| July 3, 2023
Photo Credit: Eric Isaacs
By CCL Reporters Sean Brennan, Sam Nute and Dylan Wickman
Before you get your July 4th celebrations started this week, check out the latest edition of the CCL Power Rankings. Each team is carefully ranked based on their overall record, week record, strength of schedule, and recent trends. Read below to find out which teams climbed the ladder in Week 4.
#1 Walnut Creek Crawdads (⬆1)
Last week the Walnut Creek Crawdads came in at No. 2 on the CCL Week 3 Power Rankings, setting up a huge three-game series with No. 1 Healdsburg Prune Packers to kick off Week 4. The Crawdads came out on top, taking two of three from the two-time defending CCL State Champions. And, after a series sweep against the CCL Affiliate Bay Area Admirals, the Crawdads have laid claim to the top spot in the Week 4 Power Rankings.
In their series against the Prune Packers, the Crawdads got contributions from all across the roster. Outfielder Casey Cummings (Texas), infielder Ryan Ellis (St. Mary’s) and infielder Griffin Harrison (Sacramento State) each came through in clutch situations for the Crawdads. In the two Crawdad wins, the Prune Packers made a total of six errors, and Walnut Creek cashed in on those mistakes.
However the star for the Crawdads’ this week is outfielder Ryan Brome (Texas Tech) who, in the Dads’ second game against the Admirals, went ballistic, going 5-for-6, completing the cycle and driving in a whopping NINE RBI. Brome’s performance is the second cycle in Walnut Creek franchise history, and his nine RBI are tied for the most in a single game for the Crawdads. He finished the week going 10-for-23 with 14 RBI and five walks.
The star on the mound this week for the Crawdads’ wasn’t just one person but a collective effort from their bullpen. In the two wins over the Prune Packers, the bullpen combined to throw 11 shutout innings, striking out seven and allowing nine hits. The performance from their bullpen allowed Walnut Creek to overcome an early deficit in game one. keeping the vaunted Prune Packer offense quiet in game 2.
Next week, the Dads’ will play a one-off game against the Packers before beginning a three-game series against the Mudcats.
#2 Healdsburg Prune Packers (⬇1)
After holding the number one spot in each of the first two editions of the Power Rankings, the Prune Packers have slid down one spot as a result of their series loss to the Crawdads, losing two games in a row for the first time since 2021. However, Healdsburg bounced back with a series sweep against the Stompers.
The Packers have partly themselves to blame for their series loss to the Crawdads, committing three errors in each of their two losses and allowing five unearned runs over both games.
Despite the two losses, the Prune Packers have continued to get impressive performances out of their lineup with outfielder Robbie Hamchuck (San Jose State) and two-way player Damian Bravo (Texas Tech) each having outstanding weeks, going 11-for-24 and 10-for-23 respectively. So far this season, Hamchuk’s .458 batting average ranks first across the entire CCL, and Bravo’s 21 RBI rank second across the entire CCL.
On the bump, RHP Robert Aivzian (Cal) once again performed outstanding, throwing 4.0 scoreless innings in the Packers 7-0 game 3 win over the Crawdads. Along with his college teammate Andres Galen (Cal), the two Golden Bears have maintained a 0.00 ERA for the Prune Packers, allowing zero earned runs across their combined 29.2 innings this year.
Next week, the Packers will play both the Admirals and the Crawdads before starting another three-game set with the Stompers next weekend.
#3 Santa Barbara Foresters (--)
With a 4-1 record this week, the Santa Barbara Foresters have won eight of their last nine games, moving them to No. 3 on this installment of the Power Rankings. After picking up consecutive victories over the Riptide, Santa Barbara went 2-1 against the Saints to maintain the top spot in the CCL South Division.
Three Foresters – infielder Gianni Horvat (UNLV), catcher Rylan Galvan (Texas) and outfielder Gregory Pace (Michigan) – hit solo shots on Friday against Arroyo Seco, propelling their team to a decisive 8-3 win. Pace’s home run was his second in as many games, and the rising sophomore finished the week with five knocks, two homers, two doubles and six RBI in 11 at-bats. Santa Barbara’s most consistent hitter, however, was outfielder Max Belyeu (Texas), who went an impressive 9-for-16 with three RBI, five walks and just two strikeouts.
Starting on the bump for the first time this summer on Tuesday against the Riptide, right-hander Robert Cranz (Oklahoma State) looked to build off a five-strikeout, 3.0-inning appearance last week. And the Keller, Texas native did just that, allowing a single earned run while fanning a staggering eight in 3.0 frames of work.
Usually a focal point of the ‘Sters bullpen, righty Sean Youngerman was just as dominant in a start – his first of the season – on Saturday against the Saints. Youngerman posted five strikeouts and a 1.00 WHIP in 5.0 innings, earning him the win.
The ‘Sters will kick off a packed Week 5 with a marquee matchup against the Blues on Monday. They will play two more contests against San Luis Obispo, followed by a two-game set with the Barons.
#4 Arroyo Seco Saints (⬆1)
The Arroyo Seco Saints began Week 4 just as they finished Week 3; scorching hot. Arroyo Seco first swept a two-game set with the Barons to extend their winning streak to seven games. However, the Saints then came back down to Earth a bit, posting a 1-2 record against the Foresters to round out the week.
As has been the case all season long, the Saints benefitted from several contributors across their lineup. Outfielder Kyte McDonald (Wichita State) displayed his power once again during the win over the Barons on Tuesday, smacking a triple along with Arroyo Seco’s first grand slam of the summer.
In his last five games, infielder Richie Morales (Arizona) put together his best stretch of the season – highlighted by a three-hit performance in the victory over Santa Barbara on Friday – ending the week going 6-for-15 with a double and three RBI. Another Saint coming off a standout week is fellow infielder Raider Tello (Iowa), who hit .389 with two doubles and an RBI in 18 at-bats.
On the pitching side, second-year Saints right-hander Caleb Reyes (Cal Poly Pomona) had a solid start against the ‘Sters on Saturday, posting a 1.00 WHIP and four strikeouts through 4.0 frames. Righty Jacob Henderson (Iowa) proved a staple of Arroyo Seco’s bullpen in two appearances this week, as he faced just ten batters through three combined innings, allowing no baserunners and putting down five by way of the strikeout.
Next week, the Saints will have a home-and-home with the Oaks before a three-game set against the Riptide.
#5 Orange County Riptide (⬇1)
The Riptide is coming off a great Week 3 where it went 4-1, and despite not having quite the same success this week, Orange County still had some strong showings. It first played two games against the Santa Barbara Foresters – who beat the ‘Tide in both meetings – before going 2-1 against the Conejo Oaks.
Orange County’s lineup stayed hot as the week went on, as they totaled 22 runs in the two-game series against Conejo. Infielder Nathan Cadena went 3-for-5 in the 11-15 game 1 loss while accumulating 3 RBI while catcher Ayden Garcia (Golden West College) had a two-run double with two walks and two runs.
An 11-6 game 2 win was headlined by outfielder Reese Chapman’s two-homer, six-RBI performance. The series against the Oaks was Chapman’s debut in CCL play, and he totaled six hits and ten RBI in just three games. Shortstop Isaiah Morales (Saddleback College), who led the team in base knocks this week with seven, also joined in on the fun, going 3-for-4 with two runs in game 3 against Conejo.
RHP Tyler Valdez (Arizona State) continued his stellar season this week, throwing four strikeouts in 4.0 innings without giving up a run. In four appearances, Valdez has yet to give up an earned run. Right-hander Ben Hansen (BYU) was not too shabby himself, throwing five strikeouts in as many innings during the series finale against Conejo, all while giving up just one hit.
Now, the Riptide will have a two-game series against the Academy Barons and then three games against the Arroyo Seco Saints.
#6 Lincoln Potters (--)
The Potters went 1-2 in their only league series this week against the Sonoma Stompers. Each team picked up a blowout win while the Stompers pulled out a 6-5 nail-biter to take the series win. Lincoln made up for it in non-league play though, going 3-0 and sweeping the competition.
The Potters’ hitters gave Lincoln a good chance to win that tight-knit game 2, as they outhit Sonoma 8-to-4. In the ninth inning when the game was tied 2-2, Catcher Luke Lavin (Stanford) hit a two-run double to take the lead before a wild pitch extended it to three. Unfortunately for Lincoln, the Stompers responded with four runs of their own in the bottom of the inning to win.
The next game out, the batters came out with a vengeance, scoring 11 runs on 10 hits. Shortstop Zachary Chamizo (UC Riverside) led the way, going 2-for-3 with a three-run homer and a walk. He ended the week hitting .444, going 4-for-9. First baseman Justin Olson (New Mexico) and shortstop Luke Odden (Georgia Southern) were also impressive in game 3, each recording two hits while combining for four RBI.
Despite the series loss, the pitching staff still put in solid performances this week. RHP Cooper Robinson (UC Irvine) headlined the performance for the staff this week, allowing no hits in 5.0 innings in the 11-0 game 3 win, along with seven strikeouts. RHP Colin Reilly (Tulane) had a solid effort in the close loss, throwing five strikeouts in 4.0 innings while giving up just two hits and two runs.
The Potters will play just one two-game set next week, this time against the CCL Affiliate Bay Area Admirals before playing a three-game Non-League series.
#7 Conejo Oaks (⬇1)
After posting a disappointing 0-5 record during Week 3, the Conejo Oaks rebounded, going 2-3 in their following five contests. The Oaks split a two-game set with the Blues before going 1-2 in three contests against the Riptide.
Despite a relatively slow start to his season, infielder Drew Smith (Oregon) had a statement game on Friday at Orange County, reaching base a total of five times. The Eugene, Oregon native went 3-for-4 with two walks and five RBI – three of which came on a bases-clearing triple in the third. Catcher Brendan Durfee (Cal Lutheran) was productive at the plate all week long, hitting .429 with two doubles and four RBI in 14 at-bats.
Right-hander Cole Fisher (Millersville) was credited with his first win of the season on Wednesday against the Blues, as he issued two walks and struck out seven in a 5.0-inning start. Taking the mound in the seventh inning of that same game, lefty Colby Downward (St. Louis) ensured the Oaks stayed in the driver’s seat, dishing out three K’s and allowing a single baserunner in the final 2.0 innings.
Next week, the Oaks are slated to see the Saints and Blues for two games each.
#8 San Luis Obispo Blues (--)
The Blues split both of the two-game series they played this week, first against the Conejo Oaks and then the Academy Barons, before ending the week with a non-league win.
The Blues' pitching staff had great outings all week to help San Luis Obispo compete, as they have all season. RHPs Lucas Alaniz (Modesto Junior College) and AJ Moreno (Cal Poly) were the premier pitchers in the Oaks series, both throwing five strikeouts in their respective appearances while only giving up one earned run. Alaniz pitched 5.1 innings while Moreno closed the last 6.0 innings of game 2.
Fellow RHPs Fisher Johnson (USC) and Grant Cunningham (Washington) both shoved against the Barons, with Johnson giving up four hits and one earned run in 8.0 innings of game 1 and Cunningham giving up six hits and two earned runs in 8.2 innings of game 2. Johnson also ended with four strikeouts while Cunningham totaled three.
The Blues’ best hitting performance this week came against the Oaks, when they scored ten runs, partly due to Cameron Constantine (Texas), who had two hits, two RBI and a run to fuel the win. He was the best among the batters this week, going 4-for-10 with four RBI in three appearances. Shortstop Theo Hardy (San Jose State) led the team in walks with four while hitting a double and totaling two RBI.
The Blues will look forward to two three-game series next week, one against the Santa Barbara Foresters and one against the Oaks.
#9 Sonoma Stompers (--)
This week, the Stompers started off by taking two of three games in a series win over the Lincoln Potters before dropping three straight to the Healdsburg Prune Packers.
In a decisive 6-5 game 2 series victory, the Stompers entered the ninth inning down 5-2 but loaded the bases and scored a run all courtesy of walks. Then, with one out remaining, third baseman Derek Tenney (Nevada) hit a double to drive in the two tying runs before a passed ball clinched the win for Sonoma.
There were some great individual batting performances this week as well. Outfielder Noah Rabin (Illinois State) went 3-for-3 with a home run, two RBI and a walk in the 11-0 game 1 win against the Potters while his fellow outfielder Jag Burden (Cal Berkely) went 3-for-5 with a double in the 2-5 game 2 loss against Healdsburg. Third baseman Michael Bell (Cal Poly San Luis Obispo) ended the week very well against the Packers, going 4-for-4 with two runs and an RBI.
The Stompers had some solid pitching performances as well, with RHP Chase Minor (San Diego) throwing a no-hitter in 4.0 innings in game 1 against Lincoln, RHP Orlando Leon Jr. (Hawaii Hilo) throwing four strikeouts and giving up two earned runs in 4.1 innings in game 2 and RHP Hawk Hill (Undecided) throwing three K’s and giving up one earned run in game 1 against Healdsburg.
The Stompers will have three more tough games next week against the Packers.
#10 Solano Mudcats (--)
This week was a short week for the Mudcats as they only played a series against the CCL Affiliate Bay Area Admirals, winning one game of the three-game set.
After a tough 6-3 loss in game 1, the Mudcats handed the ball to their ace, RHP Anthony Galindo (Texas A&M Texarkana). Galindo is coming off an impressive 5.0 shutout innings, seven strikeout performance against the Stompers last week. This week, he followed that up with another great outing. Again in 5.0 innings pitched, the Dixon, California native struck out six, allowing zero runs and just two hits. The performance brings his season ERA to 3.00 on the season with 22 strikeouts in 21 innings pitched.
With Galindo setting the tone, the Mudcat offense had to answer. Infielder Tyler Tobey (San Joaquin Delta) had his best performance so far this season, going 4-for-5 with two RBI and a stolen base. Outfielder Michael Benevides (Yuba CC) also was impressive, scoring three of the Mudcats’ runs with a 3-for-4 night including a double and an RBI.
A good offensive performance and a great start from Galindo led to the Mudcats taking game two 9-2 over the Admirals.
Next week, the Mudcats will play two Non-League games before taking on the Walnut Creek Crawdads for a three-game set.
#11 MLB Youth Academy Barons (--)
The MLB Youth Academy Barons started Week 4 with two losses to the Saints, but that 0-2 mark alone doesn’t tell the whole story. After posting eight runs in a 14-8 defeat on Tuesday, the Barons were narrowly beaten the following night, losing 8-7. However, the Academy rebounded, splitting their final two games against the Blues.
At the plate, it’s been the usual contributors getting it done for the Academy this week. Infielder Dylan Lina (Golden West College) continued his stellar hitting season, going 6-for-12 with a home run, two doubles and four RBI. Another Baron to homer this week was outfielder Jacob Klinovsky (Cal State East Bay), who recorded four knocks and four RBI in 16 at-bats.
Right-handed reliever Nicholas Romanoski (Undecided) was strong in his 2.0 innings of work on Friday, striking out two while allowing two baserunners. In the Academy’s victory on Saturday, fellow bullpen arms Calix Armijo (Cerritos College) and Maximus Berber (Whittier College) combined to concede two hits and a walk while striking out four in 2.1 scoreless innings.
Next week, the Barons will see the Riptide for two contests before beginning a three-game series with the Foresters.
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