In addition to overall No. 1 and Division I No. 1 Valley Christian of San Jose, others that can say they are mythical state champions for 2018 are Alameda (Division II), Maranatha of Pasadena (D3), Winters (D4) and Pasadena Poly (D5).
For more on the 2018 State Team of the Year announcement, CLICK HERE.
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Congratulations to these five baseball teams for being added to the list of all-time state teams of the year according to our traditional Cal-Hi Sports five-division format:
Valley Christian (San Jose)
With more and more sections adding Open Divisions and using competitive equity formulas to move up teams into the highest divisions, there may not be any time in the future when a team that isn’t from a top section playoff bracket is able to finish No. 1 overall in the state. Valley Christian capped its 29-3-1 season with a win over Los Gatos on May 26 in the CIF Central Coast Section Open Division championship.
In the 2011 season, head coach Ken Arnerich had a team that entered its final week of the season No. 1 in our D2 state rankings and with a record of 25-1. That team, however, suffered an upset loss to Campolindo of Moraga in the CIF North Coast Section D2 playoffs. This time, the top-seeded Hornets won their title and got some help to earn State D2 Team of the Year honors. Alameda nipped Maria Carrillo of Santa Rosa 4-3 to win the NCS D2 crown and cap a 28-2-1 season. The team was No. 2 entering the final week and moves up after previous No. 1 Beckman of Irvine lost in the CIF Southern Section D2 championship 8-1 to Yucaipa. The victorious Thunderbirds, in their first season under head coach Ralph Grajeda after the retirement of the legendary Jeff Stout, will end up No. 2 in the state in their division at 29-5.
Alameda, believe it or not, is listed as the 1909 State Team of the Year for baseball. In those years, the school was in a league with Oakland High, Berkeley and a few others in the Bay Area and didn’t lose a game (although our founder, the late Nelson Tennis, only came across five scores, all wins, for that team).
A three-run double in the fourth inning by Max Blessinger and three shutout innings of pitching by junior ace Dawson Netz lifted Maranatha (27-4) past La Salle of Pasadena in the CIFSS Division 3 championship. Maranatha moved up to the No. 1 ranking for D3 in the state to start the week and won earlier in the semifinals 4-0 over Redlands. The Minutemen have never ended No. 1 in the state any division previously in their school’s history. Their highest finish previously was No. 3 in D4 in 2010.
We made a big deal of it a few weeks ago when we moved up Winters from D5 to D4 for this year’s rankings and put the Warriors in the No. 1 position. Turns out we had them higher before. In fact, the Warriors were No. 1 before in D4 back in the 2003 season. This year’s team finished 30-1 and won its section title back on May 19. Head coach Jeff Ingles’ squad went 24-4-1 last year and was the final No. 1 team in Division V. This also is the second time in four years that a CIF Northern Section squad has been tops in the state in D4. Sutter was the team to do it in 2015.
Yes, it was an awesome baseball week for the Pasadena area and another No. 1 team from there in addition to Maranatha is going to be the Panthers. They got their chance when unbeaten St. Vincent de Paul of Petaluma lost in the CIF North Coast Section D5 semifinals and on Saturday won the CIFSS D6 title with a 6-1 win over Moreno Valley. Despite having to a play a large school in a lower division, Pasadena Poly (27-3) had Matt Queen on its side. Queen gave up four hits on the mound in six innings and he also had two hits with one RBI and a run scored as a batter. In 2011, the Panthers won the CIFSS title in their division but were No. 2 in the final D5 state rankings that season behind unbeaten Maxwell.