New Cal-Hi Sports Softball Top 20

Norco shows how to enhance ranking even when team already is No. 1. This week’s new rankings also sees significant rises for Northern California powers Sheldon and San Benito.

It is possible to strengthen a No. 1 ranking and proof of that is what the Norco softball team did during last week’s Torrance National Tournament.

Coach Rick Robinson’s club rolled to the tourney title and although the lineup of teams wasn’t exactly the same as the Arizona Tournament of Champions, state-ranked Edison of Huntington Beach was there along with Nevada power Damonte Ranch and a sprinkling of other dangerous squads.

Norco improved to 14-0 on Tuesday with a victory over Centennial of Corona. The Cougars not only remained No. 1 in the state, but are likely going to be lifted to No. 1 in this week’s POWERADE FAB 50 national rankings on the ESPNHS softball page on Thursday.

At this point, even if Norco were to drop a game in the ultra-tough Big VIII League, the Cougars would still be hard to drop from the No. 1 state ranking.

(Through games played Tuesday, March 27)

Contributing: Paul Muyskens, Harold Abend

(Previous ranking in parentheses)

1. (1) Norco 14-0

Ohio State-bound Ashley Goodwin hit a two-run home run and the Cougars defeated North of Torrance 8-0 in the championship game of the Torrance National Tournament. Emily Lockman dominated in the circle as the Cougars won four of their five games at the tournament without allowing a run.

2. (2) Pacifica (Garden Grove) 11-1

With an outstanding young pitching tandem in sophomore Kaylee Carlson and freshman Kaley Winegarner, the Mariners have won their last four games without allowing a run. The two combined for the shutout earlier this week as Carlson pitched eight innings before Winegarner pitched the final two innings in a 1-0 10-inning win over Yorba Linda.

3. (3) Archbishop Mitty (San Jose) 10-1

After a 3-hit shutout with 10 strikeouts in a 4-0 win over St. Francis of Mountain View, early Ms. Softball State Player of the Year candidate Vanessa Alvarez tossed her seventh straight shutout. The Cal-bound sparkplug is 10-0 with a 0.52 ERA. Sophomore phenom Jazmyn Jackson, senior Vinchenza Dibenedetto, junior Kiersten Nordin also have all been major offensive contributors on a team batting .381 and that’s 17-fot-17 on stolen bases.

4. (4) Lutheran (Orange) 14-1

Despite a loss for the first time this season, the Lancers don’t drop in the rankings after avenging the loss hours later with a 5-0 win over La Mirada. Olivia Sandusky and Desiree Buboi each had a two-run home run in the victory.

5. (5) Marina (Huntington Beach) 9-1

Sophomore Tera Blanco blanked Woodbridge of Irvine in Marina’s lone game last week as she allowed just one hit and struck out 11 in a 3-0 victory.

6. (6) El Diamante (Visalia) 14-0

The CIF Central Section’s defending Division I champ and top-ranked team posted two more rocking-chair triumphs last week in West Yosemite League play. The major difficulty for them until the playoffs could be lack of competition. That could prevent them from moving up much higher in the rankings as well.

7. (8) Amador Valley (Pleasanton) 5-0

Coach Julie Marshall and the girls only had one game last week, and as was reported in last week’s State Stat Stars sophomore fireballer Johanna Grauer tossed a no-hitter with 11 strikeouts in a 2-0 victory over No. 17 James Logan. Grauer brings the mustard from the circle, and junior outfielder Krista Williams has been delivering the relish at the plate. She leads the team with a .513 average.

8. (7) Woodcreek (Roseville) 10-1

With a 7-0 loss to Roseville, the undefeated season came to an end, but the Timberwolves bounced back with a 9-1 win over Nevada Union of Grass Valley to end the week. This week, coach Art Banks’ club plays at the Stephanie LeDoux Tournament.

9. (10) Torrey Pines (San Diego) 12-0

The Falcons won the North County Tournament last week with easy wins over Rancho Buena Vista of Vista, Oceanside El Camino, San Marcos Mission Hills and Escondido. On Tuesday in their own Falcon Fiesta, the girls put a 13-0 shellacking on crosstown Morse. On Wednesday, it was a 3-0 shutout over San Dieguito Academy of Encinitas. The Falcons use more than one pitcher, but in her last two starts, a 4-0 win over El Camino and the Morse victory, top pitcher Rachel Nasland hasn’t allowed a hit or run and struck out 15 in nine innings combined and 31 batters faced.

10. (15) Sheldon (Sacramento) 7-2

Amber Glenn and Meshalon Moore each drove in two runs in an 8-2 victory over Lodi. The Huskies ended the week with a 12-4 road win against Oak Ridge of El Dorado Hills.

11. (11) Chino Hills 13-3

Freshman Tannon Snow hit three home runs in the first game as the Huskies picked up two five-inning 11-0 wins over Chaffey of Ontario in their lone action of last week.

12. (16) San Benito (Hollister) 4-0

The Haybaler girls played only one game last week and posted an 8-0 shutout over visiting Salinas. Megan Sabbatini pitched a 3-hitter with five strikeouts in the win. Through four games this year, 2011 State Coach of the Year Scott Smith’s girls have allowed only one run in their quest for a seventh straight CIF Central Coast Section Division I title.

13. (9) Royal (Simi Valley) 5-1

With a 7-2 loss on the road to Moorpark, the Highlanders drop out of the top 10 this week. It was the first time all year they allowed a run as they had shutouts in all five wins.

14. (NR) Vista Murrieta (Murrieta) 4-0

The Broncos haven’t played that many games yet, but they are somewhat high in the CIFSS Division I coaches’ rankings. In a 5-0 victory last week over Murrieta Valley, Sydney Romero came through with a two-run double while Selina Ta’amilo struck out seven in the circle.

15. (NR) Simi Valley 8-1

Playing in the Savanna Rebel Tournament, the Pioneers picked up a 3-1 win over Loara of Anaheim in the second-round of the championship bracket as Lauren Soles struck out eight in the circle. Simi Valley’s only loss is to No. 13 Royal.

16. (13) Edison (Huntington Beach) 10-2

Going 4-1 at the Torrance National Tournament, the Chargers’ lone loss came in a 1-0 game against North of Torrance. Samantha Cordova also struck out five and allowed just three hits in a 2-0 win over El Modena of Orange.

17. (17) James Logan (Union City) 4-1

The Colts were on the wrong end of a no-hitter by national-level talent Johanna Grauer of Amador Valley, but Logan’s Raeann Garza only gave up five hits in the 2-0 defeat. Garza and the rest of coach Teri Johnson’s girls also posted a 14-0 defeat last week against Mission San Jose of Fremont. Garza tossed a one-hitter with 11 strikeouts in the 5-inning mercy-shortened affair.

18. (NR) Mission Viejo 11-3-1

After a close 1-0 win earlier in the week against Los Alamitos, the Diablos swept a doubleheader against Irvine with 10-2 and 11-0 road wins.

19. (19) Los Alamitos 7-3

The Griffins slipped from their preseason perch, but can quickly get back toward the top in upcoming Sunset League contests against No. 5 Marina of Huntington Beach and No. 16 Edison of Huntington Beach.

20. (NR) Atascadero 15-0

Even though the Greyhounds are mysteriously not near the top of the CIFSS Division III coaches’ rankings, we’re squeezing them into the state top 20. Some probably are questioning the schedule, but this is a team that handed Ridgeview of Bakersfield its only loss in the title game of the Lady Driller Invitational.

Dropped Out

Previous No. 12 West Ranch (Valenicia); No. 14 Bonita Vista (Chula Vista); No. 18 Lakewood; No. 20 Don Lugo (Chino).

Teams on the Bubble

Alhambra (Martinez) 2-0, Aliso Niguel (Aliso Viejo) 9-3, Carlmont (Belmont) 10-1, Carlsbad 9-2, Camarillo 8-3, Dublin 7-0, Etiwanda 7-2, Lakewood 10-2, Millikan (Long Beach) 10-2, Mira Mesa (San Diego) 11-0-1, North (Torrance) 7-2, Ridgeview (Bakersfield) 14-1-1, South Hills (Covina) 11-3, Westview (San Diego) 9-2, Wilcox (Santa Clara 11-1.

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