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.
- (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