FINAL STATE TOP 30 SOFTBALL RANKINGS

Woodbridge completes run through CIFSS Div. I playoffs and makes jump up to No. 6 in final overall rankings despite eight losses. Freedom of Oakley benefits from teams losing in CIFSS Div. II playoffs and also gets moved up into the top 10.

(After games of June 7; last week's rank in parentheses)

1. (1) Pacifica (Garden Grove) 31-2

Before their amazing 9-3 victory over La Mirada in the CIF Southern Section Div. III finals, the Mariners blanked Redondo of Redondo Beach, 5-0, in the semifinals. The offense didn't wait to click in that one as Crystal Vieyra slapped an RBI double in the very first inning. In addition to being No. 1 in the state twice, Pacifica also now has four section titles on its resume. The first three came consecutively from 1997 to 1999.

2. (2) Notre Dame (Salinas) 31-2

Coach Joe Given's program won its sixth straight CIF Central Coast Section Div. III title two weeks ago. With sophomore pitcher Kim Reeder and others coming back, a seventh straight title looks probable, too. Let's hope the Spirits can play some games outside of the CCS next year. If they had this year, they might have finished No. 1.

3. (4) Clovis 29-7

The only significant graduation loss for the Cougars is catcher Nichole Willis. And with pitcher Jennifer Reynolds among the returnees, it's a possibility that Clovis will be stuck in the same place in 2004 in which it began 2003: preseason No. 1 in the nation.

4. (5) University City (San Diego) 24-4-1

With Carlsbad winning in Division I and the way in which the Centurions rolled in all of their playoff games, they would get the nod as the top overall squad for the CIF San Diego Section this season.

5. (6) Vanden (Travis AFB) 22-3-1

The CIF Sac-Joaquin Section Div. III champions knocked off East Union of Manteca twice en route to a perfect ride through the postseason. They could have lost a game and still won the section crown as the Sac-Joaquin continues to use a double-elimination playoff format.

6. (15) Woodbridge (Irvine) 27-8

Since Clovis is No. 3 with seven losses, it looks okay also to have Woodbridge at No. 6 despite eight losses. There were that many section championship teams this year that came through down the stretch after periods of struggle earlier in the season. The Warriors won the CIFSS Div. I crown with a 3-2 win in 10 innings over Foothill of Tustin. Woodbridge also was one of two teams that pinned a loss on No. 1 Pacifica. Krista Seeman had the game-winning hit and ended the season with 27 RBI. Not bad for a freshman.

7. (12) Freedom (Oakley) 26-3

With Norco emerging as the unprobable Division II champion in the CIF Southern Section, the Falcons are the major beneficiary. As the two-time CIF North Coast Section East Bay Class 3A champs, they have now been picked as the Division II State Team of the Year. Freedom's overall season record also makes it possible to jump them all the way to No. 7 for the final overall rankings.

8. (10) Clovis West (Fresno) 35-4

We might have placed the Golden Eagles ahead of Freedom in the final rankings had their CIF Central Section playoff loss been to champion Clovis in the final instead of to Madera in the semis.

9. (7) Santiago (Corona) 25-4

Although the Sharks slid down two spots for the final top 30, they should still be ahead of others like Mater Dei, California and El Modena because of their win over No. 1 Pacifica in the final of the Foothill tourney and because they won one of the toughest league titles around. Fellow Mountain View League member Norco (which Santiago beat twice) wound up as the CIFSS Div. II champion.

10. (11) Mater Dei (Santa Ana) 25-5

Among the season highlights for the Monarchs was being co-champion of the Arizona TOC with Pacifica, recording a win against Santiago and going 2-1 against league rival Rosary. The title game of the TOC vs. the Mariners was rained out.

11. (3) California (Whittier) 26-6-1

Jennifer Davis had three hits and pitched a five-hit shutout as the Condors won by 1-0 in the CIFSS Div. II semifinals over Diamond Bar. Making three errors, though, helped Norco pull off a 2-1 triumph in the final.

12. (8) El Modena (Orange) 26-5

If California had won the CIFSS Div. II title instead of being upset in the final by Norco, the Vanguards would have been in the final top 10. Their own playoff loss was by just 1-0 in extra innings to the Condors. El Modena's Century League title also was impressive.

13. (13) Bullard (Fresno) 28-5

Tracy Cook was the Knights' top pitcher and often was a clutch hitter. Bullard won the CIF Central Section Yosemite Division Small Schools title.

14. (9) Rosary (Fullerton) 24-7

That No. 9 ranking from last week was mainly due to the Royals still being alive in the CIFSS Div. I playoffs. Their 2-1 loss in extra innings in the semifinals to Woodbridge was particularly tough to swallow since the winning run came in on a bases-loaded walk.

15. (16) San Pedro 30-1

In the last four years, coach Tony Dobra's team has gone 106-10-1 with four straight L.A. City Section titles. Snicker if you will, CIFSS fans, but that's an impressive record at any level. Senior catcher Stephanie Spychaj has been a starter on all four title teams and will play in college at Indiana State.

16. (17) El Camino (Sacramento) 23-3

The CIF Sac-Joaquin Section Div. II champs featured the standout pitching of Krystina Gomez (0.15 ERA) and the clutch hitting of Jaimie Shockey (.464).

17. (19) North Salinas (Salinas) 24-7

Monica Abbott heads to the University of Tennessee with three CIF Central Coast Section Division I titles in four years. Had the Vikings done better in their league (especially against Hollister and Notre Dame), they would have done better in the rankings.

18. (14) Valencia 27-4

The Vikings may have been one of the state's top five teams for the regular season, but their early-round CIFSS Div. I playoff upset loss to Lakewood winds up knocking them down almost out of the top 20.

19. (nr) Foothill (Tustin) 20-13

Most of those losses came when the Knights were struggling with many injuries early in the season. Once at full strength in the CIFSS Div. I playoffs, though, the team sizzled. They won 7-0 in the quarterfinals over Mater Dei, then 11-5 in the semis over Camarillo before falling in the final to Sea View League rival Woodbridge.

20. (nr) Norco 23-8

After placing just third in its league. the Cougars started winning the close games in the CIFSS Div. II playoffs. They eliminated Canyon of Anaheim, 1-0 in nine innings, in the semis and in the final they bounced California of Whittier, 2-1. California was the fifth straight league champion that Norco took on and defeated in the postseason.

21. (nr) Mitty (San Jose) 29-3

The NorCal version of Valencia was the Monarchs. They were good enough to hand one of the two losses to No. 2 Notre Dame. But they fell hard in the CCS Div. II playoffs, losing 6-4 in the semis to Burlingame.

22. (nr) Royal (Simi Valley) 22-6

The Highlanders played a strong schedule and in the CIFSS Div. I playoffs their loss was in a close game to No. 14 Rosary.

23. (nr) Carlsbad 21-9-1

Senior slugger Megan McAllister and sophomore pitcher Lauren Weyman led the Lancers to the CIF San Diego Section Div. I title. Others who wanted to win that title included Mt. Carmel, Bonita Vista and Vista. Carlsbad defeated Vista, 6-2, in the final with the big blow being a two-run double by Rebecca Lynn.

24. (nr) Mt. Carmel (San Diego) 26-3

The Sundevils had a terrific regular season behind pitcher Laura Wiens. They were upset in the CIFSD Div. I playoffs, 4-2, by Vista. Wiens had to leave in the final with the score tied due to a line drive that caromed off her leg.

25. (nr) Newark Memorial (Newark) 25-6

This squad emerged as one of the best in Northern California by advancing to the NCS East Bay Class 3A championship game. A 4-1 loss in that game to Freedom still hurts, but the three previous playoff wins -- 5-2 over Castro Valley, 1-0 over Alameda and 2-1 in eight innings over Deer Valley of Antioch -- puts the Cougars into the top 25.

26. (17) Canyon (Anaheim) 25-9

The Comanches were having a CIFSS playoff run in Division II that was mirroring Woodbridge's in Division I, except that their run ended in a 2-1 loss to Norco in eight innings in the Division II semifinals.

27. (nr) Simi Valley 19-7

Taking the No. 1 playoff seed in the Marmonte League over the likes of Royal, Westlake and Thousand Oaks was a definite highlight. Losing in the playoffs to Los Alamitos, 3-1, in an upset was definitely not.

28. (nr) Carson 27-6

The Colts have been snake-bit against San Pedro in the L.A. City finals in recent years. This year's team had the game tied at 0-0 going to extra innings before losing again, 1-0. Carson also has a win over CIFSS Div. IV champion Oaks Christian.

29. (nr) Oaks Christian (Westlake Village) 32-2

Since the two losses were to larger schools and the CIFSS Div. IV playoffs involved larger schools than the Lions as well, we thought we'd reward them with an overall ranking. Ashlee Freeman pitched a three-hitter and struck out nine in a 2-0 win in the title game over Alemany of Mission Hills. Oaks Christian also will start 2004 with a 26-game winning streak.

30. (nr) Bonita Vista (Chula Vista) 25-4

It was a better 2002 than 2003 for the Barons, but had they been able to sneak past Carlsbad in their very first CIFSD Div. I playoff game, who knows what might have happened. Carlsbad, after all, went on to win the title.


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