| August 1, 2023
By CCL Reporters Sean Brennan, Sam Nute, and Dylan Wickman
The CCL 30 Regular Season has finally come to a close, and the league’s top six teams will look to make a run at this year’s State Championship in the CCL 30 Postseason, which begins with the CCL 30 Wild Card Round on August 1. Before the playoff festivities begin, learn how each team finished their regular seasons. Each team is carefully ranked based on their overall record, week record, strength of schedule, and recent trends. Check out the final edition of the CCL 30 Power Rankings below.
#1 Santa Barbara Foresters (⬆2)
League Record: 25-10
League Record This Week: 3-1
Overall Record: 30-10
Overall Record This Week: 4-1
After dropping their first game of the week to the Oaks, the Santa Barbara Foresters got right back on track, picking up a non-league win the very next day. Santa Barbara proceeded to take the next three against the Conejo Oaks before defeating the San Luis Obispo Blues to close out their 2023 CCL campaign – and posting an above-.500 record for the seventh straight week.
At 24-10 in league play, the ‘Sters have clinched the CCL South regular season title for the third straight summer – meaning they’ve won the South in all three years since the league introduced divisions in 2021.
Outfielder Rocco Garza-Gongora (Oklahoma) took full advantage of his 24 at-bats on the week, logging nine hits, a double and two RBI. In his last five contests, catcher Will Rogers (Michigan) went 7-for-21 with a double, home run and seven RBI, good for a .333 average during Week 8. Hitting for power this week was outfielder Gregory Pace (Michigan), who slugged .933 and belted two home runs in 15 at-bats.
On the mound, righty Sean Youngerman (Westmont College) put together a strong 5.2-inning start in Game 2 against the Oaks. The CCL 30 Showcase Game selection conceded a run in the second, but ultimately pitched to a sub-one WHIP and struck out six, exiting the contest with Santa Barbara leading 3-1.
Right-handed reliever Zac Colletti helped seal a Foresters’ series victory over Conejo during Game 4, fanning five and holding the Oaks scoreless in the game’s final 4.0 innings.
The ‘Sters have elected to participate in the 2023 National Baseball Congress (NBC) World Series – a tournament they have won ten times – in lieu of the CCL 30 Postseason.
#2 Walnut Creek Crawdads (--)
League Record: 25-10
League Record This Week: 4-2
Overall Record: 33-10
Overall Record This Week: 4-2
The final week of the CCL regular season was a roller coaster for the Walnut Creek Crawdads, who came into the week 2.5 game back of the Healdsburg Prune Packers for the No. 1 seed in the North Division. The week couldn’t have gotten off to a better start as the Crawdads swept the Prune Packers in a three-game series to take the lead of the North Division. However, a series loss to the Sonoma Stompers on the final weekend of the season handed the top seed in the North to Healdsburg.
Needing a sweep to take the lead in the division, Walnut Creek pulled out all three wins with multiple excellent pitching and hitting performances. Right-handed pitcher Kody Perry (Trinity College), LHP Sean Fitzpatrick (Arkansas) and RHP Tyler Blair combined to throw 16.0 IP allowing just one earned run and seven hits, while striking out 9.
Offensively, the Crawdads got offensive contributions from all around the team, especially in Game Two. Scoring eight runs on the night, the ‘Dads had five different players notch an RBI, and outfielder Brian DuRoff (Charlotte) and catcher Ryder Helfrick led the way with both having a multi-hit game.
After the sweep, Walnut Creek only needed to win their final three-game series against the Sonoma Stompers, but the bullpen that was so strong in the Prune Packers series struggled against the Stompers, surrendering multiple runs in late-game situations.
Walnut Creek will enter the CCL 30 Postseason as the North Division’s second seed and will host the third-seeded Lincoln Potters on Tuesday, August, 1st at 4 p.m. PST.
#3 Healdsburg Prune Packers (⬇2)
League Record: 26-9
League Record This Week: 2-3
Overall Record: 39-9
Overall Record This Week: 3-3
The Healdsburg Prune Packers bounced back with a two-game series sweep over the Mudcats, and, thanks to a Stompers series win over the Crawdads, will enter the Postseason with the North Division's top seed.
The Prune Packers' offense managed 10 runs across the three games agains the Crawdads. Averaging 5.3 hits per game this series, the Prune Packers worked to get their offense going. The offense bounced back in their two-game set against the Mudcats. Healdsburg scored 19 runs while outfielder Alex Leopard (Santa Rosa JC) went 3-for-3 in the series including two home runs and six total RBI.
Left-handed pitcher Christopher Stamos (Tennessee) struck out five in a four-inning outing against the Crawdads
The Prune Packers will enter the CCL 30 Postseason as the North Divisions No. 1 seed. Due to their top spot, Healdsburg has a first round bye and will host the winner of the Crawdads/Potters on Wednesday, August 2 for a spot in the CCL 30 State Championship.
#4 Arroyo Seco Saints (⬆1)
League Record: 21-14
League Record This Week: 4-1
Overall Record: 23-14
Overall Record This Week: 4-1
Week 8 couldn’t have gone much better for the Arroyo Seco Saints, who went 4-1 to lock up the CCL South Division’s top spot in the CCL 30 Postseason. Perhaps Arroyo Seco’s biggest win of the summer came on July 26 over the then-No. 1 seeded Riptide – a foe the Saints were 0-6 against this season up to that point – which helped fuel a three-game sweep of the Barons to finish the week and regular season hot.
As has been the case in recent weeks, the Saints’ bats were scorching hot this week, scoring a combined 51 runs in five contests. Infielder Jordan Rogers and outfielder Kyte McDonald, both members of the Wichita State Shockers, proved the brightest spots in the Saints' lineup. Rogers’ enjoyed a three-home run, seven-RBI performance on July 29 against the Barons, while McDonald hit .429 with two homers, three walks and six RBI in 21 at-bats this week.
Another Saint to make waves this week was infielder and CCL 30 Showcase Game selection Raider Tello (Iowa), who went 8-for-24 to improve his average to .385 and achieve the CCL South Division’s regular season batting title.
With a staff that ranks top-three in the CCL for ERA (3.53), WHIP (1.34) and strikeouts (370) during league play, it’s no surprise that Arroyo Seco’s success this week was propelled in part by strong pitching. On July 28 against the Barons, right-handed starter Hayden Lewis (Arizona) hit double-digit strikeouts while allowing just a run in 5.0 innings – good for his first win of the 2023 campaign.
Right-hander Carter Herrera (Cal State Fullerton) got the nod for the Saints’ pivotal Jul. 26 game in Orange County and also shined, fanning five and owning a sub-one WHIP in 6.0 innings.
Earning the South Division’s top seed comes with its perks, as Arroyo Seco receives an automatic bid to the CCL 30 Divisional Round on August 2 – which it is set to host – and will await the winner of the South’s CCL 30 Wild Card Round.
#5 Lincoln Potters (⬆1)
League Record: 20-15
League Record This Week: 5-1
Overall Record: 33-20
Overall Record This Week: 5-1
There might not be a hotter team in the CCL than the Lincoln Potters heading into the CCL 30 Postseason. Last week, the Potters took series against both the Prune Packers and the Crawdads, and stayed hot with a series win over the Mudcats and a sweep of the CCL affiliate Bay Area Admirals, clinching the third seed in the CCL North Division.
Offensively, the Potters continued to build off of the previous week, scoring 66 runs across their five games this week. Coming to the Potters midway through the season, outfielder Alexander Johnson (Undecided) had his best game of his shortened season. In the Potters 19-4 win over the Mudcats, Johnson went 3-for-5 with a double and three RBI. Two games later, Johnson performed amazing once again, going 2-for-4 with a home run and another double, ending the night with 4 RBI.
On the bump, the Potters got an impressive performance out of RHP Toran O’Harran (Stanford). O’Harran threw five strong inning against the Admirals, allowing one earned run on two hits and two walks while striking out six. Later against the Admirals, RHP Cooper Robinson (UC Irvine) continued his impressive season. Lowering his season ERA to 2.52, Robinson went 6.0 innings, allowing just one earned run and striking out five.
Heading into the Postseason, the Potters are carrying a 7-3 record across their previous ten games, and will play the Crawdads in the Wild Card Round of the CCL 30 Postseason on Tuesday, August 1st at 4:00 pm PST.
#6 Orange County Riptide (⬇2)
League Record: 20-15
League Record This Week: 2-2
Overall Record: 21-16
Overall Record This Week: 2-2
The Riptide came into the CCL’s final week with just a half-game lead for the first seed in the South Division over the Arroyo Seco Saints, who they happened to play to start the week. Orange County lost the decisive game 8-4, and despite winning two out of three against the San Luis Obispo Blues, they still ended up one game behind the Saints, They will still end the season with a great 20-15 record and possession of the No. 2 seed.
The Riptide had many contributors on the offensive end this week, with four different batters – outfielder Nick Upstill (Pepperdine), infielder Nathan Cadena (San Jose State), first baseman Grant MacArthur (San Joaquin Delta College) and outfielder Patrick Hackworth (California San Diego) – totaling at least five hits. The infielders were the big hitters this week, with Cadena racking up three doubles while MacArthur drove in the team’s only home run. Upstill had the team’s single-game high in hits with three in Game 1 against SLO, while Hackworth made his mark with consistency, recording a hit in every game he played this week.
Orange County had some stellar pitching performances in the Blues series to help them secure their wins. Right-handed pitcher Matthew Maloney was a strikeout machine in Game 2, retiring nine batters with K’s while conceding just three hits and one earned run. Right-handed pitchers Connor Kinney and Brett Garcia were both on lockdown in the season finale, with Kinney only letting on two base runners in 4.0 innings while Garcia struck out seven out of the eight batters he faced in 2.2 innings.
The Riptide will host the CCL 30 South Wildcard Game against the Conejo Oaks, who they are 6-2 against this season, for a chance for a rematch against the Saints in the Divisional Round.
#7 Conejo Oaks (--)
League Record: 16-19
League Record This Week: 2-3
Overall Record: 18-19
Overall Record This Week: 2-3
With a narrow 6-5 win over the Barons on July 30 – the final day of the regular season – the Conejo Oaks locked up the CCL South Division’s third and final playoff spot in dramatic fashion.
Offensively, it was three of the Oaks’ top bats – catcher Brendan Durfee (Cal Lutheran) plus outfielders McCabe Moyer (Oregon) and Austin Carrillo (Biola) – that got it done down the stretch. In 18 at-bats on the week, Carrillo recorded eight hits, four doubles and two RBI while Moyer went 8-for-25 with a double and triple.
One of the Oaks’ most reliable hitters over the past three summers, Durfee also delivered when his team needed it most, totaling nine knocks in 19 at-bats with three doubles, a home run and five RBI this week. The Monrovia, Calif. native’s best performance undoubtedly came on July 29 at Santa Barbara, as he went a perfect 4-for-4 including a pair of doubles and an RBI.
In addition to timely hitting, Conejo fed off strong outings from bullpen arms in both of its wins this week. On July 25, right-handed reliever Charlie Adamson (Undecided) kept the ‘Sters off the scoresheet in all 4.0 innings he pitched, as he allowed three hits and retired two via the strikeout. Southpaw Michael Alan Stanford (College of the Desert) entered the season finale in the seventh and fanned three in 2.1 scoreless frames, helping the Oaks punch their ticket to the CCL 30 Postseason.
Conejo is slated to continue its quest for the CCL 30 State Championship on August 1 at 7 p.m. PST, when the Oaks visit the Riptide for the South Division’s CCL 30 Wild Card Round.
#8 Sonoma Stompers (--)
League Record: 16-19
League Record This Week: 3-3
Overall Record: 25-21
Overall Record This Week: 3-3
The Stompers began the week two games out of a North Division Playoff spot. Sonoma did play spoilers to the Walnut Creek Crawdad’s chance at clinching the one seed, beating them in two out of three to end the season.
Third baseman Michael Bell (Cal Poly SLO) was a key component in the Stompers' wins, going 3-for-5 with a two-run homer in game 1 and 2-for-4 in game 3. Outfielder Logan Azem (San Francisco) made his mark against the Admirals, totaling seven hits in the series, along with a double and four RBI. Fellow outfielder Jag Burden (Cal) had great performances in both series, having a noteworthy 4-for-4 performance in game 3 against the Admirals and tallying five hits in 13 at-bats in the three games against Walnut Creek,
Right-handed pitchers Chase Minor (San Diego) and Aidan Colin (Cal State Northridge) both played a big part in the Game 1 win against the Crawdads, with Minor striking out seven batters in 4.0 innings while giving up two runs and Colin only conceding one hit in 3.0 innings to go along with four strikeouts. Right-handed pitcher Joey Van Dusen (Sacramento Community College) was electric in game 3 against Walnut Creek, striking out six out of the ten batters he faced in 3.0 innings.
The Stompers conclude the season with a 25-21 overall record and a 16-19 league record, good for fourth in the CCL North Division and 2.5 games out of a playoff spot.
#9 San Luis Obispo Blues (--)
League Record: 15-20
League Record This Week: 2-4
Overall Record: 22-24
Overall Record This Week: 2-4
The Blues started this week just half a game out of the third and final seed in the CCL South Division and had six games to make up ground.
The Blues' bread and butter this season has been pitching, and that didn’t change much in their final week. Right-handed pitcher Matthew Gonzales (University of Colorado, Colorado Springs) was in control in his 7.0 innings against the Barons, only letting four batters on base with none scoring along with seven strikeouts. Left-handed pitcher Chris Stuart (Texas) tallied eight strikeouts in his 5.1 innings in game 2 against the Riptide, while RHP Justin Feld (Gonzaga) was very important in the Saints' win, surrendering only two runs in 6.0 innings.
Centerfielder Jacob Ruley (CSU Bakersfield) had himself quite a week, totaling six hits in 20 at-bats along with a double and five RBI. Catcher Matt Spear batted .364 in his team’s final week while adding on a double and a home run as well.
The Blues end the season with a 22-24 overall record and a 15-20 league record, which puts them fourth in the South Division, one game out of a playoff spot.
#10 MLB Youth Academy Barons (--)
League Record: 8-27
League Record This Week: 1-4
Overall Record: 8-27
Overall Record This Week: 1-4
Despite opening the week with a series-clinching victory over the Blues, the MLB Youth Academy Barons would go on to lose three straight to the Arroyo Seco Saints before dropping their season finale against the Oaks, 6-5.
The Barons’ most reliable hitter this week was infielder Thomas Williams (Santa Ana College), who has been a catalyst all summer long. Williams logged six knocks, four walks and two RBI in 18 at-bats this week, finishing his season with a .274 average. Outfielder Jacob Klinovsky (Cal State East Bay) was also a key contributor, going 4-for-17 with a double and two RBI.
Infielder Kamau Neighbors (Cal State Northridge) wrapped up an exceptional summer that saw him lead the Barons in hits (41) and OPS (.958). Neighbors is also tied for the most walks drawn (23) and has the second-highest average (.357) in the CCL South Division.
On the mound, right-hander Francisco Lopez (Cerritos College) set the tone in his 3.0-inning start against the Blues on Jul. 26, allowing two baserunners and fanning three to hold San Luis scoreless. At the tail end of the game, right-hander Maximus Berber (Whittier College) earned his third save of the year with two strikeouts and a walk in 1.0 inning of work.
#11 Solano Mudcats (--)
League Record: 6-28
League Record This Week: 1-3
Overall Record: 7-32
Overall Record This Week: 1-3
The Solano Mudcats entered this week with two games against the Lincoln Potters and two games against the Healdsburg Prune Packers.
The Mudcats bounced back in their second game against Lincoln, defeating the Potters 9-7. Two-Way player Jake Tandy was the clear MVP of the game, doing his best Shohei Ohtani impression. At the plate, Tandy went 2-for-6 with three RBI on a home run and a double. On the mound, Tandy got the win in 1.1 innings of work, allowing just one base runner on a walk and striking out three.
The Mudcats got one more start out their season's horse agains the Packers. Right-handed pitcher Caleb Davis (Sonoma State) finished the season ranked second in the league in innings pitched with 39.0, and in one final start he had one of his best outings of the season. In 5.0 innings pitched against the top-seeded Prune Packers, Davis allowed just four hits and one run, striking out three and walking no one.
The ‘Cats got impressive performances too from infielder Jeff Hoffman (Willamette), Tandy, infielder Alec Nava (San Joaquin Delta) and catcher Bronson Balholm (Arizona State).
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