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Prep sports: First polls of the spring

CIF releases preseason ranks for three sports

Posted: February 19, 2013 1:55 a.m.
Updated: February 19, 2013 1:55 a.m.
 

Forget what the calendar says, spring is practically here in the world of sports.

Baseball, softball and boys volleyball can officially begin on Feb. 23 for local high schools. So, in turn, the CIF released its preseason polls for those sports on Monday.

In baseball, the defending Foothill League champion West Ranch Wildcats are ninth in CIF-Southern Section Division I.

Last season, the Wildcats finished 20-9-1 after advancing to the Division I semifinals before bowing out in a 2-1 loss to Corona.

Though West Ranch graduated The Signal’s All-Santa Clarita Valley Player of the Year J.C. Cloney, it returns many key players like senior pitcher Cody Bennett and sophomore second baseman Jagger Rusconi. Both were All-SCV first-teamers last year.

The only other Foothill team to appear in the polls was the Valencia Vikings, which was listed in a group of “others” that just missed out on the top 10 of Division I.

Valencia finished third in league and 19-9 overall last year after losing in the wild-card round of the Division I playoffs.

Mater Dei is ranked No. 1 in that division.

The Santa Clarita Christian Cardinals are the final local baseball team to show up in the polls, ranking seventh in CIF-SS Division VII. Firebaugh High is the top-ranked team in SCCS’s division.

SCCS made the Division VII quarterfinals last season and ended up 16-7 after the surprising run through the playoffs, which began in the wild-card round.

In softball, Valencia showed up at 10th in CIF-SS Division I behind No. 1-ranked Norco. The Vikings, who tied for second in league a year ago, are the only SCV team to make a preseason top 10 appearance.

Valencia made it to the second round of the Division I playoffs last year and finished 20-11 overall.

The Saugus Centurions, who tied Valencia for second in the Foothill last year, were listed in “others” for Division I, while defending league champion West Ranch was left out of the CIF’s preseason list.

Saugus finished last season 17-11-1 and West Ranch came in at 18-9-1 after both teams were knocked out in the second round of the playoffs.

The Foothill League was blanked it the boys volleyball preseason polls.

Despite the fact that the league saw two of its teams, Valencia and West Ranch, make the CIF-SS Division II semifinals last year, neither team showed up in CIF-SS Division II poll.

Oak Park is ranked No. 1 in Division II, where the Foothill competes.

Foothill champion Valencia went 20-15 after advancing to the CIF Southern California Division I Regional Volleyball Championship, where it lost in the opening round.

West Ranch finished 22-10, second place in league and made its deepest playoff run in school history.

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