In addition to overall No. 1 San Marcos, others that can claim they are mythical state champions for 2018 are Newbury Park (Division II), West of Torrance (D3), Sutter (D4) and East Nicolaus of Nicolaus (D5).
For State Team of the Year announcement recognizing state’s No. 1 overall team for season, CLICK HERE.
It wasn’t that long ago when teams like Mission Viejo, Chino and Yucaipa were in the CIF Southern Section Division II playoffs and it was possible for a team to be No. 1 in the state for D1 and not be No. 1 in the state overall. It looks like those days are gone forever and in the future it may be hard for any D2 teams to even get placed inside the State Top 20. San Marcos’ girls basketball team wasn’t in the San Diego Section Open Division so it was D2 in that sport. This softball team has been Open Division and seeking out top competition for several years.
For the second straight year, a team from Ventura County has grabbed the final top ranking in the state for D2 schools. That’s mainly because the Panthers followed Camarillo in winning the CIFSS D2 championship. We knew going into the week that whichever team won the title in that bracket would end No. 1. Newbury Park was ranked No. 3, but beat No. 2 Esperanza of Anaheim in the semis and then in the final defeated No. 4 M.L. King of Riverside 3-1. M.L. King had won in the other semifinal over previous No. 1 Buena of Ventura. Newbury Park (27-5) was led by SeaEnna Satcher with two hits and all three RBI along with pitcher Cory Carrillo. She had a 0.57 ERA in her five postseason outings. This is the first CIFSS championship season for the Panthers and is their first-ever mythical state crown.
This year’s No. 1 state finish in D3 marks the second straight year that a school from Torrance has ended the season with a mythical state title. Last year, it was South of Torrance in Division 4. The Warriors (30-3) won the CIFSS D3 title last Saturday with a 6-4 triumph against Redlands East Valley. Mailee Newman made the big pitches when she had to while Sommer Kisling went 4-for-4 with a run scored and an RBI. West needed some help to complete its No. 1 in the state finish. If Benicia had not lost a game to Vanden of Fairfield to force an extra game to decide the CIF Sac-Joaquin Section D3 title, then the Panthers (28-3-1) would have been No. 1. Even though Benicia came back to win its section title, that loss has to count negatively compared to a team like West of Torrance from a section in which one loss means the end of the season. Benicia also was the runner-up in this division last year.
If you don’t know, this program from a small-town near Yuba City-Marysville has a pretty remarkable softball tradition. UCLA’s Taylor Pack is from Sutter and so is recent University of Oregon All-American Jessica Moore. This year’s Huskies ended 27-1 and won the CIF Northern Section D4 crown. They weren’t as dominant as in 2009 when Moore pitched them to a 34-0 record and No. 1 finish in the D4 state rankings, but they were certainly strong enough to be back to No. 1 in D4 for this season. They were No. 2 to start last week, but are moving up due to previously unbeaten Templeton not winning the CIF Southern Section Division 5 title. Sutter also was No. 1 previously in 2008 when it went 35-2 in Moore’s junior season.
East Nicolaus (Nicolaus)
Like Sutter, this team won a CIF Northern Section title on May 19 and has been waiting to see how the final D5 state rankings wrapped up. The Spartans (32-2) probably would have finished behind Woodland Christian if it had not lost a game en route to the CIF Sac-Joaquin Section Division 6 title. They also probably would have finished behind Carnegie Schools of Riverside if it had gone unbeaten in winning the CIFSS D6 title. That title instead was won by Highland of Palmdale (25-6), which we don’t consider D5 since it is a large school playing in a lower CIFSS division due to competitive equity factors. The CIFSS is still one of only two CIF sections (San Diego is the other) in which large, public high schools are able to play traditional small schools in lower division section playoffs. It’s been awhile but East Nicolaus has been No. 1 in the state for D5 before. The last time was in 2008 and it also happened in 2001 and 1987.