In addition to overall No. 1 Los Alamitos, others that can claim they are mythical state champions for 2017 are Camarillo (Division II), Buena of Ventura (D3), South of Torrance (D4) and Village Christian of Sun Valley (D5). We do try to look for teams outside of the CIF Southern Section, but couldn’t choose one again this season.
For State Team of the Year announcement recognizing state’s No. 1 overall team for season, CLICK HERE.
Last year, the No. 1 overall team in the state actually came from Division II since Mission Viejo was classified as D2 both for the CIFSS and for our state divisions. This is the first time Los Al has been No. 1 in the state and nation in softball, but the school did it once before in girls soccer in 2005. Griffin girls also won CIF D1 state titles in volleyball in 2003, 2005 and 2006.
Like the CIFSS D1 battle between Los Al and Norco, the D2 title game between the Scorpions and Riverside Poly also was a winner-take-all affair for this division. Camarillo won 4-0 behind the pitching of freshman Eryka Gonzales. The only non-CIFSS team before the playoffs that looked like it had a shot was Elk Grove (won NorCal Classic tourney) but the Thundering Herd lost in the CIF Sac-Joaquin Section D2 playoffs. Camarillo is finishing No. 1 in a state division for the first time, although in 1991 the Scorpions won the CIFSS D1 title and in that season were third overall in the final state rankings behind Lincoln of Stockton and an Irvine team that won the CIFSS D2 title but was second overall.
“We have a great tradition and it’s been great to represent that,” said head coach Nichole Pinedo, who took over for longtime former coach Jack Willard in 2014. “We have a great feeder system and great alumni. It’s nice to have a luxury like that.”
For the fourth time this season, the Bulldogs took on their Channel League rival San Marcos of Santa Barbara but last Saturday it was for a section championship as they ended the season undefeated with a 5-0 win in the CIFSS D4 finals. Before the offense broke through with a five-run sixth inning, it was a pitcher’s duel with Bulldogs’ pitcher Brooke Yanez leading the way in the circle. Headed to UC Davis, Yanez arrived to the ballpark without her glove and cleats and had to use new ones bought right before the game but it didn’t slow her down as she pitched a no-hitter with 12 strikeouts. It was Buena’s first CIF Final in 27 years and first section championship since 1989. Buena wasn’t considered strongly for a final No. 1 ranking despite ending 26-0-1, but the Bulldogs needed to be that strong. If they had even one loss, it’s likely that CIF Sac-Joaquin Section D3 champ Benicia (28-2-1) would be getting this honor.
It was a history-making season for the Spartans (23-7-1) as they captured their first section championship in program history with a 6-2 win over Heritage Christian of Northridge in the CIFSS Division V championship game. Maddy Stockslager allowed just three hits and two unearned runs while striking out 14, including the final batter of the game who represented the tying run. Maisie Weishoff also hit a three-run home run in the third inning to make it 5-0. This also is South’s first No. 1 state ranking finish. The girls moved up to No. 1 in D4 when Fortuna was upset in an early-round game in the CIF North Coast Section.
Village Christian (Sun Valley)
If the Crusaders had not won the CIFSS D7 title and instead a bigger school like Century of Santa Ana or Santa Ynez did, we’re not sure what we were going to do. Village Christian (20-10) got it done, though, by topping Santa Ynez 7-4 to capture the championship. Despite having a roster with just 10 players, the Crusaders captured their first section title since 2003. They also may not have to wait too long for another as they started six freshmen and one sophomore, making them a team to beat for years to come although moving up in class is a definite possibility. Village Christian hit two of its three home runs in the first inning to take a 3-2 lead as Kaylani Miller and pitcher Ally Melgar hit back-to-back home runs. Melgar would give up four runs in the first two innings before pitching five scoreless innings to get the win.