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De La Salle And Its Arsenal Of Pitching Talent Opens Atop Our First NorCal Baseball Top 20 Rankings Of The 2022 Season • PICTURED... SportStars’ Season-Opening NorCal Baseball Top 20

De La Salle And Its Arsenal Of Pitching Talent Opens Atop Our First NorCal Baseball Top 20 Rankings Of The 2022 Season •

PICTURED ABOVE: No. 1 De La Salle (Jean-Paul Toshiro photo)

1. DE LA SALLE-CONCORD (20-4 in 2021)

Good pitching beats good hitting and the Spartans have seemingly an endless supply of mound talent coming into 2022. It’s the biggest reason for De La Salle starting the year atop this list — which also happens to be where it concluded 2021, by the way. The pitching wealth begins with right-handed starters Elias Gennis and Cal Randall. Gennis is a Rice-bound senior who went 6-0 last season, while Randall is a UCLA commit who finished 5-0. Both held ERAs under 2.00. Their battery mate, Anthony Martinez, should anchor the Spartans offense after finishing second on the team with 25 RBI last season. Seniors Elias Rubio (OF) and Alec Nava (IF) should factor on offense as well.

2. ELK GROVE (23-4)

NorCal Baseball Top 20, Rankings, Elk Grove
(Photo by Elk Grove Baseball/Twitter)

A perennial power program with a proven coaching staff, five key hitters back and a pair of standout pitchers who combined to go 12-0 with sub-1.00 ERAs? Yeah, the Thundering Herd will be a problem for opponents in 2022. Senior catcher Noah Canter should anchor the offense while AJ Hutcheson and Oregon State-bound Aiden Jimenez will be the team’s go-tos on the bump.

3. VALLEY CHRISTIAN-SAN JOSE (24-9)

The first of three West Catholic Athletic League teams to open inside of the Top 10, the Warriors get the edge based on owning the last four Central Coast Section Open Division titles. That, and they also return star two-way TCU commit Jacob Hudson as well as an array of other key pieces from last spring’s title team. The Warriors open at No. 2 Elk Grove on Feb. 26.

4. WOODCREEK-ROSEVILLE (22-4)

The Timberwolves are NorCal’s early season darlings. And for good reason. This squad is loaded with Division I talent. We counted at least seven commitments, though there may be even more. You’ll find nine of their guys on our extended NorCal Players To Watch list

5. CALIFORNIA-SAN RAMON (18-6)

Having left handed, LSU-bound power pitcher Nic Bronzini on the mound once a week is about as good a set-up as any team can ask for. Add an offense that returns Long Beach State-bound centerfielder Raoul Fabian and UC Santa Barbara-committed junior catcher Aidan Camberg, and the Grizzlies are set up nicely

6. CLAYTON VALLEY-CONCORD  (18-8)

The Ugly Eagles should be right in the mix in the battle for East Bay supremacy in 2022. The junior battery of pitcher Kyle Connelly (Cal commit) and catcher Ryder Helfrick (Arkansas) will be formidable. They’ll also get help from seniors Jacob Krieg (Oregon State) and Leighton Helfrick (UC Davis).

7. ARCHBISHOP MITTY-SAN JOSE (24-5)

Zach Yorke’s transfer to Mountain Ridge High in Arizona is a bit of a blow to the Monarchs, but not enough to drop them in the WCAL pecking order. Utah Valley-bound ace Tristan Fox (8-1 in 2021) and junior San Diego State commit Jarren Advincula (.441, 30 runs) will lead the way.

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8. SAN RAMON VALLEY-DANVILLE (15-9)

San Ramon Valley, Danville
(Chace Bryson photo)

There’s plenty of firepower on this Wolves roster to compete in what should be a ridiculous season in an East Bay Athletic League that includes De La Salle, California and No. 16 Granada-Livermore. Sophomore Hudson Aber could have a breakout year on the mound while seniors Jordan Lewis and Jaren Lewis pace the offense.   

9. ST. FRANCIS-MOUNTAIN VIEW (16-12)

Senior catcher Ryan Lee returns after leading the Lancers with 26 hits and 18 RBI last season. Cal Poly-bound outfielder Wyatt King is also back, as are the team’s four leaders in innings pitched from a season ago.

10. COLLEGE PARK-PLEASANT HILL (17-6)

It was a tough call here for the last spot in the Top 10, but give us the team with two Division I-bound pitchers — Michael Barnett (UCLA) and Robert Aivazian (Pacific) — that closed 2021 on a 12-game winning streak.

The Next 10

11. LIVE OAK-MORGAN HILL (17-3)

12. FOLSOM (13-11-1)

13. APTOS (15-3)

14. FRANKLIN-ELK GROVE (20-8)

15. PALO ALTO (21-5)

16. GRANADA-LIVERMORE (10-8-1)

17. MARIN CATHOLIC-KENTFIELD (12-8)

18. GRANITE BAY (20-7)

19. REDWOOD-LARKSPUR (14-6)

20. COLUSA (27-1)

Chace Bryson is the managing editor of SportStars Magazine. Reach him at Editor@SportStarsMag.com

Chace Bryson

Chace Bryson is the managing editor of SportStars Magazine. Reach him at Chace@SportStarsMag.com

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