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.
Sacramento State’s McAuliffe Field will host all of the Northern California bracket as the first round and quarterfinal games will be played on Monday and Tuesday.
This includes the third-ranked team in the country and Prep2Prep’s top-ranked team, St. Francis, plus second-ranked Archbishop Mitty and fourth-ranked De La Salle.
If the Lancers get by 9-4 Yuba City, it could get a rematch with De La Salle in the quarterfinals as the Spartans play 8-3 Pleasant Grove in a Monday opening round game. St. Francis already owns a 2-0 win over De La Salle this year.
Archbishop Mitty plays on Tuesday versus 7-5 Oak Ridge but, if it wins, will likely play Buchanan in the quarterfinals. Buchanan is ranked sixth nationally by Baseball America.
The three first-round opponents for the Bay Area schools are all Sac-Joaquin heavyweights and ranked among the Sacramento Bee’s top-20 teams.
As stated, this isn’t a perfect bracket. There is no way that the Bay Area only has three of the top 16 teams in Northern California. California, Campolindo, Valley Christian-San Jose, and Bellarmine are just some schools that have good cases for being among the best in Northern California. Also, it’s unfortunate that two of three Bay Area teams could meet in the quarterfinals when they’ve already met once this season.
Still, this tourney is a scout’s and baseball fan’s dream. It’s a chance to see multiple outstanding programs in two locations and maybe the closest thing we’ll get to a state title game.
Here’s a look at the top 10 baseball competitions this week plus a few bonus picks.
1. Boras Classic, Monday-Thursday
This week, we see 32 of the state’s top teams fighting for a spot in a May 3rd championship game pitting a Northern California representative versus Southern California’s winner.
2. #8 San Ramon Valley at #9 Amador Valley, Friday 4
There are a lot of great matchups in the East Bay Athletic League this week but this one takes the cake because it’s the only one involving teams that are both over .500 in league. Both teams are 4-2 in the EBAL and tied in the loss column with De La Salle and California.
The Wolves have won five of the last seven meetings, including a 4-1 win last month when Alex Barden pitched a seven-hitter.
3. St. Mary’s-Stockton at #6 Bellarmine, Tuesday 4
Don’t be fooled by the 6-9 record for St. Mary’s. This is a squad that owns wins over Valley Christian, Serra, and Mater Dei and also beat De La Salle on the field in a game that was later forfeited.
The Bells have won five of six games and the one defeat was a one-run loss.
4. #17 Monte Vista at #8 San Ramon Valley, Wednesday 4
These rivals play the first of its two games against one another and the Mustangs have the luxury of throwing ace Jonathan Freshman against the Wolves. Freshman is coming off a shutout win over Foothill and is 5-1 with a 2.31 earned run average.
Monte Vista has won three straight meetings, including two shutouts last season when Freshman tossed 10 shutout innings.
5. #11 Foothill at #3 California, Friday 4
Cal’s only two losses are to the Pleasanton schools and this includes a 4-3 setback to the Falcons when Nick Hermes had two hits and two runs batted in and Kyle Franco pitched a six-hitter, outdueling Grizzlies ace Mike Podany.
Foothill enters this week with a three-game losing streak in the loaded EBAL.
6. #23 Maria Carrillo at #24 Casa Grande, Friday 4
It appears to be an especially down year for the North Bay but these two teams are hoping to prove otherwise in the NCS playoffs.
First, it’s a battle for the top spot in the North Bay League and Maria Carillo holds a one-game lead in the loss column over Casa Grande and Cardinal Newman.
The Gauchos had won four straight meetings until the Pumas 3-2 win on March 26.
7. #9 Amador Valley at #11 Foothill, Wednesday 4
The Dons won Pleasanton’s bragging rights last season by taking two of three meetings from the Falcons.
8. #20 Granada at #25 Livermore, Wednesday 4
Across all sports, this is an underrated rivalry but Granada has won 10 straight meetings on the diamond.
Livermore, however, is playing great ball as evidenced by its wins over Foothill and San Ramon Valley last week.
9. #22 Westmont at #6 Bellarmine, Wednesday 4
The challenging non-league week continues for the Bells against a team that already owns a win over St. Ignatius this season.
10. #7 Campolindo at #21 Palo Alto, Saturday 11am
Palo Alto’s loaded schedule continues against a Cougars team that has won by 10-4 and 14-2 scores against the Vikings the last two years.
Other Games of Note:
#15 Clayton Valley vs. Northgate, Tuesday and Thursday 4
Clayton Valley Charter fans may think they’re not getting enough respect in the Prep2Prep rankings considering the 15-0 record.
The Eagles, though, have yet to beat a ranked team and, while Northgate isn’t ranked, it will be Clayton’s top opponent of the season and a team that was just swept by 12th-ranked College Park this past week.
Clayton Valley has won four straight meetings and 10 of 11 versus the Broncos.
Sir Francis Drake at #12 College Park, Saturday 2
A non-league game that gives the North Bay a chance to knock off one of the East Bay’s top teams.
Valley Christian-San Jose is the only Bay Area representative in this tournament and opens with 11-3 Gahr on Monday at El Dorado.
Heritage at Pittsburg, Tuesday 4
It appears to be a down year for the Bay Valley but these are the only two teams that are over .500 in the non-league and Heritage is coming off a nice win over Acalanes heading into this league opener.
Heritage has won three straight and eight of nine against the Pirates.
Analy at Petaluma, Thursday 4
These two are the only unbeatens in Sonoma County League play and played to a 7-7 tie last month when Petaluma’s Greg Thomas pitched 7.1 shutout innings in relief.
Pinole Valley at Albany, Tuesday 4
Both teams are 5-1 and tied for first place in the Tri-County Rock Division
Willow Glen vs. Leland, Wednesday 3:30
These league foes play a non-league game at the Cupertino Lions Tournament.
Hillsdale vs. Capuchino, Tuesday and Thursday 4
In the PAL-Ocean, Hillsdale owns a one-game lead in the loss column over Capuchino and Sequoia.
Aptos at Scotts Valley, Friday 4:30
Entering this week, Aptos has a half-game lead over Scotts Valley in the SCCAL standings.
#16 Serra at Terra Nova, Thursday 4
This will be the first baseball meeting between the two schools in five years.