Coast Conference teams moving up CCCSIA Baseball Rankings

Ohlone pitcher Tyler Stultz helped his team to this week's #2 ranking on the CCCSIA State Baseball Top 15.
Ohlone pitcher Tyler Stultz helped his team to this week's #2 ranking on the CCCSIA State Baseball Top 15.

PASADENA - Three teams from the Coast Conference South Division made some noise in this week's California Community College Sports Information Association 2021 State Top 15 Baseball Rankings #3. Orange Coast remains on top of the poll with nine first-place votes and 210 points, but the Coast's Ohlone jumped two spots to #2, Cabrillo climbed four places to #8 and Monterey Peninsula leaped on to the poll at #14. 

Orange Coast (20-7-1 overall) clinched the Orange Empire Conference title at 14-4 but had a rocky finish to the season as #13 Santa Ana took three of four games in their head-to-head series May 25-28. After the Dons posted three straight wins, OCC blanked Santa Ana, 8-0, in the season finale on a 5-hit, complete-game shutout by Kelly Austin. Santa Ana second baseman Nick Lopez had a big series v. the Pirates, slugging 8-for-13 (played in three of the games) with two home runs, two doubles and five RBI.

At #7, Cypress (16-12), a team that opened the year at a sizzling 9-1, struggled at 7-11 the rest of the season. The Chargers needed an 8-6 win over Golden West in their season finale to tie Santa Ana second place in the conference. Both schools were 11-7 in OEC play. Cypress rightfielder Ricky Lane batted 4-for-5 and first baseman Noah Karliner slugged a 2-run homer in a 5-run seventh inning in the season-ender. 

Ohlone (19-4) had won 13 of 14 games and seven straight before Monterey Peninsula split a 4-game set with the Renegades on May 27 and 29. Ohlone won last week's series finale 5-1 thanks to a brilliant 3-hit CG by ace Tyler Stultz, who struck out 13 batters. MPC (15-6) has come on strong, led by the pitching duo of Ricky Platero (5-2, 2.40 ERA, 54 Ks in 45 innings) and Nick Bouillerce (5-0, 1.96 ERA). The two teams are scheduled to play a 3-game series this week as Ohlone is one win away from clinching the Coast South crown.

Cabrillo (19-7) finished its season on fire with an 8-game win streak, capped by utility player Anthony Kariganopolous slugging a combined 4-for-7 with a home run, a double and five RBI in back-to-back wins over Mission on May 27-28. 

Butte (23-3) dropped one spot to #3 but were the easy Golden Valley Conference champions thanks to winning 14 of its last 15 contests, including the last nine in a row. The Roadrunners rallied to beat Lassen, 7-6, on a game-winning RBI double by second baseman Earl Johnson (4-for-5) in the eighth inning, then rallied again in the season finale for an 8-5 win as shortstop Andre Schweizer batted 4-for-4 with a double, home run and three RBI.

At #11 in the poll, Feather River took second in the GVC on a 19-9 record. FRC second baseman Jerry Thomas and outfielder Wyatt Larranaga were a torrid tag team in a doubleheader, season-ending sweep over Shasta, 18-5 and 11-4. Thomas was 4-for-5 with a double, a home run and five ribbies in the first game and Larranaga batted 4-for-4 with three RBI in the nightcap. 

Sequoias stood at #4 in the rankings after winning the Central Valley Conference title at 23-5 (20-4 in league games). The Giants won 10 of their final 11 games and were led by a monster finish at the plate by second baseman Andrew Valdez, who closed the year on a 14-game hitting streak. Valdez batted .435 (27-for-62) with 27 runs scored, seven home runs, seven doubles and 17 RBI and an .887 slugging percentage in the binge. 

Number 5-ranked Allan Hancock had a tremendous shortened season at 18-6 overall, closing things on a doubleheader sweep over a tough Moorpark squad, 13-6 and 10-4. AHC catcher Evan Kling, who caught all 16 innings of the DH, capped a 12-run Bulldogs second inning in the opener with a 3-run homer. Outfielder Trenton Pallas had two singles in the wild frame. Kling and Pallas added two hits each in the 2021 finale victory. 

Los Medanos stepped up a few spots to #6 and its 18-3-1 record and 15-2-1 league mark gave the Mustangs the Bay Valley Conference championship. LMC won 13 of its last 14 games, sweeping both Mendocino and Laney in successive 3-game series to end the year on a high note. Third baseman Neko Capsaliaris went 8-for-14 in the Laney sweep. 

Bakersfield slid a few spots to #9 while ending its season with a strong 18-7 record. The Renegades closed out the year with a 4-game sweep over Oxnard as outfielder Will Reynolds batted 6-for-11 in the series, including a home run and four RBI. Santa Rosa stayed in the top 10 at #10, ending a short season at 12-6. The Bear Cubs won 2-of-3 in season-ending series over Diablo Valley as second baseman-pitcher Joey Kramer picked up a save in a 5-2 win on May 27 and then batted 4-for-4 two doubles and two RBI in a 10-1 win the next day. 

Others in the Top 15 were Sacramento City (11-3-1) at #12 and Mt. San Antonio (15-13) finding its way on to the poll at #15. Sacramento swept Cosumnes River in a 3-game set to end the season, outscoring CRC, 43-15. The Panthers won the finale, 22-2, in a game stopped after five innings. SCC posted 10 runs in both the second and fourth innings. Panthers' catcher Tanner Tweedt was a Twitter sensation in the series. His only four hits were all home runs (six RBI) and he scored runs all nine times he reached base.

Mt. SAC ran off six consecutive wins before Irvine Valley stopped the streak in the season finale, 9-7. The Mounties won 3-of-4 v. the Lasers, including a 10-9, 10-inning win when third baseman Cole Jordan doubled for the game-winning RBI in the extra frame. 

Game of the Week: On May 25, Merced defeated Sequoias, 14-12, as both team combined for 35 hits. Merced rightfielder Jack Solis was a perfect 5-for-5 at the plate with two home runs and three RBI and shortstop Trent Mallonee was 4-for-6 with two doubles. The Blue Devils led 12-5 after five innings by COS roared back to cut it to 12-10 before Solis second dinger in the sixth gave Merced some more breathing room. Valdez for the Giants also slugged two home runs, a 3-run blast in the sixth and a 2-run shot in the seventh. Valdez came up in the ninth with runners on first and second but Merced's top pitcher Kody Cardoza struck him out and then finished off the save with a scoreless inning. 

Leaders: No more .500 hitters as Reedley second baseman BJ Vela still leads all hitters with a .481 average. Butte centerfielder Grady Morgan was tied for the state lead in home runs with 10 (Valdez the other) and led in RBI with 41. Butte's Bryce Armstrong, Napa Valley's Tanner Fonoti, and Sequoias' Anthony Torres all had seven victories to lead the state and Marin's Matthew Lozovoy led all in ERA with a 1.26 mark in 35.2 innings (minimum 30 innings). 

CCCSIA 2021 State Top 15 Baseball Rankings #3, June 1

Rank School Record Poll Points  Last Week's Rank
1. Orange Coast  20-7-1  210  1
2. Ohlone  19-4  195  4
3. Butte  23-3  191  2
4. College of the Sequoias  23-5  189  3
5. Allan Hancock  18-6  134  5
6. Los Medanos  18-3-1  113  8
7. Cypress  16-12  103  7
8. Cabrillo  19-7    95  12
9. Bakersfield  18-7    85  6
10. Santa Rosa JC  12-6    75  10
11. Feather River  19-9    72  11
12. Sacramento City  11-3-1    69  9
13. Santa Ana  15-12-1    61  13
14. Monterey Peninsula  15-6    47  NR
15. Mt. San Antonio  15-13    31  NR

Others: Cosumnes River 28, Mt. San Jacinto 27 (15th LR), San Mateo 27 (14th LR), Fresno City 16, Merced 15, Saddleback 9, Moorpark 7, Irvine Valley 4, Napa Valley 2, Canada 1, Reedley 1.

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