PASADENA - Santa Rosa Junior College last won a CCCAA state title in 2016 and hopes to be in the thick of the championship race this season as it grabbed the #1 ranking on the opening California Community College Sports Information Association (CCCSIA) State Top 20 Baseball Rankings. The Bear Cubs received half of the first place votes (eight) as they are one of four Big 8 Conference teams among the top 12 spots in the opening poll.
Santa Rosa (17-2 overall) began the year on a 14-game winning streak before being beaten by #12 Sierra, 12-10, on Feb. 27. Last week, #7 Sacramento City clipped SRJC in the opening game of their series, but the Bear Cubs went on to win both 3-game conference series over the Panthers and Sierra. San Joaquin Delta is also on the rankings at #9, but it's unranked Modesto (12-7) that took 2-out-of-3 games v. the Mustangs and then swept American River that at least for now occupies first place in the Big 8 race at 5-1.
With seven first-place votes, Cypress is the #2 ranked team in the state. The Chargers (17-2-1) are 13-0-1 in their last 14 games and are one of four Orange Empire Conference teams selected in the state's top 10. Santa Ana (18-3) is #4 as the Dons had a 10-game win streak stopped only to win their next five in a row as they are off to a hot opening to 2020. Saddleback is #5, winning two 1-run games v. #10 Riverside City to take their OEC-opening series, but losing to Cypress, 2-1, on Monday.
Long Beach City (17-5) is #3 on the poll, but after a 9-game win streak, including an 8-0 start to South Coast Conference play, lost two straight the last three days to unranked teams in Mt. San Antonio and Cerritos. That has allowed #15 El Camino, last year's state runner-up, to jump into first place in the 9-team, SCC with a 9-1 conference mark. The Warriors have won 10 of their last 11. Cerritos (13-8) has made a big turnaround under a new head coach Vic Buttler as the Falcons are in third place in the South Coast at 6-4. Last year, Cerritos finished 8-29 overall.
Fresno City (16-3) is #6 after a 6-game win streak to open Central Valley Conference play. College of the Sequoias is #8 as it won 13 of its first 14 contests and got excited from a perfect game performance by pitcher Benjamin Pederson in an 8-0 win over Taft on Feb. 29. However, the Giants were tripped up twice last week by #14 Reedley.
At #11, Ohlone (17-2) received one first place vote as it started the year on a 17-game win streak. But now the Renegades are dealing with some adversity, having lost two in a row to unranked Canada and #17 College of San Mateo. Cuesta is #13 and leads the Western State Conference North Division at 6-4 while #16 Lassen (19-5) is the early leader in the Golden Valley Conference at 9-0 (won 10 in a row overall).
Skyline is #18 as it trails San Mateo by a game to start Coast Conference North Division play. At #19, Los Medanos is the only member of the Bay Valley Conference above .500 at 14-5 while #20 San Diego City closes the first ranking with the best overall record among Pacific Coast Athletic Conference squads with a 13-6 mark. Unranked Palomar has a half-game lead over the Knights in conference play but a 9-11 record leaves the Comets off the rankings.
Seven teams that didn't make last year's final rankings are on the '20 opening poll, but those left off include '19 state champion and then #1 Orange Coast, last year's #6 Mt. SAC and #7 Glendale, although the Vaqueros garnered the most points of others receiving votes with 29. The hottest unranked team at the moment is Monterey Peninsula, winners of seven straight and a 13-7 record.
State Team Batting Average Leaders: Ohlone .362, Cypress .349, Sierra .339
State Batting Average Individual Leaders: Mario Tostado, Cypress, .479, Trey Furrey, Folsom Lake, .472, Bobby Silvas, Cypress, .648
State Team Earned Run Average Leaders: Fresno City 1.85, Reedley 2.31, Santa Rosa 2.34 (top South is #5 Southwestern 2.69)
State Top Pitching ERA Individual Leaders: (minimum 29 innings) Marcelo Saldana, Fresno, 0.78 (34.2 IP), Joshua Cerejo, Los Medanos, 0.83 (32.2 IP), Dylan McDonald (Skyline), 0.97 (37 IP) and (top South is #5 Mitchell Knight, Long Beach, 1.24 in 29 IP).
|CCCSIA 2020 Baseball Poll-March 10-#1|
|1.||Santa Rosa JC (8)||17-2||297||11|
|3.||Long Beach CC||17-5||255||15|
|8.||College of the Sequoias||18-4||191||NR|
|9.||San Joaquin Delta||15-5||160||4|
|17.||College of San Mateo||14-5||79||13|
|20.||San Diego CC||13-6||41||NR|
|(First place votes in parentheses)|
Others receiving votes: Glendale (#7-LYFR) 29,