North trio showing its strength in CCCSIA Baseball Rankings

College of the Sequoias is #3 in this week's CCCSIA State Top 15 Baseball Rankings.
College of the Sequoias is #3 in this week's CCCSIA State Top 15 Baseball Rankings.

PASADENA - While Orange Coast College continues to be on top with nine first-place votes, the NorCal trio of #2 Butte, #3 College of the Sequoias and #4 Ohlone have established themselves in their respective conferences in this week's California Community College Sports Information Association 2021 State Top 15 Baseball Rankings. 

With Northern California teams making up 35 of the state's 52 programs that opted in to play a 2021 season, it's not surprising that 75 percent of the top four are from that region. 

However, Orange Coast from the South's Orange Empire Conference picked up more steam with voters, picking up 9 of 11 first-place votes to remain in first place with 162 points. The Pirates are 17-4-1 overall and hold a 2-game lead in the OEC race over #7 Cypress (14-8). Orange Coast had a 6-game win streak snapped by the Chargers as Ryan Maciel hit a walk-off single up the middle for a 4-3 Cypress victory on Thursday. OCC used Cary Arbolida's 4-RBI day with a home run while batting 3-for-4 in a 10-8 series-opening win over Cypress on May 18.

The teams play in a doubleheader today, but Orange Coast will stay in first as only one of the games (the nightcap) counts toward the conference standings. OCC swept a doubleheader on May 14 over Saddleback, including scoring nine runs in the sixth inning of game 2 for a 13-6 triumph. Chazz Martinez launched a 3-run homer, his state-leading seventh round-tripper, as the key hit in that frame. 

Butte kept its #2 ranking from a week ago at 17-3. The Roadrunners swept a doubleheader over Redwoods on Thursday, completing a season series that saw Butte outscore CR by a combined 53-3 in six wins. Butte lefty closer Robert Aranda has had a terrific season thus far with a 3-0 record, three saves, and an impressive 25 strikeouts in 16.1 innings, allowing only four total hits. Butte leads the Golden Valley Conference but coming on strong is #11 Feather River (17-7), which has won five straight with the last three all 1-run victories. The Golden Eagles are led by first baseman Dominic Folks with a state-high 30 RBI (hitting .397) and pitching ace Myles Davis, who is 5-0 with a state-best 50 Ks in 35.2 innings (2.27 ERA). 

Sequoias stayed in the #3 slot with a commanding 5-game lead atop the Central Valley Conference. The Giants have won five in a row with Andrew Valdez (.414) also tied with OCC's Martinez in the state home run race with seven. Closer James Freisen is the state leader in saves with six. Coast South Division leader Ohlone (16-2) has reeled off six straight wins and stayed in the #4 ranking. The Renegades are paced by shortstop Norman Leon, hitting .408 and topping the state in stolen bases with 17, and pitcher Cooper Vasquez with a state-best six mound wins (6-0) and a sparkling 1.11 ERA in 32.1 innings (32 strikeouts). 

At #5 is red-hot Allan Hancock (15-3), winners of 13 in a row, and fresh off a doubleheader sweep over #6 Bakersfield (13-6). The starting pitching trio of Trevor Garcia (5-0, 2.93 ERA, 32 Ks in 30.2 innings), Matthew Gonzales (3-0, 1.16 ERA, 30 Ks in 31 innings), and Vander Hodges (3-0, 2.89 ERA) are a combined 11-0 in 13 starts. The Bulldogs are well ahead in the 4-team Western State North at 10-0 in conference games.

Rounding out the top 10 are #7 Cypress, #8 Los Medanos (13-3-1), easily leading the Bay Valley Conference at 8-1-1, #9 Sacramento City (7-2), which had a 6-game win string snapped in a loss to unranked American River, 7-6, on May 15, and new #10 Santa Rosa Junior College (10-5). 

The rest of the ranked teams are #11 Feather River, #12 Cabrillo (16-7, on a 5-game win streak), a team that jumped three spots in this week's rankings, #13 Santa Ana (11-10-1), #14 College of San Mateo (8-6, dropped four slots), and jumping on the ratings for the first time at #15 was Mt. San Jacinto, which finished a very short season for itself at 8-2. 

Game of the Week: On May 18, Mt. San Antonio, trailed at one point 11-3, but scored nine runs in the top of the ninth inning v. Fullerton to take a 14-11 lead. Infielder Cole Jordan's RBI single and Trevor Caton's 2-run double rallied the Mounties. However, the Hornets answered with four runs in the bottom of the ninth for a wild, 15-14 victory. Down to their last out, Fullerton shortstop David Barrios hit a game-tying RBI single, then centerfielder Brian Landon, who didn't enter the game until the eighth inning, singled up the middle for the walk-off. Mt. SAC went through nine pitchers while Fullerton "only" used six hurlers. Hornets rightfielder Matt Darr batted 3-for-6 with a home run, two doubles and six RBI. 

Leaders: Reedley second baseman BJ Vela stayed as the state leader in batting average at .528 (44 hits) while OCC's Arbolida is hitting .500 (32 hits). Monterey Peninsula lefty Nick Bouillerce (4-0 record) has a state-best 0.81 ERA in 33.1 innings.

CCCSIA 2021 State Top 15 Baseball Rankings #2, May 21

Rank School Record Poll Points  Last Week's Rank
1. Orange Coast  17-4-1  162  1
2. Butte  17-3  146  2
3. College of the Sequoias  18-4  129  3
4. Ohlone  16-2  128  4
5. Allan Hancock  15-3  122  5
6. Bakersfield  13-6  105  7
7. Cypress  14-8    98  6
8. Los Medanos  13-3-1    70  8
9. Sacramento City    7-2    69  9
10. Santa Rosa JC  10-5    68  11
11. Feather River  17-7    59  13
12. Cabrillo  16-7    53  15
13. Santa Ana  11-10-1    26  12
14. College of San Mateo    8-6    20  10
15. Mt. San Jacinto    8-2    19  NR

Others: Monterey Peninsula 16, Fresno City 10 (14th last rank), Irvine Valley 6, Sierra 5, Merced 5, Cosumnes River 4, Napa Valley 3, Cerro Coso 1, Sierra 1. 

 (Release/Poll written and edited by Robert Lewis, CCCSIA)