We decided to include two key early week games in this week's rankings with the hope that it would clear up the picture over which team should be No. 1. Instead, it's even more fuzzy as Pacifica, Corona, Mater Dei and Santiago all can now make a strong case for the top spot.

Thanks a lot, Kendra. Way to go, Elise. Congratulations for your big hits on Monday and Tuesday of this week. You've completely screwed up the top 20 state softball rankings and may make it difficult to determine a No. 1 team for the rest of the season.

Kendra is Kendra Singley, one of the top hitters in the state. She plays for Woodbridge of Irvine, always a top team under coach Alan Dugard, and on Monday it was Singley's two-run double that propelled Woodbridge to a 4-2 victory in the championship game of the Woodbridge tourney over Pacifica of Garden Grove, the state's No. 1 team.

It was Pacifica's second loss of the season and since another contender for the state's No. 1 ranking, Santiago of Corona, was playing on Tuesday in a Mountain View League showdown against Corona, we decided to include that result in this week's top 20 ranking. After all, if Santiago won, we might as well have included that win in the rankings since the murky mess over who should be No. 1 would have been cleared up.

Of course, Santiago did not win. Although ace pitcher Taryne Mowatt had a no-hitter through seven innings, Corona and Santiago went into extra innings. Corona won it, 1-0, in the 11th when Elise Arrietta ripped a one-out triple that scored Christina Marquez with the winning run. Brittney Bargar pitched the 11-inning shutout for Corona despite giving up eight hits.

So who's No. 1 now? Before beating Santiago, Corona lost in a semifinal game of the Woodbridge tourney last Saturday, 1-0, to.......Pacifica. Bargar must have felt like Mowatt did on Tuesday as she no-hit Pacifica for 6 2/3 innings until Jodie Legaspi singled, stole second and scored on an RBI single by Jamie Waldecker.

Mater Dei, which didn't play last week, is still in the No. 1 mix with a win over Santiago, but the Monarchs have a loss to Santiago plus two losses to Los Alamitos. Pacifica has the win over Corona, a co-title at the Arizona TOC with Mater Dei, but now has losses to Woodbridge and Santiago.

All the recent results did was throw Corona into the No. 1 mix as well and did little to help in determining a reasonable order. The final verdict we came to was to simply stick with Pacifica at No. 1 this week with the hope that the upcoming Thousand Oaks tourney and the CIF Southern Section playoffs will help.

Two of the hottest teams that aren't even in the top 20 yet (and are still quite low in the L.A. Times' top 25) are Woodbridge and Canyon of Anaheim. Both of those teams started out slowly and have six and seven losses, respectively, but no one would now be surprised if one of those teams or both of them winds up winning a section title.

It's going to be that kind of finish in California girls softball this season. Buckle up for a wild ride.


(After games of April 19 with some select results from April 21 and April 22 included; last week's rank in parentheses)

1. (1) Pacifica (Garden Grove) 18-2

This ranking includes this Monday's loss to Woodbridge, but results of other games plus the Mariners' win on Saturday vs. Corona allows them to stay on top. Entering this week, Brittany Weil had a 0.07 ERA. In addition to shutting out Corona last week, Weil also blanked Northwood of Irvine, 7-0.

2. (5) Corona 17-2

With the Panthers plus crosstown rival Santiago this year and Etiwanda and M.L. King last year, there can be no doubt that the Inland Empire has become a softball hotbed as good as any in the nation, including Orange County, Tucson, Houston and Fresno/Clovis. Note: This ranking includes Tuesday result vs. Santiago.

3. (2) Santiago (Corona) 16-3

Last week's wins for the Sharks were 1-0 in eight innings vs. La Sierra of Riverside and 1-0 vs. Norco. Taryne Mowatt struck out 18 in the first game and game back with a one-hitter in the second. Neither of those teams is ranked so the lack of offense may have been a signal of what wound up happening this week vs. Corona.

4. (3) Mater Dei (Santa Ana) 16-3

The Monarchs had a scheduled showdown game against Rosary moved to May 7. They aren't scheduled for this week, either, with their next game set for April 29 vs. Bishop Amat. They will be in the Thousand Oaks tourney, though, which will be a good chance to beef up their strength of schedule.

5. (6) Rosary (Fullerton) 16-3

Previous No. 4 El Modena's troubles enabled the Royals to move up even though they didn't play. Two other reasons we are liking them more is that they have two wins over Canyon (the team that just beat El Modena) and another win over Woodbridge (the team that just beat Pacifica).

6. (8) Notre Dame (Salinas) 15-2

The Spirits capped their week with a 4-0 victory over Live Oak of Morgan Hill. Kim Reeder pitched a two-hitter and returning All-Central Coast Section outfielder Lindsay Schutzler hit a homer. Reeder also had a no-hitter and Schutzler homered twice in a 9-0 win over Gilroy.

7. (12) Bonita Vista (Chula Vista) 18-1

LSU-bound standout Emily Turner pitched a four-hitter as the Barons knocked off University City, 4-2, in a matchup between two of the top teams in San Diego. UniCity was No. 1 in the section coming into the game, but ace Lisa Dodd was battered for 10 hits by Bonita Vista.

8. (9) Freedom (Oakley) 10-1

Coach Michele Biglow's powerhouse continues to rank No. 1 in the North Coast Section. The Falcons have even been as high as No. 6 in the nation (NFCA/USA Today), but that's based mostly on the team's two-game sweep of Clovis, which now doesn't look as impressive as it once did since Clovis now has eight losses and isn't even in the top 20 anymore.

9. (10) Mitty (San Jose) 19-2

The Monarchs ended their week with a 1-0 win over Valley Christian of San Jose in the West Catholic Athletic League. Danica Kunkel gave up just one hit. She and Christy Murray form one of the top 1-2 pitching duos in the state.

10. (13) Valencia 18-3

A 6-0 win over Righetti of Santa Maria gave the Vikings first-place at the Best of the West tourney in Santa Maria. They won in the semis, 3-0, over Dos Pueblos of Goleta. The Best of the West wasn't as strong this year as in the past, but defending Sac-Joaquin Section Div. I champ Sheldon was there and lost in the consolation final to Cabrillo of Lompoc. That thud you just heard was the Sac-Joaquin's softball reputation taking a big hit.

11. (15) Mt. Carmel (San Diego) 15-1

It's a nice jump for the Sundevils after wins last week of 17-1 over La Quinta and 7-1 over Centreville of Virginia. Amanda Weins improved to 11-0 and had a no-hitter against the Virginians. Mt. Carmel is No. 1 in the San Diego Section in some circles due to its title at the Falcon Fiesta tourney. We just like Bonita Vista's track record over the last two seasons a bit more.

12. (nr) Clovis West (Fresno) 28-3

As Clovis has faltered, the Golden Eagles have soared. They beat Bullard of Fresno, 1-0, in the Clovis Easter Classic title game last week to complete an 8-0 run in the tourney. Those wins also boosted Clovis West's current win streak to 21 games.

13. (11) Bullard (Fresno) 22-2

The loss to Clovis West dropped the Knights down a peg within the Central Section, but they still remain among the state's top 15.

14. (16) Royal (Simi Valley) 13-4

Home runs by Devon Hofland, Andrea Ramirez and Lauren Allen pushed the Highlanders to a 7-2 victory over Westlake of Westlake Village.

15. (7) University City (San Diego) 11-4-1

Only one of the four runs the Centurions allowed in their 4-2 loss to Bonita Vista was earned as the defense committed four errors. Earlier in the day, Lisa Dodd hit her ninth homer of the season in a 4-0 win over Valley Center.

16. (4) El Modena (Orange) 14-4

The Vanguards had an 11-game win streak end when they lost a Century League game, 3-0, to Canyon of Anaheim. They also lost to Woodbridge, 4-3, in the Woodbridge tourney semifinals, but they salvaged the week with a 7-1 victory over Thousand Oaks.

17. (18) North Salinas (Salinas) 15-4

Not much to add about the Vikings this week as most of last week was spent on spring break.

18. (19) Vanden (Travis AFB) 13-3-1

These Vikings also were on spring break last week and didn't play. It will be tough for Vanden to move up very high in the rankings for the rest of the season as the Sac-Joaquin Div. III playoffs don't exactly match up that well with other section playoff divisions throughout the state.

19. (20) Simi Valley 12-5

Chanel Roehner spun a perfect game with 12 strikeouts and also drove in a run with a single as the Pioneers downed Calabasas, 3-0, in a Marmonte League game. Both Simi Valley and Royal may benefit down the stretch in the Marmonte League with news that top pitcher Mandy Kilionski of Thousand Oaks will be academically ineligible for the rest of the season.

20. (nr) Carlmont (Belmont) 18-3

Lindsay Garehime smacked three doubles for the Scots in a 5-1 win over Westmont of Campbell in a pool play game at the Watsonville tourney. Carlmont also won during the first day of that event, 3-0, over Gilroy, as Garehime had two hits, including a homer.

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