Final Bay Area Baseball Top 25 Rankings

This season’s final baseball rankings are the most difficult I’ve ever had to put together.

We can consider St. Francis, a team that has been nationally ranked most of the year and has numerous impressive wins top Bay Area teams, including a victory against top-ranked De La Salle and three wins against Bellarmine.

St. Francis, though, lost to the Bells in the CCS Open quarters and suffered two defeats to fifth-ranked Mitty, which was the top-ranked team just a week ago.

College Park has a great record and steamrolled the competition in NCS Division II but I had to place the Falcons behind Leland and De La Salle after those two teams had a more difficult path to a championship.

Fans from NCS champions Tamalpais and Justin-Siena have a right to be upset after being left out but those teams didn’t beat a ranked team.

Wins in May count a lot more than wins in March but everything is weighed in these rankings and strength of schedule matters a great deal. It’s not who I think is the best team but who I believe has the most compelling body of work.

 

Last week’s rankings are in parentheses.

  1. (6) De La Salle 21-7

The Spartans won the NCS Division I championship for the second time in three years after a 1-0 semifinal win over Foothill as senior Austin Dondanville pitched a three-hitter and a 6-2 title game win against San Ramon Valley as junior Justin Hooper allowed just one hit in 5.1 innings.

Notes from the Spartans championship season:

  • De La Salle outscored opponents, 33-3, this postseason.
  • De La Salle has played in the NCS championship game for each of the past four seasons and a junior has been the winning pitcher in the two title wins. (Andrew Buckley – 2012)
  • The Spartans jumped on teams early this postseason, scoring 19 runs in the first two innings with 14 of those in the first inning.
  • The Spartans offense peaked at the right time and averaged 7.3 runs over its final 13 games.
  • Hooper touched 96 miles per hour in his final start and he may be a first round major league draft pick next year. Lefties that are 6-foot-6 and throw in the mid-90’s aren’t easy to find. Also, coach David Jeans monitored Hooper’s pitch count all season and his 101-pitch championship outing was the only time Hooper threw 90 or more pitches this season.
  • The Spartans were 16-2 when Michael McAdoo collects at least one hit, including 3-0 this postseason.
  • Chris Williams ended the season on a seven-game hit streak and was 6-for-11 in the playoffs.
  • Like Williams, John Velasco came within an eyelash of .400 and also started off the championship game with a triple to score the game’s first run.
  • It’s not easy being a pinch-hitter at any level but Blake Ogburn collected pinch hits in three of his final four tries this season, including twice in the playoffs and the hit that was the difference in the win over Foothill.

2. (9) Leland 23-9

The Chargers were the lone non-WCAL team in the CCS Open Division semifinals and ended up as champions after a 4-3, nine-inning win over Valley Christian and a 3-2 decision against Bellarmine, coming from behind in each game. Senior Conner DiNaro had the winning hit against the Warriors and junior Josh Wells delivered a sixth inning, run-scoring hit against the Bells that proved to be the difference.

Notes from the Chargers championship season:

  • Senior Josh Nasheed was the winning pitcher against both Valley Christian and Bellarmine and tossed ten shutout innings and allowed just five hits and one walk with eight strikeouts this postseason. Offensively, he was 6-for-13.
  • Brendt Citta was 7-for-14 with four runs batted in during the playoffs.
  • Wells was 4-for-7 with two doubles in the postseason.
  • In the playoffs, senior Josh Pederson pitched eight innings and allowed one earned run
  • The Chargers needed two one-run wins to become champions and it had plenty of experience as Leland was 7-3 in one-run decisions this season.
  • Leland suffered a 16-1 loss to Bellarmine on March 1 and started the season at 6-5.
  • Leland won the school’s first CCS baseball title since 1996.

3. (7) College Park 27-3

The Falcons cruised to its first NCS title in six years with a 9-0 win over Montgomery behind a two-hitter from Chris Brown and a 7-2 decision against Marin Catholic in the championship as Joe Demers pitched a five-hitter. In the two games, DeMers was also 4-for-6 with a home run and five runs batted in.

Notes from the Falcons championship season:

  • It’s no secret that the Falcons junior class is loaded as the two aces and five leading hitters are all juniors. College Park is a favorite to be a preseason top-ranked team in 2015.
  • The Falcons won its four playoff games against North Bay opponents by a 30-3 margin.
  • Joe DeMers won his final 10 starts and allowed two runs on seven hits in his two complete games this postseason.
  • DeMers finished tied for seventh in the NCS with 32 runs batted in, ninth in ERA (0.65), fifth in strikeouts (94), and tied for first with 12 wins.
  • Chris Brown, who won his final five starts, allowed just one run and in 13 innings this postseason and was tied for third with 11 wins.
  • In the playoffs, Nick Oar was 5-for-10 with two doubles, two home runs, and eight runs batted in.
  • In the playoffs, Trevor Larnach was 8-for-13 with four doubles and six runs batted in.
  • College Park allowed two runs or less in 25 of its 30 games.

4. (3) Bellarmine 26-8 Continue reading

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Final Bay Area Softball Top 25 Rankings

Last week’s rankings are in parentheses.

1. (1) Amador Valley 27-0

The Dons completed a perfect season with a 2-1 win over Granada in the NCS Division I final. Johanna Grauer had two base hits, and also pitched a gem, allowing five hits and striking out 11. Ashley Lotosynski also had two hits, including a triple and a walk.

Notes from the Dons championship season:

  • Grauer was 27-0 with a 0.51 earned run average and struck out 290 hitters and opponents hit just .097 against her. She never allowed more than three runs in any of her 27 starts and tossed 14 shutouts. Her 27 wins were third best in the state and she was sixth in California in strikeouts.
  • Offensively, Grauer was 8-for-11 with six runs batted in during the playoffs and was 22-for-40 over her last 11 games.
  • In the playoffs, Lotosynski was 6-for-7 with a homer and five runs batted in. Lotosynski’s 31 runs batted in are tied for 15th best in the NCS.
  • Victoria Molina ended the season with a eight-game hit streak, going 14-for-27 with 10 runs batted in during that time.
  • The dominant senior class ended its careers with a 98-8 varsity record with five of those losses during its freshman year.
  • The championship game was the first time since April 8 that the Dons did not score three runs in a game.
  • Amador Valley not only finished as NCS champions but also won the competitive Queen of the Mountain and Michelle Carew tournaments.
  • The Dons ended the year 7-0 in one-run games.

2. (2) Archbishop Mitty 30-1

The Monarchs took out Pioneer, 7-4, in the CCS Division II championship game for its third title in four years and eighth in ten years. Junior Madeleine Kim had three hits and was a home run away from the cycle.

Notes from the Monarchs championship season: Continue reading

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Bay Area Softball Top 25 Rankings

These are based on games played through May 24.  

Last week’s rankings are in parentheses.

1. (1) Amador Valley 25-0

Johanna Grauer pitched a six-inning no-hitter, struck out 12, and also drove in four runs in a 11-0 win over Castro Valley.

Amador Valley plays rival Foothill in the NCS Division I semifinals. The Dons outscored the Falcons, 22-6, in two regular season wins.

2. (2) Archbishop Mitty 27-1

The Monarchs won its quarterfinal against Capuchino, 8-1, behind a five-hitter from Stephanie Kristo.

Mitty will play WCAL foe Valley Christian in the semifinals. The Monarchs won two of three meetings with the Warriors this season.

3. (3) Alhambra 23-2 Continue reading

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Bay Area Baseball Top 25 Rankings

These are based on games played through May 24.

Last week’s rankings are in parentheses.

1. (2) Archbishop Mitty 24-6

Luke Rasmussen’s seventh inning home run lifted the Monarchs to the CCS Open semifinals in a 4-3 win versus San Benito.

In the two playoff wins, Rasmussen homered in each game and Kris Bubic allowed one unearned run in eight innings.

Mitty now meets Bellarmine in a Wednesday night semifinal. The teams have split its two meetings this season.

2. (1) *St. Francis 26-5

The defending champions were knocked off in the CCS Open quarters against rival Bellarmine, 2-0. Not only were the Lancers no-hit, but it was the first time it was shut out this season.

3. (3) Bellarmine 25-7

It’s difficult to keep the Bells behind the Lancers after Corby Punian tossed a no-hitter in a 2-0 quarterfinal win.

However, the Lancers won the three previous meetings and outscored Bellarmine, 25-9, in those games.

Because it is alive in the CCS Open semifinals, there is still a good chance Bellarmine can vault past St. Francis.

4. (4) Valley Christian-San Jose 22-9

The Warriors needed 12 innings in the opening round to beat Soquel, 2-1, and then shut down Scotts Valley, 3-0, behind Chris Manderson and Ben Hughes. Theron Kay pitched nine shutout innings against Soquel and had a key two-run double versus the Falcons.

The Warriors play Leland in the CCS Open semifinals.

5. (5) San Ramon Valley 19-7

The Wolves have scored 19 runs in the two playoff wins to reach the NCS Division I semifinals for the first time in 10 years. This includes a 10-5 victory over rival Monte Vista. In the two games, Nick Poirier had five hits and four runs batted in.

San Ramon hosts Noah Bremer and Berkeley in the semifinals on Wednesday.

6. (6) De La Salle 19-7

The Spartans scored six in the first inning against Castro Valley in the opening round and then tallied seven runs in the opening inning against Liberty and the result was 12-0 and 14-1 victories, respectively. Over the two games, Ben Polshuk had four hits and four runs batted in. Continue reading

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Baseball: NCS Division I Quarterfinal Previews

Can the East Bay Athletic League continue its dominance of the NCS Division I ranks?

Five of the eight quarterfinalists are from the EBAL and the league has a chance to send four teams to the semifinals for the second time in three seasons. (The league has represented seven of the eight semifinalists the last two years.)

The West Alameda County Conference recorded two impressive road wins over EBAL teams in the opening round. The WACC or old HAAL (Hayward Area Athletic League) hasn’t sent a team to the top division semifinals since Arroyo made it to the 3A East Bay semis in 2008. Continue reading

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Baseball: NCS Division II Quarterinal Previews

It’s comical to hear the North Bay vs. East Bay arguments that happen every season during the football, basketball, and baseball playoffs.

For the first time in a long time, the North Bay has a right to pound its chests during the baseball playoffs as Division II could feature an all-North Bay final four. This is remarkable considering a North Bay team hasn’t won an NCS Division II title since the NCS went away from the Redwood Empire/East Bay championships before the start of the 2009 season.

Also, the North Bay has had only six semifinalists in those five seasons and only one in each of the last four years. Continue reading

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Upsets Were the Story in the First Day of the NCS Baseball Playoffs… plus other notes on Tuesday’s games

Considering the top eight seeds advanced to the quarterfinals in both the NCS Division I and II brackets last season, we should have known there would be a few upsets this year.

In the one-and-done playoffs, you’re often only as strong as your top pitcher and numerous pitchers shined in the first day of the postseason.

In Division I, No. 4 seed Cal knew it had a tough draw when it got matched up with No. 13 Berkeley and Washington commit ace Noah Bremer. Bremer entered with a 0.34 earned run average and that actually went up as he allowed one earned run in his complete game 7-2 Yellowjackets win in San Ramon. Bremer also delivered two hits and three runs batted in as Berkeley advanced to the quarters for the first time in nine years. Continue reading

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Bay Area Softball Top 25 Rankings

These are based on all regular season games played.

Last week’s rankings are in parentheses.

 

1. (1) Amador Valley 24-0

The Dons are the NCS Division I top seed for the third consecutive year as it looks for its second title in four years.

Amador Valley gets a bye and will play either Castro Valley or Freedom in the quarterfinals.

2. (2) Archbishop Mitty 27-1

The Monarchs are once again the top seed in CCS Division II and will play the winner of 17-8 Monterey and 16-10 Capuchino in the quarterfinals.

3. (3) Alhambra 21-2 Continue reading

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NCS Division I Baseball Capsules

Full Bracket

No. 1 San Ramon Valley

  • The Wolves are looking for its first NCS title in 10 years. Interestingly, the Wolves were a No. 2 seed that season and beat No. 1 De La Salle in the final. This year, the Spartans are a No. 2 seed.
  • San Ramon Valley is coming off a 10-14 season and hasn’t won a playoff game since 2010.
  • Lefty Conor Neumann is a major threat out of the pen with a 0.69 earned run average and three wins over 13 relief appearances. He also has 50 strikeouts in 30.1 innings.
  • Senior starters Alex Barden and Connor Loar have earned run averages just over two and have combined to walk just 24 over 97.1 innings.
  • The Wolves will try to get senior Matt Winaker, a Stanford commit, going as he is one for his last 14 at bats.
  • Senior second baseman and leadoff hitter Ryan Weisenberg has been held hitless in just six games this season. Continue reading
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NCS Division II Baseball Playoff Preview

Full Bracket

Campolindo, the four-time defending NCS champions, was named the top seed despite not playing a single game against the Division II playoff field.

The Cougars are usually stacked in the pitching department and it’s no different this season as the staff is allowing less than two runs per game and feature lefty and Cal commit Matt Ladrech.

Campo is also fortunate that the two main contenders, College Park and Clayton Valley Charter, are in the opposite side of the bracket. Continue reading

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