New Softball State Top 20

Pacifica of Garden Grove players collected medals after winning title at Michelle Carew Classic. Photo courtesy school.

Pacifica of Garden Grove players collected medals after winning title at Michelle Carew Classic. Photo courtesy school.

With James Logan loss, all of Northern California takes a hit this week. Orange County teams also are now sitting in four of the top five positions. This week’s highest newcomer, meanwhile, is Moorpark.

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By Harold Abend
Contributing: Mark Tennis, Paul Muyskens

After two straight weeks of major shakeups, the pecking order has to be re-arranged once again.

Previous No. 3 James Logan of Union City taking a loss to an unranked team not even on the bubble means the CIF North Coast Section and the Bay Area as a whole has to take a hit as well.

Logan had a 32-game winning streak snapped in the loss, with the last team to beat the Colts being Amador Valley of Pleasanton. Amador would now be No. 1 for Northern California, even ahead of unbeaten Arichbishop Mitty of San Jose, but the Dons also have to be behind Yorba Linda and others due to results from the recent Michelle Carew Classic in Anaheim.

Another cause of the latest shakeup is previous No. 2 Great Oak of Temecula going down twice in a home-and-home to Murrieta Valley of Murrieta, combined with Santiago of Corona taking down Norco. With those two developments, there’s no question as to which team should be tops this week in the Inland Empire and that’s the Sharks.

Pacifica making a move

The most interesting twist to the new scenario is a throwback to the preseason when Pacifica of Garden Grove was the top team in the state. This week’s moves sees them go from unranked two weeks ago, to No. 8 last week and No. 4 this week.

After injuries to his three-girl pitching staff shook things up early on, head coach Mark Campbell has his girls, with nine Division I commits among them, on a roll heading into a Tuesday rematch of the Carew title game 4-0 victory over Yorba Linda.

After not pitching due to tendinitis from late October until March 9 when she pitched a complete game two-hitter in a 3-0 win over Anaheim Canyon in the Mohave tournament, North Carolina-committed junior Kaylee Carlson has been dominating.

She picked up wins in both Empire League wins last week, 11-0 over Placentia Valencia and 8-3 at Cypress. Carlson is now 10-0 with a 0.39 ERA, 57 strikeouts, and only 22 hits allowed in 54 innings pitched.

“Carlson is a very good pitcher,” Campbell told Cal-Hi Sports. “We rode her in her freshman year, but she couldn’t pitch until the Canyon game.”

Stanford-committed sophomore Kaley Winegarner was the starter to begin the season, but never really found her stride, and the Mariners weren’t hitting behind her. Then, in a win over one of this week’s newcomers, Orange Lutheran, she tore her ACL to end her season.

Carlson is not the only reason the Mariners are riding high. Ohio State-bound Rebecca Lee rested against Valencia then exploded for a home run, her fifth of the season, two doubles and three RBIs in the Cypress win.

The other Division I players are Florida-committed junior third-sacker Nicole Dewitt, Illinois-bound senior shortstop Ruby Rivera, Northwestern-committed junior second-sacker Brooke Marquez, Michigan-committed sophomore outfielder Faith Canfield, Utah State-bound catcher Sydney Hart, and George Washington-committed junior outfielder Rochelle Draper.

Here are this week’s rankings (after games of Saturday, April 13; previous ranking in parentheses; note that any results from Monday of this week will be reflected in next week’s rankings):

1. (1) Mission Viejo 19-1
After not seeing any action for the better part of two weeks, the Diablos won a pair of non-league games, 7-4 over crosstown Trabuco Hills, and 12-1 at Laguna Hills. In the Laguna Hills victory, Arizona-committed sophomore Alyssa Palomino, the granddaughter of professional boxer Carlos Palomino, upped her state leading home run total to 15 with another long blast. “She’s a big, strong girl. All muscle,” Mission Viejo head coach Troy Ibarra told Cal-Hi Sports about his star slugger who’s hitting .532 with 30 RBIs and 33 runs scored to go with her home runs. Junior Oregon State-commit Alysha Everett hit her fourth big fly in less then three weeks since returning from a broken finger, and pitcher Taylor McQuillin ran her record to the same as the team’s. So far this season, the sophomore who recently de-committed from Oklahoma State for family reasons has 192 strikeouts in 118 innings pitched. This week, it’s back to South Coast League games with Tesoro (Rancho Santa Margarita) and San Clemente.

2. (6) Mater Dei (Santa Ana) 18-3
There were no problems last week for the Monarchs, first in a 7-0 Trinity League win over Santa Margarita of Rancho Santa Margarita, and then they shut out two opponents to win the Woodbridge Tournament, 7-0 over La Habra and 8-0 over Huntington Beach Edison in a mercy-shortened title game. They have losses to Great Oak, Los Alamitos and Moorpark, but they own a head-to-head win over Pacifica, a win over Chino, and a win over the Norco team that dealt Mission Viejo its lone loss. Among teams from Southern California with multiple losses, Mater Dei’s slate is by far the better overall body of work. As a result, the Monarchs move up four spots this week and drag a few teams with them. The girls also are now just one spot below where the baseball team sits in the state in what could end up being one of the best overall school years that Mater Dei athletics has ever had.

3. (7) Santiago (Corona) 18-2
None were blowouts, but nonetheless the Sharks devoured two Big VIII League opponents and then won both their games in their own Spring Fling event on Saturday, resulting in a four-win week. In the big game of the week, and with Norco taking two losses at the Carew Classic, some of the luster was off the matchup but it was still an important 5-1 Santiago victory. The Sharks move up four spots as well and drop in behind Mater Dei just like last week.

4. (8) Pacifica (Garden Grove) 17-5
Even with all the talent head coach Mark Campbell has, he realizes it’s still very tough to win consistently in the ultra tough Orange County/Southern California softball world. “I kind of equate it to the Lakers. We had chemistry issues and leadership issues. I think the girls have got it figured out, but that won’t mean anything against Yorba Linda. We have to be aggressive but they have a darn good pitcher and they’re confident.”

5. (9) Yorba Linda 16-1
The pitcher Pacifica coach is talking about, San Diego-committed junior Paige Von Sprecken, and the rest of the girls shook off the loss to Pacifica in the Carew tourney by blasting Cypress 11-0 at home and taking out another solid team, La Palma Kennedy, 7-3, on the road. Despite not getting credit immediately for their win over Amador Valley at the Michelle Carew Classic, the top five shakeup benefits the young Mustangs’ girls for the time being. However, there’s no guarantee they’ll stay in front of Amador Valley after a Tuesday rematch with Pacifica.

6. (4) Amador Valley (Pleasanton) 13-1
A small cut on the finger that releases her rise ball didn’t affect Johanna Grauer as she mowed down two East Bay Athletic League hosts, Livermore Granada and Danville Monte Vista, each by a 5-0 score. On the day she cut her finger, the 2012 State Sophomore of the Year went out and pitched a one-hitter with 13 strikeouts against Granada. The next day against Monte Vista, Grauer gave up four hits but struck out 14. Despite the solid week, the Dons now must fall in behind Yorba Linda in this week’s rankings.

7. (5) Archbishop Mitty (San Jose) 18-0
What to do with the NorCal teams is becoming a problem when teams down south are losing to top teams and the competition in the north is not anywhere near as strong, even in the WCAL where Mitty had two easy ho-hum wins last week over Mountain View St. Francis and San Francisco St. Ignatius, 20-3 combined. The result is even after winning 31 straight the Monarchs have to drop with everyone else from NorCal since their last loss was last year to Amador Valley.

8. (11) Esperanza (Anaheim) 19-2
The Aztecs only had one game last week and it was a 4-2 win at Santa Ana Foothill. The resume of the fifth-place finisher at the Carew Classic also includes some solid wins and lone losses to Cypress, 2-1 and Yorba Linda by a 5-3 final. The result is head coach Ed Tunstall and his girls get to ride the Orange County wave upward as well.

9. (2) Great Oak (Temecula) 9-3
The combination of a team Lance Eddy said would give the Wolfpack a tussle and the long layoff spelled home and away losses to Murrieta Valley, 1-0 and 2-1. Because of the long layoff, the fact the scores were close, plus credit for some big wins, including Mater Dei, and because Eddy said Murrieta Valley was an up and coming team, means the girls get to stay in the top 10 for now. It doesn’t get easier this week with a home-and-home series with previously ranked Vista Murrieta of Murrieta.

10. (10) Vintage (Napa) 20-0
The ranked team with the best record in the state had two wins last week in Monticello Empire League action. Head coach Rick Robben’s daughter, sophomore Baylee Robben, had a triple, double and three RBIs in a 10-2 win over Fairfield Rodriguez after doubling and driving in three earlier in the week in an 8-1 win at Vacaville. Teams are going to move around the Crushers but as long as they keep winning they’re going to remain around this spot in the rankings.

11. (3) James Logan (Union City) 12-1
The Colts lost 10-8 to Newark Memorial at the Reed Tournament near Reno after beating the No. 1 team in Nevada, Spanish Springs, 5-0. “Raeann (Garza) turned in the performance of the season against Spanish Springs but she was just exhausted and I should have made a pitching change sooner,” said Logan head coach Teri Johnson about the loss. Now, with the pressure of a top state ranking off their shoulders, the girls can concentrate on the upcoming Mission Valley Athletic League, where they will meet their arch-rivals from Newark Memorial again on April 24 in Newark and on May 7 at home. The loss means a significant drop to a spot in Northern California behind Vintage.

12. (12) Norco 17-5
Opening up Big VIII League play with a loss, the Cougars won’t drop any spots as that loss came by 5-1 score against new No. 3 Santiago of Corona. They then bounced back and defeated Centennial of Corona 15-2. Before two losses at the Michelle Carew Classic, they were ranked in the top five. Looking to end a streak of alternating wins and losses, Norco goes on the road this week to take on Roosevelt of Eastvale and Corona.

13. (13) El Diamante (Visalia) 21-1-1
Thanks to assistant coach Donovan McJunkin emailing us the Miners’ results, we can keep track on Sierra Hyland’s dominanace in the circle and Rylee Pierce at the plate. The Miners defeated Lemoore 9-0 and Hanford West 11-0 last week as Hyland pitched 13 shutout innings with 18 total strikeouts to improve to 17-0 on the year in the circle. Pierce hit her 13th home run against the Tigers while Hyland also had a home run of her own in their win over the Huskies.

14. (NR) Moorpark 15-3
The Musketeers have losses to No. 12 Norco, previously ranked Anaheim Canyon, and they split with a Valencia West Ranch team that just beat previous No. 14 Bishop Amat, but they own wins over No. 2 Mater Dei and No. 4 Pacifica. Hence, head coach Meaghan Stotts and her girls are this week’s highest newcomer and the top team from Ventura County.

15. (15) Chino 15-2
With wins over Colony of Ontario and Montclair, the Cowgirls improved to 7-0 in Mt. Baldy League play while increasing their winning streak to 10 games. It’s hard to have two better losses then the losses they have as those have come to No. 2 Mater Dei of Santa Ana 1-0 and No. 1 Mission Viejo 7-6. A lack of big wins, however, is why Chino is still outside the top 10.

16. (20) Marina (Huntington Beach) 17-2
Another rider of the Orange County wave up the ladder, the Vikings went 4-0 last week, including two wins in the Woodbridge Tournament that improves their body of work enough to go ahead of Lakewood, where some of our Southern California softball experts emailed that they really should have been last week.

17. (18) Lakewood 16-5
After losing to No. 6 Amador Valley of Pleasanton two weeks ago, the Lancers picked up two wins last week in Moore League play as they defeated Wilson of Long Beach and Cabrillo of Long Beach. Brianna Hampton hit two home runs and drove in three runs with a 12-0 win over the Jaguars to end the week.

18. (NR) Orange Lutheran (Orange) 18-5
Despite a loss to Marina of Huntington Beach earlier this season, the Lancers have done enough to be ranked ahead of them by OCVarsity in their top 10 rankings, which helps them get moved into our top 20 this week. Since their loss to Marina, they have won 11 of their last 12 games with the one loss coming against No. 4 Pacifica of Garden Grove.

19. (NR) Bonita Vista (Chula Vista) 12-4-1
It’s just too hard to overlook an entire section just because, like in every other section, the top teams have taken losses by beating each other. On April 6, the San Diego Union Tribune’s CIF San Diego Section top-ranked and previously state-ranked Barons beat No. 2 Rancho Bernardo after earlier losing to No. 3 Carlsbad. Last week, they posted three wins, 3-2 in a non-league victory over Escondido San Pasqual, and then a home and home Mesa League sweep of crosstown Otay Ranch.

20. (14) Bishop Amat (La Puente) 13-3
It was tough not to drop the Lancers out and we didn’t because they only have three losses, and they have a win over Corona Santiago. However last week, after beating Torrance Bishop Montgomery in league, and then Eastvale Roosevelt 9-8 in their first game at the Santiago Spring Fling, they lost the second game 8-6 to a Valencia West Ranch team that has a split with Moorpark. Because of that body of work, Amat can stay in barely.

Teams That Dropped Out:
Previous No. 16 Rocklin, No. 17 Saugus, No. 19 Soquel.

Teams on the Bubble:
Alhambra (Martinez) 11-1-1; Aliso Niguel (Aliso Viejo) 17-7; Banning (Wilmington) 13-2; Beckman (Irvine) 11-2; Buchanan (Clovis) 17-6; California (San Ramon) 11-3; Canyon (Anaheim) 12-8; Carlmont (Belmont) 17-2; Carlsbad 15-6-1; Carondelet (Concord) 10-4 ; Casa Roble (Orangevale) 14-4; Chino Hills 14-6; Cypress 14-4-1; Edison (Huntington Beach) 12-5 ; El Camino Real (Woodland Hills) 14-3; Elk Grove 14-5; Foothill (Santa Ana) 12-8; Gilroy 11-6; Golden West (Visalia) 16-4; Highland (Palmdale) 15-1; Kennedy (La Palma) 9-7; Leland (San Jose) 16-2; Livermore 9-5; Los Alamitos 12-9; Los Osos (Rancho Cucamonga) 14-2; Madison (San Diego) 13-5; Murrieta Valley (Murrieta) 15-7; Notre Dame (Salinas) 11-5; Poly (Riverside) 17-7; Petaluma 12-1; Pinole Valley (Pinole) 9-3; Pleasant Valley (Chico) 18-1; Rancho Bernardo (San Diego) 16-4; Redwood (Visalia) 19-4; Rocklin 14-2; Roosevelt (Eastvale) 11-6; Rosary (Fullerton) 14-7; San Benito (Hollister) 13-2; Saugus 14-5; Sierra (Manteca) 15-2; Soquel 16-2; Tracy 14-4; Upland 11-3; Valencia 12-7; Vista Murrieta (Murrieta) 11-6; West Ranch (Valencia) 10-9; Wheatland 16-1-1; Whitney (Rocklin) 13-5; Woodcreek (Roseville) 13-6.

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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  1. […] the Cal-Hi Sports state softball rankings, Amador Valley falls to #6, Mitty drops to #7, Vintage is #10, and James Logan falls eight spots to […]

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