High School Sports

Spring Primer: It’s almost playoff season but league titles still need to be decided

Watch sights and sounds from the 18th annual Stanislaus County Track and Field Championships

Athletes in the Stanislaus District competed in the 18th annual Stanislaus County Track and Field Championships at Turlock High School on Friday, March 8, 2019.
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Athletes in the Stanislaus District competed in the 18th annual Stanislaus County Track and Field Championships at Turlock High School on Friday, March 8, 2019.

As we get ready to end April, spring sports playoffs are about to start. Before we see who will make the playoffs, league titles in baseball and softball are still wide open. Baseball playoffs begin May 14 while softball start May 13.

Here is who will battle for each league title:

Baseball

Central California Athletic League

Teams: Turlock (17-6, 11-1), Pitman (10-9, 9-3)

Analysis: The Bulldogs have a two-game lead on the Pride with only a three-game series remaining against Downey beginning Monday. Pitman plays against Modesto. Turlock will most likely win the CCAL and they have been the top team all year. The interesting matchup to watch is Enochs (10-10, 5-7) and Gregori (7-14-1), 5-7) as their series will decide the final playoff spot with only three teams making the playoffs, according to the Sac-Joaquin Section website.

Valley Oak League

Teams: Sierra (16-3-1, 8-0), Oakdale (13-6, 5-3), Kimball (15-5, 5-3), Central Catholic (10-9, 4-4)

Analysis: The VOL season ends on May 7 with a big game between Kimball and Oakdale. Sierra ends its regular season a week earlier and the Wolfpack should win the league title. An interesting matchup on May 1 and May 3 to watch is Central Catholic and Oakdale facing off.

Western Athletic Conference

Teams: Los Banos (17-8, 10-0), Ceres (10-12, 7-3), Beyer (12-9, 7-3), Mountain House (12-8, 5-4)

Analysis: With a team era below 1.00, Los Banos has dominated the WAC, outscoring opponents 105 to 4. The Patriots have won their last seven league games after an 0-3 start. Senior Daniel Lee has a .360 batting average. Beyer and Ceres split the season series and the Bulldogs end the regular season against the Mustangs.

Trans Valley League

Teams: Ripon (10-7, 6-2), Livingston (13-8, 6-2), Hughson (16-4-1, 7-3), Modesto Christian (13-7, 4-4), Escalon (9-14, 4-6), Hilmar (8-10, 3-5)

Analysis: The top six teams in the TVL are separated by three games with some still having four TVL games while others have two. Ripon and Livingston both have two TVL losses while Hughson has three and Modesto Christian four. Basically, this league, like football, is completely wide-open and probably won’t be decided until the last day of the season on May 8. Ripon and Hughson play against each other on that day and it could decide the TVL title.

Ripon Christian (12-5, 8-2) is in a three-way tie with Mariposa (15-2, 8-2) and Waterford (9-9,8-2) for the Southern Athletic League.

Big Valley Christian (16-7, 8-2) leads the Central California Athletic Alliance while Turlock Christian (9-10, 7-3) is tied for third.

Softball

Central California Athletic League

Teams: Enochs (13-3-1, 10-2), Turlock (12-5, 8-3), Gregori (10-10, 8-4), Pitman (9-9, 7-5)

Analysis: On May 7, Enochs hosts Gregori. In their first meeting on April 11, the Jaguars scored five in the bottom of the sixth and won 7-4. I think Enochs gets revenge and wins the CCAL with Turlock finishing second and the Jaguars finishing third. With Long Beach State signee Shelby Frutoz, I wouldn’t also be surprised if the Bulldogs won the league.

Valley Oak League

Team: Oakdale (17-0-1, 10-0), East Union (11-5, 8-1)

Analysis: The Mustangs have outscored opponents 105 to 5 in VOL play. Fresno State signee Lexy Webb has a .644 batting average with seven home runs and 30 RBIs. She is also 11-0 with a 0.43 earned run average with 138 strikeouts in 68 innings. Three other Mustangs have an average over .400.

Western Athletic Conference

Teams: Ceres (14-3, 10-1), Pacheco (15-7, 7-3), Los Banos (10-9, 6-3), Davis (12-7, 7-4), Beyer (10-7, 7-4)

Analysis: The Bulldogs are on their way to a league title behind a lineup with three players hitting over .400. Freshman Brooklyn Heffernan has two home runs and 23 RBIs and a 1.42 ERA as well. A team to watch out for is the Patriots, who handed the Bulldogs their only league loss on April 11. Sophomore pitcher Paige Fisher has struck out 143 in 84 innings.

Trans Valley League

Teams: Ripon (16-0, 10-0), Escalon (10-6-1, 7-2)

Analysis: Just how good are the Indians? Every player on the team is hitting over .300 and Ripon’s team batting average is .467. Junior Lilly Mejia has six home runs and 29 RBIs.

Ripon Christian (14-3, 10-1) and Waterford (14-2, 9-1) are the top teams in the SAL and they have split the season series. Each team is led by one star. The Wildcats have junior Tawni McCarty, who has 189 strikeouts while the Knights have junior Elizabeth Thomas, who has seven home runs and 48 RBIs.

Track and Field: Tuesday is the CCAL’s league championships at Turlock while the WAC’s is May 4 at Pacheco. Section finals are May 7 and 9 for Div. II and III and May 8 and May 10 for Divs. I, IV, and V. The Masters Meet is May 17-18 and the State Meet is the following weekend in Fresno.

Golf: Every division’s section tournament is May 6 except for Div. I, which is May 8. Masters is on May 13 at the Reserve at Spanos Park.

Swimming: Swim trials are on May 2 for girls and May 3 for boys while the finals are on May 4. Trials and Finals will be at Tokay HS.

Tennis: Boys tennis team playoffs begin Monday while the individual tournament is May 1-2 at the Johnson Racquet Club in Roseville. Central Catholic won the Valley Oak League title while Gregori and Pitman shared the CCAL title.

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Julian A. Lopez has been covering local sports for The Modesto Bee since August 2018. He graduated from Arizona State in 2016 with a BA in Journalism.


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