As with baseball, we strive to put out the annual Cal-Hi Sports five-division softball state rankings before the playoffs start so teams know which ones are in contention to be a mythical state champion.
The five teams that have been slotted in No. 1 positions at the start of the various section playoffs around the state are Pacifica of Garden Grove (Division I), Archbishop Mitty of San Jose (Division II), Chino Hills (Division III), La Canada (Division IV) and Pomona Catholic (Division V).
Here are the first divisional state rankings for the 2012 season (through games of Monday, May 7 and including some results from this week):
1. Pacifica (Garden Grove) 25-1
2. Norco 24-2
3. Amador Valley (Pleasanton) 21-0
4. Lutheran (Orange) 25-4
5. El Diamante (Visalia) 27-1
6. Royal (Simi Valley) 22-2
7. Esperanza (Anaheim) 22-6
8. James Logan (Union City) 19-1
9. Los Alamitos 19-6
10. Edison (Huntington Beach) 22-3
11. Simi Valley 20-4-1
12. Los Osos (Rancho Cucamonga) 20-4
13. Vista Murrieta (Murrieta) 19-3-1
14. West Ranch (Valencia) 19-4-1
15. Heritage (Brentwood) 18-2
Notes: The top 13 teams in this division fell into place in the same order as this week’s overall state top 20….
Just off the top 15 is 17-3 San Benito of Hollister, which has won seven straight CIF Central Coast Section Div. I titles. Others very close included Carlmont of Belmont (21-2), Central of Fresno (23-6), Davis (19-5), Saugus (20-6) and Torrey Pines of San Diego (24-5)….
1. Archbishop Mitty (San Jose) 23-2
2. Mission Viejo 21-5
3. Bonita Vista (San Diego) 19-3-1
4. Newark Memorial (Newark) 18-4
5. Camarillo 22-5
6. Del Oro (Loomis) 19-4-2
7. Rancho Cotate (Rohnert Park) 17-1
8. Woodcreek (Roseville) 21-4
9. Wilcox (Santa Clara) 21-4
10. Aliso Niguel (Aliso Viejo) 20-8-1
Notes: Teams in the CIF Central Coast Section do not have the ability to move up in divisions so Mitty is almost always Division II according to its enrollment….
The top six teams in this division are all in the overall top 20 as well and are ranked in the same order….
Bonita Vista also in the No. 1 team overall in the CIF San Diego Section…
Among those on the bubble would be Alhambra of Martinez (17-4), Casa Roble of Orangevale (16-4), Colton (19-5), Garces of Bakersfield (23-4-2), Lakewood (23-5), Los Altos (21-4), Petaluma (19-3) and Wilson of Long Beach (20-7)…..
1. Chino Hills 25-3
2. St. Lucy’s (Glendora) 21-5
3. Dos Pueblos (Goleta) 24-3
4. Atascadero 24-3
5. Ridgeview (Bakersfield) 27-3-1
6. Valley Christian (San Jose) 22-5
7. Santana (Santee) 25-5
8. Pioneer (Woodland) 16-3-1
9. Bishop Amat (La Puente) 20-6
10. Burroughs (Burbank) 23-3
Notes: No. 1 Chino Hills also is the only team from this division that is in the overall state top 20….
Both the CIF Southern Section Division III and Division IV teams are placed in this division. Aquinas of San Bernardino (24-2) is No. 1 in the CIFSS Division IV rankings….
Also close to getting a top 10 ranking at this time are Hanford West of Hanford (21-8-1), Madison of San Diego (21-5). North of Torrance (23-7), Oakdale (22-2-1), San Marin of Novato (19-1), Segerstrom of Santa Ana (20-4-1), West Hills of Santee (20-6), Westmont of Campbell (18-3). Madison is actually D4 in San Diego, but is much too large of a school to be considered D4 for our state rankings…..
1. La Canada 21-4
2. Hughson 23-1
3. Beaumont 22-4
4. Taft 25-2-2
5. Citrus Valley (Redlands) 21-2
6. Santa Catalina (Monterey) 17-1-1
7. San Marino 17-8-1
8. Exeter 22-4
9. Marysville 22-4
10. St. Patrick/St. Vincent (Vallejo) 20-3
Notes: It’s very, very close at the top between La Canada and Hughson. La Canada, though, just avenged one of its losses (against San Marino) and had such a strong showing recently at the Woodbridge tournament against very strong large-school Orange County teams.
Both the CIF Southern Section Division V and Division VI teams are considered Division IV for these rankings…..
Santa Catalina is actually D3 in the CCS, but that section still only has three divisions so many of the schools that would probably be D4 or D5 just have to play up….
Teams also considered in this division were Calvary Chapel of Downey (16-7-1), Clear Lake of Lakeport (14-2), Imperial (22-2-1), Mater Dei of Chula Vista (18-8), Monrovia (15-8-1) and Wheatland (19-8)….
1. Pomona Catholic (Pomona) 21-7
2. Jim Elliot Christian (Lodi) 18-2
3. Bellarmine-Jefferson (Burbank) 19-5-2
4. Mount Shasta 27-3
5. Port of Los Angeles (San Pedro) 17-7
6. Millenium (Tracy) 11-4
7. Rolling Hills Prep (San Pedro) 11-1
8. Mesa Grande Academy (Calimesa) 19-4
9. Liberty (Madera Ranchos) 19-5-1
10. Ferndale 10-3
Notes: Jim Elliot Christian recently avenged one of its losses with a victory over Millenium….
Pomona Catholic has played a tremendous schedule for a school of its size. Two of the wins are against Los Osos and St. Lucy’s, which are ranked in higher divisions. When the Pacers play others of their school size, average scores seem to be about 20-0….
Port of Los Angeles is from the L.A. City Section and posted a win this week over traditional L.A. City large-school power San Pedro. The Polar Bears also have handed Rolling Hills Prep its only loss….
Faith Baptist of Canoga Park (14-8), Notre Dame of San Jose (16-9) and Valley Christian of Dublin (13-4) were among other schools considered….
Corrections or comments? Email Mark.Tennis@espn.com.