Pacifica has its fate in its own hands with a chance to end the season where it began in the preseason – and that’s on top of the state rankings.
Note: Check out this week’s Inside the Softball State Top 20 as we wonder why the state’s No. 1 team had to travel on Tuesday (and lost) to a wild-card winner in just its second playoff game. This feature is for Gold Club members only. To join our team today, please CLICK HERE.
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Here are this week’s rankings (after games of Saturday, May 25; previous ranking in parentheses; Wednesday games of this week not included):
1. (1) Pacifica (Garden Grove) 27-5
The Mariners moved up mid-week due to the lateness of the rankings taking into account their 11-0 win over Murrieta Valley on Tuesday and Mission Viejo going down. The girls then went out and demolished Orange Lutheran, 11-0, and now meet a dangerous Norco team in the semifinals.
2. (2) Yorba Linda 24-3
Staying right behind the team that dealt them their only losses, the Mustangs do have wins over previous No. 3 Amador Valley and Anaheim Esperanza, but that is ancient history. Now, they face a seasoned Santiago of Corona team in the semifinals that’s been here before, whereas Yorba Linda has not. Plus, they lost the coin flip and must play on the road.
3. (4) Santiago (Corona) 28-5
The Sharks are still alive and with their resume over the years, it won’t be a surprise if they beat Yorba Linda and then win the CIFSS D1 crown. Last week, head coach John Perez’s girls took down Vista Murrieta and Valencia West Ranch, 11-2 and 6-3, respectively.
4. (5) James Logan (Union City) 24-1
The new top team from Northern California wasn’t going to be able to avoid No. 6 California of San Ramon even if it had gotten the No. 2 seed. Instead, with the third seed in the CIF North Coast Section Division I playoffs, the downside for the Colts is this week’s game is at San Ramon.
5. (7) Vintage (Napa) 34-1
If none of the teams above them wins a section title, the possibility still exists that the CIF Sac-Joaquin Section D1 champion Crushers could be the State Team of the Year.
6. (9) California (San Ramon) 21-4
Due to strength of schedule, and the fact the Grizzlies have a chance to win the CIFNCS D1 championship as the highest remaining seed, jumps them over Chino pending Wednesday’s semifinal matchup with Logan, a game the Cal-Hi Sports Caravan is planning on attending.
7. (8) Chino 24-2
The No. 2 team from the Inland Empire moves up a spot entering the CIFSS Division II semifinals against upstart Oaks Christian.
8. (10) San Benito (Hollister) 25-3
Three weeks ago, the Balers were on the bubble, two weeks ago they broke back in at No. 20, and then they moved up 10 spots last week. This week, the girls crack the top 10 after winning their eighth straight CCS D1 championship.
9. (11) Norco 26-7
Coach Rick Robinson and his girls are back in a familiar spot, and that’s the semifinals of the CIFSS Division I playoffs. The problem is they face a Pacifica team that has had great hitting and pitching since the Michelle Carew Classic. One plus is they won the flip and get the game at home.
10. (3) Amador Valley (Pleasanton) 22-3
Standout pitcher Johanna Grauer did not pitch due to a high ankle sprain she received after stepping in a hole shagging balls in practice, and another junior star, outfielder Nicole Yozzo, was limited due to a broken finger and could not play in the field. The result is the starch was totally out of the Dons and they went down to defeat with four hits in a 4-1 loss to Danville San Ramon Valley in the CIF North Coast Section playoffs.
11. (12) Lakewood 26-6
The Lakewood girls fall in behind the Amador Valley team that beat them at the Carew Classic, but they get to go in front of Mission Viejo after they beat the Chino Hills Ayala team that upset MV last week.
12. (6) Mission Viejo 26-2
The Diablos have to drop further after their loss last week to Ayala of Chino Hills.
13. (13) Archbishop Mitty (San Jose) 27-1
The Monarchs hold fast after the loss two weeks ago to eventual CCS D2 winner Gilroy.
14. (14) Orange Lutheran (Orange) 24-8
Yes, they were blanked by Pacifica, but that team is on fire, and it was after OLu had blanked M.L. King. At this level, it means no drop.
15. (17) M.L. King (Riverside) 24-7
The No. 4 team from the Inland Empire moves up this week due to the strength of the CIFSS D1 playoffs and falls in behind the team that dealt them a 2-0 loss last week.
16. (18) Etiwanda 19-9
The Eagles also move up after CIFSS D1 wins over Huntington Beach Marina and Great Oak of Temecula preceded an 8-2 loss to No. 2 Yorba Linda in the quarterfinals.
17. (NR) Marina (Huntington Beach) 25-4
We had said that teams that dropped out last week would possibly be returning and the No. 15 team from two weeks ago is the highest ranked newcomer in that category, based on a 6-5 squeaker loss to Etiwanda in the second round.
18. (NR) Esperanza (Anaheim) 24-4
Although the Aztecs suffered a CIFSS D1 playoff loss to Rosary of Fullerton, they get to go back into the mix this week due to going 11-1 in the tough Century League, which helped earn them the top seed for the division.
19. (20) Petaluma 26-1
The Trojans girls continue to roll after pitcher Dana Thomsen tossed two shutouts last week in NCS Division II action, 7-0 and 2-0 over San Lorenzo and Livermore, respectively.
20. (NR) Rancho Bernardo (San Diego) 24-8
After losing in an 18-17 slugfest they once led by eight runs to previous No. 16 Bonita Vista in the CIF San Diego Section Division II semifinals, the Broncos came back in the double-elimination format (after the first round and until the title game) to post a 5-1 win over crosstown Scripps Ranch. Then, only having to beat Bonita Vista once to claim the title, they did just that in a 9-4 victory at UC San Diego.
Teams That Dropped Out
Previous No. 15 Chino Hills, No. 16 Bonita Vista (Chula Vista) 23-5-1, No. 19 Pleasant Grove (Elk Grove).
Teams on the Bubble
There are 39 teams listed. They can be seen as a new post on the new CalHiSports.com softball message board. CLICK HERE.
Note: Mark Tennis contributed to these rankings and writeups.
Harold Abend is the associate editor of CalHiSports.com and the vice president of the California Prep Sportswriters Association. He can be reached at email@example.com. Don’t forget to follow him on Twitter: @HaroldAbend