STOCKTON High school baseball has so much parity among the power programs within the Sac-Joaquin Section that it has become increasingly difficult to assess which team is the best.
Three of The Bee's top four ranked teams lost Friday or Saturday in a continuing trend of ambitious scheduling or top-tier league affairs.
The week was capped at Pacific in the Boras Baseball Classic final, with national No. 1 Mater Dei of Santa Ana beating Bee No. 4 Pleasant Grove 8-0 Saturday.
Having scored 11 runs in each of their previous four games, the Eagles (12-4) of Elk Grove had the leadoff man reach base in every inning and put a runner on third base in each of the first six innings with fewer than two outs. But the Monarchs (17-1) escaped every jam in winning their third national tournament behind their relief-pitcher-turned-tournament-championship-ace Jacob Erickson. It was a remarkable show of program depth that serves as an example of the distance between Southern California and Sac-Joaquin Section baseball.
Erickson, for the third successive weekend, went from the pen to starter, winning three national events with shutout victories over Harvard Westlake, Oaks Christian and here.
Mater Dei's lone loss came in a season opener to St. Mary's of Stockton, the three-time defending section Division I champion. That's the same St. Mary's team that lost to Bee No. 1 Elk Grove 10-1 and to No. 2 Jesuit 4-2 in nonleague games earlier this spring.
No. 2 falls Also on Saturday in the Banner Island Classic in Stockton, No. 2 Jesuit fell to Lincoln of Stockton 5-4 on a Luke Tokunaga walk-off double. Lincoln (14-1-2) lost 1-0 in a season opener to Turlock, which is off to a 17-1 start but hasn't encountered nearly the rigorous schedule as the Bee-ranked heavyweights or St. Mary's.
No. 1 falls On Friday in Yolo County, No. 5 Davis (12-5) beat top-ranked Elk Grove 2-1 in a Delta Valley Conference showdown of defending co-champions behind ace Matt Trask, reliever Jake Miille and freshman shortstop Ryan Kreidler. Trask, a UCLA-bound junior, shut down a potent Thundering Herd (12-3) offense that came in having outscored its last four foes 48-5. Trask allowed an unearned run and struck out five.
Kreidler had a sacrifice fly RBI in the fourth inning to tie it 1-1, and Trask's infield single scored Joe Murray in the bottom of the seventh.
Grizzlies new No. 1? No. 3 Granite Bay (9-5) could rise to No. 1 in The Bee rankings Tuesday on the strength of a four-game winning streak that started with an 8-1 nonleague decision over Oak Ridge when the Trojans were ranked fifth. (Oak Ridge beat Jesuit 7-2 this week to open Delta River League play.) Granite Bay also beat No. 18 Roseville three times this week including a 3-0 no-hitter by Sacramento State-bound ace Gabe Meza, who struck out 11 to open the defense of its Sierra Foothill League title.
Another ace Del Oro beat No. 7 Woodcreek 3-0 on Saturday behind yet another gem from Keith Heyer. The senior tossed a one hitter with seven strikeouts against the defending section D-II champion Timberwolves.