OVERALL TOP 10
1. Buchanan 12-1
2. Centennial 8-1
3. Clovis 11-2
4. Clovis West 10-2
5. Central 9-2
6. Clovis North 10-3
7. Clovis East 9-4
8. Bakersfield 7-1
9. Frontier 6-4
10. Fresno 9-2
D-I: 1. Buchanan; 2. Centennial; 3. Clovis
D-II: 1. Clovis North; 2. Frontier; 3. Memorial (8-5)
D-III: 1. Fresno; 2. Hanford West (10-4); 3. Independence (6-3)
D-IV: 1. Kerman (8-3); 2. Bakersfield Christian (8-4); 3. Fowler (7-5)
D-V: 1. Immanuel (7-2); 2. Caruthers (5-1); 3. Exeter (7-5)
D-VI: 1. Mendota (5-4); 2. Farmersville (3-2); 3. McFarland (1-4)
The Fresno Easter Classic, long considered one of the state's elite high school baseball tournaments, has stepped up to yet another level. The event's 42nd version, set for April 18-20 at nine Fresno County fields, will attract a record 36 teams, including 12 20-game winners from last season – nine from the Central Section and three from the Sac-Joaquin Section. Included will be nine teams currently ranked in The Bee's top 10 and schools that represent 17 of the past 18 section Division I champions. The exception in both cases is Clovis West – currently ranked No. 4 by The Bee and the section's 2004 D-I titlist. The Golden Eagles, a Fresno Easter Classic regular – in fact, their field will once again host the championship game – will instead participate in the National Classic April 18-21 in Anaheim and Fullerton. That invitation-only, 16-team event will draw 12 top teams from the state in addition to one each from Florida, Arizona, Tennessee and Utah.
The Fresno Easter Classic will cover the gamut of section strength, from defending champion Buchanan, Clovis and Fresno to the north to Hanford, Hanford West and Mt. Whitney to the central area and Centennial, Bakersfield and Frontier to the south. And that's in addition to Stockdale, the section D-I champion in 2008 and '09.
Early North Yosemite League showdown will unfold today at Madera South (7-4, 2-0), where the Stallions will oppose Fresno (9-2, 3-0). They will play each other three times in the league's 15-game schedule.
In addition to Buchanan's 7-1 win over Clovis West last week, the other section marquee game had Centennial throttle previously unbeaten Bakersfield 13-2 in a game the Golden Hawks hit five home runs. Those included two from Lancaster import A.J. Villalobos, a junior outfielder, who told the Bakersfield Californian afterward, "Being out here is just electrifying." Centennial, while shorthanded, opened the season with a 12-1 win at Bullard. And the Knights are now leading the County/Metro Athletic Conference with a 3-0 record.
Check out Andy Boogaard's analysis throughout the baseball season at fresnobeehive.com/sportsbuzz