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Wednesday, March 21, 2012
New Cal-Hi Sports Softball Top 20

By Mark Tennis & Paul Muyskens

Unbeaten Orange Lutheran surges to No. 4 after another week of significant victories. Highest rising newcomers are West Ranch of Valencia and James Logan of Union City.

A great deal of the movement in this week’s state softball top 20 revolves around teams from the Sunset League in the CIF Southern Section.

Sunset member Los Alamitos, which was No. 1 in the state two weeks ago, lost its second straight game on Monday and fell down to No. 19 in this week’s rankings. Sunset teams going up, however, would be new No. 13 Edison of Huntington Beach plus bubble team Fountain Valley.

Combined with Marina of Huntington Beach, which stayed at No. 5 in this week’s state rankings, the Sunset has four teams close to being among the top 20 in the state.

(Through games played Tuesday, March 20)
(Previous ranking in parentheses)


1. (1) Norco 7-0
With the help of a nine-run inning, the Cougars picked up a 12-4 win over defending CIF Southern Section Division I champ Santiago of Corona to end the week after earlier defeating Roosevelt of Corona 6-0. In their first five games, the Cougars had failed to score more than four runs in a game before having their bats come alive in a big way last week.
2. (2) Pacifica (Garden Grove) 7-1
Faith Canfield homered and drove in three runs and Kristina Akiona tripled and drove in two runs as the Mariners responded from a loss to Norco with a 5-2 win over Kennedy of La Palma.

3. (4) Archbishop Mitty (San Jose) 7-1
The Monarchs opened West Catholic Athletic League play with a 2-0 shutout of cross-town Valley Christian, and then a 7-0 blanking of visiting Burlingame. Cal-bound Vanessa Alvarez had a four-hitter against Valley Christian and Catherine Callaway’s two-run single provided all the offense. Against Burlingame it was Alvarez starring again. This time she pitched a 1-htter with 12 strikeouts and one walk. She also had a double and scored twice.

4. (10) Lutheran (Orange) 11-0
Making a big jump this week are the Lancers, who captured their second championship on the year with a 3-2 win over previously undefeated Marina of Huntington Beach at the Saddleback Valley Tournament. Madison Osias pitched four scoreless innings of relief to get the win.

5. (5) Marina (Huntington Beach) 8-1

The Vikings had their undefeated start to the season come to an end as they were unable to hold a 2-0 lead in the championship game of the Saddleback Valley Tournament and suffered a 3-2 loss to Orange Lutheran.  Instead of dropping Marina, this week’s rankings saw the Vikings stay in the same spot with the Lancers getting a big push up into the fourth slot.

6. (6) El Diamante (Visalia) 12-0
With a doubleheader sweep of Clovis on Tuesday, the Miners will now head into West Yosemite League play later this week. Sierra Hyland struck out a career-high 19 in the 3-1 game one victory.

7. (7) Woodcreek (Roseville) 9-0

Amanda Horbasch allowed just three hits while striking out nine as the Timberwolves opened up this week with a 3-0 road win at Granite Bay on Monday. They then defeated Rocklin on Tuesday 3-1 score as Lexi Wilkerson earned the complete game win in the circle.

8. (8) Amador Valley (Pleasanton) 4-0

The Dons followed up the Queen of the Mountain tournament championship by cooling their heels last week after their matchup with James Logan of Union City was wiped out by rain. It’s been re-scheduled for this Thursday as the only game on tap this week.

9. (12) Royal (Simi Valley) 5-0
Nancy Bowling homered and drove in two runs while allowing just one hit and striking out 15 as the Highlanders defeated Agoura 3-0 in their lone game of last week.

10. (13) Torrey Pines (San Diego) 9-0
Coach Johnathan Moore’s girls followed up the Cougar Classic championship with a 4-0 win over Rancho Buena Vista to open the North County Tournament. Junior right-hander Rachel Nasland had a four-hitter with 11 strikeouts in the victory. This week, they’re busy in the North County Tournament with games against Escondido, La Costa Canyon, Oceanside El Camino and Mission Hills of San Marcos.

11. (14) Chino Hills 11-3
With a 9-0 mercy-rule shortened win over Colton, the Huskies captured the Fullerton Tournament championship last week. Pitcher Nikki Innamorato was named the tournament MVP.

12. (NR) West Ranch (Valencia) 7-0
Moving into the rankings this week, the Wildcats picked up a pair of wins at the High Desert Classic as they defeated Paraclete of Lancaster 11-2 and Serrano of Phelan 8-2. Keeley Walsh was a perfect 3-for-3 in the win over the Spirits as she homered and drove in four runs.

13. (20) Edison (Huntington Beach) 5-1
Despite losing for the first time this season, by a 4-2 score against Orange Lutheran, the Chargers move up after going 3-1 at the Laguna Hills Tournament. Jessica Plaza, Casey Africano and Lizabelle Talataina all homered as they finished the tournament with a 15-5 win over Huntington Beach.

14. (17) Bonita Vista (Chula Vista) 5-1-1
The Barons followed up their 2-1 loss to Torrey in the title game of the Cougar Classic with a 7-4 win on the road at Pt. Loma of San Diego. Alex Vargas had an RBI double and scored twice against Pt. Loma.

15. (18) Sheldon (Sacramento) 6-2
Amber Glenn and Meshalon Moore each drove in two runs as the Huskies defeated Lodi 8-2 earlier this week. Hopefully, the girls will be able to be at Power Balance Pavilion on Saturday night when the Sheldon boys basketball team takes a shot to bring down the goliath known as Mater Dei in the CIF Division I state championship.

16. (19) San Benito (Hollister) 2-0
After winning their first two games in pool play of the Annie Lynch Memorial Circle of Champions tournament, the heavy rains wiped out finals play that was to take place last weekend. Now the Balers have tournament games this week with North Salinas and Salinas.

17. (NR) James Logan (Union City) 2-0

Rain cancelled two games for the Colts last week, including one against state-ranked Amador Valley. Coach Teri Johnson’s team is the runner-up from last year's CIF North Coast Section Division I playoffs with a number of top returnees. The Logan-Amador matchup was rescheduled for this week.

18. (NR) Lakewood 6-1
The Lancers have lost only to No. 2 Pacifica and have some solid wins, too. Among those they’ve beaten so far have been Fountain Valley, Canyon of Anaheim and South Hills of Covina.

19. (3) Los Alamitos 7-3

A loss on Monday of this week to Wilson of Long Beach followed one last week to Mission Viejo. The Griffins were still No. 2 in Orange County before that loss and have the ability to bounce back, especially because of the league they are in. That’s why they hung on toward the bottom of this week’s rankings.

20. (NR) Don Lugo (Chino) 7-1
This team was No. 1 in this week’s CIF Southern Section coaches’ rankings in Division II. Those rankings were done before the Conquistadors lost to Orange Lutheran on Monday, but in terms of getting a No. 20 state ranking dropping a game to the No. 4 team actually doesn’t hurt.

Dropped Out:
Previous No. 9 M.L. King (Riverside); No. 11 Etiwanda; No. 15 Carson; No. 16 Valencia.

Teams on the Bubble:
Atascadero 13-0; Carlsbad 7-1; Etiwanda 7-2; Fountain Valley 8-2; Mission Viejo 9-3; Saugus 7-2; Santiago (Corona) 7-5; Simi Valley 5-1; Valencia 10-4.

Note: Harold Abend contributed to these updates.
Comments or corrections? Email Mark.Tennis@espn.com.