Unlike past seasons, No. 1 Norco will have to wait another week to officially be named State Team of the Year since the CIF Southern Section championships concluded one week earlier than much of the rest of state’s section playoffs. No. 2 Foothill also is chasing history — and an unbeaten season — in the CIF North Coast Section. We only have one newcomer this week, but it’s a team that is likely to stay in the final rankings since Stockdale of Bakersfield has won a section crown.
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(Previous ranking listed in parentheses)
(Through reported results of Saturday, May 18)
(Results from some games played on Monday, May 20 or later not included)
*Indicates season complete.
(Thanks to correspondents Chuck Nan for Orange County, Daniel Poulter for Northern California and Bill Hutton for CIF Central Coast Section for providing writeups and information)
1. (1) Norco 31-1*
Two years ago, the Cougars were No. 1 in the state and nation but then lost in the CIF Southern Section D1 final to Los Alamitos. Last year, they got it done in that section final but weren’t No. 1 in the state after losing in a late-season non-league game at San Marcos (eventual CIF San Diego Section Open Division champ). This year, some would argue that a loss to Santiago of Corona should cost Norco the No. 1 ranking in the state if current No. 2 Foothill were to finish unbeaten. But the Cougars also handily beat Santiago and completed a dominant run to their second straight CIFSS D1 title with a 2-0 victory last Friday over Great Oak of Temecula. Sarah Willis pitched her third playoff shutout and was helped out by a sacrifice fly in the fourth inning by Paige Smith (she had seven RBI in the playoffs) and an RBI single in the sixth by Kyleigh Sand. This is the first back-to-back champion in the nation’s toughest playoff bracket since Valencia did it in 2007, 2008. We’ll have more on the Norco girls in our State Team of the Year announcement, which won’t be done until next week after every team in the state is done playing.