State Team of the Year Archbishop Mitty leads a group of four squads from the Central Coast Section that gain final writeups as we add 20 more teams with writeups compared to the 20 we usually do. The biggest change is Etiwanda going up to No. 6 from No. 10. Go inside for more and to see how high unbeaten small school powerhouse Sutter finished or if the Huskies made it into the final overall top 40 at all.
Compiled by Mark Tennis, Executive Editor
Writeups by Harold Abend, Paul Muyskens, Steve Brand, Ronnie Flores and Mark Tennis
(After all games played during 2009 season; Previous ranking in parentheses)
1. (1) Archbishop Mitty (San Jose) 32-0
Is there anything left to be said about the Monarchs that hasn’t already been said? No. 1 in the ESPN RISE FAB 50 and a perfect season just about says it all. So being No. 1 in the state, while a dream come true for most teams, almost takes a back seat for Coach Sarah Thomas and her girls. The real turning point in the season and what really propelled Mitty to the top of both heaps was the championship game of the Livermore Stampede. It was in that game that the term “Ricketted” was born after Oklahoma-bound Keilani Ricketts had a career game and one of the most dominating one-girl performances in recent California history in a 5-2 victory over the then No. 1 team in the nation and state, Sheldon of Sacramento. Ricketts came into the game not having given up an earned run at that point in the season with the team 22-0. When she gave up a first-inning home run to Cal-bound Lindsey Ziegenhirt, Ricketts and the other girls could have begun to fold. Instead, Ricketts blasted a three-run homer in the bottom of the first and went on the fan 20 from the circle while only allowing four hits. In the story that appeared on this site, we mused “the way Ricketts pitched and hit on Saturday and the way her teammates slapped the ball effectively, a loss may not get posted on Mitty’s ledger for quite some time.” In fact, it did not and the Monarchs ran the table and won their fifth consecutive CCS title.
2. (2) Norco 32-2
Although the Cougars were able to get dominant pitching performances from four-year standout Teagan Gerhart, the championship season was greatly aided by a strong lineup of bats one through nine. According to Eric-Paul Johnson of the Riverside Press-Enterprise, coach Rick Robinson got 11 game-winning hits from his team this season. With its 5-1 victory over Big VIII League rival and previous No. 5 Santiago of Corona in the CIF Southern Section Div. I title game, Norco won its second section title in seven years and Robinson’s third overall, his first coming at Corona Centennial in 1996. In beating Santiago for the third time this season, Norco not only received a dominant performance from Gerhart, but three timely hits and two runs from junior outfielder Nicole Sappingfield. Norco definitely had a State Team of the Year resume, with a 9-2 win over league foe Poly of Riverside that avenged a 1-0 loss in the sixth game of the season. The only other loss was also a 1-0 setback in a ridiculously tough opening round matchup against No. 7 Freedom of Oakley at the Nike Faster to First Tournament.
3. (3) Pleasant Grove (Elk Grove) 26-5
With sophomore Ally Carda leading the way in the circle all season long, the Eagles not only made their first-ever Sac-Joaquin Section Division I championship game but also ended the season with the win as they defeated Sheldon of Sacramento, 1-0, in the finale. After losing two close games to the Huskies earlier in the season, it was the Eagles who won the game that meant the most as Carda allowed just two hits and struck out eight in a complete game shutout. Carda on the year won 25 of their 26 games with a 0.37 ERA and 380 strikeouts while also leading the team with 39 RBI and nine homers. Other key wins this season for the Eagles were back to back victories against Vista Murrieta and Valencia and they twice defeated Elk Grove, who lost just six times all year.