Softball State Ranks By Divisions

Players & coaches from Fowler are shown after they won CIF Central Section D4 title. The Redcats (25-1) have advanced to CIF SoCal D3 regional final. Photo: @RedcatAthletics /

With the 2020-21 season ending on Saturday with CIF SoCal regional championships, here’s a look at our own five-division state rankings for softball. For this year, we are combining the teams in the SoCal regional bracket into divisions (not the same) and then injecting where the NorCal teams would fit in based on our own criteria. With all of the teams opting out, we also went more by section playoff divisions and where we’ve had teams in previous years for division placement. The only team playing Saturday that can also lock up one of these rankings’ crowns is Fowler for D5.

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All teams are ranked in the same order as our overall State TOP 35 Rankings, adjusted for results so far this week.
All regional finals slated for Saturday (unless noted).
Since all of our previous division rankings have been done in five divisions and since this year’s format for the SoCal regionals wasn’t completely known until the actual pairings came out, we are continuing with the same divisions.
These five divisions aren’t the same as the section divisions or this week’s CIF SoCal playoffs. An Open Division team from one section, for example, may be D2 or D3 for the state, but may be D1 for us. The CIF Southern Section also had seven playoff divisions, which require us to condense its teams into five divisions below. The breakdown is that all CIFSS D1 teams are D1 for us, D2 is D2 for us, D3 & D4 from the CIFSS would be D3 for us, then for CIFSS D5, D6 and D7 teams it’s a mix of placements into D3, D4 and D5 for us. Larger enrollment schools can never be D5 for us, but a few can be D4. Placing teams into five state divisions is something we’ve been doing for many years.
Teams from Northern California sections that did not have playoffs this year were placed into the same divisions in which they were placed two years ago (no playoffs last year) other than one exception (explained below).

1. Esperanza (Anaheim) 22-2
2. Norco 27-2
3. St. Francis (Mountain View) 26-0
4. Mater Dei Catholic (Chula Vista) 26-2
5. Heritage (Brentwood) 23-0
6. Clovis North (Fresno) 21-1
7. Roosevelt (Eastvale) 21-6
8. Rocklin 18-2
9. Foothill (Pleasanton) 17-2
10. Chino Hills 20-6
11. Pacifica (Garden Grove) 20-4
12. Sheldon (Sacramento) 21-2
13. Huntington Beach 21-5
14. Los Alamitos 19-8
15. Clovis 23-5
More Teams: Bonita Vista (Chula Vista) 18-7, Crescenta Valley (La Crescenta) 16-5, Liberty (Bakersfield) 19-1, Murrieta Mesa (Murrieta) 18-9, Rancho Buena Vista (Vista) 23-7.
Notes: Esperanza, Norco, Mater Dei Catholic, Clovis North and Roosevelt all opted out of the first-ever CIF SoCal regional playoffs. St. Francis won CIF Central Coast Section Open Division title, then season was over. Heritage, Rocklin, Foothill and Sheldon from CIF sections that did not even have section playoffs. Los Alamitos and Clovis were both in the CIF SoCal D1 playoffs, but neither one made it to the final game.

Rylee Pinedo enjoyed a 4-for-4 afternoon earlier this week in Camarillo’s win vs. El Camino Real. Photo: @scorpsoftball /

1. Upland 25-2
2. Villa Park 24-3
3. Camarillo 20-2
4. Westlake (Westlake Village) 22-3
5. Roseville 18-5
6. Livermore 16-3
7. Oaks Christian (Westlake Village) 18-4
8. Downey 19-5
9. Grand Terrace 12-1
10. Watsonville 19-1*
11. Carlsbad 17-7
12. Otay Ranch (Chula Vista) 18-7
13. Del Oro (Loomis) 16-7
14. San Benito (Hollister) 13-5*
15. Pitman (Turlock) 12-2
More Teams: Golden Valley (Merced) 16-2, Helix (La Mesa) 26-6, Patrick Henry (San Diego) 18-8, Pioneer (San Jose) 14-6, San Marcos 21-7.
Notes: Upland won the CIF Southern Section D2 title with a victory over Villa Park, then both teams opted out of CIF SoCal regional playoffs. The two semifinalists in that bracket, Camarillo and Westlake, also were eligible to be taken into those playoffs and both accepted. They will play on Saturday to decide the D1 regional champion. Camarillo, which has an earlier win vs. Westlake, won on Thursday in the semifinals 2-1 over Los Alamitos. Westlake had to travel to play Clovis and won 9-2. Those two teams were No. 7 and No. 8 in our State TOP 35 rankings this week so the two playing each other is not a surprise. Watsonville was one team that emerged in doing research for these division rankings as a possible team to write up for our final expanded overall rankings. The Wildcatz defeated Westmont of Campbell, 4-2, to win the CCS D1 championship. Their only loss was to a St. Francis of Watsonville squad that they also defeated.

Victoria Rey was one of the leading players for Notre Dame of Salinas. Photo:

1. Notre Dame (Salinas) 17-3
2. Sultana (Hesperia) 20-2
3. El Camino Real (Woodland Hills) 15-4
4. Vanden (Fairfield) 11-0
5. Oxnard 18-6
6. Cerritos 23-2
7. Whittier Christian (La Habra) 23-3
8. College Park (Walnut Creek) 14-2
9. Rosary (Fullerton) 22-12
10. Hemet 21-8
More Teams: Alhambra (Martinez) 19-4, Aragon (San Mateo) 15-3, Branham (San Jose) 14-3, Dixon 14-1, Kingsburg 18-9, Louisville (Woodland Hills) 17-4, Notre Dame (Sherman Oaks) 15-4, Oakdale 11-2, Redondo (Redondo Beach) 16-8, Segerstrom (Santa Ana) 22-3, Summit (Fontana) 12-2, Vista del Lago (Folsom) 18-3.
Notes: Sultana is playing Oxnard on Saturday for the CIF SoCal D2 title. Both teams would be D3 for these rankings. It was looked at closely to see if Sultana could be No. 1 for our D3 heading into that matchup, but Notre Dame of Salinas has been D3 and should be higher ranked than any others. The Spirits lost 6-0 to St. Francis of Mountain View in the CCS Open Division championship, but they got there with earlier CCS Open wins over Archbishop Mitty and Pioneer. Notre Dame also has to get credit for scheduling three top teams from the CIF Central Section (win vs. Buchanan, one-run loss to Clovis North and 10-5 loss to Clovis). Plus, the team picked up a solid local win over San Benito of Hollister (No. 14 in D2 above). El Camino Real as D3 is in keeping with our placement of all L.A. City Section teams no higher than D3 in all sports (other than boys hoops). This is a competitive equity move and has made sense when you look at results of L.A. City teams in recent years when it has been forced to play in higher divisions.

1. Sutter 24-0
2. Marin Catholic (Kentfield) 14-1
3. East Nicolaus (Nicolaus) 23-2
4. St. Bonaventure (Ventura) 21-6
5. Redwood (Larkspur) 17-2
6. Ocean View (Huntington Beach) 17-10
7. San Marcos (Santa Barbara) 20-5
8. Escalon 16-2
9. Marysville 17-5
10. Highland (Bakersfield) 20-4
More Teams: Kearny (San Diego) 21-5, Lakeside (Lake Elsinore) 14-6, Lassen (Susanville) 17-3, Liberty (Madera Ranchos) 19-7, Orange Vista (Perris) 17-6, Shafter 14-2.
Notes: The hardest call was what to do at the top of D5 and where to place East Nicolaus. The Spartans have been D5 over the years and were No. 1 in D5 in 2019. We’ve mentioned that it’s been a possibility of moving them up to D4 and decided this was the year to do it, especially since we wanted to put Fowler in a position to win in the CIF SoCal D3 championship and perhaps lock up the final D5 No. 1 ranking. East Nicolaus lost its only games to Sutter and Roseville. We also wouldn’t have made this move if we also determined that East Nicolaus was going to move up in the final overall rankings. Sutter also had a key win over Elk Grove in its unbeaten season and handed Lassen of Susanville two of its three losses. St. Bonaventure has advanced to the CIF SoCal D3 final opposite Fowler. In the CIF SoCal D4 championship, it will be Holtville vs. Highland of Bakersfield. We have Holtville as a D5 for these rankings with Highland as a D4.

1. Fowler 25-1
2. Western Christian (Upland) 19-2
3. Calaveras (San Andreas) 15-0
4. Heritage Christian (Northridge) 14-7
5. Holtville 21-4*
6. Bayfront Charter (Chula Vista) 26-5
7. Orestimba (Newman) 13-1
8. Paradise 16-3
9. St. Helena 17-6
10. St. Monica (Santa Monica) 14-2
More Teams: Alverno Heights Academy (Sierra Madre) 11-4, Legacy (South Gate) 11-4, Mission Prep (San Luis Obispo) 13-14*, Rio Hondo Prep (La Canada) 17-4, Quincy 16-2, University Prep (Victorville) 16-5.
Notes: In reaching the CIF SoCal D3 final vs. D4 state-ranked St. Bonaventure, Fowler took on and defeated a Tulare squad that won a CIF Central Section title in a higher division. The Redcats’ only loss came early in the season to Sanger. If Fowler loses to St. Bonaventure, it could still end up No. 1 in this state rankings division, but Western Christian also would have to be seriously considered. That team lost in its CIFSS divisional final to Ocean View of Huntington Beach (a larger school) and wasn’t in the CIF SoCal playoffs. Holtville (No. 5 above) is facing D4 Highland of Bakersfield on Saturday in the CIF D4 regional final.

*Indicates forfeit wins not included.

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

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  1. Norm Schendel
    Posted June 25, 2021 at 2:47 pm | Permalink

    Fowler’s loss was to Sanger high school, (D-2) not Selma high school.

  2. JeffT
    Posted June 25, 2021 at 4:46 pm | Permalink

    East Nicolaus is a public High School with only 300 students. How in the world can they be considered D4. Simply unfair and tarnishes this school’s wonderful accomplishments this year by taking away a mythical state title.

    • Mark Tennis
      Posted June 26, 2021 at 10:46 am | Permalink

      Us putting them in D4 is going to be nothing to what the CIF does to East Nicolaus softball when competitive equity seeding is used for regional playoffs. It will be D3 or even higher.

  3. robert hewitt
    Posted June 26, 2021 at 9:12 am | Permalink

    You wanted Fowler to be #1 so you moved East Nicolaus up with much larger schools to justify your ranking.
    If divisions are based on population, then that is how teams should be judged. If not, just do 1 overall ranking.

    • Mark Tennis
      Posted June 26, 2021 at 10:40 am | Permalink

      Divisions have never been based completely on population. Public schools with low enrollments that dominate in D5 have been moved up before to D4 in other sports.

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