(For the purposes of our TV show, which does not reach many cities beyond the San Francisco Bay Area, we define Northern California for these rankings as not to include schools from the CIF Central Section. For our own geographically-based rankings, we include the CIF Central Section as Northern California)
Here's the up-to-date baseball rankings after Sat night games:
1. Wilcox (Santa Clara) 32-3 (1)
2. Elk Grove 25-5 (2)
3. Mitty (San Jose) 26-5* (4)
4. Woodland 24-6 (5)
5. Serra (San Mateo) 25-8 (10)
6. California (San Ramon) 20-4 (6)
7. Bellarmine (San Jose) 27-8 (8)
8. St. Francis (Mountain View) 26-9 (7)
9. Folsom 24-5-1 (11)
10. Valley Christian (San Jose) 26-7 (12)
11. Casa Grande (Petaluma) 23-3 (13)
12. Davis 23-5-1 (16)
13. Hollister 24-5 (18)
14. Clayton Valley (Concord) 18-6 (9)
15. Lincoln (Stockton) 23-6 (19)
16. Christian Brothers (Sacramento) 25-6 (20)
17. Benicia 23-4 (nr)
18. Newark Memorial (Newark) 22-4-1 (3)
19. Rio Linda 25-5 (15)
20. Monterey 28-4 (nr)
You can certainly say that Wilcox got a break in the CCS Div. I seedings since the four West Catholic Athletic League qualifiers were all in the opposite bracket and had to play each other in last Saturday's quarterfinals. Then again, the way Wilcox ripped Santa Teresa, 18-1, it may not have mattered who it played. Darrell Sales pounded two home runs among four hits to lead the Chargers.
Any easiness in Wilcox's path to the title, however, will end Wednesday as the Chargers will meet equally red-hot Mitty. The Monarchs won their quarterfinal, 17-5, over Bellarmine to completely erase any bad feelings about their recent 11-10 loss to Sacred Heart Cathedral in the WCAL playoffs. Ryan Conan was a barbarian with his bat against the Bells and finished with six RBI. Justin Pors also came through for Mitty with a grand slam homer.
Serra and Hollister will play in Wednesday's other CCS Div. I semifinal. Hollister is clearly the biggest underdog of the four semifinalists, but it of course would surprise no one if Serra wound up the eventual champ.
Mike Nelson hit a grand slam homer and Jaime Huizar had a three-run triple as Elk Grove survived what they call Suicide Saturday in the first round of the Sac-Joaquin Section Div. I playoffs with a 9-1 win over El Camino of Sacramento. It's Suicide Saturday because if you lose, your season is over. If you win, you advance to the double-elimination portion of the playoffs so one loss does not knock you out. The Sac-Joaquin Section is the only section in the state that uses a double-elimination format for its baseball and softball playoffs. A loss can still hurt a team in the ratings even if that team goes on and wins the section title.
Newark Memorial's two losses last week in the MVAL playoffs possibly cost the Cougars a good shot to be the top seed in the NCS East Bay 3A playoffs. Instead, they went from perhaps being No. 1 all the way down to No. 5. California of San Ramon, the EBAL champ, earned the division's No. 1 seed.
Here's the up-to-date softball rankings (through Saturday's games):
1. Sheldon (Sacramento) 26-3-1 (1)
2. Brookside Christian (Stockton) 29-1 (2)
3. Notre Dame (Salinas) 26-3 (4)
4. Vanden (Travis AFB) 26-0 (5)
5. Valley Christian (San Jose) 25-3 (6)
6. East Union (Manteca) 26-3 (12)
7. College Park (Pleasant Hill) 21-3 (8)
8. Freedom (Oakley) 18-4 (9)
9. Campolindo (Moraga) 20-2 (11)
10. Fairfield 26-7 (12)
11. Deer Valley (Antioch) 20-3 (10)
12. North Salinas (Salinas) 22-6-1 (14)
13. Ceres 24-2 (3)
14. Petaluma 18-2 (17)
15. Carlmont (Belmont) 25-6 (nr)
16. Mitty (San Jose) 27-5 (18)
17. St. Francis (Sacramento) 30-6-3 (nr)
18. Half Moon Bay 22-6 (nr)
19. El Camino (Sacramento) 21-7 (nr)
20. Roseville 20-8-1 (nr)
There aren't many mercy-rule games in the playoffs but top-ranked Sheldon posted one in its first Sac-Joaquin Section Div. I playoff game as it won 11-0 in five innings over Grace Davis of Modesto. The Huskies then pounded Johnson of Sacramento (a team that was good enough earlier this year to be No. 1 in the Sacramento Bee's rankings) by 7-1 and moved into this week's continuation of the tourney with a 2-0 record.
Also going 2-0 on the first day of the Sac-Joaquin Div. I playoffs was El Camino of Sacramento, Fairfield and St. Francis of Sacramento. Fairfield, the two-time defending champ, won by scores of 7-0 and 10-0 as Alicia Hollowell pitched both shutouts and struck out a combined 25 batters.
Previous No. 3 Ceres was not so fortunate in the Sac-Joaquin playoffs. The Bulldogs stumbled in the late innings of a 2-1 loss to Vacaville. And since that loss was in its opener, Ceres was not able to advance to the double-elimination portion of the tourney and therefore will be turning in uniforms this week.
Other than Sheldon, perhaps the hottest team in Northern California is College Park. The defending NCS East Bay 3A champs are taking a 15-game winning streak into the playoffs. It's arguable the Falcons should have been seeded No. 1 in those playoffs, too, but that vote went to Freedom of Oakley.
With Notre Dame of Salinas and Valley Christian of San Jose likely to meet in the finals this weekend, you can easily make the argument that the CCS Div. III playoffs are stronger than Div. I or Div. II. Carmel, Half Moon Bay, Burlingame, Capuchino and Mercy of Burlingame give the division plenty of depth, too. Notre Dame plays Half Moon Bay in one semi and Valley Christian will face surprising Capuchino in the other.
It's our goal each week to complete these rankings on the same day in which the show airs. But often there are missing scores as well as other missing information, which require us to wait until Monday so we can call schools to fill in the blanks.
Have a great week and be sure to check this site througout the week for our updated state rankings.