The last rankings of the 2013 season get our usual expanded treatment. James Logan and Vintage of Napa hold on to No. 2 and No. 3 despite No. 4 Norco having played a much tougher schedule.
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Here are this season’s final rankings (previous ranking in parentheses):
1. (3) Santiago (Corona) 28-5
The week before the section playoffs the Sharks fell to No. 12, but since then, and after an 8-2 CIF Southern Section Division I championship game victory over a Norco team that beat them in last year’s title game, the Sharks have devoured everyone en route to a second No. 1 finish in the past three years.
2. (4) James Logan (Union City) 26-1
For the second straight year the Colts finish with one loss, and just like last year, head coach Teri Johnson and her girls snag the second spot in the state and the top spot for Northern California. The victory in this year’s CIF North Coast Section Division I championship over Oakley Freedom is section title No. 6 for Johnson.
3. (5) Vintage (Napa) 34-1
The Crushers were a long shot since they needed everyone above them to lose, and even then it was no guarantee they would go to the top, since they won their D1 section title after needing to utilize the CIF Sac-Joaquin Section double-elimination format. With so many young players, this is a team that could very well challenge for the top spot again next year.
4. (9) Norco 27-8
Of course, Norco played a much stronger schedule than either James Logan or Vintage, but the margin of defeat in the final game was too much to contemplate any move in front of teams that won major section titles and lost just once.
5. (1) Pacifica (Garden Grove) 27-6
The Mariners got flipped out of the top spot after losing the coin flip again, and then not being able to overcome two straight weeks on the road, in a close 3-2 loss at Norco, whom they fall in behind.
6. (2) Yorba Linda 24-4
Someone other than Pacifica finally beat the Mustangs in a 6-0 semifinal shutout on the road at Santiago. Still, it was a great season for a school in only its third year of varsity softball.
7. (7) Chino 26-2
The girls won a second straight CIFSS Division II title after a 4-0 win over Lakewood. They also already have been named Division II State Team of the Year.
8. (8) San Benito (Hollister) 25-3
A month ago, the Balers were on the bubble, three weeks ago they broke back in at No. 20, and then they moved up 10 spots two weeks ago. Last week, the girls cracked the top 10 after their CCS D1 championship. Now, after all is said and done, this is where they finish.
9. (12) Mission Viejo 26-2
Yes, they were knocked out in the first round of the CIFSS D2 playoffs, but it came as the No. 1 team in the state while still having to go on the road due to a coin flip. So, while the playoff system didn’t reward them for the overall body of work, we will after very careful examination.
10. (6) California (San Ramon) 21-5
A loss to Logan in the NCS D1 semis means a drop behind CIFSS teams and San Benito. Still, it was a very solid year for the Grizzlies.
11. (10) Amador Valley (Pleasanton) 22-3
The misfortunate Dons fall in behind the California team they split with after the freakish Johanna Grauer injury helped cut the season short. The twist to their story is most everyone felt they would win a section title, and no one gave the Dons’ baseball team a chance. Guess which team turned the trick?
12. (11) Lakewood 24-6
Despite a shutout loss to Chino, the Lancers only drop one spot and stay behind a team that at full strength beat them at the Carew Classic.
13. (13) Archbishop Mitty (San Jose) 27-1
Like two-loss Mission Viejo, the one-loss Monarchs are also a victim of an early exit, and despite their excellent record, they can’t improve in the final rankings.
14. (17) Marina (Huntington Beach) 25-4
The highest returning team from those teams eliminated from the playoffs but brought back in last week gets a nice three-spot bump for the final rankings.
15. (18) Esperanza (Anaheim) 24-4
The second returning newcomer from last week stays behind the girls from the Orange County coast, and also gets a nice boost.
16. (14) Orange Lutheran (Orange) 24-8
The Pacifica team that blanked them was ousted in the semifinals, but based on a concrete body of work, the Lancers only fall two spots and finish in a fine position.
17. (15) M.L. King (Riverside) 24-7
The third team from the Big VIII League that dominated the CIFSS D1 playoffs stays behind the team that dealt them a 2-0 loss two weeks ago.
18. (NR) Great Oak (Temecula) 17-4
Consideration was given to bringing Great Oak back last week since they were No. 5 when they lost a 13-10 slugfest to Etiwanda. Now, after all has been evaluated more closely, the loss loses importance and Great Oak rises, staying in front of Mater Dei.
19. (NR) Mater Dei (Santa Ana) 23-5
The final team for retiring coach Doug Myers was a very good one, finishing on top in the Trinity League.
20. (NR) Rosary (Fullerton) 19-13
The highest ranked team with double-digit losses lost a lot of close games to ranked teams but did have a 19-3 win over West Ranch at the Carew Classic. Then, in the playoffs, they upset top-seeded Esperanza and then beat Huntington Beach Edison, both on the road, before bowing out to Norco in the semifinals.
THE NEXT 20 TEAMS:
21. Chino Hills 25-8
We liked this team having a win over M.L. King plus getting two against Ayala. The playoff loss also was to higher-ranked Lakewood.
22. Pleasant Grove (Elk Grove) 22-11
Another team with a lot of losses got two at the very end after the Eagle girls were victims of the Sac-Joaquin Section double-elimination rule. Having that one win over Vintage plus an earlier one over California of San Ramon earns them the No. 2 spot from the CIF Sac-Joaquin Section.
23. Cypress 19-9-1
An up and down season ended in a 3-2 loss to Norco in the second round, but that counts for something in this group and gives second-year head coach John Felicetti and his girls a very decent finish.
24. Etiwanda 19-9
After further examination of their overall body of work, the CIFSS D1 quarterfinalist has to drop for the final rankings but is still firmly in the top 25.
25. Rancho Bernardo (San Diego) 24-8
Another team that had to drop after further review of their record are the Bronco girls, who still get a top 25 finish after being credited with beating Bonita Vista in the CIF San Diego Section championship game.
26. Moorpark 23-4
This was a team that got wins over Pacifica and Mater Dei and gets credit in the final rankings despite a playoff loss to Oaks Christian.
27. Rocklin 26-5
The Thunder girls made some noise this year and had a visit to the Top 20 at one point. After losing in the CIFSJS D1 playoffs to Pleasant Grove and then Vintage, a 3-1 head-to-head win over D2 winner Casa Roble gets them ahead of that team and the No. 3 spot from the Sac-Joaquin.
28. West Ranch (Valencia) 20-12
The girls from the Santa Clarita Valley, who have impressed Santiago head coach John Perez both in this and last year’s playoffs, have a lot of losses but they only lost 6-3 to Santiago in the quarterfinals this year, and they have some very good wins.
29. Casa Roble (Orangevale) 24-5
The No. 4 team from the CIF Sac-Joaquin Section and the Division II winner finished nicely and gets rewarded after a season with only a couple of bad losses.
30. Concord 22-4
The NCS Division II winner was felt to not have quite the resume of the D2 winners from the Southern and San Diego sections but did beat a solid Clayton Valley team in the title game after splitting with them in league.
31. Central (Fresno) 19-10
The top team from the CIF Central Section, and two-time defending Division I champion, comes in here despite the number of losses. With the rich tradition of softball in the Valley, we would have liked to place its top team higher, but the resume just won’t allow it.
32. El Diamante (Visalia) 28-2-1
Another first round victim that was ranked all year went down as the No. 1 seed in the Central Section D1 playoffs.
33. Bonita Vista (Chula Vista)23-5-1
The CIF San Diego Section D2 runner-up was also a victim of a section’s double-elimination rule but unlike Pleasant Grove they only had to be beaten once in the title game and not twice, and that’s exactly what happened.
34. Petaluma 26-2
The girls from Chickentown USA lost a 1-0 heartbreaker to Concord in NCS D2 semis after beating them 3-0 during the season to go with several other solid victories.
35. Sierra (Manteca) 25-2
The Sac-Joaquin Section Division IV winner is actually a D3 school in our divisional rankings and already secured the top spot there. There was strong consideration to ranking this team much higher, but it would have been hard to put them ahead of CIFSJS D2 winner Casa Roble, and that team lost to Rocklin.
36. Santana (Santee) 26-5
Despite being No. 1 in the San Diego Union Tribune rankings as the San Diego Division III champion, we can’t agree. In fact, the Sultans have to go behind a Bonita Vista team that beat Chula Vista Otay Ranch twice. Santana was 1-2 against Otay Ranch, winning 4-1, but losing 14-1 and 11-5. Still, a great season for this program.
37. Canyon (Anaheim) 18-11
A team that was Top 20 state-ranked in the preseason and early on finds a spot in the expanded rankings despite the losses, after they played well in a 5-2 loss to Yorba Linda.
38. Hemet 27-5
The Bulldogs snag one of the final spots for two reasons. All the softball writers and SoCal experts that saw them during the CIFSS Division IV playoffs were very impressed. Also, despite a couple of stinker losses, they had some solid wins, including M.L. King of Riverside.
39. (NA) Torrey Pines (San Diego) 21-9-2
The CIF San Diego Section Division I champions just had too many losses to be ranked higher but they do get the nod over the CIFNCS D1 runner-up for the next to last spot. Rachel Naslund will be missed in the circle next year.
40. (NA) Freedom (Oakley) 19-6-1
The Falcons had won 12 straight before losing to Logan in the NCS D1 finals with most of the losses coming to D1 schools.
Team That Dropped Out From Top 20:
Previous No. 16 Etiwanda, No. 19 Petaluma, No. 20 Rancho Bernardo (San Diego)
Honorable Mention Teams (2013 season):
There are 21 listed. To see the full list, please go to the new Cal-Hi Sports softball message board. CLICK HERE.
Mark Tennis and Paul Muyskens contributed to this report.
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