The Sac-Joaquin Section Division I baseball playoff brackets are set, and no matter how you size it up, this shapes up to be a monstrous playoff rumble.
In a word, the North collection is stacked. The regular D-I crowd of recent seasons is now joined by the heavies of the Sierra Foothill League with Woodcreek, Granite Bay and Rocklin.
"Before, there were eight really good teams and now there are 12," Davis coach Dan Ariola said. "There are a lot of good teams with a lot of good aces."
Pleasant Grove coach Rob Rinaldi agreed, saying, "Draw a name out of hat, they're all good."
The league title races came down to the final day of the regular season. Oak Ridge beat Ponderosa 8-4 and Pleasant Grove downed Jesuit 10-4, creating a tie for the Delta River League championship. Because Oak Ridge beat Pleasant Grove two of three times, the Trojans earn the No. 1 seed and Pleasant Grove No. 2. Jesuit, having lost two of three to Oak Ridge this week, is No. 3.
Oak Ridge coach Todd Melton said he was "excited" for his group, one anchored by pitchers Austin Root and Tommy Hummer and shortstop Alec de Watteville, who had four hits against Ponderosa.
Rinaldi was positively ecstatic after his team defended its title. Josh Adams smacked two solo home runs, Matt Stafford improved to 7-1 and Bronson Grubbs had a two-run single.
"I'm thrilled for these guys," said a beaming Rinaldi, his father Ron with him. "These guys work every day. It's been a fun group, a great group."
Davis beat Elk Grove 3-2 on Tuesday to win the Delta Valley Conference as Matt Trask produced a walk-off hit. He did the same last month against the Herd in a 2-1 victory.
Woodcreek clinched the Sierra Foothill League championship with a 10-4 victory over Nevada Union, along with Rocklin downing Granite Bay 2-1. Granite Bay placed second and Rocklin third.
How good is this collection? Consider that Elk Grove, Davis, Jesuit, Oak Ridge, Granite Bay, Pleasant Grove, Rocklin and Woodcreek have at one time or another been in The Bee's Top 6 this season, and some have been there all season. Elk Grove, Davis and Granite Bay have occupied the No. 1 spot with Oak Ridge and Jesuit getting as high as No. 2.
Each of these clubs has faced brutal nonleague schedules, and then league play was just as fierce.
As league champions, Davis, Woodcreek, Oak Ridge and Vacaville earned first-round byes and open postseason play on Wednesday or Thursday at Sacramento City College. Those teams will scout openers on Monday.
Here's the schedule for home openers on Monday, with 4 p.m. starts:
* Vintage at Elk Grove
The Crushers of the Monticello Empire League face the Thundering Herd crushers in Dom Nunez, Rowdy Tellez and Derek Hill.
* Franklin at Rodriguez
The defending D-I North champion Wildcats placed third in the Delta Valley Conference behind Davis and Elk Grove and open in Fairfield.
* Rocklin at Pleasant Grove
The Thunder have two aces in Austin Dick and Logan Webb and the Eagles feature Josh Adams, an ace who also has home run power.
* Jesuit at Granite Bay
Jesuit has aces Julian Barron and Chris Loeb and the Grizzlies have Gabe Meza, who is headed to Sacramento State. Meza has a no-hitter this season.
Woodcreek plays the winner of the Vintage-Elk Grove game on Wednesday and Oak Ridge will take on winner of the Franklin-Rodriguez victor.
On Thursday, Davis will draw the winner of the Jesuit-Granite Bay winner and Vacaville will play the winner of Rocklin-Pleasant Grove.
- Joe Davidson
- On Twitter: @SacBee_JoeD
- On Podcast: ESPN1320.net