TRIBUNE BASEBALL TOP TEN
1. Bonita (24-2) — The Hacienda League champions gave J.W. North, ranked No. 3 in D-1, all it could handle in a 5-4 loss to finish up the Centennial tournament. There are two ways to look at this. In Bonita’s biggest three games of the year, they’re 1-2, losing to South Hills and North, and beating Palm Desert (3-1), a team ranked No. 1 in D-4. But more importantly, they competed in all three, a great indication of what they’re capable of when the playoffs start next week.
2. South Hills (15-7) – South Hills finally cracked the code to the Division 2 top-ten rankings, settling at No. 8. It’s a tough division, some say D-2 is even tougher than D-1. If the Huskies win one of two against Claremont this week, they win the Sierra League title. Yes, the Huskies can win the Sierra with four losses and possibly five, showing how tough the Sierra is from top to bottom.
3. Bishop Amat (18-9) - – Here’s what you have to realize about Bishop Amat. After losing twice to La Salle for the first time ever, and even after losing Rio Ruiz to what appears to be a season-ending situation, the Lancers are still the best bet for an area team to win a CIF title. They spent the preseason taking on D-1 ranked teams like Esperanza and Mater Dei. They go 3-1 in the National Classic and Saturday went North to beat state power Concord De La Salle. They won’t see anything like that in the D-4 playoffs and with a horse like Daniel Zamora on the hill, you have to like their chances to repeat.
4. Glendora (15-8) – With Alta Loma losing last week, the Tartans are tied for first in the Baseline with two to play against struggling Etiwanda. If the Tartans sweep, all they need if for third-place Upland to split with Alta Loma to clinch the title outright. Advantage, Glendora.
5. Nogales (20-5) – Here’s what you have to understand about sportswriters, we don’t root for teams, we root for great stories and what the Nobles are doing is a great story. They swept Northview last week winning two one-run games. I was there when they rallied from a 2-0 deficit in the seventh to pull out a 3-2 victory in dramatic fashion. It was a sight to see watching legendary coach John Romano celebrating with his boys. He now has 593 career wins, and if the Nobles get a split against San Dimas this week, they win the Valle Vista League title.
6. San Dimas (16-7) — The Saints got what they wished for, a Nogales sweep over Northview, which allows the Saints to control their own destiny. San Dimas is a game behind Nogales heading into the home-and-away finale against the Nobles and with a sweep, they win the league title.
7. Damien (12-9-1) – The Spartans sit in fourth in the Sierra but the race for second, third and fourth is far from over. The Spartans have a good chance to finish third by finishing with Ayala while third-place Chino Hills goes to battle with fifth-place Charter Oak. There are too many scenarios to consider, so lets just let it play out and see what happens.
8. Los Altos (17-9) — The Conqs finish with Diamond Bar on Thursday for what will decide second in the Hacienda. The Conqs are good, but the knock on them is they haven’t won a big game all season. They beat who they’re supposed to beat and lose to the teams you figure they should lose to. Beating Diamond Bar with something on the line is what they need heading into next week. After all, they’re ranked No. 8 in D-3.
9. Northview (14-7-1) – After being in position to win the league title, the Vikings are fighting for their playoff fate this week against Covina. Both are 7-3 and tied for third with a home-and-home against each other. When the season started, I thought this season-ending series would be for the league title, not the battle for third.
10. Claremont (12-9-2) – Maybe the biggest surprise of the year is that the Wolfpack are in second in the Sierra League, ahead of Damien, Charter Oak and Chino Hills. I didn’t think anything could trump what Nogales is doing, but if Claremont sweeps South Hills and wins the league title, it would be by far the biggest shocker of the year.