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Camarillo Top 20: Baseball Power Rankings, May 2


By Gabe Camarillo

The month of May is where legends are made in high school baseball.

League races will be decided this week and next; some are separated by several games and others will come down to the wire. Then comes a playoff format never done before in the history of Central Section baseball – eight teams, chosen and ordered by the computer algorithm of MaxPreps, vie for the Division I title. The next 16 duke it out for the Division II championship, and so on.

By the end of this month, there will be a Central Section baseball champion in six divisions. Three will be crowned at Pete Beiden Field, and three more will be crowned at Rawhide Stadium in Visalia.

This is the most exciting time of year in the high school baseball world. To gear you up for it, here is the Camarillo Top 20, full of insights and highlights of each team:


1. Buchanan (20-3, 8-1 TRAC)

The Bears fell for the first time in TRAC play, but a complete game shutout from Austin Watson righted the ship against Central. Watson lowered his ERA to 1.75 and tossed the eighth shutout for the Buchanan pitching staff this year. After taking two of three from Central, Buchanan will face No. 2 Clovis West in a massive three-game TRAC series. 


2. Clovis West (18-5, 8-1 TRAC)

The Golden Eagles know a thing or two about stellar pitching. Clovis West has allowed the fewest runs (46) among Division I teams and the second-fewest in the entire Central Section. Only Kerman has allowed fewer runs this season (39). Fresno State-bound ace Nathan Baeza leads the starting rotation with a 1.11 ERA and 53 strikeouts, but Kyle Jimenez has been just as good. He is 8-0 with a 1.22 ERA. Sophomore Tyler Patrick is undefeated too, at 6-0 with a 1.70 ERA. The pitching staff faces its biggest challenge yet with No. 1 Buchanan next. 


3. Stockdale (20-3, 11-0 SWYL)

The Mustangs continue romping over league competition, but unfortunately for them, Clovis West keeps winning. It’s hard to bump Clovis West from the No. 2 spot after its sweep of Clovis East, so Stockdale stays third for the third straight week. But the Mustangs laid the hammer down on Centennial of Bakersfield in two wins, 20-8 and 10-4. Junior Oregon commit Ryan Featherston starred in the first game; he homered twice, drove in six RBIs, and earned the win on the mound. UC Santa Barbara signee Austin Charles homered in the second game and drove in five RBIs. Charles is co-leader in the Central Section with 10 home runs.


4. Bullard (21-4, 10-1 CMAC)

What a Senior Day it was for the Knights. In an 18-6 win over Edison last Thursday, Trevor Wilson (UC Irvine) went 3-for-4 with four RBIs, Beckett Zavorek (Arizona State) smacked two doubles with three RBIs, and Kenyen Gomez (San Diego State) recorded three hits with four RBIs. The spotlight was on the seniors, including Jimmy Moltini and his 3-for-3 day, but the future shined as Wilson, Zavorek, and Gomez – all non-seniors and all D-I college commits – powered the offense. Bullard has won 11 of its last 12 games, the upset loss to Sanger a distant memory. Everyone ahead of the Knights won last week, but two shots at revenge against the Apaches also offer the chance to move up the rankings.


5. San Joaquin Memorial (19-5, 9-2 CMAC)

There are motivational speakers. Then, there are motivational speakers with three World Series rings. Bruce Bochy spoke to the Panthers before they defeated Madera last Friday, 10-5, to complete a season sweep of the Coyotes. Senior Michael Monreal homered and doubled with two RBIs; he also pitched six innings last Tuesday and earned the win. That is 10 straight wins for red-hot San Joaquin Memorial. Coupled with Liberty-Bakersfield’s loss to Frontier, the Panthers moved into the top 5. 


6. Liberty-Bakersfield (17-6-1, 9-2 SWYL)

Liberty drops one spot in the rankings after going 1-1 against Frontier. The Patriots walked off the Titans in the second game, 6-5. Texas commit Cutter Coffey batted 3-for-3 with a walk, two home runs, and three RBIs. Coffey is tied with Charles for the home run lead in the Central Section, and he is building as much MLB Draft momentum as his Southwest Yosemite League counterpart. In insider Kiley McDaniel’s latest 2022 MLB Draft rankings, Coffey is ranked No. 75. Speaking of the league, Liberty has the best chance of any SWYL team to hand Stockdale its first league loss with two big matchups this week. 


7. Righetti (21-1, 11-1 Mountain)

Righetti swept a good Arroyo Grande team in three games, including an extra-innings 4-0 win. Per Santa Maria Times reporter Joe Bailey, Ricky Smith threw all eight innings, allowed six hits, and struck out three. The Warriors have a four-game lead in the Mountain League standings with six to play, so they could wrap up the league title with three games against Templeton this week. 


8. Kerman (24-0, 11-0 North Sequoia)

The Lions move up one spot as they pursue an undefeated regular season. They’re two games closer to that goal after a pair of routs of Sierra. Gilbert Acosta led the way by batting 3-for-4 with a double and two RBIs in a 9-1 win, and ace Devon Daniel struck out 10 over four innings and earned the win in the second game, 13-1. 


9. Clovis (14-9, 5-4 TRAC)

Freshman John Kasten hit a walk-off single to defeat Clovis North, 5-4, in the first game of the three-game series. Kasten earned the win in Game 3 as the Cougars shook off an early 3-0 deficit to win the game and series, 7-4. With shortstop Eli Henderson expected to make his return from injury soon, the Cougars are a scrappy bunch to keep an eye on.


10. Bakersfield Christian (20-4, 11-0 SYL)

The Eagles stay in the Top 10 with two wins over Tehachapi, 17-1 and 9-2. Sophomore TCU commit Mason Brassfield went 4-for-4 over both games with a double, home run, and four RBIs. Junior Oregon commit Toby Twist struck out nine over five scoreless innings and scored three runs in the next game. The South Yosemite League will be decided this week with two games between Bakersfield Christian and Ridgeview.


11. Ridgeview (22-2, 10-1 SYL)

Senior Jacob Gutierrez leads the Central Section with a .597 batting average. He went 2-for-2 with a double, triple, and RBI in a three-inning 18-0 win over West Bakersfield. The Wolfpack defeated the Vikings 18-1 in the next game, in which Gutierrez batted 3-for-4 with a walk, four runs scored, and another RBI. The Wolfpack finished the month of April a perfect 11-0. 


12. Central (9-12-1, 1-8 TRAC)

The Grizzlies showed their high ceiling with a 6-3 victory over Buchanan. St. Mary’s signee Ryan Spalliero picked up the win (6 IP, 1 ER, 9 Ks) and Aaron McCurley delivered a spark off the bench with his pinch hit two-run single. Even though Central sits at the bottom of the TRAC standings, the win over Buchanan deserves a slight bump in the rankings. They are better than their record indicates; a win over Clovis was forfeited due to pitch count. The upcoming series vs. Clovis North will be very telling of where both teams stand in the league.


13. Frontier (12-12, 6-5 SWYL)

UC Santa Barbara signee Hudson Barrett completed 6.1 innings, allowed one hit, and struck out 12 in an 8-0 shutout of Liberty-Bakersfield. Freshman Brady Durkan recorded the final two outs. Barrett and Durkan have become a potent pitching one-two punch for the Titans. Barrett has recorded 11.2 strikeouts per game, and Durkan holds a team-low 0.71 ERA with help from his remarkable control (47 strikeouts to two walks). The head-to-head loss keeps them behind Central. Treat Frontier as a serious title contender in Division II.


14. Kingsburg (19-4-1, 7-1 Central Sequoia)

A base Division IV team, the Vikings are looking like Central Section contenders in D-III. They have won 10 of their last 11 games, capped by an 11-3 win over Taft highlighted by Riley Beck’s three-run home run. The Vikings got revenge for an earlier loss to the Wildcats. Sophomore Houston Hirschkorn has led the offense with 33 RBIs along with a .438 batting average. Cal State Fullerton commit Ethan Winslow leads the team with a .453 average and three home runs, as well as a 6-1 record and 1.12 ERA on the mound. 


15. Redwood (15-8, 9-2 West Yosemite)

A newcomer to the Top 20, Redwood sat on the bubble for the past two weeks but surged to No. 15 because of two important wins over league rival Hanford. The Rangers outlasted the Bullpups in nine innings, 10-9, in a game that required two days to finish. Junior Ty Potts shined with a 3-for-5 line and four RBIs including a 3-run home run. Redwood took the second game and series, 5-4, and built a two-game lead in the West Yosemite League with four to play. Junior Stanford commit Joey Volchko is a talented arm who earned the win last Thursday, going five innings and striking out eight. Redwood played San Joaquin Memorial tough in the Fresno Easter Classic and defeated Clovis East, which is why they’re ahead of the Timberwolves.


16. Clovis East (10-13, 2-7 TRAC)

The T’Wolves threatened early in the series opener against Clovis West as freshman Ty Miller recorded two hits and scored. But Clovis West responded and won, 4-1, and went on to sweep. Clovis East already owns a series win over Clovis North; with Clovis and Central up next, the T’Wolves will have two more competitive series. After Buchanan and Clovis West at the top, it feels like the TRAC is a free-for-all.


17. Clovis North (10-12-1, 3-6 TRAC)

An example of the above point: Clovis North rallied from down 4-0 in Game 1 last week to tie Clovis, only to lose on Kasten’s walk-off. The Broncos won Game 2, 6-2, behind a strong pitching performance from Collin DeBorde, who has registered a 1.68 ERA over his last six starts. They gave up an early lead in Game 3 to drop the series, but there was never a moment where Clovis North seemed out of it. The young Broncos have experienced so many close games in league play that, according to DeBorde, the team has grown closer and played better baseball deeper into the season.


18. Reedley (19-5, 10-1 NYL)

Reedley put up huge wins over Roosevelt last week, 18-1 and 20-0. Three players recorded three RBIs in the first win: Jared Estala, Ethan Clark, and Brayden Rhodes. Football star Ryan Warkentin swung a mighty bat for the Pirates in the second game – 3-for-4 and four RBIs – and Will Gagnon homered as well. 


19. Fresno (19-4-1, 9-2 NYL)

Coming off 12-0 and 11-1 wins over Sunnyside, Fresno will face Roosevelt this week. The Warriors lost the season series to the Pirates and haven’t made any ground in the NYL standings as both teams pile up wins. Dominik Espinosa defeated Sunnyside on the mound (5 IP, 7 Ks) and tallied four hits for two RBIs for the week. 


20. San Luis Obispo (12-7, 8-6 Mountain)

San Luis Obispo did not play last week and dropped two spots. The Tigers overtook second place in the Mountain League due to Righetti’s sweep of Arroyo Grande.

ON THE BUBBLE: Arroyo Grande, Tulare Western, Hanford, Dos Palos, Sierra Pacific

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