| June 27, 2023
Photo Credit: Devon Tessler
By CCL Reporters Sean Brennan, Sam Nute, and Dylan Wickman
Another week of league play has gone by, which means it’s time for another installment of the CCL Power Rankings. Each team is carefully ranked based on their overall record, the week's record, strength of schedule, and recent trends. Read below to find out which CCL teams climbed the ladder in Week 3.
#1 Healdsburg Prune Packers (--)
The Healdsburg Prune Packers continued their tear through the 2023 schedule finishing the week with a 6-1 record. The Prune Packers spent the first half of the week completing their five-game sweep of CCL affiliate the Bay Area Admirals before swapping three non-league games and rounding out the week with a two-game set with the Solano Mudcats.
Sunday morning, the Prune Packers were handed their first defeat of the season, losing the first game of a doubleheader against the Mudcats. Despite the loss, infielder Will Hodo (Alabama) continued his dominant week, going 2-for-4 with a run scored. This week, Hodo was impossible to keep off of the bases, hitting .647 with 11 hits, a home run, and a double while adding four RBI and two walks.
On the mound, the Prune Packers avenged their first loss of the season with an impressive shutout performance in Healdsburg’s 9-0 win in the second leg of their doubleheader with the Mudcats. In seven innings of work, the Prune Packers allowed just three batters while striking out 11.
Next week, the Prune Packers play a three-game series with the second-place Walnut Creek Crawdads before closing out the week with a three-game set against the Stompers.
#2 Walnut Creek Crawdads (⬆1)
The Crawdads continued their impressive start to the season, going 5-0 across all games this week. They only played one league game this week, taking a 9-5 win over the Lincoln Potters.
After a rough start to the game that saw starter Jackson Flora (Loyola Marymount) give up three runs in 2.1 innings pitched, the Crawdads' bullpen was amazing, giving the offense a chance to come back. Left-handed pitcher Jack White (San Jose State), RHP Tyler Blair (Cal), and LHP Sean Fitzpatrick (Arkansas) combined for 10 K’s and four hits over 6.2 innings allowing just two runs, leading the Crawdads to a comeback win.
Offensively, infielder Matt King (Texas San Antonio) continued his hot start to the season, going 2-for-3 with a double, two RBI, two walks, and adding a stolen base. King is hitting .444 with eight RBI and just two strikeouts in 18 at-bats for the Crawdads.
Next week, the Crawdads will play a huge three-game series with the Healdsburg Prune Packers in a battle for first place in the CCL North Division.
#3 Santa Barbara Foresters (⬆1)
Despite only playing in two CCL contests – a home-and-home with the Barons on Tuesday and Thursday – the Santa Barbara Foresters were flawless this week, sweeping their league games before picking up three consecutive non-league victories.
Infielder Ryan Black (Texas Arlington) was productive at the plate against the Barons, as he went 3-for-9 and contributed a double in the series. Playing in his first two games of the summer, infielder Eamonn Lance (Santa Clara) had a promising start to his season, hitting .375 with two RBI in eight at-bats.
Holding onto a 3-2 lead late into Tuesday’s game, Santa Barbara’s bullpen impressed yet again, shutting the door on the Academy and sealing a ‘Sters victory. A tandem of lefty Zach Erdman (Texas Tech), right-hander Jaden Agassi (USC), and RHP Sean Youngerman (Westmont College) combined to allow just two baserunners and strike out three in the game’s final 4.1 innings.
Next week, Santa Barbara will see the Orange County Riptide twice and the Arroyo Seco Saints three times.
#4 Orange County Riptide (⬆1)
The Riptide have boasted a winning record in every week so far this season, and their streak continued in Week 3. They started with a series win over the Conejo Oaks. They lost their next matchup against the Barons but made up for it by throwing a no-hitter in game two, wrapping up the series win in game three.
Right-handed pitcher Jack Kirrer (Cal) led the way, pitching a near-perfect 4.0 innings where he struck out two batters and only gave up one walk. The pitching also proved paramount in the first matchup against Conejo, where a combination of great performances held the Oaks to just two runs. Right-handed pitcher Tyler Valdez (Arizona State) started the game and limited Conejo to three hits over 3.0 innings before two San Diego Toreros – RHP Tristan LaMaison and LHP Sam Hasegawa – threw three strikeouts a piece while giving up zero hits.
Catcher Blake Penso’s (Irvine) bat got hot this week, particularly in game one against the Oaks, where he tallied three of the team’s eight hits. Outfielder Cary Arbolida (Houston) kept up his consistent play this week, recording at least one hit and one RBI in three of the four games.
The Riptide will have two games against the Foresters to start next week before rematching the Oaks for three more games.
#5 Arroyo Seco Saints (⬆3)
Entering the week with a 2-5 league record, the Arroyo Seco Saints turned it on, rattling off five straight wins – two over the Blues and three over the Oaks – and becoming one of the CCL’s hottest teams. With his team’s streak in jeopardy on Sunday against Conejo, outfielder James Nelson (Longwood) erased a two-run deficit with a lone swing, picking up a walk-off bases-clearing single to cap off a miraculous come-from-behind victory and preserve a perfect week.
Serving as the designated hitter on Wednesday against the Blues, Jared Quandt (Hawaii) had a performance to remember, fueling a 6-4 Saints victory with a pair of leadoff home runs. Infielder Mason Hammonds (Tarleton State) also proved a key bat for Arroyo Seco during Week 3, going 6-for-9 with two doubles and two runs scored.
Southpaw Kevin Warunek (Longwood) earned his win on Wednesday with a two-inning, five-strikeout relief appearance that saw him relinquish a single hit. That knock would be the only one Warunek allowed all week, as he was flawless in a 1.0-inning save three days later. Another Saints reliever to pick win during his team’s hot streak was right-hander Matthew Holzhammer (Tarleton State), who kept the Oaks off the basepaths and retired four via the strikeout in 3.0 innings on Friday.
Next week, the Saints will face the Barons for two games before beginning a three-game series with the Foresters.
#6 Lincoln Potters (--)
The Lincoln Potters got started with a tough 9-5 loss to North Division rival, the Walnut Creek Crawdads, before sweeping three games against non-league opponents to round out the week.
Offensively, infielder Justin Olson (New Mexico) continued his great start to the 2023 season. Over the last week, Olson has gone 4-for-9 and hit his second home run of the year. So far this season, Olson is off to a great start, hitting .359 with 14 hits in 39 at-bats, slugging two homers and four doubles while leading the team in RBI with 12.
On the bump, southpaw Gabriel Maya (Loyola Marymount) had two impressive outings, allowing zero runs in 5.0 innings this week. Right-handed pitcher Devin Marton (Nevada) delivered an impressive two innings this week, striking out half of the eight batters that he faced while also allowing zero hits.
Next week, the Potters will continue league play with a three-game series against the Sonoma Stompers.
#7 Conejo Oaks (⬇5)
Week 3 of the CCL season was a difficult one for the Conejo Oaks, who have lost seven straight contests. The Oaks dropped two to the Riptide before suffering a three-game sweep by the Saints.
Accruing six hits and an RBI in 15 at-bats, catcher Brendan Durfee (Cal Lutheran) led the way offensively for Conejo this week. In his team’s 7-6 loss to the Riptide on Wednesday, outfielder Eli Paton (Grand Canyon) provided some flare, with both of his hits on the night leaving the yard.
Right-hander Cole Fisher (Millersville) got the nod on Friday and didn’t disappoint, conceding two hits, issuing a walk, and striking out four in 4.0 innings. Save for an unearned run in the first, right-handed pitcher Blake Reilly (Grand Canyon) held Arroyo Seco off the scoreboard during Saturday’s loss, ending an impressive 7.0-frame start with three baserunners and three strikeouts to his name.
Next week, the Oaks are slated to play a two-game set with the Blues and a three-game series against the Riptide.
#8 San Luis Obispo Blues (⬇1)
This week, the Blues had one CCL series against the Arroyo Seco Saints that saw them drop both games as well as dropping two out of three in a Non League series.
The pitching staff didn’t have their best outings against the Saints, but RHP Joshua Blum (USC) showed out in game one, allowing just one hit and a walk while striking out three across 3.0 innings of work.
With the pitching struggling, the offense gave the Blues a chance in game one , as they outhit Arroyo Seco 9-to-4. Four different batters — Right Fielder Giovanni Blanchette (St. Mary’s College of California), Catcher Matt Spear (San Jose State), first baseman Zacahry Tallerman (Cuesta College), and shortstop Augusto Schroeder (Arkansas State) — had multi-hit performances, but they could never string them together to put runs on the board. In game two, centerfielder Nin Burns II (Cal Poly Ponoma) had a nice performance, tallying two hits, two walks, and a run, but it wasn’t enough for the win.
The Blues will look to get back on track next week with a pair of two-game series against the Conejo Oaks and the Academy Barons.
#9 Sonoma Stompers (--)
The Stompers took a three-game series from the Mudcats before splitting a two game Non-League series.
They put together a thrilling win in game two against Solano when they came back from 4-0 down in the seventh to win it 8-4. They scored six runs in the eighth inning alone after drawing four walks and knocking four singles. Second baseman/RHP Hayden Hall (Monterey Peninsula College) was dynamic on both sides of the ball, recording two hits, a run, and an RBI on offense while also closing out the Mudcats with five strikeouts over 2.0 innings.
Shortstop Jose Ruiz (UC Santa Barbara) was the hero in the final game, going 3-for-5 with a run and an RBI. Catcher Omar Gastelum (San Jose State) had two hits in two of the games and is now batting .400 for the Summer.
The Stompers will have a tough test in store for them next week, with a three-game series against the Lincoln Potters and two more games against the Healdsburg Prune Packers.
#10 Solano Mudcats (⬆1)
After a rough 0-7 start to the league season last week, the Solano Mudcats tallied two wins in Week 3, taking a game from the Stompers and, in a shocking win on Sunday, handed the Prune Packers their first loss of the season.
In the win over the Prune Packers, starting pitcher Caleb Davis (Sonoma State) turned in a heroic complete-game performance. Due to the teams playing a doubleheader on Sunday, Davis’s complete game was a seven-inning grind. Over those seven innings, Davis navigated through nine hits and three walks, but he limited the dangerous Prune Packers lineup to just two runs, one earned, while striking out six.
Offensively, the Mudcats took advantage of the Prune Packers’ mistakes on offense scoring four runs with just two of them earned. Designated Hitter Luke Piazza (UC Davis) went 1-for-3 with three RBI, and outfielder Bronson Balholm (Arizona State) continued to be the Mudcats’ MVP, reaching base four times on a hit and three walks while scoring twice.
Next week, the Mudcats will not play a league game, playing a three-game set against the CCL affiliate Bay Area Admirals.
#11 MLB Youth Academy Barons (⬇1)
After dropping a pair of games against the Foresters, the MLB Academy Barons righted the ship with an emphatic 6-2 win over the Riptide. The Academy wouldn’t be able to replicate this success, as Orange County took the next two games 6-0 and 6-5, respectively.
Catcher Alexander Laureano (Glendale CC) was one of the league’s top hitters during Week 3, posting a CCL South Division-leading seven knocks with two doubles, three RBI, and three walks in 15 at-bats. Infielder Kamau Neighbors (Cal State Northridge) also produced offensively, as he went 3-for-9 with a double and four walks.
While he was solid in all three of his three previous relief outings – maintaining a perfect ERA through six innings of work – right-hander Harold Boyce (Undecided) dazzled in his first start of the season on Friday. In 5.0 innings, the Canyon Country, Calif. native didn’t relinquish a run and fanned ten of the 19 batters he faced, earning the win. The Barons benefitted from another commanding start a day later, with right-handed pitcher Evan Adolphus striking out three and preserving his 0.00 season ERA in 7.0 frames of work.
The Barons will see the Saints and Blues two times each in a relatively light Week 4.
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