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June 6, 2014

NCP Baseball Top 20

There is a new No. 1 team to end the 2014 campaign. Who outperformed their preseason expectations? We take a final look at the baseball season, comparing our preseason versus final polls.

1. College Park
2. Bellarmine
3. St. Francis-Mountain View
4. Mitty
5. Davis
6. Elk Grove
7. De La Salle
8. Valley Christian-San Jose
9. San Ramon Valley
10. Franklin-Elk Grove
11. Pleasant Grove
12. San Benito
13. Serra
14. Rocklin
15. Oak Ridge
16. Leland
17. Marin Catholic
18. Clayton Valley Charter
19. Campolindo
20. Berkeley

Preseason NCP Top 20

1. St. Francis-Mountain View
2. Valley Christian-San Jose
3. Pleasant Grove
4. Mitty
5. De La Salle
6. Elk Grove
7. College Park
8. Serra
9. Campolindo
10. Oak Ridge
11. Davis
12. Jesuit
13. Franklin-Elk Grove
14. St. Mary's-Stockton
15. Clayton Valley Charter
16. Granite Bay
17. San Benito
18. San Ramon Valley
19. St. Ignatius
20. Bellarmine

On the Mark

Six of the preseason Top 10 ended the year in the Top 10 with Mitty, De La Salle and Elk Grove best maintaining their positions. The Monarchs started the year at No. 4 and finished No. 4 after winning the West Catholic Athletic League regular season title. Elk Grove started and ended at No. 6 with a young roster. The Thundering Herd won the Boras Baseball Classic and the Delta Valley Conference title before losing to Davis in the Sac-Joaquin Section Division I finals. The Spartans went from No. 5 to No. 7, but still won their second North Coast Section Division I title in the last three years.

Franklin was preseason No. 13, but used a playoff win over Pleasant Grove to finish No. 10. The Wildcats went 20-11 with wins over Top 10 ranked teams Davis and Elk Grove as well as the Eagles in the playoffs. They finished third in the tough DVC with a young roster.

Clayton Valley Charter spent multiple weeks in the Top 5, but a late season slide pushed them down to No. 17. The Eagles started the year at No. 15 thanks to expected strong pitching and defense. They started the year 19-0 and reached the finals of the Elite Eight tournament at St. Francis.

Too high to start

Campolindo was looking for its fifth straight NCS title this spring, but the championship run was quickly derailed in a 1-0 first round upset to Casa Grande. The Cougars finished 20-5 and won the Diablo Foothill Athletic League. They started the year No. 9, but the early playoff loss dropped them to No. 19.

Starting the year at No. 12, Jesuit had a rough year compared to its standards. The Marauders went 15-10-1 with a 7-8 record in the Delta River League to finish fourth behind Pleasant Grove, Oak Ridge and Folsom. They miss the playoffs.

Serra ended up at No. 13, but was out of the rankings for much of the year. The Padres had first round exits in the WCAL and Central Coast Section playoffs to Bellarmine and San Benito respectively. Serra sat at 10-10 before winnings six of its last eight games.

Teams we missed on

Davis went from No. 11 to No. 5 in the rankings, but the biggest jump was in the section pecking order. The Blue Devils were No. 4 in the preseason among SJS schools, but moved to the top of the list with their third Division I title since 2000. They were led by NorCal Player of the Year candidate Matt Trask on a well-balanced squad.

Two section runner-ups (Bellarmine and San Ramon Valley) rose from the bottom of the rankings to the Top 10. The Bells went from No. 20 to No. 2 behind strong pitching and timely offense. They were runner-ups in the WCAL and CCS Open Division playoffs. San Ramon Valley won a share of the East Bay Athletic League and was the No. 1 seed in the NCS Division I playoffs. The Wolves reached the section finals before losing to De La Salle on the last day of the season.

Rocklin won the Sierra Foothill League title and upset Elk Grove in the playoffs to enter the NCP rankings. Hard throwing right-hander Logan Webb was one of the top stories of the spring to help the Thunder finish the year at No. 14.

The CCS Open Division was expected to feature the top private schools playing it out over the final week of the year. However, Leland crashed the party with its final two wins over Valley Christian-San Jose and Bellarmine. The Chargers won the Mount Hamilton Athletic League and finished the year 23-9.

Drake and Tamalpais generated many of the headlines in the Marin County Athletic League during the season, but Marin Catholic stole them to end the year with a furious finish. The Wildcats won 10 straight games before falling to College Park (7-2) in the NCS Division II finals. They ended the year No. 17.

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