The Bee's Joe Davidson breaks down the Top 20 area high school baseball teams.
THE BEE'S TOP 20
1. ELK GROVE (20-9)
The Thundering Herd returns sluggers Dom Nunez (.429, 29 RBIs) and Rowdy Tellez (.568, 47 RBIs), and ace David Smith (6-0).
2. WOODCREEK (25-7)
Ace Stephen Nogosek (8-0) led the Timberwolves to the Sac-Joaquin Section Division II title last season and now takes aim at Division I.
3. DAVIS (25-8)
The Blue Devils are led by hitters Bobby Young (.347), Joe Murray (.344), John Ariola (.314) and Hayden Duer (.325) and new ace Matt Trask.
4. PLEASANT GROVE (22-6)
Coming off their first Delta River League title under veteran coach Rob Rinaldi, the Eagles are paced by Matt Stafford (.321), Josh Adams (.338), Austin Friello (.309) and catcher Nico Toni.
5. GRANITE BAY (23-9)
The Grizzlies will battle Woodcreek and Rocklin in the Sierra Foothill League behind Ryan Rosa (.453), Vinny Esposito, Devin Lehman and Brett Bautista and pitchers Travis Magness (5-2) and Jake Peterson.
6. FRANKLIN (22-12)
A year after winning the D-I North title, the Wildcats return pitchers Connor Adams (3-2) and Tyler Blake (3-2) and shortstop Hank LoForte (29 runs).
7. JESUIT (20-8)
The Marauders return hitters Julian Barron (.471), Jordan Hanlin (.362), Josh Falco (.349) and Andre Gregory (.271) to challenge Pleasant Grove and Oak Ridge in the DRL.
8. ROCKLIN (18-12)
Roc Murray, the only coach in the Thunder varsity program's history, has pitchers Austin Dick (5-2) and Ryan Smith and hitters Christian Bennett (.352) and Taylour Reidt (.362) to make SFL and D-I title runs.
9. OAK RIDGE (20-9)
Shortstop Alec de Watteville (.412, nine doubles) is as good as there is in the section. Austin Root (7-2) is the ace.
10. GRANT (11-12)
The Pacers stormed back to respectability last season under coach Danny Chavez, an alum, and return pitchers Cameron Avila-Leeper (3-1) and Brandon Nunn (3-4).
11. ANTELOPE (19-7-1)
Seven of the top 10 hitters are back, including Steve Mercado (.380) and Robert Contreras (.383), as is ace Anthony Coates (5-1). The Titans will contend with Cordova, El Camino and Whitney for the Capital Athletic League title.
12. VISTA DEL LAGO (21-10)
The football team's leading rusher, Josh Pfeffer, is the leading hitter (.304) and pitcher (2-1) for the Sierra Valley Conference favorites.
13. DEL CAMPO (14-15)
Veteran coach Paul Martinez takes over the Cougars' program. Derek Rodigo (.378) is the top hitter, and the top six pitchers return, including Cody Smith (6-3).
14. BELLA VISTA (20-7)
Austin Hennen (.417) and Mike Phelan (.325) lead the offense. Returning pitchers Gavin Lee (2-0) and Matt Gunter (1-0) also are keys for the Broncos, who will battle Del Campo for the Capital Valley Conference title.
14. PIONEER (16-13)
Former Woodland pitching star Kevin Galart coaches the Tri-County League favorites, featuring pitchers Thomas Galart (5-2), Kevin's son, and Robert Daugherty (3-4).
15. WHITNEY (13-11-1)
Trevor Abrams (.485) and Josh Robinson (.333) lead the offense, but pitching will be the key for a CAL title run.
16. CAPITAL CHRISTIAN (24-5)
The Golden Empire League favorites return top hitters Mauricio Dubon (.543, 48 RBIs) and Ben Ritchey (.506, 34 RBIs) and top pitchers Ritchey (9-3), Terrance Bremby (8-2) and Tyler Schimpf (4-0).
17. YUBA CITY (22-8)
The Honkers, perennial contenders, seek another title with leading hitter Damon Bugarin (.450) and major-league pitching prospect Chandler Eden (7-1).
18. ROSEMONT (14-13)
Jalen Brown (.451, 15 RBIs), Sam Long (.395), Tyler Masterson (.354) and an experienced pitching staff are back for the Metropolitan Conference favorites.
19. CORDOVA (16-10-1)
Ageless coach Guy Anderson, at the helm since 1970, is giddy about pitchers Nathan Jacobson and Jamari Campbell.
20. LINCOLN (13-16)
Four of the top five hitters return for the Pioneer Valley League favorites, including Jake Sola (.391) and Ethan Liddle (.370).