What to do for No. 2? It’s Granada at this moment, but what if Harvard-Westlake wins CIFSS Division I title? Plus, more on Redlands East Valley and top 20-related players who shined.
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In every week that state rankings in baseball or any other sport are compiled by Cal-Hi Sports, one piece of the formula that always comes up is to extrapolate into the future and think about what the final ranking might look like between two top teams.
A very tough choice could happen indeed if Granada of Livermore and Harvard-Westlake of North Hollywood were to end the season with section titles.
For this week, Granada gets the nod due to having just one loss on its resume over a team it had beaten earlier in the season. The Matadors also could end the season 26-1 (assuming they have a first-round bye) if they don’t lose again and win the CIF North Coast Section Division I title.
But if Harvard-Westlake were to win out, that would mean that the Wolverines will have won the CIF Southern Section Division I title. That is the same division as current state leader Mater Dei of Santa Ana and if Harvard-Westlake were to be the ones to deny the Monarchs (possibly in the finals on May 31 at Dodger Stadium) then it’s entirely possible (maybe even likely) that they could hop over Granada into the No. 1 position.
While Harvard-Westlake has four losses compared to just one potentially for Granada, its strength of schedule argument (from being in the National High School Invitational as well as the top division of the CIFSS) would be superior.
Granada’s only sure-fire path to end No. 1 in the state is to win out and then hope neither Mater Dei or Harvard-Westlake wins it all at Dodger Stadium on the 31st. At least the Matadors no longer have to worry about a CIF Central Coast Section team being ranked higher in all of the end-of-season scenarios.
CIFSS Division I Bracket
In pairings released Monday by the CIFSS office, you won’t find us complaining about Harvard-Westlake not being higher than No. 3. Sure, the Wolverines maybe should have been No. 2, but at least they weren’t stuck at No. 4 and therefore potentially playing state No. 1 Mater Dei in the semifinals instead of the finals.
Harvard-Westlake’s path to that championship game could be a much more difficult one than the Monarchs. The Wolverines could face state No. 11 Fountain Valley, which was as high as No. 3 in the state just last week, in the quarterfinals and then either No. 15 El Toro of Lake Forest or No. 16 Lutheran of Orange in the semifinals.
The Monarchs, who control their own fate when it comes to ending the season as the top team in the state, do have No. 12 Canyon of Anaheim in their half of the bracket and could face the Comanches in the semifinals.
Matchup to watch
No. 16 Lutheran of Orange vs. Chaminade of West Hills
This first-round matchup in the CIFSS Division I playoffs on Thursday features a Lancers’ squad that has defeated No. 1 Mater Dei of Santa Ana while the Eagles have won six straight and are no strangers to facing top teams as three of their losses this season came against No. 3 Harvard-Westlake of North Hollywood.
Highest Ranked Newcomer:
Redlands East Valley (Redlands)
Most people around the Citrus Belt League didn’t think Redlands East Valley could be a favorite with the top three pitchers graduating. But the Wildcats (22-4-1) won their second straight CBL title last week and their fifth in the last seven years with 5-2 and 5-0 wins against Cajon of San Bernardino.
“One of the reasons we were overlooked is that Redlands has a lot of seniors,” said REV head coach James Cordes. “Our team made great adjustments when we played them two weeks ago.”
At the time of that two-game set, Redlands was 15-3 and was knocking on the door of the state top 20. The Wildcats won those games 3-1 and 1-0. Neither team has lost since.
Sophomore David Barela, who pitched the 1-0 shutout against Redlands, also rang up the shutout last week against Cajon. Junior shortstop Zach Kirtley, who is hitting .391 and leads the team in RBIs, has been another of the squad’s top players.
Players That Shined
Jake Bauers (Marina, Huntington Beach)
Earning honors as the OCVarsity baseball athlete of the week this Hawaii-bound senior had two doubles and a home run as he drove in four runs and scored five times as the Vikings picked up two wins against previously No. 3 ranked in the state Fountain Valley.
Sam Fontaine (Bellarmine, San Jose)
Teammate Justin Calomeni has gotten the headlines for his performances against nationally ranked St. Francis, but Fontaine has been another standout on the mound for the Bells. He pitched four shutout innings against state-ranked Serra last week to improve his record to 8-0. And in more than 32 innings of work so far, Fontaine has yet to give up an earned run.
Sam Stavang (Bonita, La Verne)
A key part of why the Bearcats are now ranked inside the top 10 is this senior pitcher. He pitched his second no-hitter of the season last week during a 1-0 win over Diamond Bar. The Brahmas came into last week at 19-4 and lost twice to Bonita. Stavang had his first no-no in a 9-0 win against Los Altos of Hacienda Heights.
Matt Trask (Davis)
Mentioned last week in our state stat stars, he has shown a tendency to come up big in games against Elk Grove. For the second time this season, he came through with a walk-off hit against the Thundering Herd with the most recent one giving the Blue Devils the Delta Valley Conference championship and a spot in our new top 20 this week. Matt, who is just a junior, has committed to UCLA and was recently named the Delta Valley Conference Player of the Year.
Paul Muyskens contributed to this report.