Despite sweeping the only Top 10 matchup last week, El Toro remains number two in my OC Top 10 poll. Mater Dei remains at the top of the list after winning a pair of one-run games over an improving Santa Margarita. Orange Lutheran moved up a spot to number four after Canyon lost a two-of-three games last week.
Below is how I voted in this weeks Top 10. Last weeks rank in parentheses.
1. Mater Dei (1) 19-1, 9-0 - The Monarchs won a pair of one-run games over Santa Margarita with the latter being of the walk-off variety. Jacob Erickson got the start in the second game before handing it over to Aaron Cross in a scoreless game. Cross (7-0, .17 ERA) has been sensational and will challenge for County Pitcher of the Year honors. After playing St. John Bosco this week, Mater Dei will face Orange Lutheran for what likely will determine a league champion.
2. El Toro (2) 15-5, 7-0 - Chasen Ford returned to form as the Chargers thumped Mission Viejo 9-1 in game one. Ryan Kayoda continues his ascent in the conversation of best pitchers in the county as he was masterful in a 7-4 win in game two. Kayoda allowed only one earned run. The offense is hitting its stride behind Gavin Collins, Dan James, Jonah Arenado, and Joey Moscatiello. The Chargers face Trabuco Hills this week.
3. Fountain Valley (3) 20-1, 9-0 - Despite some close games, the only loss for the Barons was six weeks ago. Good teams find a way to win those close ones and this Fountain Valley team has the goods. There is a little concern with the pitching but the offense, led by Daniel Patzlaff, is putting up crazy numbers. Scoring tends to come down in the playoffs and that's when a pitching staff's true colors are shown.
4. Orange Lutheran (5) 15-4, 6-2 - The Lancers avenged an earlier loss to Servite by sweeping the remaining two games last week. Garret King, Matt Hammonds, Leo Hernandez, and Mike Simonis lead a deep veteran pitching staff. Offensively OLu isn't going to score a ton of runs, but they aren't going to give many up either. The defensive has seemed to shore itself up with the insertion of Brad Rinehart at third base. If OLu can get past an improving Santa Margarita team this week it will set up a huge matchup next week versus Mater Dei.
5. San Clemente (6) 19-5, 6-2 - The Tritons just continue to plug along in the Sea View league and made time to split a pair of games against Great Oak of Temecula this weekend. Seniors Brock Eissman, Dan Caresio, and Jake Thomas lead a veteran group that is getting outstanding pitching efforts from some younger guys.
6. Canyon (4) 15-4, 7-3 - The Comanches lost to El Dorado then inexplicably lost to Esperanza 3-0. They face a sneaky team in Foothill tomorrow before a pair of games with El Modena. The Comanches are going to need to win out and hope for an upset of El Dorado along the way for a shot at the league title.
7. Beckman (8) 17-3, 8-1 - Coming off a sweep of Corona Del Mar, the Patriots are hitting their stride at the right time, an ugly loss to Irvine 10 days ago notwithstanding. Dylan Stablein is having probably the best season that no one is talking about. The senior has won his last five starts.
8. Mission Viejo (7) 15-7-1, 4-3 - The Diablos only league losses are to #2 El Toro which is not a bad thing to have on your resume. Sophomore Patrick Sandoval is going to be a highly sought after recruit before next season. There is a lot to like about OF Tyler Clark's game too. This is a young team that's earning it's stripes now and come playoff time could make a run.
9. El Dorado (10) 13-7, 8-3 - Inconsistency is the biggest reason for the Golden Hawks being so low on my list despite their big win over Canyon last week. The league has proven to be down a bit this season with no teams taking charge. Like Sandoval of MV, sophomore Nick Sprengel is going to see his recruiting interest soar. The LHP has a backbreaking curveball and can locate the fastball with good velocity, a rarity for southpaws.
10. Yorba Linda (9) 12-8, 5-1 - The Mustangs won a big game over Valencia to stay in first place in the Empire League. They'll face Cypress this week in another huge league matchup before closing with second placed Pacifica in two weeks. If Yorba Linda can win league this year they should receive a favorable playoff seeding based on perceived strength of conference.
Cypress 16-6, 4-2
Capo Valley 16-9, 2-4
JSerra 9-11, 4-5
Pacifica 12-8, 4-2
Laguna Beach 19-2, 9-0