School size counts for little in NorCal D-3 baseball playoffs

Ray Hamill/

By Ray Hamill — Two of the smallest schools in the NorCal playoffs will battle it out for the Division-3 baseball championship on Monday.

No. 4 seed St. Bernard’s will host No. 7 Alpha Charter out of the Sacramento area in an unlikely pairing that few people would have foreseen.

Both are Division-6 schools in their respective sections and each was moved up a full three divisions for the NorCals and had to play much larger schools to reach the championship.

St. Bernard’s has just 170 high school students, while Alpha Charter has less than 100 students, according to the most recent figures available on

Remarkably, between them they have knocked off four schools with an average student population of around 2,500 students in their NorCal playoff run.

Alpha opened with a 2-1 win over No. 2 Petaluma (1,381 students) and followed that by beating No. 3 Rio Americano (1,820) by a score of 11-1.

SB, meanwhile, has toppled the two largest schools in the division.

The Crusaders got the better of Foothill (2,217) by a score of 5-4 on Tuesday and ran out to a comfortable 8-0 win over No. 8 Central (4,252) in Thursday’s semifinal.

The figures are based on the most recent stats available.

Ray Hamill/

Not only are St. Bernard’s and Alpha Charter the two smallest schools who will play in any of the five NorCal championship games this weekend, but they are by some margin.

Of the other eight finalists, all but two are schools of at least 950 students, including three with at least 1,700 students.

Even the schools battling it out in the Division-4 and Division-5 finals have substantially higher enrollments than either SB or Alpha Charter.

That’s a remarkable achievement for both D-3 finalists.

And it doesn’t end there.

Both St. Bernard’s and Alpha Charter are also two of the three lowest seeds to qualify for a championship game.

No. 7 Alpha Charter is the lowest seed remaining, while No. 6 Berean Christian (Division 6) is the only other team seeded lower than the Crusaders.

NorCal Finals

D-1 — No. 1 De La Salle (1,040 students) vs. No. 2 St. Francis (1,768)

D-2 — No. 4 Granite Bay (2,073) vs. No. 2 Archbishop Mitty (1,753)

D-4 — No. 1 Colusa (398) vs. No. 2 Bradshaw Christian (1,103)

D-5 — No. 1 Monte Vista Christian (950) vs. No. 6 Berean Christian (420)

1 reply »

  1. Begs the question…if St. B was a Division 6 all regular season through NCS, then were moved up to Division 3 for Nor-Cal, then why was St. B not Division 3 all along?🤷‍♂️

    If School size is antiquated because of the “little engines that could” mold, then why is not each school’s sports team be placed in Divisions based upon success, talent, etc… this is the argument less talented teams have when their opportunities in a lower division are thwarted from a team whose talent level makes student enrollment criteria bogus, while justifying why TLETC mold deserves being in a higher division…

    …guessing California officials in CIF decided using both models 🤔 was fair…

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