BASEBALL NO. 1: WE DON'T DO TIES

Chatsworth seals the deal on its terrific season with an L.A. City Section title and assures that two separate California schools will be able to claim mythical national titles. La Costa Canyon named State Team of the Year, but let the debate begin on who would win in a game or series against Chatsworth.

With all the nasty comments we've directed over the years at USA Today, we really are glad the national newspaper has gone with Chatsworth and not La Costa Canyon of Carlsbad as its top-ranked team in the nation -- even though we have it ranked the other way around.

This has turned out to be one situation in which both teams at the top of the state rankings have an almost equal claim to be No. 1 and deserve as many honors as they can get. Not since the 1994 football season when De La Salle of Concord and Mater Dei of Santa Ana were No. 1 in the nation in two separate rankings have two California teams commanded such national attention.

Chatsworth put the capper on a 33-1 season with a 3-0 victory over Carson on Tuesday night at Dodger Stadium in the CIF L.A. City Section championship. It is the Chancellors' third section crown in the last five seasons.

Justin Cassel came within three outs of pitching a no-hitter and settled for a one-hitter with nine strikeouts. The UC Irvine recruit had a four-hit shutout in his previous start and ended the season with a 15-0 record. Eight of those wins were on shutouts.

Chancellor fans got another thrill in the sixth inning when Bryan Peterson crushed a ball over the Dodger Stadium fence in right-center field for a two-run homer. The team's first run came in the first inning on a two-out RBI single by Jordan Sisson.

Chatsworth's only loss during the season came to Sabino of Tucson, Arizona, at a tournament in Las Vegas. That was during the same week in which the state and nation's No. 1 ranked team at the time, La Quinta of Westminster, dropped two games at the National Classic tourney in Fullerton. Capistrano Valley of Mission Viejo was another unbeaten team that lost during the same week. In fact, the only top 10 team in the state that week that didn't lose was La Costa Canyon.

That was one reason why the Mavericks were moved up to the No. 1 position in the state at that time. Another reason was that if La Costa Canyon was able to go the rest of the season and not lose, it was foreseen be a more difficult task than Chatsworth going the rest of the way and not losing. We don't necessarily think La Costa Canyon is a better team than Chatsworth, but we do think that the CIF San Diego Section Div. I playoffs this year included a lot more strong teams than did the L.A. City Section playoffs. Plus, La Costa Canyon ended the season with a longer winning streak (27 games) than did Chatsworth.

You can also make an argument that neither La Costa Canyon or Chatsworth had the best team in California this season. La Quinta played in the National Classic without pitching ace Ian Kennedy and on the day in which the Aztecs lost both games they also didn't have infielder Blake Crosby, who had a throat infection. La Quinta finished 30-2 and won the CIF Southern Section Div. IV title with a 2-1 victory last Saturday at Edison International Field over Pacifica of Garden Grove.

In many years of the state rankings, a 30-2 mark and having the type of talent that La Quinta had is certainly enough to be State Team of the Year, even No. 1 in the nation.

But not in 2003. La Costa Canyon and Chatsworth, once they got to be No. 1 in the nation respectively in the Student Sports FAB 50 and in the USA Today Super 25, held on with a grip the Incredible Hulk would be proud of. There's never been two teams at the top of the state baseball rankings with the achievements of these two. All we can do is explain why we rank one ahead of the other while at the same time saluting each and every player from these two all-time great teams.

ALL-TIME STATE BASEBALL

TEAMS OF THE YEAR

(Compiled by Cal-Hi Sports)

2003 -- Carlsbad La Costa Canyon (32-1)

2002 -- La Puente Bishop Amat (28-2)

2001 -- La Puente Bishop Amat (27-2)

2000 -- San Diego Rancho Bernardo (30-3)

1999 -- Riverside Arlington (29-2)

1998 -- Clovis (33-2)

1997 -- Clovis (32-2)

1996 -- Granada Hills Kennedy (31-3)

1995 -- Fountain Valley (26-3-1)

1994 -- Fountain Valley (27-3-1)

1993 -- Fresno Bullard (26-3-1)

1992 -- San Diego Mira Mesa (26-5)

1991 -- Ontario (26-0)

1990 -- Cupertino Monta Vista (27-3)

1989 -- Fresno Bullard (28-2)

1988 -- Fresno Bullard (29-1)

1987 -- Lakewood (25-7)

1986 -- Santee Santana (26-2)

1985 -- Oxnard Rio Mesa (27-3)

1984 -- Rancho Cordova (33-5-1)

1983 -- El Cerrito (27-1)

1982 -- San Diego Mt. Carmel (24-2)

1981 -- Westminster (23-4)

1980 -- Fresno Bullard (29-2)

1979 -- Visalia Mt. Whitney (20-3)

1978 -- Lakrspur Redwood (30-5)

1977 -- West Covina Edgewood (29-1)

1976 -- Lakewood (22-4-1)

1975 -- Torrance Bishop Montgomery (27-3)

1974 -- Torrance North (26-6-1)

1973 -- El Segundo (30-5)

1972 -- Venice (19-3)

1971 -- El Segundo (33-2)

1970 -- Lompoc (27-1)

1969 -- Sacramento Grant (16-1)

1968 -- Fresno Hoover (27-3)

1967 -- Long Beach Millikan (20-4)

1966 -- El Segundo (24-4-1)

1965 -- San Diego Crawford (22-4)

1964 -- Lynwood (23-2)

1963 -- Long Beach Poly (21-4)

1962 -- Sacramento Bishop Armstrong (22-2)

1961 -- San Francisco Sacred Heart (32-2-1)

1960 -- Fresno Roosevelt (20-2)

1959 -- San Francisco St. Ignatius (28-3)

1958 -- Fresno (25-1)

1957 -- Fresno (22-2)

1956 -- Ontario Chaffey (21-5)

1955 -- South Gate (13-0)*

1954 -- Los Angeles Loyola (22-5)

1953 -- Compton (23-2)

1952 -- San Francisco Sacred Heart (29-5)

1951 -- Sacramento McClatchy (22-0-1)

1950 -- Long Beach Wilson (24-3)

*League & playoff games only.

Note: List extends back to 1899 in Cal-Hi Sports Record Book & Almanac.


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