OVERALL STATE TOP 20 BASEBALL RANKINGS

One of the old regulars in California baseball excellence, Rancho Bernardo of San Diego, is back up to No. 4 in this week's top 20. The Broncos could get a crack at No. 1 La Costa Canyon in Saturday's CIF San Diego Section Div. I final. Chatsworth and La Quinta will be among those rooting for Rancho Bernardo as well. Arlington and Mission Bay, meanwhile, are among several rapid risers in this week's list.

(After games of May 31; last week's rank in parentheses)

1. (1) La Costa Canyon (Carlsbad) 30-1

Make it 25 straight wins for the Mavericks after decisions of 7-4 over Chula Vista and 2-1 over Eastlake of Chula Vista in the CIF San Diego Section Div. I playoffs. Doug Konoske pitched a five-hitter to turn back Eastlake and fellow junior Scott Clement went 2-for-3 with a double and a run scored. If LCC beats Eastlake again on Tuesday, it would advance to the title game on Saturday and would play for the mythical state and national crown. If Eastlake wins, another game would be necessary on Thursday. Any loss now, though, even if the Mavericks come back to win their section title, would drop them behind Chatsworth. They could still be No. 1 in the state with a loss to Eastlake if Chatsworth loses, but a No. 1 national ranking wouldn't be likely.

2. (2) Chatsworth 30-1

Some of USA Today's national rankings are horribly off-base, but we can't complain too much about Chatsworth. The Chancellors are certainly as worthy for No. 1 state and national honors as La Costa Canyon. They opened their quest for the CIF L.A. City Section title with a 12-0 first-round win over Fremont. Justin Cassel improved to 13-0 on the mound and Brett Munster collected five RBI. If La Costa Canyon loses this week, Chatsworth might be playing for all the marbles on June 10 in the final at Dodger Stadium.

3. (3) La Quinta (Westminster) 28-2

The Aztecs advanced to the CIF Southern Section Div. IV semifinals with a 4-0 victory over Corona del Mar of Newport Beach. Ian Kennedy tossed a five-hitter and looks more and more like the dominant player he was at the end of last year. La Quinta would be No. 1 in the state if it wins twice this week and both La Costa Canyon and Chatsworth fail to win their section crowns.

4. (11) Rancho Bernardo (San Diego) 26-5

This would be La Costa Canyon's probable opponent in Saturday night's potentially monstrous San Diego Section Div. I championship game. The Broncos have won three of the last four section crowns and like LCC need to be beaten twice (in their case by Morse of San Diego) in order to be denied a berth in the final. Coach Sam Blaylock's squad won its first two playoff games by 13-4 over Mt. Carmel and 5-1 over Morse. Chris Boros pitched a no-hitter and struck out 10 vs. Morse. Kevin Campbell cracked a grand slam homer and Brian Wilson had three hits vs. Mt. Carmel.

5. (9) Canyon (Anaheim) 24-5

Chris Winger and Justin McClure both had three hits and Vinnie Pestano pitched a five-hitter as the Comanches beat Santiago of Corona, 8-1, in the CIF Southern Section Div. II quarterfinals. On Tuesday, they play Valencia in the semifinals. The only way Canyon could jump up to No. 1 would be for Rancho Bernardo to win the San Diego Section title but lose a game earlier to Morse plus to have both Chatsworth and La Quinta lose. The Comanches, though, are in prime shape to be No. 1 in the final Div. II state rankings.

6. (17) Clayton Valley (Concord) 25-5

A 4-3 victory over Bishop O'Dowd of Oakland pushed the Eagles into the North Coast Section Class 3A East Bay semifinals. Sam Ray cracked a three-run double in the fifth inning for the key hit of the game, but O'Dowd filed a protest saying Ray should have been out on strikes before he even hit his double. The player left the batter's box when he thought a second strike was ball four and rules stipulate that a strike should be called on the batter when that happens.

7. (15) Clovis 23-7

The James Patrick machine keeps on rolling in the Central Section. Clovis made it six titles in the last nine years for its coach with a 3-0 win over Buchanan in the Yosemite Division Large School final. Brandon Miller pitched the shutout and exemplified the Clovis pitching mentality to the hilt and that is to keep getting stronger and stronger as the season goes along so you are at your best in the playoffs.

8. (7) Buchanan (Clovis) 27-5

It was another terrific season for the Bears, but it'll take them a while to get over the sting of losing another championship game to their district rivals. Jason Donald should be in line to receive numerous postseason honors.

9. (4) Edison (Huntington Beach) 24-5

The Chargers were upset in the CIFSS Div. I quarterfinals, 3-2 in eight innings, by Servite of Anaheim. That's the same team they lost to in their opener. It's what happened between those two losses, though, that should keep Edison ranked in the final top 20. Marina winning it all in Div. I would help the Chargers, too, since they were the Sunset League champs.

10. (6) Capistrano Valley (Mission Viejo) 25-4

After a memorable outing in the second round, Jason Corder had a rare off day in the quarterfinals as the junior was the losing pitcher in a 11-5 upset loss to Santa Margarita. Earlier in the week, Corder slugged a three-homer, doubled and singled to lead a 21-hit attack in a 15-3 win over Crescenta Valley of La Crescenta.

11. (18) Marina (Huntington Beach) 22-7

Daric Barton's game-winning homer in the eighth inning that gave the Vikings a 4-3 win in eight innings over Mater Dei will be talked about for years. Marina will join Arlington, Valley View and Santa Margarita in this week's CIFSS Div. I semifinals at Blair Field in Long Beach.

12. (nr) Arlington (Riverside) 24-5

All that criticism about the Lions skipping out on their own tourney for the National Classic is now ancient history. They're now looking like the same team that started out 10-0 and was No. 5 in the state before losing. In its first playoff game of last week, Arlington knocked off defending CIFSS Div. I champ Camarillo, 7-4. Next came a 4-1 win over Mission Viejo.

13. (10) Mater Dei (Santa Ana) 23-6

The fact that Santa Margarita (a team from Mater Dei's league) was able to get into the CIFSS Div. I semis is at least some consolation to the Monarchs, who saw their season come to a disappointing end in a 4-3 loss in eight innings to Marina. Tim Stewart capped a strong career at Mater Dei by finishing with 11 home runs.

14. (nr) Roosevelt (Los Angeles) 27-3

The one-two combo of Andy Flores and Edgar Sedeno has the Roughriders dreaming of a matchup at Dodger Stadium in the L.A. City Section final against Chatsworth. In a 8-0 first-round win over Marshall, Flores allowed four hits and went 2-for-4. Sedeno, who has a 0.00 ERA, hit a home run and had three RBI.

15. (nr) Mission Bay (San Diego) 27-5

It's time to get the Bucs back up among the state's elite after they opened the CIF San Diego Section Div. III playoffs with a pair of wins. In Mission Bay's 7-4 win over Coronado in the second-round, Matt Bush went 4-for-4 with two doubles and three runs scored.

16. (5) Serra (San Mateo) 30-5

It's almost a given that whoever wins the regular season championship in the West Catholic Athletic League will just about always get upset in the CCS playoffs. It happened again last week as the Padres lost to Mitty of San Jose, 12-7, in the semifinals. Mitty was a team Serra had beaten three previous times this season.

17. (nr) Elk Grove 26-8

David Hernandez struck out 10 batters in the first game and picked up a save in the second game as the Thundering Herd won the CIF Sac-Joaquin Section Div. I title with a 2-0 sweep of Stockton Lincoln. Elk Grove took the first game of the series, 7-3, and won the second, 5-4, in eight innings.

18. (nr) Valencia 23-6

Jared Clark would get our vote as state player of the week. In the Vikings' CIFSS Div. II second-round game vs. El Dorado of Placentia, Clark accounted for almost all of his team's runs with a grand slam and a solo homer as his team won, 6-4. In the quarterfinals, which Valencia pounded Centennial of Corona, 17-0, Clark pitched a no-hitter and went 3-for-5 with a homer, a double and seven RBI.

19. (nr) Valley View (Moreno Valley) 22-7

No, we're not ranking Valley View because of the great pepper controversy surrounding the Lakewood game. They are playing in the CIFSS Div. I semis and one of the other teams that has gotten that far, Arlington, is from the same league. And the league championship? It was won by Valley View.

20. (nr) Mitty (San Jose) 25-9

The Monarchs will likely rise five to eight spots in the final rankings as teams are eliminated in the Southern Section. They won the CCS Div. I title with a 9-1 win over defending champ Wilcox and in the semis they dispatched WCAL regular season champ Serra, 12-7. Sophomore Jason Codiroli had three hits and did the honors on the hill in the title game. Head coach Bill Hutton wasn't able to see either victory as he was in the hospital awaiting heart surgery to fix a heart valve infection problem. We sure hope Hutton, also the school's athletic director and a longtime supporter of our efforts, gets well soon.


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