More Baseball State Teams of Year

In addition to overall No. 1 and Division 2 No. 1 Thousand Oaks, others that can say they are mythical state champions for 2021 are Harvard-Westlake of Studio City (Division I), Rio Americano of Sacramento (D3), Tamalpais of Mill Valley (D4) and Colusa (D5).

For more on the 2021 State Team of the Year announcement,

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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:

Jared Halpert has been Harvard-Westlake’s head coach since 2016 and has been manager of the 15-under USA Baseball national team. Photo: @HWBaseball /

Division I
Harvard-Westlake (Studio City)

If anyone were to rank the Wolverines higher than Thousand Oaks, there’s not going to be an argument from us. They are deserving of all and any accolades they get for going 28-4 and winning the CIF Southern Section D1 championship. Harvard-Westlake, which defeated CIF SoCal D1 champion JSerra in the section final and had three wins over the Lions during the course of the season, was State Team of the Year previously in 2013 with the same record as this season. After the loss of a stellar group of seniors from the year before, this was not supposed to be the year that Harvard-Westlake was this strong. But freshman pitcher Bryce Rainer went 9-0 to give the Wolverines a dominating 1-2 punch with senior pitcher Christian Becerra (Cal), who tossed a one-hit shutout in the CIFSS title game. Junior outfielder Toussaint Bythewood also had a breakout year. He’s been named MVP of the Mission League.

Division II
Thousand Oaks

Picking between Maxwell Muncy and Roc Riggio for postseason honors is something we may not have to do, but Muncy is the one who has been selected Marmonte League MVP. Riggio was joined on the all-league first team by Charlie Saum, Dylan Jackson and Justin Abercrombie. Lancer senior Myles Weiss was chosen as the league’s pitcher of the year. In case you’re wondering, there have been years in which a lower division CIFSS championship team has been State Team of the Year over the D1 winner, including Ontario (26-0) in 1991. This isn’t going to happen again when the CIFSS uses full-blown competitive equity seeding for its playoffs. All teams like Ontario 1991 and Thousand Oaks 2021 will likely be placed in the very top division.

Will Heron led Rio Americano with 11 home runs. Photo: Courtesy School.

Division III
Rio Americano (Sacramento)

There were not even CIF Sac-Joaquin Section playoffs for the Raiders to prove themselves, but they sure did during a 27-game season in which they won 25 times. It also helped their cause greatly in moving up to claim the D3 State TOY selection that Royal of Simi Valley fell in the CIF SoCal D4 championship game to a Ridgeview of Bakersfield squad that had 10 losses during the season. This is the second straight time that the SJS has had an outstanding baseball team grab the D3 state selection. Two years ago, Los Banos (28-1) was the honoree. Previous to that, the SJS had the No. 1 D3 team in the state in 2014 with Manteca. Rio also was able to get in a game with nearby Jesuit of Carmichael, an SJS D1 school that was probably the best team overall in the section last year when the pandemic broke out. The Raiders edged the Marauders, 6-5. One of their two losses was to D2 Ponderosa of Shingle Springs. The other was to league rival Del Campo of Fair Oaks, which they beat twice. Senior Will Heron belted 11 homers with 40 RBI to lead he offense. Elijah Rogalski also was huge as he batted .423 with six homers and 27 RBI plus he pitched with a 7-1 record and 2.26 ERA. Daniel Giberson recorded the team’s top pitching totals with a 7-0 record and 1.00 ERA.

Division IV
Tamalpais (Mill Valley)

With no playoffs in the CIF North Coast Section, there was a lot of flexibility on which division to place the Red-Tailed Hawks. Teams from the Marin County Athletic League have been D2, D3 and D4 in baseball over the years. Similar to Rio Americano in D3, Tam also moves up for the final rankings. It needed Christian of El Cajon (previously 26-4) to lose in the CIF SoCal D4 final, which happened in a loss to La Habra (which is D3 in our five-division format). It was even harder to evaluate the Red-Tailed Hawks since all of their games were contained to the MCAL. Still, this was a special group that Prep Baseball Report has had as high as sixth overall in its state rankings. We’ll be moving up Tam in our final overall rankings as well. It just won’t be sixth. The team’s only loss in a 19-1 season was 2-1 to league rival Marin Catholic (which was a team the Red-Tailed Hawks also beat twice). There’s also no doubt Tam had one of the top two-way players in Northern California in Cal-bound Tucker Bougie. He batted .442 with four homers and went 6-0 on the mound with a 0.43 ERA. Junior Matteo Bellisimo led the club in RBI with 27, also hit four homers and batted .333. Another dominating pitcher was Alex Dargan (7-0, 1.86). This is the first time that a Marin County team has finished No. 1 in the state in any division. Tam itself ended at No. 6 in the final D3 rankings in 2014.

Division V

This school has never been D5 State Team of the Year before, but head coach Eric Lay has been a coach of a team that high since he was at Maxwell from 2001 to 2011 and had a team in 2011 at Maxwell that went 30-0 and was D5 State TOY. Lay’s club this spring went 27-1 with the big win being against 19-1 Pleasant Valley of Chico. Colusa’s only loss was 5-3 to Woodland Christian of the Sac-Joaquin, a 10-2 team that also will be in the top five of the final D5 state rankings but had losses to Pioneer of Woodland and Alpha Charter of Elverta. Lay has now been at Colusa for several years and is building a small school powerhouse program in the CIF Northern Section similar to head coach Jeff Ingles at Winters. The RedHawks should be loaded next spring with juniors Emanuel Frias and Ethan Lay both back. Frias led this year’s team in homers (six) and RBI (46) and he batted 458. Lay hit .400 with 32 RBI and he went 8-0 on the mound with a 0.32 ERA. Drew Bradbury led Colusa’s senior class. He went 11-1 as a pitcher with a 0.89 ERA and he batted .356 with 31 RBI. Winters was the last CIF Northern Section team to earn D5 final No. 1 honors in 2017. Colusa was No. 5 in 2014.

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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2 Trackbacks

  1. […] Pink-tailed Hawks, who completed because the MCAL’s greatest workforce at 19-1, were named the Division IV State Team of the Year by Cal-Hi Sports. The identical outlet ranked Tam because the No. 2 workforce in Division IV final week however gave […]

  2. […] Pink-tailed Hawks, who completed because the MCAL’s greatest workforce at 19-1, were named the Division IV State Team of the Year by Cal-Hi Sports. The identical outlet ranked Tam because the No. 2 workforce in Division IV final week however gave […]

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