near downtown at St. Mary’s, a school with a rich sports tradition in football, boys and girls basketball, and the current home of the Cal-Hi Sports’ No. 22 ranked Rams baseball team.

Our honoree has been having a great season on the mound as a pitcher and in the batter’s box with bat in hand, and last week in a 10-0 shutout of Tri-City Athletic League rival Tokay of Lodi, Quedens got it done both at the plate and with his foot on the rubber.

The 6-foot-1, 190-pound Michigan-committed senior lefthander tossed a one-hitter with 11 strikeouts, and as a batter he was 2-for-2 with a triple, a walk, sacrifice and three runs batted in.

The win completed a three-game sweep of Tokay last week and in the process sewed up the league title with a 13-0 record.

St. Mary’s had a 2-1 win on Monday against visiting cross-town league arch rival Lincoln and has two more games this week with the Trojans to close out the regular season.

So far this season, Michael, who is regarded as one of the top players in the CIF sac-Joaquin Section, has gone 6-1 with a 0.62 ERA and 61 strikeouts in 34 innings pitched, and he hasn’t given up an extra base hit. As a batter, Quedens was hitting for a .402 average with four home runs, two triples, seven doubles, 25 RBI and 23 runs scored, and four stolen bases for good measure.

It was just a matter of time this season that we chose Thomara Drummer of San Rafael as a NorCal player of the week. Photo: San Rafael athletics /

Cal-Hi Sports Northern California
Softball Player of the Week

Thomara Drummer (San Rafael) Jr.

The search for the Northern California Softball Player of the Week takes us to the Mission City of San Rafael in Marin County, and we find the honoree at San Rafael High.

From the time Thomara put on a San Rafael uniform as a freshman, the junior pitcher and slugger has been one of the top players in the Redwood Empire and there were several times that we could have honored her, but this is the week she gets some statewide props for her performances last week to go with her local accolades.

In a 12-1 Marin County Athletic League win against crosstown rival Terra Linda, the Bulldogs’ Drummer beat on the Trojans to the tune of a three-hitter with 15 strikeouts on the 19 batters she faced in the mercy-shortened contest.

As a hitter, Thomara was 4-for-5 with two doubles, two RBI and two runs scored.

Earlier in the week, Drummer had eight strikeouts from the circle and as a batter had a couple of hits and drove in two and scored a run in a 9-2 win over San Marin of Novato. It doesn’t count towards this week’s honors but on Monday Thomara tossed a four-hitter with eight strikeouts in a 3-0 shutout of Redwood (Larkspur). At the plate she had an RBI and a run scored.

So far this season for 15-2 San Rafael and heading into a final league on Wednesday at Mill Valley Tamalpais, Drummer is 17-2 with a 0.50 ERA with a whopping 238 strikeouts and only 21 walks in 126 innings pitched. As a batter, Thomara is hitting an even .600 with 13 doubles and 35 RBI, 25 runs scored, and she’s even stolen 12 bases.

The 238 strikeouts is the No. 37 reported mark nationally according to MaxPreps, No. 4 in the state, and tops for all pitchers in the CIF North Coast Section.

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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