NORTH COAST SEMI PREVIEW: CLEAR LAKE TRIES TO FINISH OFF SPECIAL SEASON
Going into the final week of the baseball and softball playoffs, the NCL world is taking center stage. There are four local teams left still in the running to wrap up the school year with a North Coast Section Championship. All four teams call an NCL league home.
Two of the four teams are from Clear Lake, where we may be seeing history made.
The Clear Lake baseball team is 26-0. They are two wins away from reaching a territory that doesn’t happen very often.
It isn’t the easiest thing to find out records in high school sports. The information in these next couple of paragraphs comes from a Cal Hi Sports state record book, which was published in 2008, along with some internet surfing. It isn’t guaranteed to be right, but it won’t be too far out of the ball park. If you know of something missing, let me know.
It appears that Clear Lake is trying to become the second team in North Coast Section history to finish the baseball season undefeated. The other was the Justin Siena team of 2005 that went 27-0. That is part of the second longest winning streak in state history of 42 straight. At least, that was the case after 2008. Whether that information has changed or not, I am not sure, but there doesn’t appear to be that long of a winning streak or another undefeated team since.
Cal Hi Sports record book has a list of most wins in an undefeated teams. The least amount of games is twenty and there are ten for the whole state. One of the teams is the 1951 Sacramento McClatchy team who went 22-0-1.
Looking at that record book, there are lists that don’t match. For example, the 2005 Justin Siena team is listed in the category for Most Wins in an Undefeated Season. The 27-0 mark is the fourth most in state history. Yet on another list of best one season records, they are nowhere to be seen. The 27-0 season did happen and should be third on that list. The only two teams that would rate higher would be Chatsworth, who went 35-0 in 2004 and the 1997 Santa Maria, St. Joseph team of 1997 who went 29-0. If Clear Lake can win these last two games, they would move past Justin Siena to No. 3.
As for this year, in the power rankings, Clear Lake is ranked 925 in the nation. There are fifteen teams ranked higher that are undefeated. There are six teams on the list that haven’t played ten games and only four with twenty wins or more. The most wins are for a team from Oklahoma who is 32-0. Clear Lake’s 27-0 mark is the second highest current winning streak in the nation. The list of games in the power rankings is probably not complete. That is why there is a team with a 6-0 record, but again it illustrates how special this Clear Lake season is.
It may be shaky trying to find the record books in the high school world but one thing is for sure, anyway you put it, Clear Lake has something special going on.
No. 4 Head Royce (19-7) at No. 1 Clear Lake (26-0)…WEDNESDAY 5 PM
This isn’t going to be an easy road for Clear Lake to finish this, but again it is not supposed to be.
Some of its fans say the Giants three of five World Series Championships give them dynasty status. If that is true, there is no doubt that Head Royce is one also. They have won three straight Division 5 North Coast Section Championships, and four of six. That is the best run of any current North Coast Section school and including this season, they have won twelve straight playoff games.
The record for consecutive section championships is four, done by three teams including St. Vincent from 1986-89 and Casa Grande from 2004-2007.
Last season in the playoffs, Head Royce outscored opponents 26-0. In two of the three wins the ten run rule was used. The No. 4 seed is the lowest they have been since the merger of the East Bay and North Bay in the playoffs in 2008. The lowest they have been before that was No. 3 in 2012, which was the first of its three straight section championships.
Head Royce also won back to back titles in 1999 and 2000.
During the championship streak, Head Royce didn’t have to go through Clear Lake, because the Cardinals were in Division 4. Clear Lake has exactly the number you need to be in Division 5. One more student, and they would still be in Division 4.
This season Head Royce went 6-2 in the Bay Counties League. Both the league losses were to undefeated champion Redwood Christian, who is 21-5, has a sixteen game winning streak and as a No. 3 seed travels to Branson in the other semi-final game in this division.
Three of Head Royce’s five losses are by one run. The only two that weren’t was to Redwood Christian by 5-2 and 4-1 scores. One of the one run losses was to Branson.
A win for Head Royce will give them their third straight twenty win season. It is a mark they have hit six of the last eight seasons.
The probable pitcher for Head Royce is senior Reid Gibbs who is 6-2 on the season and has an ERA of 1.82. Both of his losses were to Redwood Christian. He has also has two saves in relief.
As a team Head Royce is hitting .318 and has an ERA of 2.18. That is compared to Clear Lake numbers of .347 and 1.71.
Clear Lake has won three NCS championships, but it has been a while. They came in 1983, 1993 and 1998.
No. 4 Tomales (12-8) at No. 2 St. Bernard Catholic (14-13)…SATURDAY 4 pm
No. 5 St. Vincent (16-10) at No. 1 Clear Lake (18-6)… TUESDAY 4 pm
This matchup means that it is a guarantee that there will be a local team in the championship game.
The two teams have had similar seasons. Both finished tied for their perspective league championships, which forced a tie-breaker game which they both lost. St. Vincent got revenge for its tie-breaker with a 7-6 win over Calistoga to advance to this game.
That is where the similar season ends. Clear Lake tied with Cloverdale. They didn’t have to worry about the Eagles in the playoffs because they are in Division 4.
Back to the similar theme, they both are here after a less than impressive start.
St. Vincent has won twelve of thirteen after a 4-9 start. The loss was also to Calistoga in the league tie-breaker game.
Clear Lake has won fourteen of fifteen since starting 4-5. The only loss was the tie-breaker game to Cloverdale 4-3.
This is nothing new for St. Vincent. They have made it this far the last four seasons, winning the championship in 2012 and 2013. In 2011, they lost the championship game and last year they had a seven game playoff winning streak snapped with a 6-5 loss to Ferndale in this round.
In its time in Division 4, Clear Lake is used to being a playoff team, just not getting this far. 2009 was the last time they made it this far, losing in the championship game to St. Patrick-St. Vincent 2-1. That was the last time they won more than one playoff game. Last year they went 1-1 in the playoffs. That was after going three straight seasons without getting a playoff win, including 2011 as a No. 2 seed and in 2012 as a No. 1. Both those seasons they had first round byes.
Besides the undefeated team in 2007, Clear Lake won on other section championship in 2002.
In the other semi-final, No. 3 St. Bernard Catholic travels to Alameda to meet No. 2 St. Joseph-Notre Dame. That game is Wednesday at 4 pm.
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