Baseball: Divisional State Ranks

Pacific Grove head coach Gil Ruiz had team in 2013 that ended 31-0 and No. 1 in the state in Division IV. His team this season was placed at No. 4 this week in D4. Photo: Mark Tennis.

As the CIF Southern Section is about to slice up its playoff brackets in baseball to just four left in each one after Friday’s quarterfinals, some other section playoffs around the state (CCS, NCS, Sac-Joaquin) are just getting around to releasing their brackets. We wish we had more time to do more weeks of these divisional state rankings, but we certainly aren’t taking a year off and are glad to list No. 1 teams in each of our five divisions. They are Lutheran of Orange (D1), Santa Margarita (D2), Los Banos (D3), Pasadena Poly (D4) and Mariposa County (D5). Good luck to all teams as the race for mythical state titles now gets underway.

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(After games of Tuesday, May 7)
*Indicates season complete.
(Teams placed in divisions based on section playoff divisions and also on previous years in which we’ve been doing state divisional rankings.)

1. Lutheran (Orange) 27-4
2. De La Salle (Concord) 24-1
3. Cypress 28-3
4. Harvard-Westlake (Studio City) 25-5-1
5. La Mirada 25-6
6. Valley Christian (San Jose) 25-4
7. Buchanan (Clovis) 26-3
8. Huntington Beach 24-6
9. Yucaipa 26-5
10. Vacaville 26-2
11. Aliso Niguel (Aliso Viejo) 28-4
12. Amador Valley (Pleasanton) 20-3
13. Poway 23-5
14. Mira Costa (Manhattan Beach) 23-8
15. Notre Dame (Sherman Oaks) 24-7*
Bubble Teams:See same teams listed on the bubble for the State Top 25 overall rankings.
Notes/Comments: Friday’s CIF Southern Section Division I quarterfinals will be Orange Lutheran vs. Harvard-Westlake, Aliso Niguel vs. Huntington Beach, La Mirada vs. Mira Costa and Yucaipa vs. Cypress. Notre Dame, which was No. 4 overall to start the week in our State Top 25 rankings package, lost on Tuesday in the second round of the CIFSS D1 playoffs to Mira Costa.

Stephen Klenske’s dominance on the mound has sparked Sage Creek to a 25-4 record entering an expected high seed in the CIF San Diego Section D2 playoffs. Photo:

1. Santa Margarita (Rancho SM) 23-11
2. Redondo Union (Redondo Beach) 23-9
3. Classical Academy (Escondido) 25-4
4. El Camino Real (Woodland Hills) 21-8-1
5. Santa Cruz 21-5
6. Great Oak (Temecula) 20-9-1
7. Sage Creek (Carlsbad) 25-4
8. Pleasant Valley (Chico) 21-4
9. Buhach Colony (Atwater) 21-5
10. El Segundo 21-8
Bubble Teams: Aptos 18-4-1, Arcadia 25-2*, Crescenta Valley (La Crescenta) 19-9, La Canada 20-7, Marin Catholic (Kentfield) 17-6, Monterey 18-9, Point Loma (San Diego) 22-4-2, Quartz Hill 23-8, Sanger 20-6-1, San Joaquin Memorial (Fresno) 24-5, San Pedro 27-4, Washington (Fremont) 19-4.
Notes/Comments: Santa Margarita is of course from the same Trinity League as D1 No. 1 Orange Lutheran and was battling JSerra for second-place late in the regular season. Redondo also is in the CIFSS D2 quarterfinals and in its last two-game series with Mira Costa of Manhattan Beach got a split with the Mustangs. Costa has opened up the CIFSS D1 playoffs with wins over JSerra and Notre Dame of Sherman Oaks.
Classical Academy and Sage Creek might both be in the CIF San Diego Section Open Division if that section brought up teams from all divisions to its Open Division. One of Classical Academy’s wins has come against Poway. Sage Creek has one of the best pitchers in the section regardless of class in Stephen Klenske, who was a recent SoCal Player of the Week. Both teams are shown as D2 for the San Diego playoffs.
Like we did for softball, we’ve put the L.A. City Section Open Division into D2 for these rankings for the first time. L.A. City baseball has had some of the top teams in the state in its history (El Camino Real 2005, Chatsworth 2004 and Granada Hills Kennedy 1996 were State Team of the Year), but in more recent years the section’s top teams have been more in line with CIFSS D2 teams instead of CIFSS D1, especially with the competitive equity factors added in.
Arcadia might have been No. 1 in this division, but the Apaches were upset in their second-round CIFSS D2 game on Tuesday by El Segundo. Arcadia was 25-1 entering that game and was the top seed in the bracket.
Great Oak of Temecula is in the CIFSS D3 playoffs (not D2) and is also from one of the state’s toughest leagues. For our five-division state rankings format, we combine teams from both the CIFSS D2 and D3 brackets. Maybe someday we’ll go to seven or eight divisions, but not yet.

Ramirez is making the most of his senior season at Los Banos. Photo: Courtesy family.

1. Los Banos 24-1
2. Highland (Bakersfield) 25-2
3. Las Lomas (Walnut Creek) 20-3
4. Sierra (Manteca) 20-3-1
5. Sonora (La Habra) 22-8
6. Canyon Springs (Moreno Valley) 19-7
7. Cardinal Newman (Santa Rosa) 19-6
8. Patrick Henry (San Diego) 20-6-1
9. Summit (Fontana) 18-6
10. Valhalla (El Cajon) 20-7
Bubble Teams: Alhambra (Martinez) 17-6, Aragon (San Mateo) 18-5, Century (Santa Ana) 20-5, Immanuel (Reedley) 22-6, Kennedy (La Palma) 22-9, Mission Prep (San Luis Obispo) 16-10, Rancho Verde (Moreno Valley) 21-6, San Pasqual (Escondido) 19-11, St. Joseph Notre Dame (Alameda) 16-7, Sutter 23-8.
Notes/Comments: With the addition of Watsonville transfer Maxx Ramirez and the return of other top players, Los Banos has had a memorable season so far, but it seems like it won’t be easy in the CIF Sac-Joaquin Section D3 playoffs since Sierra of Manteca (champions of the Valley Oak League) also may be in the bracket. We won’t know for sure since the SJS brackets aren’t out yet as these rankings were done but both Los Banos and Sierra are listed for D3 according to enrollments.
Las Lomas just lost a game this week to Northgate, but the Knights still look like a contender for the top spot in D3 based on the projected bracket they may be in for the CIF North Coast Section playoffs.
Sonora of La Habra is the top seed for the CIFSS D4 playoffs and being a top seed and winning the first two games isn’t as easy as you’d think with these divisions more based on competitive equity. Canyon Springs and Summit also are high seeds in that bracket that were set to play in Friday’s quarterfinals.
For the CIFSS D5 playoffs, we have had to have a mix of teams that are D3 for our state rankings and D4. Century and Rancho Verde are D3 because they’re just a lot bigger than the schools we usually have in D4.
No. 10 Valhalla of El Cajon is the team that has won 11 straight extra-inning games. The amazing streak includes 7-for-7 for the Norsemen in extra-inning games this season.

1. Poly (Pasadena) 17-3
2. Argonaut (Jackson) 19-2
3. McKinleyville 19-2
4. Pacific Grove 20-4
5. Southwest (San Diego) 22-9
6. Salesian (Los Angeles) 16-11
7. Winters 22-4
8. Menlo School (Atherton) 16-8
9. Colfax 22-6
10. Colusa 22-7
Bubble Teams: Arcata 20-5, Arroyo (El Monte) 13-8, Calipatria 14-6, Costa Mesa 13-11, Dunn School (Los Olivos) 19-4*, El Monte 14-7-1, Exeter 20-9, Lowell (San Francisco) 19-6, Orange Glen (Escondido) 16-6, Redwood Christian (San Lorenzo) 16-7, Sierra Pacific (Hanford) 21-4*, Taft 21-6, Torres (Los Angeles) 15-3-1, West Campus (Sacramento) 16-1.
Notes/Comments: As explained above, we have to have a mix of D3 and D4 teams for our rankings when looking at teams in the CIFSS D5 playoffs. Pasadena Poly is in fact the top seed in that bracket and to win the title will have to play some schools that are much bigger. It is for that reason why we placed the Panthers in the No. 1 spot for our D4. New head coach Nick Wagner’s team also has started out the playoffs impressively with wins of 10-1 over Coachella Valley of Thermal and 2-0 over Santa Paula.
McKinleyville would have been 20-1 instead of 19-2 had the Panthers not lost a game last week to Eureka. They have been leading the Humboldt-Del Norte Big 5 Conference all season. The first loss was to Arcata (which McKinleyville has beaten twice). The loss to Eureka also was to a team that the Panthers have beaten twice.
There’s already been a big upset in the CIF Central Section D4 playoffs as top seed Sierra Pacific lost to No. 16 Madera South earlier this week. Sierra Pacific all-state small schools pitcher Will Springer had already announced he’d have to shut it down for the rest of the season a few weeks ago. Springer has signed with Fresno State.

1. Mariposa County (Mariposa) 21-2
2. Faith Baptist (Canoga Park) 18-1
3. Calvary Murrieta (Murrieta) 18-5
4. Woodland Christian 21-4
5. Minarets (O’Neals) 21-6
6. Bay School (San Francisco) 17-3-1
7. St. Vincent de Paul (Petaluma) 20-4
8. Maywood CES (Los Angeles) 18-1
9. Rio Hondo Prep (Arcadia) 15-7
10. Ripon Christian 17-6
Bubble Teams: Athenian (Danville) 11-4, Biggs 12-3, Calvin Christian Academy (Chula Vista) 15-3, Durham 14-5, Fremont Christian 19-6, Liberty (Madera Ranchos) 18-9, Marshall (Pasadena) 14-8, St. Thomas More (San Jose) 18-5, Port of Los Angeles (San Pedro) 21-2, United Christian Academy (Rancho Cucamonga) 15-3
Notes/Comments: One of the main reasons for Mariposa being No. 1 in this division is that the Grizzlies own a head-to-head win over Minarets, the top seeded team in the CIF Central Section D5 playoffs and a team that has been No. 1 in this division in the state before.
All CIFSS teams that are D7 are considered D5 for these state rankings. The top seed in that bracket and still going heading into Friday is United Christian Academy. There are CIFSS D6 teams that also are considered D5 for our divisions. Both Faith Baptist and Calvary Murrieta would fall into that category and if either one were to win the CIFSS D6 title then that team would be tough to beat for the final No. 1 D5 state ranking.

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

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