More Baseball State Teams of the Year

It resembled a ticker tape parade after the Oakmont of Roseville baseball team captured the CIF NorCal D3 championship. Photo: @ohshardball /

State Team of the Year honors for the 2024 baseball season already were handed out to Corona High on May 26 since the Panthers had opted out of the CIF SoCal regional playoffs after winning the CIF Southern Section D1 title. Here now would be other teams that can say they are mythical state champions for 2024: Cardinal Newman of Santa Rosa (D2), Oakmont of Roseville (D3), Bradshaw Christian of Sacramento (D4) and Woodland Christian (D5).

For more on the 2024 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:

Division I

While Corona’s 30-3 record after winning not just the CIFSS D1 title but also the prestigious National High School Invitational title was enough for it to be placed in the final No. 1 state ranking without having to play any more games in the regional, it would be remiss to also not acknowledge the great season that Granada of Livermore just wrapped up. The Matadors won their first CIF NorCal D1 title and completed a 32-1 season that has them being compared to some of the best teams in Bay Area history. They got past St. Mary’s of Stockton last Saturday, 6-4, in the regional final. We’ll have more on both teams when we release the final overall State TOP 35 rankings.

Division II
Cardinal Newman (Santa Rosa)

The Cardinals needed to win the CIF NorCal D2 title to ensure a second straight D2 State Team of the Year honor and got the job done last Saturday with a 10-3 win over Redwood of Larkspur. Redwood came into the day at 28-4 and possibly could have jumped D2 state ranked No. 2 Hart of Newhall for the final No. 1 spot if it had won.

Instead of a pitching duel which is what happened when Cardinal Newman and Redwood battled for the CIF North Coast Section D2 title (it was a 1-0 win by the Cardinals in eight innings), the Cardinal Newman offense took control with an eight-run third inning. Leaders on the day included Tanner Bradley (3-for-4 with two runs scored), Diego Boardman (2-for-3 with two RBI) and Jacob Moreda (3-for-3).

It was a different path to the D2 State Team of the Year honor for head coach Derek DeBenedetti’s squad. Last season, the Cards (28-2) played up in the CIF NorCal D1 playoffs, knocked off CIF Sac-Joaquin Section D1 runner-up Whitney of Rocklin and then lost to CCS Open Division champ Valley Christian of San Jose in the semifinals. This time, they had to come back from a rather embarrassing 23-3 loss to Granite Bay in the Boras Classic NorCal title game. Since then, they won 20 of 21 games. Cardinal Newman also continued to play a strong schedule. Its 28-5 record included a win over CIF Sac-Joaquin Section D1 winner St. Mary’s of Stockton with losses to 32-1 Granada of Livermore plus 27-6 Valley Christian.

Josh Jannicelli was one of the team’s top pitchers and gave up two hits in 4 1/3 innings in the NorCal final. He finished 12-1 with a 0.73 ERA. Jack Pezzolo, who also was one of the team’s top hitters, ended 9-1 with a 1.24 ERA and had a perfect game in the NCS playoffs vs Vallejo. Both Jannicelli and Pezzolo will be back next season.

Cardinal Newman players and coaches did their CIF NorCal D2 championship photo alongside their outfield fence. Photo: Courtesy Jim Rael.

Division III
Oakmont (Roseville)

Possibly because the Vikings have been close to getting a State Team of the Year honor twice in the last five years, this is the time they got the nod. The CIF NorCal D3 champions can now add State D3 Team of the Year honors to their list of accomplishments.

Oakmont wound up having to beat defending NorCal D3 champ Central Catholic of Modesto twice in order to earn the top state ranking among D3 schools. It was a 3-0 win in the CIF Sac-Joaquin Section finals and then it was a 10-3 victory last Saturday for the NorCal D3 crown. The Vikings scored four times in the second inning and four more in the third to take control. Leaders included K.C. Tibbits (2 for 4 with a double and two RBI), Beau Ogles (2-for-3 with two runs scored) and Brady Fearn (2-for-3 with a double).

Pitching was more of what pushed the Vikings during the playoffs. We just named Trevor Wilson as a last NorCal Player of the Week for tossing a two-hitter in that win vs Central Catholic. In last week’s regionals, Wilson added a complete game with eight strikeouts in a 5-3 win vs Christopher of Gilroy and Ayden Dringenberg had a complete game with six strikeouts in a 6-4 win vs Gridley.

Two of Oakmont’s seven losses in a 30-7 campaign were to league rival Lincoln, which is a team the Vikings also beat four times. They also had notable wins over Whitney of Rocklin and Woodcreek of Roseville. Bakersfield Christian, which lost in the CIF SoCal D3 final to St. John Bosco (we did not consider the Braves D3 but D2), and Camarillo, which won the CIF Southern Section D4 title but opted out of the regionals, also were considered.

Oakmont is receiving a State Team of the Year selection in baseball for the first time in school history. The Vikings had better records in 2019 (30-3) and 2022 (26-4) but were No. 2 in D2 and No. 2 in D4 in the final state rankings for those seasons.

Bradshaw Christian players and coaches give their No. 1 salute after winning CIF NorCal D4 title. That’s also the number of losses they had in an almost perfect season. Photo: @CIFState /

Division IV
Bradshaw Christian (Sacramento)

We were not able to do very many five-division state rankings during the season (only one before the regional finals to be exact) since it’s impossible to know which divisions teams are going to be placed in by the CIF for the regional playoffs. Still, throughout much of the spring, it was thought that either Bradshaw Christian or Liberty of Madera Ranchos were going to be the two main D4 type programs to watch.

Both teams won CIF sectional titles, but in the NorCal regional playoffs Liberty was placed in D3 while Bradshaw went to D4. The two teams had respective records of 30-2 and 29-1. If Liberty had not lost in the first round to Christopher of Gilroy compared to Bradshaw winning the title in D4 it might have been different. The result was a 32-1 final record for the Lions and they thus pretty much had to be the D4 top pick.

Head coach Drew Rickert’s team was not the top seed in the NorCal D4 bracket, but that didn’t matter. The Lions played top seed Piedmont in the final and blanked the Highlanders, 6-0. St. Mary’s College-bound Micah Nicholson pitched three of the shutout innings and went 3-for-3 at the plate with two RBI. Ethan Rickert also went 2-for-4 with a run scored. Nicholson also was not the team’s only major college-bound player, either. Pitcher David Wiser (Stanford) was lights out all season and in the semifinals (a 6-1 win over Mountain View) he gave up one hit in six innings and struck out seven.

Bradshaw Christian also is similar to Oakmont in D3 in that it has been close to the top of a division before but never at No. 1 until this season. The team’s previous top finishes include No. 2 in D5 in 2013 and No. 2 in D4 in 2022. Last year’s team also appeared in the final rankings at No. 7 in D4 with a 22-6 record. The team’s only loss was to Laguna Creek of Elk Grove and it ended the season on a 16-game winning streak.

Jeffrey Nannini went 2-for-4 with a run scored to help Woodland Christian defeat Menlo School in CIF NorCal D5 final. Photo: Woodland Daily Democrat.

Division V
Woodland Christian

A 10-0 win in the CIF NorCal D5 semifinal over Ferndale (which was 19-2-1 coming in) plus a loss by Colusa to Piedmont in the CIF NorCal D4 semifinals put the Cardinals in position to finish No. 1 in our D5 state rankings with a win last Saturday in the NorCal D5 final vs Menlo School of Atherton.

It was a tight game and Menlo had the tying and winning runs on base in the bottom of the seventh, but a 6-4-3 double play clinched a 3-2 win by head coach John Rodegerdts’ squad. Woodland Christian now adds a D5 State Team of Year honor to its 26-4 final record.

Leading hitters included Gabe Sanchez (.403 average with 27 hits), Owen Tessier (39 runs with 30 hits and a .380 average) and Wyatt Bickel (10 homers, 31 RBI). Bickel also went 8-2 on the mound with a 1.02 ERA. Sophomore Jayden Badhesha also finished 8-1 with a 1.40 ERA.

The baseball team ending No. 1 in the state in its division caps a great year for the Woodland Christian athletic department. In the fall, the football team capped a 15-0 season with a win vs Banning of Wilmington in the CIF D5-A state championship. The Cardinals also were placed in D5 for our five-division format and also were D5 State Team of the Year.

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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One Comment

  1. cptmycpa
    Posted June 5, 2024 at 9:01 am | Permalink

    Very impressive that the Sac-Joaquin Section won the State Teams of the Year in Divisions 3, 4, and 5, shutting out all the Bay Area sections.

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