Five-foot-2 pitchers Benipayo and Lombardi deliver big performances for their teams. Plus, Melissa Taukeiaho hammers three homers in a game for the second time this season.
Note: We’re proud once again to collect weekly writeups of the most significant individual high school softball totals in California. We use these as the basis for updating the state record book, which has been published seven times, most recently in the spring of 2009. To report a state stat star of your own, please email highlights to Mark.Tennis@espn.com.
(After games of Saturday, May 12; includes some games as of Wednesday, May 16; Contributing: Bob Barnett, Mark Tennis)
Sophia Benipayo (Concord)
The 5-foot-2 Benipayo made Berean Christian (Walnut Creek) pay and at the same time delivered the KO, homering, tripling, diving in three and scoring three times to lead the Minutemen girls to an 11-2 victory and a 12-0 season in Diablo Valley Athletic League play.
Dana Cruse (Del Norte, San Diego)
She was in Cruse control and finished with 15 strikeouts to lead the Nighthawks past Mission Vista of Oceanside in Valley League action.
Natalie Goepel & Mia Monopoli (Acalanes, Lafayette)
Goepel pitched a one-hitter and struck out 10 while Monopoli hit her 13th home run (tied for first in the CIF North Coast Section) in a 7-0 win over Orinda Miramonte.
Johanna Grauer & Victoria Molina (Amador Valley, Pleasanton)
Grauer tossed her ninth straight shutout and 19th this season on a three-hitter with 15 strikeouts, and Molina went 4-for-4 with a home run and three RBIs in a 9-0 win over Livermore.
Cheridan Hawkins (Anderson)
Making sure the Cubs ended the regular season and opened the postseason with wins, the Oregon-bound fireballer struck out 11 batters in a 10-0 five-inning win over Central Valley of Shasta Lake and then struck out 14 in a 7-0 win over Winters.
Tiffany Hollingsworth (Arroyo, San Leandro)
The Dons’ junior infielder, who was recovering from minor surgery near her right arm, slammed a walk-off three-run home run in the eighth inning of a 10-9 victory over Bishop O'Dowd. She also went 4 for 5, including a double and two triples with five RBIs in a blowout of Hayward Moreau Catholic.
Katy Kibbe (Rancho Cotate, Rohnert Park)
The University of La Verne-bound pitcher and slugger makes another appearance after tossing a one-hitter with 11 strikeouts and driving in three runs herself in a 12-0 mercy-shortened shellacking of Santa Rosa Cardinal Newman. She came back the next day with another one-hitter with 10 fanned and she scored a run in a 2-0 shutout of Santa Rosa.
Carrie Lee (Alameda)
Lee had the island city jumping in glee after she pitched a three-hitter and out-hit Berkeley herself, going-4-for-4 with a double and two runs scored in an 11-2 victory.
Angelina Lombardi (Washington, Fremont)
This Huskies junior pitcher might only be 5-foot-2, but she came up huge with a one-hitter and 17 strikeouts in a 7-0 win over crosstown Mission San Jose.
Daynna Lopez (Avenal)
She went 3-for-4 at the plate, which included two triples, and set a personal high of six RBIs in a 17-1 win over Tranquillity.
Grayce Majam (Mountain Empire, Pine Valley)
Not only did she get the win while striking out 11 batters but she also tripled twice and drove in four runs during an 11-1 win over Borrego Springs.
Heather Morales (Indio)
She has put up some impressive numbers this season at the plate and in the circle and despite allowing three runs she struck out 17 batters while also homering twice and driving in five runs in a 7-3 win over Coachella Valley last week. Morales improved her season home run total to 20.
Kaylen Minnatee (Pleasant Grove, Elk Grove)
It’s hard to imagine a more exciting way for a game to finish as this freshman hit a two-out walk-off grand slam home run to give the Eagles a 4-2 win over Sheldon of Sacramento.
Halle Neher (Taft)
She went 2-for-3 and finished with five RBIs in a 20-0 win by the Wildcats over Bakersfield Christian.
Nisa Ontiveros (Ridgeview, Bakersfield)
The Cal-bound senior was dominating in the circle with 16 Ks while allowing just one hit and then at the plate she drove in four runs and homered for the third game in a row as the Wolfpack defeated South of Bakersfield 17-0.
Kylee Perez (Alhambra, Martinez)
To say the UCLA-committed sophomore is hot is a bit of an understatement. She’s hit at least one home run in seven of her last eight games, and with two this week in a 14-1 blasting of San Ramon Dougherty Valley she’s now tied for the NCS lead with 13..
Lauren Saunders (Leigh, San Jose)
The Longhorns’ junior catcher hit her CCS reported leading seventh home run and also tripled to finish with four RBIs in an 11-2 win over crosstown Leland.
Melissa Taukeiaho (Etiwanda)
For the second time this season, Taukeiaho sent the ball sailing over the fence three times in a game as all three of her hits went for home runs last week in Etiwanda’s 5-0 victory over Alta Loma.
Savanna Torres (Garces, Bakersfield)
In a 9-1 win by the Rams against East Bakersfield, Torres was perfect at the plate by going 4-for-4 which included three doubles and four RBIs.