By Ray Hamill — No surprise to see the McKinleyville girls take over top spot in the North Coast Section MaxPreps Division-IV softball rankings after a three-game sweep of No. 4 Arcata last week.
The Panthers are unbeaten on the season at 14-0 and have dominated the rest of the Big 5 so far, winning all nine of their conference games by an average of almost eight runs.
The Mack girls also continue to rise in the overall NCS rankings, and are now No. 5, the highest ranked of any local baseball or softball team in the section.
What is surprising, on the other hand, is that McKinleyville remains one spot behind Arcata in the NCS Division-IV baseball rankings despite taking two of three from the Tigers in league play last week.
There is little to separate the two clubs in rating points (16 to 15.3), with each well ahead of No. 3 St. Mary’s (9.1).
The rankings will count for little when the postseason rolls around, but it would appear for now the two arch rivals are the two best teams in the NCS Division-IV field.
The Tigers (15-2) are also ranked one spot ahead of the Panthers (13-1) in the overall NCS rankings at No. 10.
The two teams’ only losses this season have come against each other.
The Eureka Loggers (6-3), meanwhile, are starting to build momentum and are currently ranked No. 8 among Division-III baseball teams in the NCS.
But despite beating crosstown rivals St. Bernard’s 4-2 on Tuesday, they remain one spot behind the Crusaders in the overall NCS rankings at No. 43.
St. Bernard’s (12-4) is No. 3 among NCS Division-V teams, while Little 4 rival South Fork (8-3) is No. 2 in Division VI.
In softball, St. Bernard’s (6-5) is also No. 3 in Division V after winning five straight games.
Last month, the Crusaders were ranked No. 8.
Hoopa Valley, which dropped two games to the Crusaders over the weekend, is two spots back at No. 5.
In Division III softball, Eureka (8-2) is ranked No. 5, up three spots over the past two weeks.