OVERALL TOP 10
1. Buchanan 16-1
2. Frontier 11-4
3. Centennial 11-2
4. Clovis 14-3
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5. Clovis West 12-4
6. Central 11-4
7. Clovis North 11-6
8. Mt. Whitney 7-9
9. Kerman 10-3
10. Fresno 12-3
D-I: 1. Buchanan; 2. Centennial; 3. Clovis
D-II: 1. Frontier; 2. Clovis North; 3. Mt. Whitney
D-III: 1. Fresno; 2. Hanford West (13-6); 3. Madera South (11-5)
D-IV: 1. Kerman; 2. Bakersfield Christian (12-4); 3. Fowler (12-5)
D-V: 1. Corcoran (5-5); 2. Caruthers (7-3); 3. Immanuel (9-5)
D-VI: 1. Mendota (8-6); 2. Farmersville (4-3); 3. McFarland (5-7)
Baseball's kindness with McLane ceased after the Highlanders won the Central Section Division III title with a 22-10 record in 2008. Consider the results since: standouts Isaiah Yates (Clovis East) and Anthony Hawkins (Fresno) are playing prominent roles elsewhere after transferring out of the program; McLane's field, while sparkling in appearance now, was plowed by a vandal-driven automobile in the fall; the Highlanders are 18-49 in three years, including an 0-3 mark with 8-0, 6-5, 4-3 (10 innings) losses to Fresno and 2010 North Yosemite League MVP Hawkins this season. And, clearly, it's a sensitive issue, given the fact McLane 21-year coach Jim Sirimarco has pulled the Highlanders out of the Fresno High-directed Fresno Easter Classic, where McLane was a charter member for 41 years. The Highlanders will play instead next week in the Selma Greater Kiwanis Tournament.
While pitching depth skews projections in tournaments that call for a team to play four to five games in three days, Buchanan of the Tri-River Athletic Conference could be on a collision course with either Frontier or Centennial of the Southwest Yosemite League for the title of the 36-team Fresno Easter Classic, which runs Monday through next Wednesday on nine Fresno County diamonds. Besides The Bee's No. 1 spot, Buchanan is ranked No. 2 in the state by Cal-Hi Sports and No. 6 nationally by ESPN-RISE behind Edison-Huntington Beach; Douglas-Parkland, Fla.; Mesquite-Gilbert, Ariz.; Owasso-Okla.; and Broken Arrow-Okla.
Centennial, which lost 7-6 in eight innings to eventual champion Buchanan in last year's Division I semifinals, swept Stockdale last week, including a 6-4 decision featuring Cole Hallum's 13 strikeouts in 6 2/3 innings.
After Mt. Whitney defeated Hanford 2-1 to take over the West Yosemite League lead Friday, Hanford coach Tim Scott – a former major league pitcher – called Pioneers junior right-hander Ryan Guajardo "the best pitcher we've seen so far." The comment to the Hanford Sentinel carried some clout considering Hanford has faced The Bee's top-ranked D-III teams – Fresno, Hanford West and Madera South – in addition to Central of the TRAC.
Power-hitting catcher Gabe Perez of Central is expected to be out for another three weeks after having his nose surgically repaired after being struck by a pitched ball two weeks ago against Clovis East.
Check out Andy Boogaard's analysis throughout the baseball season at fresnobeehive.com/sportsbuzz