MAJOR OVERHAUL OF TOP 20 BASEBALL RANKS

La Costa Canyon gets the nod this week as the state's No. 1 team, although that ranking is certainly on shaky ground after everything that happened last week. Capistrano Valley and Chatsworth hold on to the No. 2 and No. 3 rankings despite both losing for the first time this season.

It wasn't just what happened at the Toyo Tires National Classic that completely reshuffled the teams in this week's state top 20 baseball rankings. Two other previously unbeaten teams in addition to No. 1 La Quinta of Westminster also dropped games and the top-ranked team in Northern California, Serra of San Mateo, also took a loss.

When all the results from last week were in, the only logical choice to move up and take the state's No. 1 ranking was La Costa Canyon of Carlsbad. The Mavericks were the only top 10 team from the previous week that didn't lose and early this week the San Diego Union-Tribune sort of agreed by moving up La Costa Canyon to No. 1 in the highly-competitive San Diego Section.

La Quinta's troubles at the National Classic were not completely unexpected. The Aztecs went into the event without No. 1 pitcher Ian Kennedy, who has been out for more than a month with a broken kneecap. They were then further depleted when shortstop Blake Crosby, one of their top hitters, came down with a throat infection.

After winning its opening game of the tourney, 6-0, over Mamaroneck, N.Y., La Quinta got shellacked by Taylorsville, Utah, 10-1, in its second game. The Aztecs then lost again, 6-4, to Centennial of Las Vegas, before winning the seventh-place game, 6-5, over John Carroll of Fort Pearce, Fla.

El Dorado of Placentia did the best of all the California teams at the National Classic with a second-place finish. Coach Steve Gullotti's club clipped San Diego Mission Bay, 8-4, in the semifinals before falling to Taylorsville in the title game, 8-4.

Mission Bay, the state's preseason No. 1 team and ranked No. 2 in one national poll coming into the tourney, lost in the third-place game to fellow San Diego Section school El Capitan, 15-2.

All of those developments meant that the teams coming out of the National Classic had to be ranked in this order: El Dorado, El Capitan, Mission Bay, La Quinta. With three losses overall, El Dorado can't be No. 1 in the state (not yet, anyway), so the search continued.

Capistrano Valley and Chatsworth were both No. 1 candidates, but it's too hard moving up teams that actually lost. The Cougars, playing without Stanford-bound shortstop Adam Sorgi, lost their first game of the season, 5-2, to Canyon of Anaheim in the title game of the Irvine tourney. The Chancellors lost their first game, 3-0, to Sabino of Tucson, Arizona, at the Durango Blazer tourney in Las Vegas. Sabino is a good team -- 19-3 and No. 1 in the Tucson area -- and it could have been argued that since Chatsworth's loss was to an out-of-state team that it could be No. 1 in the state. We didn't want to go in that direction, so the search continued.

La Costa Canyon, meanwhile, began last week with a 12-1 record and the state's No. 9 ranking. The Mavericks won three times in the rain-plagued Mike Morrow Lions tourney and only gave up one run. They admittedly didn't play in as tough of a tourney as the National Classic, but they do play in the rugged Avocado League. If they keep on winning in their league, they'll deserve to stay No. 1.

With all that happened last week, though, it's a good bet that this year's state rankings in baseball are going to be chaotic for the rest of the season. Of course, baseball is a sport that doesn't relate well to rankings at all, anyway. And in a state as strong as California, nobody who plays in a strong league and enters strong tournaments is going to go unbeaten.

Ironically, the team with the best record in the state entering this week is Pacifica of Garden Grove at 18-0. The Mariners are in the same league as La Quinta of Westminster and might be 23-0 when they face the Aztecs twice during the final week of the regular season.

OVERALL STATE TOP 20 BASEBALL RANKINGS

(After games of April 19; last week's rank in parentheses)

1. (9) La Costa Canyon (Carlsbad) 15-1

A 5-0 win over L.A. City power El Camino Real was the Mavericks' most impressive outing at the Mike Morrow Lions tourney. Catcher Scott Clement hammered a pair of homers and Doug Konoske pitched a three-hitter and struck out six.

2. (2) Capistrano Valley (Mission Viejo) 17-1

Before falling to Canyon of Anaheim in the final of the Irvine tourney, the Cougars squeeked past Riverside Poly, 4-3, in 11 innings in the semis. Jason Corder smashed a double that scored Brian Donoho with the winning run.

3. (3) Chatsworth 19-1

Willie Cabrera, a junior second baseman and one of the Chancellors' leading hitters, will be lost for the rest of the season with a torn knee ligament. Another junior, Justin Cassel, had the team's best individual effort at the Durango Blazer tourney in Las Vegas with his sixth complete game victory of the season in a 2-1 win over Mt. Carmel of San Diego.

4. (10) El Dorado (Placentia) 15-3

The Golden Hawks had their bats working throughout the National Classic with 11, 12 and eight runs in their first three games. The pitching didn't hold up in the final, though, as Taylorsville, Utah, won by an 8-4 score. Jeff Flaig swung the heaviest bat for El Dorado, going 10-for-13 during the week with three homers and eight RBI.

5. (12) El Capitan (Lakeside) 13-2

Coach Steve Vickery's bunch had an 11-game win streak halted in their National Classic semifinal loss to Taylorsville. Then they ripped up Mission Bay, 15-2, in the third-place game behind catcher Brandon Rauch. He hit a pair of homers, added a double, scored three times and had five RBI.

6. (13) Edison (Huntington Beach) 16-3

The Chargers played in a different bracket than Chatsworth at the Durango Blazer tourney in Las Vegas, but their 5-0 record in the event was impressive nonetheless. Their team batting average during the week was a hefty .420.

7. (5) Mission Bay (San Diego) 15-2

Jared Suwyn had a no-hitter in the Bucs' first game at the National Classic against Bingham, Utah, but he also took some of the punishment in the loss to El Capitan. Matt Bush showed his versatility in a 9-4 win over Marina of Huntington Beach by going 3-for-4 and pitching six innings.

8. (1) La Quinta (Westminster) 17-2

By the time the Aztecs play Pacifica in two games to close the regular season, ace pitcher Ian Kennedy may be ready to play. He was given medical clearance earlier this week. This week, La Quinta is playing Garden Grove.

9. (16) Buchanan (Clovis) 20-3

A 7-2 win over Central of Fresno capped a 4-0 week for the Bears at the Fresno Easter Classic. They won the tourney title for the fourth straight year and moved back to No. 1 in the Central Section. Jason Donald led Buchanan with a 9-for-19 batting effort in the four games. He had two homers and three doubles among those nine hits, too.

10. (6) Serra (San Mateo) 20-3

After dropping their first game of the Knights of Columbus Serra Spring Classic, 8-3, to El Camino of South San Francisco, the Padres fought their way back to win the tourney title. In the final, Serra outlasted Monte Vista of Danville, 5-3, behind junior Chuck Lofgren, who gave up five hits as a pitcher and smoked a pair of doubles with his bat. That win also avenged a loss Serra had to the Mustangs earlier this season.

11. (nr) Canyon (Anaheim) 14-4

Vinnie Pestano was the man of the hour for the Commanches in their 5-2 victory over Capistrano Valley. He fanned 10 and gave up just five hits. Now Vinnie and his teammates have to get ready for the stretch run in the tough Century League against the likes of El Dorado and Villa Park. Maybe it's the Century that is the toughest in the state this year, not the West Catholic, Palomar or Sunset leagues.

12. (nr) Montgomery (San Diego) 14-3

The Aztecs had to move up within the San Diego Section after nipping Rancho Buena Vista, 2-1, at the Mike Morrow Lions Classic. It was their third win of the week and upped their current winning streak to 12 games. Jose Legazpi, a sophomore whose been batting near the .500 mark all season, stroked a single for the game-winning RBI.

13. (14) Mater Dei (Santa Ana) 13-4

The Monarchs headed up to this week's West Coast Classic in San Jose after winning a pair over Santa Margarita. Kyle Nash struck out 11 and gave up five hits in a 8-1 win, then Armando Carrasco tossed a two-hitter over six innings in a 7-1 triumph.

14. (nr) Armijo (Fairfield) 18-2

It was a huge week for the Indians, who like Buchanan also went 4-0 at the Fresno Easter Classic. Buchanan won the tourney because of a 31-7 scoring differential in its games, but Armijo played a tougher foursome. Among the Indians' victims were Woodland (12-2) and Clovis (8-5). Sean Henry sizzled all week for Armijo, going 7-for-13 with a home run, nine runs scored and nine steals.

15. (20) St. Francis (Mountain View) 16-4

The Lancers picked a good week to be idle, since just about every ranked team that played got beat at least once. This week, St. Francis will join host Mitty, Mater Dei and others in the loaded West Coast Classic.

16. (11) Clayton Valley (Concord) 15-3

Matt Reid went 4-for-6 as the Eagles downed Amador Valley, 19-6, last Saturday in a first-round game of the Willie Stargell Memorial Classic. Earlier in the week, Clayton Valley split a pair of games in Bay Valley Athletic League play, losing 5-0 to Freedom of Oakley and winning 2-1 over Liberty of Brentwood.

17. (4) Rancho Buena Vista (Vista) 14-3

It wasn't a total downer of a week for the Longhorns. Sandwiched in between losses to Green Valley of Las Vegas and Montgomery of San Diego at the Mike Morrow Lions tourney was a 6-4 win over Fountain Valley.

18. (8) Rancho Bernardo (San Diego) 13-3

After losing to Folsom, 8-4, in their first game of the Mike Morrow Lions tourney, the Broncos bounced back to win 5-2 over Hillcrest of Utah and 7-5 over Eastlake of Chula Vista. Johnny Drennen crushed a pair of homers against Eastlake.

19. (nr) Camarillo 12-3

They're baaaack. After a poor start with super stud Delmon Young on the shelf with an ankle injury, the Scorpions may be starting to live up to preseason expectations. They won again last week, 6-1, over Thousand Oaks as Jared Decamp and Brett Scyphers both had three hits.

20. (nr) Wilson (Long Beach) 14-3-1

Another Southland team on a hot streak is the Bruins. They're winning the Moore League over preseason state No. 3 Lakewood and last week won their 12th in a row with a 7-2 victory over Savanna of Anaheim. Johnny Jiminez led Wilson with three hits while Ryan Schlack pitched a four-hitter.


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