First Look: State Softball Div. Ranks

Players from West of Torrance, which is strong contender for mythical D3 state title, won a tourney earlier this season in Las Vegas. Photo: @WestHS_softball / Twitter.com.


Apologies for not getting these out earlier, but the season is still going and we have put teams in position to claim mythical state championships in addition to winning section titles. These five-division state rankings in softball also have a long tradition that dates back more than 30 years. Some tough decisions had to be made, with Oakdale (D3), La Reina of Thousand Oaks (D4) and Woodland Christian (D5) getting No. 1 rankings. Our other two No. 1 teams are Cathedral Catholic of San Diego, of course, for D1 and Buena of Ventura for D2.

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(Records through games of Monday, May 14)
(Scores from Wednesday, May 16 or later not included)


DIVISION I
1. Cathedral Catholic (San Diego) 23-3
2. San Marcos 24-2
3. Norco 24-3
4. Los Alamitos 25-2
5. Los Altos (Hacienda Heights) 26-2
6. Mater Dei (Santa Ana) 22-5
7. Lutheran (Orange) 25-4
8. Clovis 27-2
9. Gahr (Cerritos) 22-5
10. Chino Hills 27-4
11. Foothill (Pleasanton) 20-3
12. Amador Valley (Pleasanton) 18-4-1
13. Carlmont (Belmont) 23-1
14. Buchanan (Clovis) 24-4
15. Poway 23-4-1
On The Bubble: Amador Valley (Pleasanton) 18-4-1, Bullard (Fresno) 19-5, Camarillo 22-4, Chatsworth 20-5, Freedom (Oakley) 18-1, Granite Hills (El Cajon) 23-7, Great Oak (Temecula) 20-5-1, Murrieta Mesa (Murrieta) 21-7, Oaks Christian (Westlake Village) 27-3, Sheldon (Sacramento) 21-3, St. Francis (Mountain View) 20-6, Stockdale (Bakersfield) 24-3, Tracy 21-4, Valley Christian (San Jose) 19-6, Watsonville 22-3.
Notes & Comments: The top 15 teams plus Oaks Christian and Watsonville are all in this week’s State Top 20. The addition of an Open Division in the CIF Central Coast Section means that almost all of those teams are now D1 for these rankings. In the past, schools like St. Francis, Valley Christian and Mitty were in D2.
The only section in the state that had not yet done playoff seedings for softball prior to Monday of this week was the North Coast. The NCS D1 playoffs should include Foothill and Amador Valley as the top two seeds (depending on which one wins a third game between those two teams later this week) along with Freedom, Heritage of Brentwood (14-3) and James Logan of Union City, which is in the final season of retiring long-time and former State Coach of the Year Teri Johnson.

DIVISION II
1. Buena (Ventura) 23-5
2. Esperanza (Anaheim) 21-4
3. Del Campo (Fair Oaks) 20-2
4. Newbury Park 22-5
5. Rio Mesa (Oxnard) 22-6
6. M.L. King (Riverside) 18-8
7. San Marin (Novato) 20-0
8. Elk Grove 19-6-2
9. Yucaipa 23-6
10. La Serna (Whittier) 21-6
On The Bubble: Aliso Niguel (Aliso Viejo) 19-7, Antioch 18-4, Bella Vista (Fair Oaks) 17-8-1, Cerritos 18-5, Concord 15-5, Gilroy 15-9-1, Grossmont (La Mesa) 21-10, Rancho Buena Vista (Vista) 18-9, Redwood (Visalia) 18-7, Silver Creek (San Jose) 16-6.
Notes & Comments: Buena and Esperanza were both in the State Top 20 this week as well so their divisional state ranking needed to match. Both of those teams are in the CIF Southern Section Division II playoffs. Buena won the D4 section title last year and was No. 1 in the final D3 state rankings.
Del Campo recorded a non-league victory last week over Sheldon of Sacramento. That put the Cougars ahead of the Huskies for overall ranking consideration even though they are D2 in the CIF Sac-Joaquin Section while Sheldon is the perennial power and top seed for D1. Plus, head coach Sharon Props’ girls have only two losses overall on the season. If DC were to win the D2 section title and Sheldon wins in D1, DC would be the team considered first for the final State Top 20.
For our five-division format, keep in mind that San Diego Section Division I teams would be considered for the D2 state rankings and not D1. The same would be true for the L.A. City Section for D2 but there are no L.A. City teams from D1 that would be on the bubble for D2 state rankings.

Lexi Webb is standout pitcher for D3 No. 1 Oakdale, which has to deal with Benicia in its section playoffs. Photo: James Burns / The Modesto Bee.


DIVISION III
1. Oakdale 21-1
2. West (Torrance) 25-3
3. Benicia 24-2-1
4. Downey 23-6
5. Crescenta Valley (La Crescenta) 24-2
6. Hillsdale (San Mateo) 20-6
7. Redlands East Valley (Redlands) 20-7
8. Clairemont (San Diego) 18-5
9. Golden Valley (Santa Clarita) 18-4
10. Casa Roble (Orangevale) 22-5
On The Bubble: Atascadero 20-3, Brawley 22-9, Dinuba 21-5, Garden Grove 16-7, Godinez (Santa Ana) 19-4, Jurupa Hills 20-3, La Mirada 19-9, Marin Catholic (Kentfield) 19-4, Mission Hills (San Marcos 18-14, Paraclete (Lancaster) 21-4-1, Pioneer (Woodland) 17-3-1, Santana (Santee) 19-9, South El Monte (El Monte) 20-1, Village Christian (Sun Valley) 15-10.
Notes & Highlights: Since both Oakdale and Benicia have been in the State Top 20 earlier this season and Oakdale is the No. 1 seed for the CIF Sac-Joaquin Section D3 playoffs, we went with the Mustangs in the top spot for this division. We also really like some of Oakdale’s players, especially previous NorCal Player of the Week Lexi Webb along with Oklahoma-bound shortstop Grace Green.
CIF Southern Section Division No. 3 No. 1 seed West of Torrance is another No. 1 contender in this division. West’s computer ranking is even higher than Oakdale’s or Benicia’s, not by that much but enough so that we didn’t put Oakdale and Benicia in a possible No. 1 vs. No. 2 scenario.
CIFSS Division 4 teams also are D3 for our state rankings along with CIFSS D3 teams. Downey is the top seed for D4, which had to be clinched when the Vikings knocked off a Gahr of Cerritos team that was seemingly in line to be the top seed for the CIFSS D1 bracket.

Someone drew in an electronic indication of La Reina’s 2018 league championship on this sign that hangs at the school. Photo: Twitter.com.


DIVISION IV
1. La Reina (Thousand Oaks) 19-3
2. Calaveras (San Andreas) 22-3
3. Sutter 24-1
4. Templeton 22-0
5. Southwest (El Centro) 23-6
6. Chaminade (West Hills) 16-7
7. Santa Catalina (Monterey) 17-1
8. Del Norte (Crescent City) 20-3
9. Dos Palos 24-2
10. Sierra (Manteca) 15-4
On The Bubble: Central (El Centro) 17-9, Central Valley (Shasta Lake) 32-5-2, Chowchilla 19-8, Edgewood (West Covina) 16-1, Escalon 18-7, Exeter 23-6, Highland (Palmdale) 19-6, Linden 21-6, Pacific Grove 18-7, Rancho Mirage 18-5, Rolling Hills Prep (San Pedro) 10-3, Roosevelt (Los Angeles) 21-2, Santa Paula 17-2, St. Joseph Notre Dame (Alameda) 18-2.
Notes & Comments: It was a tough choice at the top of this division. La Reina is the top seed for the CIFSS D5 playoffs with two of its losses to D2 No. 4 Newbury Park (a team that recently beat Oaks Christian). The Regents only other loss was to St. Bonaventure of Ventura and later avenged. Big wins have come against Grace Brethren of Simi Valley, Simi Valley, Paraclete of Lancaster and Highland of Palmdale.
Sutter is a team always in the mix for this division and would again be the top overall team this season from the CIF Northern Section. The Huskies do have a head-to-head loss to Calaveras, however, so if Calaveras were to win the SJS D4 title and do it with a win against Sierra of Manteca (just beat Oakdale) than that’s going to be enough to keep Calaveras higher for the final rankings.
Obviously, Templeton being an unbeaten team in the same section playoff division as La Reina makes the Eagles another threat to be final No. 1 in this division. They haven’t been that high in the CIFSS rankings, but did get a top four playoff seed.

Woodland Christian’s Jordyn Hutchins was leading the state this week in reported home runs with 17. Photo: Twitter.com.


DIVISION V
1. Woodland Christian 22-1
2. East Nicolaus (Nicolaus) 29-2
3. Carnegie Schools (Riverside) 24-0
4. Cloverdale 14-1
5. University Prep (Victorville) 22-2
6. King’s Academy (Sunnyvale) 18-5
7. Etna 26-3-1
8. Desert (Edwards) 17-6
9. Desert Christian Academy (Bermuda Dunes) 17-3
10. Mary Star (San Pedro) 17-7
On The Bubble: Archer School for Girls (Los Angeles) 16-4, Argonaut (Jackson) 14-12, Coast Union (Cambria) 9-7, Colusa 20-6-1, Frazier Mountain (Lebec) 18-5, Hawthorne Math & Science Academy 20-3, Kern Valley (Lake Isabella) 16-2, Making Waves Academy (Richmond) 18-2, Millennium (Tracy) 20-6, Ripon Christian 17-5, The Grove School (Redlands) 14-0, Tri-City Christian (Vista) 16-3.
Notes & Comments: With all of the runs being scored by Carnegie Schools (team has already set new single-season state record) and team being guided by head coach John Perez, a No. 3 ranking in D5 is probably a surprise to many. We just really have to hand it to both Woodland Christian and East Nicolaus for stepping up their schedules. Plus, it’s becoming obvious that Woodland Christian sophomore Jordyn Hutchins (Stanford commit) may be one of the top players in the state regardless of size of school. Woodland Christian’s only loss is to Sutter (D4) while it has wins over big schools Kennedy of Sacramento and Pioneer of Woodland.
East Nicolaus has losses only to Anderson and Napa and Napa was the SJS D2 champion last year. The Spartans’ top wins have been against Red Bluff, Petaluma and two large schools at a tournament in Oregon. Carnegie Schools may be better than both, but all of the larger schools that Carnegie played were teams with poor records. The computer ranking difference between Woodland Christian and East Nicolaus and Carnegie Schools also is nearly 100 places apart. We admit that we do look at computer rankings for these divisional state rankings. For teams close together they don’t matter but larger differences are taken into consideration.

Mark Tennis is the editor and publisher of Cal-Hi Sports. He can be reached at markjtennis@gmail.com. Don’t forget to follow Mark on the Cal-Hi Sports Twitter handle: @CalHiSports


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