California’s tremendous depth already showing up with many top teams already with losses, including No. 1 JSerra, which split a pair with preseason No. 1 Huntington Beach on Monday. Wednesday saw two of the best in NorCal collide with De La Salle topping Elk Grove.
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(After games of Wednesday, March 16)
(Preseason ranking in parentheses)
(Paul Muyskens contributed writeups to this post)
1. (2) JSERRA (SAN JUAN CAPISTRANO) 7-1
Despite a strong start, it hasn’t been easy for the Lions. Three-year standout Brady Shockey has been missing with a broken hand and others have been nicked up. The first loss came on Monday of this week to Huntington Beach, but the Oilers are the defending CIF Southern Section D1 champs and it was part of a doubleheader in which JSerra won in the other game. It’s the wins that have elevated the Lions to the top. While Huntington Beach has started only 3-3, JSerra has defeated Gahr of Cerritos (hasn’t lost yet to anyone else), Damien of La Verne (No. 11 L.A. Times) and Tesoro of Las Flores (also hasn’t lost yet to anyone else). In the team’s 7-0 win on Wednesday at Angel Stadium over St. John Bosco, senior Collin Quinn pitched 6 1/3 shutout innings.
2. (8) BUCHANAN (CLOVIS) 7-0
Our 2011 State Team of the Year (and 2011 FAB 50 national champions) could be headed for something special. They wen 4-0 at the season-opening Coca Cola Classic with relative ease (closest game was 15-7) and then went 2-0 at the Central California Showcase. They aren’t going far for any tournaments, but don’t have to in order to play a great schedule. So far, Clovis also has started unbeaten and Clovis North looks like it will have a very good squad.
3. (NR) NOTRE DAME (SHERMAN OAKS) 7-0
Coach Tom Dill’s club played a double-header on Wednesday and won both games over Village Christian. Hunter Greene, the 2015 State Sophomore of the Year, tossed a two-hitter in that game, which already marked the fifth shutout of the season for the Knights. In game two, Notre Dame unleashed its offense in a 9-2 triumph. Colin Brophy connected for a grand slam and finished 3-for-4 with four RBI. Notre Dame will be severely tested next week against Harvard-Westlake and then will be in the SoCal portion of the Boras Classic.
4. (13) CLOVIS 10-0
Make note that the first game against Buchanan will be April 5 at Clovis. The Cougars actually won the Coca Cola Classic with a 2-1 triumph over Clovis North (which except for a tie hasn’t lost to any other team). Head coach James Patrick’s squad opened the season edging traditional powerhouse Bullard of Fresno 6-5.
5. (9) DE LA SALLE (CONCORD) 3-0
Connor Redmond collected two hits, drove in four runs and pitched two scoreless innings as the Spartans rang up a 7-1 win over two-time defending CIF Sac-Joaquin Section D1 champ Elk Grove on Wednesday afternoon. Since DLS also already has a win over preseason NorCal No. 1 St. Francis (Mountain View), it’s safe to say it has already secured a solid state ranking. A top baseball finish after football was No. 1 in the state and basketball could play for the CIF state title is definitely a strong possibility.