Boras Classic highlights an exciting week of baseball for Bay Area teams

There are no state or regional championships in baseball and there won’t be unless all of the fall and winter schedules move up so the spring schedule can be started a few weeks earlier. It’s simply too much to ask to play state baseball playoff games so long after graduation.

While it’s nearly impossible to pull off a midseason tournament that fairly includes all of the top teams in the state, the Boras Classic may be the closest thing that baseball fans can ask for regarding a California state championship.

The Boras Classic includes a 16-team Northern California bracket and a 16-team Southern California bracket. These brackets will be played out this week and then the North winner will play the South winner on May 3rd at Stockton’s University of Pacific in a nationally televised championship game. Continue reading

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Bay Area Baseball Top 25 Rankings

These are based on games played through April 12.

Previous week’s rankings are in parentheses.

1. (1) St. Francis 13-2

The Lancers have allowed one run or less in 11 of 15 games this season

In three wins last week, Blake Billinger was 5-for-9 with two doubles, a home run, and seven runs batted in.

In a 4-1 win over St. Ignatius, Tyler Deason allowed his first earned run of the season and now has a 0.21 earned run average.

St. Francis plays in the Boras Classic this week and opens with 9-4 Yuba City.

2. (2) Archbishop Mitty 13-4

After falling 1-0 at Bellarmine on Friday, the Monarchs play in the Boras Classic and open with 7-5 Oak Ridge on Tuesday.

3. (3) California 12-2

After a 5-3 loss at Amador Valley on Friday, Cal’s only two losses are to the Pleasanton schools.

The Grizzlies offense has a team .908 OPS and four regulars, Cameron Santos, Trent Kravitz, A.J. Velasquez, and Nick Allman, each have an OPS over a thousand.

4. (4) De La Salle 10-3

The Spartans play in the Boras Classic and open with Pleasant Grove on Monday. A win and De La Salle could get a rematch with St. Francis in the quarterfinals.

5. (5) Valley Christian-San Jose 11-5 Continue reading

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Top 10 Softball Games for the Week (April 9-15)

The top ten softball games of the next week (April 9-15) include many matchups involving ranked teams and teams that are unbeaten in league.

1. #5 Pioneer at #7 Leland, Wednesday 4

Both teams are 5-0 in the Mt. Hamilton and have lengthy winning streaks.

Pioneer, behind ace Holly Azevedo, has won 14 in a row and Leland, with ace Holly Geranen, has taken eight in a row.

Defending Mt. Hamilton champion Leland swept the season-series last season and has won three straight meetings.


2. #14 Valley Christian-San Jose at #19 Notre Dame-Belmont, Thursday 3:30

Notre Dame is alone in second in the West Catholic league and scored a 3-0, eight-inning win over the Warriors last month as Lindsey Milfud outdueled Brynne Fitzpatrick.

Despite the March defeat, Valley Christian has won nine of the past 11 meetings.


3. #17 Soquel at San Lorenzo Valley, Tuesday 4 Continue reading

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Bay Area Softball Rankings: April 9

These rankings are based on games played through April 8.

1. Amador Valley 13-0

Arizona State commit Johanna Grauer has not allowed an earned run (4 runs overall) in 93.1 innings over 13 starts. Grauer also has 144 strikeouts and pitched her team to the Michelle Carew Classic championship last week.

The Dons, who are ranked second in the country by MaxPreps, were represented well on the Carew Classic all-tournament team. Grauer was most valuable pitcher, Victoria Molina was most valuable player, and Sammy Salustri and Nicole Yozzo were on the all-tourney team.

2. Archbishop Mitty 15-0

The Monarchs, ranked fourth in the country by MaxPreps, are coming off a championship in the competitive Livermore Stampede and now have nine shutout wins behind ace Desiree Severance. The junior ace and Drexel commit is tied for first in the CCS with 11 wins while shortstop Jazmyn Jackson is hitting .605

3. Alhambra 12-2

The only losses for the Bulldogs are to Los Alamitos and Amador Valley and UCLA commit Kylee Perez has four homers and 17 runs batted in despite 12 walks. Fellow senior Hailey Sparacino is first in the NCS with 32 runs batted in and fourth in the section with five home runs.

Freshman Karlee Sparacino is second in the NCS with a .711 batting average.

4. Granada 12-1

The Matadors only loss was a 12-1 defeat to Mitty in the Stampede over the weekend but Granada already has six wins against EBAL opponents.

5. Pioneer 14-2

Since opening with losses to Mitty and Wilcox, Pioneer has won 14 straight games, including a good 7-0 win over Carlmont on Saturday in the Wilcox tournament. Freshman Holly Azevedo is 9-1 with a 1.07 earned run average, which is eighth in the CCS. Continue reading

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Bay Area Baseball Top 25 Rankings

It’s another difficult week to do rankings as Mitty beat St. Francis, 2-1, but also dropped its third game of the season with a defeat to Valley Christian.

We kept St. Francis in the top spot because its non-conference resume is better than the Monarchs, who have a slight edge in West Catholic league games played.

These are based on games played through April 5.

Previous week’s rankings are in parentheses.

1. (1) St. Francis 10-2

The Lancers have a chance to avenge its first loss this week when it hosts St. Ignatius on Tuesday. It appears that Tyler Deason will get the start in that game after allowing four unearned runs in the 5-2 loss to SI last month.

2. (2) Archbishop Mitty 11-3

Junior Kris Bubic went six innings and struck out five in the 2-1 win over St. Francis. Bubic has struck out 46 in 32.2 innings with a 0.86 earned run average and, offensively, has hits in nine of his last 10 games.

3. (3) California 10-1

4. (4) De La Salle 8-2

De La Salle exacted some revenge with a 4-3 win over Amador Valley, the team that beat the Spartans three times last season, including the NCS championship. Cameron Schneider, a 6-foot-6 junior, has now picked up two league wins in relief.

The Spartans have a challenging week with Monte Vista, San Ramon Valley, and Granada on the schedule.

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

Theron Kay pitched a no-hitter in a 5-0 win over Mitty and the Warriors now have six shutouts this season, three by Kay.

On Tuesday, Kay will pitch against Bellarmine for the fifth time over the last three seasons.

6. (8) Bellarmine 11-3

The Bells followed a three-game losing streak with three straight wins but play Valley Christian and Mitty this week. Continue reading

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Top Bay Area Boys Basketball Teams for 2014-2015

When it comes to high school boys basketball, it can be pretty foolish to do a rankings of the top teams for next year after the previous season just completed.

Mostly, we don’t know much about the incoming freshmen or who the top transfers will be.

This time last season, we didn’t know Archbishop Mitty would have 6-foot-8 sophomore Ben Kone for this season.

We knew Monte Vista would be very good but nobody could have predicted 32-1 good at this time a year ago.

Nonetheless, we take our shot at who we think are the top 12 Bay Area teams for the 2014-2015 season.


1. Bishop O’Dowd

With Ivan Rabb and Paris Austin returning for their senior seasons, this is a no-brainer. Franklin Longrus can help matters by showing great improvement next season and it sounds like 6-foot-8 Isaiah Thomas will be eligible after sitting out this season because of a transfer.

2. Moreau Catholic Continue reading

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State Championship Notebook: The South teams are getting even better, the year of the blowout, and other notes

Southern California normally does very well in the state finals so this weekend’s 10-4 mark against Northern California is not a huge surprise.

However, with the new CIF Southern Section Open Division, it appears that Southern California teams have another reason to be even more dangerous in late March.

In the 16-team Open Division, each Southern Section qualified boys team played four games against top-notch competition. This level of play isn’t all that much different than what we see in the regional Open Division playoffs.

“We played four really quality teams,” said Bishop Montgomery coach Doug Mitchell after his team dominated Moreau Catholic, 85-44, in the Division IV state title game. “I thought that experience made a good team even better. The Open Division worked out well for us.”

Four boys state champions and four girls state champions all come from the Southern Section’s Open Division and all felt that competition made them better basketball teams when faced with regional competition. Continue reading

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Final Bay Area Boys Basketball Composite Rankings

Mitch Stephens, Harold Abend, and Prep2Prep put together Bay Area boys basketball rankings and we have combined all three rankings into one.


Previous rankings from March 10 are in parentheses

Bay Area Composite Rankings

1. (1) Bishop O’Dowd 28-5

2. (2) Monte Vista 32-1

3. (3) Archbishop Mitty 27-5 Continue reading

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Bay Area Baseball Top 25 Rankings

After the conclusion of a lengthy basketball season, it’s time to turn our attention to the spring and the first installment of our Bay Area Baseball Rankings.

As with our football and basketball rankings, we evaluate the top teams based only on the results of the games played, as opposed to preseason hype.

Still, it’s a very difficult process because some teams own good wins but also losses to teams at the bottom or out of the rankings.

Because of this, we can expect quite a bit of movement over the next few weeks.


1. St. Francis 8-1

The Lancers are in the top spot because, despite the loss to St. Ignatius, it owns wins over Bellarmine, Serra, Valley Christian, Elk Grove, and Campolindo. No other team in the Bay Area has a better five wins.

Seniors John Gavin and Tyler Deason lead a loaded pitching staff and have combined to allow one earned run in 48 innings and have struck out 51.

2. Archbishop Mitty 10-2

The Monarchs, who have losses to Wilcox and SI, own wins over St. Mary’s-Stockton, Serra, Bellarmine, and Leigh and are a half-game in front of St. Francis in the WCAL with a 4-1 league mark.

Senior Luke Rasmussen is hitting .484 with three homers and 16 runs batted in.

3. California 9-1

Grizzlies have a league loss to Foothill, but Mike Podany pitched a perfect game against De La Salle, and Cal also owns wins over Campolindo, Acalanes, 9-3 Tokay, and Monte Vista. Continue reading

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Final Bay Area Basketball Top 25 Rankings

Previous rankings are in parentheses.

1. (1) Bishop O’Dowd 28-5

In the Open Division state championship, The Dragons had a short-lived 13-10 lead after the opening quarter but were stifled by Mater Dei’s zone defense and couldn’t stop the undefeated Monarchs’ Stanley Johnson in a 71-61 loss.

O’Dowd, who took a 23-game win streak into the game, was paced by Paris Austin’s 23 points and Ivan Rabb finished with 10 points, 16 rebounds, and three blocks, but scored just two points in the game’s first three quarters.

With Austin and Rabb returning for their senior seasons next year, the Dragons are favorites to once again reach the Open Division state championship game.

2. (2) Monte Vista 32-1

The Mustangs won the school’s first state championship with a 71-61 Division I title game win over Centennial. Monte Vista drilled 11 of 16 three-point tries, including six made threes from Trevor John, who tied a Division I state record. John finished with 23 points and Grant Jackson added 12 as the Mustangs became the first EBAL team to win state.

With the graduation of eight seniors, including all five seniors, Nick Jones will have his hands full next season but juniors Wilson LaShells, Stefan Mitu, and Joseph Mileski were all part of the Monte Vista regular rotation.

3. (3) Mitty 27-5

The Monarchs were done in by the Capital Christian transition game in a NorCal Open Division semifinal 70-57 road loss. Connor Peterson scored 22 points.

Mitty again loses a very talented senior class but does return 6-foot-8 sophomore Ben Kone next season.

4. (4) El Cerrito 28-5

The Gauchos fell at Mitty, 67-58, in a NorCal Open Division quarterfinal despite 23 points from sophomore Sayeed Pridgett.

There was no section or NorCal title to show for it but this season’s El Cerrito team will go down as one of the best in school history.

With Tyrell Alcorn and Pridgett returning next season, the Gauchos will likely be one of the top five teams in the Bay Area again.

5. (5) St. Joseph Notre Dame 31-5

The Pilots won a Northern California record fifth state title by claiming the Division V title with a convincing 57-32 win over Renaissance Academy. St. Joe’s shot 61%, outrebounded the Wildcats, 36-16, and Temidayo Yussuf delivered 21 points, 16 rebounds, and two blocks.

Yussuf will be off to Long Beach State next season but Lamont Banks and Marcus Harris will return for senior seasons and Jade Smith, Esteban Lovato, and Miles Harris will all be part of a very deep backcourt.

6. (6) Newark Memorial 23-8

In the Open Division quarterfinals, the Cougars battled back from a 12-point hole, and a nine-point deficit in the final quarter, but fell to Modesto Christian, 56-55, thanks to a Mason Washington three-pointer with 25 seconds left. Mike Pickney finished with 19 points and Joey Frenchwood scored 13 to go with seven assists and four rebounds. Continue reading

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