The best teams seem to be settling in for the playoffs. Still running in the first five slots are Mission Viejo, Mater Dei, Pacifica, Archbishop Mitty and Yorba Linda. Just a slight bump for Santiago of Corona after win over Norco.
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Although they have been a legitimate force the last few years in the East Bay Athletic League and the CIF North Coast Section Division I playoffs, people are finally starting to take notice of California of San Ramon after the Grizzlies beat Amador Valley 1-0 in extra innings two weeks ago.
Prior to that win, head coach Joe Callaway and his girls had lost five straight to the Dons since he took the helm three years ago, with four of the losses coming in one-run extra inning setbacks.
Now, after a 4-0 victory in front of the Cal-Hi Sports Caravan last week over Danville Monte Vista, Callaway has the girls on a roll.
Since a loss to Pleasant Grove Elk Grove at the Livermore Stampede in a game she was not in the circle, Cal Poly committed pitcher Lindsey Chalmers and the team have won six straight in the very tough EBAL.
After giving up one run in a 4-1 victory over Livermore to begin the streak, Chalmers has delivered five straight shutouts, including a five-hitter with seven strikeouts in the Amador Valley win.
On Thursday, with the Caravan in the stands, Chalmers delivered a three-hitter with eight fanned in the Monte Vista victory.
“I have tremendous respect for Amador and their players and coaches, and we’ve been chasing them, but the fact of the matter is we believe we’re as good as they are, or Logan, or anyone in the NCS,” Callaway told Cal-Hi Sports.
“They didn’t expect it from us,” said Nevada Las Vegas-bound Kwyn Cooper. The Grizzlies senior third-sacker tripled to open the bottom of the first against Amador and then scored the game’s only run on a successful squeeze.
“It was awesome. Words can’t describe it,” said Chalmers about beating Amador Valley. “We were so close so many times.”
After an extra inning 1-0 loss to Amador Valley in the title game of the early season Queen of the Mountain tournament, the rubber match with the Dons prior to the playoffs will come May 9 in Pleasanton, in a game the Caravan will try to attend.
Here are this week’s rankings (after games of Saturday, April 27; previous ranking in parentheses; does not include any games from Monday or Tuesday of this week):
1. (1) Mission Viejo 22-1
The Diablo girls continue atop the rankings after they beat Lake Forest El Toro 7-1 on the road. Left-handed pitcher Taylor McQuillin tossed her third one-hitter of the season with 10 strikeouts, but she did walk four and that led to only her fourth earned run in a season that has her record the same as the team’s. This week, it’s two South Coast League games at Dana Point Dana Hills and Rancho Santa Margarita Tesoro.
2. (2) Mater Dei (Santa Ana) 22-3
The Monarchs added two Trinity League blowout shutout wins to their resume last week, 12-0 over JSerra (San Juan Capistrano) and 13-0 over Santa Margarita of Rancho Santa Margarita. On tap this week is Orange Lutheran at home.
3. (3) Pacifica (Garden Grove) 20-5
The Mariners keep pace after a 5-3 win over a solid La Palma Kennedy was followed by a 14-0 blowout of Tustin. This week in Empire League action, the girls take on Anaheim Western and Placentia Valencia, both on the road.
4. (4) Archbishop Mitty (San Jose) 23-0
Although the Monarchs have no room to move up, head coach Brian Yocke and his girls remain undefeated and continue one of the best starts in school history. Last week, Mitty shellacked crosstown Presentation and Belmont Notre Dame, 15-2 and 10-0, respectively.
5. (5) Yorba Linda 18-2
The Mustang girls only had one game last week and they squeaked by the Anaheim Western team that plays Pacifica this week, 1-0. The Yorba Linda faithful are saying thank goodness for University of San Diego-committed Paige Von Sprecken. The junior pitcher tossed a one-hitter with 18 strikeouts and one walk. She also hit a homer for the game’s only run.
6. (7) Great Oak (Temecula) 13-3
After taking the home and home from previously state-ranked Vista Murrieta two weeks ago, Great Oak did it again last week after beating crosstown Chaparral 4-3 at home and then blasted the Pumas 11-0 on the road. The Wolfpack move up this week and take the spot previously occupied by Esperanza. This week, it’s Temecula Valley (Temecula) on the road and then at home.
7. (8) Amador Valley (Pleasanton) 16-2
Like Great Oak, the Dons gain a spot after identical East Bay Athletic League 10-0 wins over Pleasanton Foothill and Livermore. On tap this week is Concord Carondelet on the road and Livermore Granada at home.
8. (9) Santiago (Corona) 22-4
The No. 2 team from the Inland Empire posted a 6-0 win over Corona Centennial that was followed by a 3-2 squeaker over visiting Norco. The Norco win pushes the Sharks past Esperanza and up one spot.
9. (6) Esperanza (Anaheim) 20-3
The Aztecs lost 2-0 to a previously ranked Anaheim Canyon team that has a win over No. 14 Moorpark. The result is a fall, but just three spots as a result of their overall body of work. This week, it’s Brea Olinda (Brea) and Placentia El Dorado.
10. (10) Vintage (Napa) 24-0
An 8-0 win over Vacaville Wood was followed by a razor thin 1-0 victory over Vacaville, both at home. The team with the best record in the state holds fast with the final top 10 spot. Up this week are road games in Fairfield at Rodriguez and Armijo, before finishing up the regular season at home with arch-rival Napa.
11. (12) James Logan 17-1
The Colts get the spot back they lost last week after avenging their lone loss in a 6-4 win at Newark Memorial and then taking a 6-0 victory from visiting Fremont American. Earlier last week, they posted a 14-0 blowout of Fremont Mission San Jose. This week, they’re at Fremont Kennedy and then they host Moreau Catholic of Hayward.
12. (13) El Diamante (Visalia) 24-1-1
The Miner girls posted two huge blowouts to gain a spot this week, 19-0 at crosstown Mt. Whitney and 12-0 over visiting Hanford. Cal Poly-bound senior pitcher Sierra Hyland got the win in both mercy-shortened games to run her record to 20-0 this season. She had a no-hitter with a walk and 10 strikeouts versus Mt. Whitney, and a one-hitter with a walk and 10 fanned against Hanford. At the plate, she was a combined 7-for-8 with a home run and eight RBIs.
13. (11) Norco 20-6
The Cougars beat Riverside King 2-1 at home and then lost 3-2 at Santiago. They don’t drop that far with such a close loss to Santiago plus they have an 11-0 win over Moorpark and a 6-5 win over La Palma Kennedy, and three of the six losses are to Santiago and Mater Dei combined.
14. (14) Moorpark 19-3
The Musketeer girls rode the musket of 2012 State Freshman of the Year Amanda Lorenz, and the result is they had no problems with Agoura and Calabasas. Lorenz took the state lead with home run No. 16 versus Agoura in a 5-1 victory. Because of the big loss to Norco, they can only hold their spot this week and fall in behind the team that beat them pretty good.
15. (15) Chino 17-2
It remains to be seen what the Cowgirls will do in the playoffs since their schedule is a little light, but for now the No. 4 team from the Inland Empire won its 12th straight game by beating Montclair. It was the closest win since an identical 1-0 early-season win over No. 2 Mater Dei. The only other loss was by one run in a 7-6 loss to Mission Viejo.
16. (17) California (San Ramon) 15-3
Not much room to move up for the Grizzlies as the top teams are primarly winning big in league games at this point of the season.
17. (16) Marina (Huntington Beach) 20-3
After a 7-0 blanking of Fountain Valley, the Vikings lost 2-1 to a Los Alamitos team they beat by the same score three weeks ago. Considering Los Al is a solid team that’s played a tough schedule, combined with the fact Marina only has three losses, means only a small drop in this week’s rankings.
18. (18) Lakewood 19-5
The Lancers enjoyed two comfortable Moore League wins over Long Beach Jordan and Long Beach Poly, 15-0 and 10-4, respectively. This is a team that owns a 9-0 win over the Anaheim Canyon team that just upset Esperanza. That win was at the Carew Classic where the Lancers also lost to Temecula Chaparral and Amador Valley.
19. (19) Orange Lutheran (Orange) 20-6
In their lone game last week, the Lancers posted a 9-4 victory over Rosary of Fullerton. Up this week is Santa Margarita (Rancho Santa Margarita) before they get another crack at a Mater Dei team that beat them 15-9 two weeks ago.
20. (20) Bonita Vista (Chula Vista) 16-4-1
The Barons posted two easy wins last week in an away-and-home series with crosstown Olympian, 10-6 and 11-0. Freshman Aaliyah Jordan, little sister of former Bonita Vista star and current San Diego State sophomore outfielder Kayla Jordan, hit her sixth home run this season in the 10-6 win.
Teams That Dropped Out:
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Note: 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 firstname.lastname@example.org. Don’t forget to follow him on Twitter: @HaroldAbend