New Cal-Hi Sports Softball Top 20

Among those celebrating in 2010 when Archbishop Mitty clinched FAB 50 national title were Vanessa Alvarez (left), Keilani Ricketts (center) and Alex Arnold (right). Ricketts now stars at Oklahoma while Alvarez and Arnold are now seniors. Mark Tennis/ESPNHS

Norco surges to the top while other teams coming up quickly include Woodcreek, Amador Valley, Lutheran of Orange and Torrey Pines.

This week’s state top 20 for girls softball was actually completed on Wednesday so that the POWERADE FAB 50 national rankings could be done, but it wasn’t possible to complete the package for the California page until Friday morning. Some results from Wednesday and Thursday may not be included. Thanks to Harold Abend and Paul Muyskens for their contributions to these rankings.

(Through games played Tuesday, March 15)

(Previous ranking in parentheses)

1. (8) Norco 5-0

Coach Rick Robinson’s team is stuffed with experienced, talented players and showed just how good it will be this season by winning the prestigious title of last weekend’s Arizona Tournament of Champions. Among those that the Cougars beat during the week were state-ranked Chino Hills in the semifinals and previous state No. 3 Pacifica in the final.

2. (3) Pacifica (Garden Grove) 6-1

Sophomore Kaylee Carlson pitched well all weekend for the Mariners at the big tourney in Bullhead City, Ariz. Although Norco got to her for a four-run inning in the 4-0 loss in the final, Carlson was more than solid in the team’s earlier wins against Taylorsville (Utah), previous state No. 1 Los Alamitos, Lakewood and Saugus.

3. (1) Los Alamitos 7-1

The Griffins don’t drop far in this week’s rankings after a more than respectable 4-1 record at the Arizona TOC. After losing to Pacifica, coach Rob Weil’s girls triumphed over Canyon of Anaheim, Chino and Valencia. It was very easy to simply put Norco first, Pacifica second and Los Al third in this week’s rankings. All three teams will be tested in upcoming weeks as well.

4. (4) Archbishop Mitty (San Jose) 5-1

The Monarchs put a 12-0 thumping on San Jose Leland before opening West Catholic Athletic League play with a 2-0 shutout of crosstown Valley Christian. Cal-bound Vanessa Alvarez had a four-hitter against Valley Christian and Catherine Callaway’s two-run single provided all the offense.

5. (6) Marina (Huntington Beach) 6-0

The two battles between the Vikings and Los Al in the Sunset League are shaping up to be very important this season, although there certainly are other teams in the league (especially Edison of Huntington Beach) that seem more than capable of beating anybody on any given day. After posting three wins, Marina goes up one spot in this week’s rankings.

6. (7) El Diamante (Visalia) 9-0

Junior pitcher Sierra Hyland led the Miners to the championship of the Buchanan of Clovis tourney. She won all five games, including a 4-3 victory against Central of Fresno in the final. Hyland earlier had a no-hitter against Liberty of Madera Ranchos and a one-hitter when El Diamante beat host Buchanan.

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

Amanda Horbach threw four scoreless innings of relief to earn the win in a 3-1 triumph over nationally-ranked Gulliver Prep of Miamia, Florida. Gulliver Prep won in three other games against Sacramento area foes last week. Woodcreek wasn’t too high in the preseason, but made its name by beating defending Sac-Joaquin Section Division I champ Sheldon the week before.

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

The Dons won the Queen of the Mountain tournament with an 8-3 victory over previous No. 11 Sheldon. Sophomore phenom Johanna Grauer pitched a two-hitter with 10 strikeouts in the championship game. The first three games saw the girls take 20-0, 2-0 and 3-0 victories over Concord Ygnacio Valley, Castro Valley and Danville San Ramon Valley, respectively.

9. (12) M.L. King (Riverside) 8-1

The Wolves ended the Redlands Invitational tournament with an 8-3 win over Lakeside of Lake Elsinore as Brooke Harrison doubled and drove in two runs. It’s strange to see both M.L. King and Norco in this week’s rankings and have defending CIFSS Division I champ Corona Santiago drop out after that team lost three times at the Arizona TOC. But that is the nature of the topsy-turvy competition that teams from the Big VIII League face almost every week.

10. (NR) Lutheran (Orange) 8-0

The Lancers captured the Brea Olinda Tournament championship with an 11-9 win over previous No. 2 Etiwanda as Olivia Sandusky homered and drove in five runs. Orange Lutheran also already has a solid win this week against Edison of Huntington Beach.

11. (2) Etiwanda 6-1

Dropping the slugfest game to Orange Lutheran plus Orange Lutheran being unbeaten forces us to drop the Eagles down behind the Lancers in this week’s rankings. Etiwanda also posted wins last week against Sunny Hills of Fullerton and Upland.

12. (NR) Royal (Simi Valley) 4-0

Three years ago, Nancy Bowling of the Highlanders was the State Freshman Player of the Year. She’s back this season as a senior after being out with an injury last spring and last week led Royal to the championship of the Suzanne Manlet tourney. The Highlanders topped host and previous No. 16 ranked Simi Valley in the final.

13. (NR) Torrey Pines (San Diego) 7-0

After winning the Cougar Classic in Escondido, the Falcons take over the top spot in the San Diego Section after a 2-1 title-game victory over previous No. 9 Bonita Vista. It’s a perfect start for a team that has lots of returners from a 24-10 squad from last season that was No. 2 coming into this season according to the San Diego Union Tribune.

14. (18) Chino Hills 9-3

Behind solid pitching, the Huskies went 4-1 at the Tournament of Champions with three of their wins coming in shutouts. The only loss of the week was to eventual champion Norco.

15. (17) Carson 6-0

Brittany Moeai had a two-run home run as the Colts came from behind to defeat South of Torrance by a 4-3 score in the championship game of the Downey Classic Tournament.

16. (15) Valencia 8-3

With wins over Yucaipa, Clovis and California of Whittier, the Vikings returned home from the Tournament of Champions in Arizona with three more wins and two more losses. Those losses, though, were to No. 1 Norco and No. 3 Los Alamitos so there was little reason to drop Valencia more than just one spot in this week’s rankings.

17. (9) Bonita Vista (Chula Vista) 4-1-1

Trailing 4-0 after three innings, the Barons scored the game's final six runs for a 6-4 win over Carlsbad in the Cougar Classic semifinals before suffering a 2-1 loss to Torrey Pines in the finals.

18. (11) Sheldon (Sacramento) 5-2

Meshalon Moore homered and drove in four runs as the Huskies defeated Livermore 8-1 in the semfinals of the Queen of the Mountain Tournament. Sheldon’s two losses are to Woodcreek and Amador Valley.

19. (20) San Benito (Hollister) 2-0

Junior power pitcher Megan Sabbatini took care of business in the circle and the Balers freshman-laden girls bats did the rest in 9-0 and 8-0 victories over St. Ignatius of San Francisco and Burlingame, respectfully, in the Salinas Circle of Champions.

20. (NR) Edison (Huntington Beach) 4-0

At the Laguna Hills Tournament earlier this week, the Chargers defeated San Clemente 5-2 and Northwood of Irvine 3-1. Reflected in next week's rankings will be a 4-2 loss to Orange Lutheran on Wednesday.

Dropped Out:

Previous No. 5 Santiago (Corona); No. 14 Poly (Riverside); No. 16 Simi Valley; No. 19 Sierra (Manteca).

Teams on the Bubble:

Atascadero 12-0; Carlsbad 5-1; Central (Fresno) 7-1; James Logan (Union City) 2-0; Lakewood 6-1; Saugus 5-2; Santiago (Corona) 6-4; Simi Valley 2-1; West Ranch (Valencia) 5-0.

Comments or corrections? Email Mark.Tennis@espn.com.