New Cal-Hi Sports Softball Top 20

Amador Valley's Johanna Grauer was the MVP of the 2012 Livermore Stampede. Harold Abend/ESPNHS

Tough call at No. 2 as Norco stays in that position despite loss to Corona Santiago. Highest rising newcomers are Los Osos and Del Oro.

Knee-jerk reactions in the rankings game are common, but looking way down the road is more important.

A knee-jerk reaction would have been to dump Norco from its No. 2 statewide ranking after a loss last week to Corona Santiago.

That move was seriously considered this week in favor of unbeaten Amador Valley, but Norco still has just two losses overall, beat Santiago 12-4 earlier in the season and still has a win over No. 1 Pacifica. Throw all that together and compare a possible final No. 1 decision if Norco were to win the CIF Southern Section Division I title and it still looks like the Cougars would have the edge over Amador due to strength of schedule. It’s also much smoother to leave the rankings as is now than the alternative, which would be to move up Amador now and possibly have to hop Norco in front later.

A third loss, however, for the Cougars would indeed drop them behind Amador Valley and would keep them there if the Dons were to finish unbeaten. Strength of schedule does have its limitations.

(Through games played Monday, April 30)

(Writeups below mostly by Paul Muyskens & Harold Abend)

(Previous ranking in parentheses)

1. (1) Pacifica (Garden Grove) 23-1

It’s looking like another week of snapping bats for the Mariners. They’ve already started this week with wins of 7-0 over Yorba Linda and 11-1 over Tustin. Against the Tillers, Nicole DeWitt had two doubles, one homer and four RBIs while Ruby Rivera went 3-for-3 with two RBIs. The team hasn’t had a close game in more than a month, which actually could be a problem in a close game in the playoffs.

2. (2) Norco 21-2

After its 3-2 loss to Corona Santiago, the Cougars came back to end the week by blanking M.L. King of Riverside 4-0. They still have four games left in Big VIII League competition and it still wouldn’t surprise us if they get the top seed in the CIF Southern Section Division I playoffs. Having that head-to-head win over Pacifica carries perhaps even more weight with seedings than it does in our rankings.

3. (3) Amador Valley (Pleasanton) 18-0

After a little trouble two weeks ago, the Dons rolled last week in East Bay Athletic League 8-0 and 4-0 victories over crosstown arch rival Foothill and Carondelet of Concord, respectively. Johanna Grauer tossed a one-hitter with 16 strikeouts against Foothill. It’s looking more and more like coach Julie Marshall’s girls could enter the CIF North Coast Section Division I playoffs undefeated unless the California of San Ramon team that gave them trouble at home two weeks ago can do the same in their house on May 8.

4. (4) Lutheran (Orange) 23-4

Nearly opening the week with a road loss to Rosary of Fullerton, the Lancers tied the game at 1-1 with a run in the seventh inning before a solo home run by Noelle Wagner in the ninth ended up as the winner in a 2-1 victory. Olivia Sandusky then drove in a game-high three runs in a 8-0 road win over Santa Margarita to end the week.

5. (6) Archbishop Mitty (San Jose) 21-2

Coach Brian Yocke and his girls continue to inch back upwards in the rankings. In what was a busy week, the Monarchs followed up the 11-1 win early last week over Sacred Heart Cathedral (San Francisco) with three more victories, two over West Catholic Athletic League rivals San Jose Presentation (10-0) and Notre Dame of Belmont (10-3), and 4-0 in a make-up non-league contest on the road in Gilroy. Cal-bound Vanessa Alvarez struck out 15 in a two-hitter against Gilroy. Freshman Danielle Bowers pitched in two of the other three games.

6. (7) Chino Hills 23-3

Remaining undefeated in Sierra League play, the Huskies have now won 17 games in a row after six runs in each of their wins last week. Nikki Innamorato and Patricia Parks combined for the shutout in their 6-0 win over Charter Oak of Covina. Tannon Snow homered and drove in two runs in the week-ending 6-1 win over Ayala of Chino Hills.

7. (8) El Diamante (Visalia) 25-1

The Miners followed up the 8-3 win over Hanford West of Hanford with two West Yosemite League blowouts, 17-1 over visiting Mt. Whitney of Visalia and 16-0 at Hanford. Junior second-sacker Stevi Johnson had a three-run home run against Hanford West and tripled with five RBIs in the Mt. Whitney win. Junior pitcher Sierra Hyland fanned 14 against Hanford and also had a big week at the plate, homering with five RBIs against Mt. Whitney.

8. (9) Esperanza (Anaheim) 19-6

Moving up one spot this week, the Aztecs picked up a pair of one-run wins last week over Foothill of Tustin and El Dorado of Placentia. Hayley Copeland allowed just two hits and struck out 16 in their 3-2 eight-inning win over the Golden Hawks.

9. (10) Simi Valley 19-3-1

In their only game last week, the Pioneers followed up the big win two weeks ago over crosstown arch-rival Royal with a 10-2 Marmonte League win over host Westlake of Westlake Village. Five girls hit home runs against Westlake, and pitcher Lauren Soles threw five no-hit innings. Besides a long fly (her fifth this season), senior Jenn Soria also had a triple and three RBIs with two runs scored. Simi Valley goes for 2-0 sweep on the season of Royal on Friday.

10. (11) Royal (Simi Valley) 20-2

The Highlanders stay two games back of rival Simi Valley in Marmonte League play after a 3-2 win over Moorpark and a 10-1 victory against Newbury Park. Coach Bill Dishon then took the girls back to the two-week Loara Tournament where the team won the title. Arizona-bound Nancy Bowling tossed her 16th shutout of the season in a six-inning, 3-0 win over Garden Grove in the championship game. Bowling struck out 10 and didn't allow a run in four tournament games. This week in league they host Thousand Oaks and Simi Valley in the big re-match.

11. (12) James Logan (Union City) 15-1

CIF North Coast Section all-time winningest coach Teri Johnson and the girls had their busiest week of the season, and came up winners in all four games while outscoring opponents 47-1 combined. Junior pitcher Raeann Garza had a one-hitter to open the week in an 8-0 win over Fremont American. The rest of the teams didn’t fare much better against Garza and the Colts. Scores were 13-1, 16-0 and 10-0.

12. (18) Los Alamitos 17-6

The Griffins move into a first place tie in the Sunset League with previous No. 5 Edison after picking up a 2-1 victory over the Chargers last week, thanks to a two-run home run from Infinity Laufou. Los Al also posted a 9-4 win last week over Marina of Huntington Beach.

13. (5) Edison (Huntington Beach) 20-3

With a 2-1 loss to Los Alamitos, the Chargers are now tied with the Griffins for first-place in the Sunset League but move behind them in the rankings due to the loss. Samantha Cordova then allowed just one hit and struck out five in a 1-0 win over Newport Harbor of Newport Beach.

14. (16) Mission Viejo 18-5

Alyssa Palamino homered and the Diablos defeated Trabuco Hills of Mission Viejo 9-1 in their lone game last week. Taylor McQuillin picked up her 18th win of the season in the circle.

15. (18) Lakewood 20-4

The Lancers posted four wins last week as they defeated Long Beach Poly, Millikan of Long Beach, Port of Los Angeles and Hawthorne. The win over Millikan also was important for the rankings because it avenged an earlier loss. Lakewood’s key Moore League game Tuesday against Wilson of Long Beach is not included in this week’s rankings.

16. (NR) Los Osos (Rancho Cucamonga) 18-4

The Grizzlies headed into their third matchup of the season this week against Etiwanda on a seven-game win streak and already had two wins over the Eagles this season. Last week’s wins were 5-2 over Rancho Cucamonga and 6-2 over Glendora. The week before Los Osos avenged one of its earlier losses with a 4-1 victory against Upland.

17. (NR) Del Oro (Loomis) 15-3-2

With their second shutout win over Woodcreek of Roseville in the last two weeks, the Golden Eagles soar into the rankings after also shutting out Nevada Union of Grass Valley. Winners of six straight games, the Golden Eagles have won their last five games without allowing a run behind the pitching of senior Jordan Courage.

18. (NR) West Ranch (Valencia) 16-3-1

Behind the left arm of Bailey Foster, the Wildcats move into the top 20 after defeating Saugus 13-0 and Valencia 4-0. In the pair of complete game shutouts, she allowed a total of seven hits while striking out 10. The win against Saugus also avenged an earlier loss.

19. (NR) Bonita Vista (Chula Vista) 16-3-1

The Barons re-enter the rankings as the lone entry from the CIF San Diego Section after assuming the San Diego Union-Tribune’s top spot one week earlier. The three losses are to solid teams, and the tie is to the UT’s No. 2 team, San Diego Mira Mesa, a team they later beat 18-6. In fact, since a 2-1 loss at Santee West Hills in the Falcon Fiesta, coach John Carlson’s girls have won 11 straight going into a Tuesday contest with cross-town Olympian.

20. (13) Woodcreek (Roseville) 18-3

Wins over Roseville and Granite Bay may have righted the ship, but the Timberwolves once again suffered a loss to Del Oro of Loomis, this time by a 1-0 final score. They will get a chance to avenge their two losses to Del Oro next week but they now need help from other teams if they want to win the Sierra Foothill League title. Still, with just three losses on the season overall, coach Art Banks’ girls are going to be a major contender to win the CIF Sac-Joaquin Section Div. II title.

Dropped Out:

Previous No. 14 San Benito (Hollister); No. 15 Saugus; No. 19 La Canada; No. 20 Vista Murrieta (Murrieta).

Teams on the Bubble

Camarillo 16-5, Canyon (Anaheim) 15-7, Carlmont (Belmont) 20-2, Central (Fresno) 22-5, Dos Pueblos (Goleta) 21-3, Heritage (Brentwood) 16-2, Mira Mesa (San Diego) 17-5-1, Newark Memorial (Newark) 14-3, Rancho Cotate (Rohnert Park) 14-1, Saugus 19-5, St. Francis (Mountain View) 17-6, St. Lucy’s (Glendora) 18-4, St. Mary’s (Stockton) 19-2, Torrey Pines (San Diego) 22-4, Valley Christian (San Jose) 19-5, Vista Murrieta (Murrieta) 15-3-1.

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