Week 2: FAB 50 High School Rankings
By Mark Tennis
Well, it certainly didn’t take long this season for the top California teams, with one exception, to start beating each other.
Last weekend’s Dave Kops Tournament of Champions in Bullhead City, Ariz., once again showed Southern California supreme strength with Norco defeating La Habra, 2-0, in an All-SoCal final. The victorious Cougars, who were No. 1 in the Flo50 in 2011, returned their entire lineup from last season and were expected to be a national title contender this season and looked the part in winning four times at Bullhead City.
All-America candidate Taylor Dockins pitched three shutouts for Norco during the event, including a two-hitter against La Habra. She also got the team’s scoring out to a strong start with a home run in the second inning. Catcher Kinzie Hansen, one of the top sophomore college prospects in the nation, added an RBI double in the fourth.
"We know this is going to put a huge target on our backs," Dockins told the Riverside Press-Enterprise. "But that's going to make us fight even harder."
It was La Habra getting all the way to the championship game, however, that showed how unpredictable this year’s race for the first-ever competitive equity-based CIF Southern Section Division I title should be. The Highlanders, who had an early-season loss to preseason Flo50 No. 1 Mission Viejo, got past national No. 6 Los Alamitos 4-0 in the the semifinals. Mission Viejo, also No. 1 in last week’s Flo50, lost to Norco in the second round of the TOC and may have only fallen a few spots in this week’s rankings, but the Diablos then lost two more times during the weekend.
Most of the top Southern California also may run into one another at the Best of the West tournament and at the upcoming Michelle Carew Classic and all of the top coaches, including Norco’s Rick Robinson, know that getting a team to peak for the playoffs is going to be a priority over winning tournaments or even being ranked that high.
Due to the results of the Arizona TOC, this week’s rankings also saw strong gains for new No. 2 Pinnacle of Phoenix (Ariz.), new No. 3 Lakewood Ranch (Fla.) and new No. 4 Hendrickson (Texas).
Teams That Dropped Out From Previous Rankings
Previous No. 14 Coral Springs Charter (Coral Springs, Fla.); No. 19 Katy (Katy, Texas); No. 20 McArthur (Aldine, Texas); No. 22 Freedom (Oakley, Texas); No. 29 Grand Terrace (Grand Terrace, Calif.); No. 34 Deer Park (Deer Park, Texas).