OVERALL STATE TOP 20 SOFTBALL RANKINGS

Playoff upsets already this week have been noted within the writeups of these teams, but those results won't be reflected in the actual order until next week. Vanden is the highest-ranked team to have ended its season with a section title.

(After games of May 24; last week's rank in parentheses)

1. (1) Pacifica (Garden Grove) 27-2

Super sophomore Brittney Weil wound up for a perfect game and had 12 strikeouts as the Mariners opened the CIF Southern Section Div. III playoffs by blanking La Habra, 3-0. Pacifica already has a win this week on its ledger as well and is playing Mayfair of Lakewood in the quarterfinals.

2. (2) Santiago (Corona) 24-3

So how tough are the Southern Section playoffs? So tough that Santiago, a team ranked among the top 10 nationally, had to scrape and claw for a first-round Div. II playoff win. The Sharks went to the ninth inning against St. Lucy's of Glendora and finally won, 1-0, on a RBI double by Britney Moore.

3. (3) Valencia 27-3

We already know that the Vikings have been upset in their second-round CIFSS Div. I playoff game by Lakewood. That wouldn't impact the rankings until next week, though. Valencia also barely beat Westlake of Westlake Village in its first playoff game when Kortney Bell stroked a one-out RBI triple in the seventh inning to break a 0-0 tie.

4. (4) Notre Dame (Salinas) 29-2

The Spirits won their CIF Central Coast Section Div. III playoff opener 8-0 vs. Monte Vista Christian of Watsonville. They played Capuchino of San Bruno in the semifinals on Wednesday. Mater Dei and El Modena could be candidates to hop Notre Dame as those two perhaps advance through the much more difficult CIF Southern Section Div. I and Div. II brackets.

5. (5) Mater Dei (Santa Ana) 24-4

Yet another 1-0 first-round playoff game in the CIFSS Div. I playoffs saw the Monarchs get past Laguna Hills. Brittni Santos did the pitching honors while the clutch RBI hit came from Lauren Greer. Mater Dei faces Foothill of Tustin in the quarterfinals.

6. (8) El Modena (Orange) 25-4

The Vanguards probably shouldn't have to be playing an opponent as highly-regarded as California of Whittier as soon as the quarterfinals of the CIFSS Div. II playoffs, but that's the draw they got. El Modena won its first playoff game, 4-0, over Diamond Ranch as Lindsey Klein tossed a one-hitter and Ariana Munoz smacked a two-run double.

7. (7) Mitty (San Jose) 29-2

Oops, like Valencia, we have to report that the Monarchs also have already been upset this week in the CCS Div. II semifinals. In their 3-1 quarterfinal win over Westmont of Campbell, Justine Kunkel hit a home run.

8. (9) Mt. Carmel (San Diego) 25-2

Look at those upsets from already this week and this is one team that may make a nice jump in next week's rankings. In the Sundevils' regular season finale last week, Laura Wiens gave up five hits but still pitched a shutout in a 2-0 win over La Costa Canyon. They were scheduled to play the same team in their first San Diego Section Div. I playoff game this week after it won a first-rounder, 7-0, over Poway. Mt. Carmel had a first-round bye.

9. (13) Clovis 29-7

Leadoff hitter Jenna Cervantez scored twice and Merryann Barr went 2-for-2 with an RBI as the Cougars won the CIF Central Section Yosemite Division Large School title with a 4-2 triumph over surprising Madera. It is the fourth section title for Clovis in eight years and comes after the team had lost in the championship game both last year and the year before.

10. (11) University City (San Diego) 22-4-1

UCLA signee Lisa Dodd started the postseason with a .600 batting average with 16 homers and 46 RBI. She also had a 0.19 ERA as a pitcher with 166 strikeouts in 107 innings.

11. (12) Vanden (Travis AFB) 22-3-1

Coach Don Wakefield's team is the first highly-ranked squad to end the season by winning a section title. In this case, Vanden blanked East Union of Manteca, 6-0, to take the CIF Sac-Joaquin Section Div. III crown. Anjelica Selden, who still isn't done with her prep career, threw a no-hitter with 14 strikeouts. Julie Stewart cracked a pair of RBI triples to lead the offense.

12. (14) California (Whittier) 24-5-1

Like El Modena, the Condors also have already won this week to set up that CIFSS Div. II quarterfinal against the Vanguards. California's win last Friday was 4-0 over West of Torrance. Jennifer Davis struck out 13 in the circle and Aimee Rosa ripped a pair of doubles.

13. (6) Clovis West (Fresno) 35-4

Despite an upset playoff loss to Madera, the Golden Eagles still ended the year with 28 shutouts (good for fifth on the all-time Central Section list) and can always talk about their 28-game win streak. Now they just know how Clovis felt last year as a favorite that wasn't able to close the deal.

14. (15) Simi Valley 19-6

Have you ever heard of a three-run single? It happens more often in softball than in baseball with the shorter basepaths and it happened for the Pioneers' Heidi Knabe in their 4-0 win over Hueneme of Oxnard last week in the CIFSS Div. I playoffs.

15. (16) Rosary (Fullerton) 22-6

Kaitlin Cochran connected for two hits and three RBI as coach Tom Tice's team downed Lutheran of Orange, 5-3, in the CIFSS Div. I playoffs. We can't remember ever seeing Orange Lutheran in the Div. I playoffs in any sport. Welcome to the big time.

16. (10) Bonita Vista (Chula Vista) 25-3

The Barons still figure to be a dangerous team in the San Diego Section Div. I playoffs, although it had to be disheartening for coach Lance Christenson to see standout pitcher Emily Turner give up seven hits in a 4-3 loss last week to Eastlake.

17. (17) Royal (Simi Valley) 21-5

It wasn't 1-0, but the Highlanders' 2-1 win in the CIFSS Div. I playoffs over Rio Mesa of Oxnard was as nail-biting as any of the other close first-rounders. Jordan McPherson whiffed seven in getting the pitching win.

18. (19) Don Lugo (Chino) 25-1

The Conquistadors still don't have too many believers in the CIFSS Div. II playoffs although they opened with a 4-1 triumph over Chaparral of Temecula. Vanessa Briones knocked in a couple of runs to lead the way.

19. (20) Freedom (Oakley) 23-3

Freshman Amanda Williams pitched a two-hitter and had nine strikeouts as the Falcons clinched their second straight Bay Valley Athletic League crown with a 2-0 shutout of arch-rival Liberty. If there's ever a third school in the area, is there a good chance it would be called Independence?

20. (nr) Bullard (Fresno) 28-5

The Knights admittedly weren't happy that they were in the CIF Central Section Yosemite Division Small School playoffs this year as opposed to the Large School. Still, when you come through in the seventh inning of a 0-0 game and score a run to win a title against a pitcher with a 0.00 ERA, that's good stuff at any level. Bullard did it against Bakersfield Centennial's Ashley Bailey and the game-winning hit came from Jenna Johnson.


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