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A-D POWER RANKINGS: Unpredictable Honkers jump to No. 1
Marysville softball retains top ranking
It's not only the temperature outside that's heating up.
Mid-Valley area baseball and softball teams are approaching the final three weeks of the regular season with playoff spots and league championships on the line.
Local rivalries can make this time of year even more pressure-packed, as we saw last week.
Let's recap the action from the last week and look ahead to what lies in store for our local programs.
1. Yuba City (15-6, 9-0 in TCC)
Catching up: The Honkers sent a message loud and clear to the rest of the Tri-County Conference last week — the TCC title still goes through Yuba City.
Yuba City is back on top of the A-D's rankings after sweeping a three-game series from Pioneer, including two games in Woodland, last week. This came after an extra-innings victory over Inderkum on April 16.
Due to rain, Yuba City played four games in five days last week, taking all four contests.
It was interesting, but the Honkers completed a three-game sweep of Inderkum with a 9-6 victory on Monday at Winship Field.
Y.C. trailed 6-0 before mounting a 9-0 comeback to pull off the win and stay undefeated in conference play.
Coming up next: As impressive as the Honkers' series with Pioneer was, the road to an eighth consecutive conference title doesn't get easier.
Y.C. begins a three-game series with long-time rival Woodland today at Clark Field in Woodland.
The Honkers host the Wolves (14-5, 7-2) on Thursday at Winship Field, followed by the series finale Friday night back at Clark Field.
2. River Valley (15-3, 6-2 in TCC)
Catching up: It was mixed results for the Falcons last week.
As expected, R.V. easily swept its three-game series with Natomas, outscoring the Nighthawks 47-2 over the three games.
The Falcons won each game by the mercy rule, however on April 16, they were on the opposite end of a 10-run loss.
Pioneer won 10-0 at Falcon Field to even the two teams' three-game series at 1-1.
River Valley won the opening game of the series on April 10, 7-4.
Coming up next: As brutal as the four-games-in-five-days schedule was last week for Yuba City and River Valley, the Falcons have it even worse this week.
R.V. is slated to play every day this week, which began with Monday night's 7-3 win over Gridley at Raley Field in Sacramento.
Along with a three-game series with Inderkum, which begins today in Yuba City, the Falcons will conclude their TCC series with Pioneer on Wednesday in Woodland.
The downside for River Valley: Pioneer's three-game series this week is with the aforementioned cellar-dwelling Natomas Nighthawks, which means the Falcons should expect another healthy dose of Pioneer left-hander Robert Daugherty, who threw a one-hit shutout against R.V. in his last outing.
3. Sutter (12-2, 8-1 in BVL)
Catching up: This year, the rivalry series goes to the Huskies.
Sutter swept a three-game BVL series from Wheatland last week, which included two victories on the road.
Wheatland and Sutter shared the BVL championship a year ago, though this year it looks like it will solely belong to the Huskies.
Coming up next: Sutter has clinched at least a share of the BVL title with the sweep of Wheatland.
To clinch the BVL title outright, Sutter only needs to take one out of three games from Orland this week. Two of those games will be played at Sutter's Arata Field.
With the BVL season ending so early, Sutter has several nonleague games schedule for the final two weeks of the regular season, including dates with East Nicolaus, Lincoln, Union Mine, Anderson and River Valley.
4. Wheatland (8-9, 2-4 in BVL)
Catching up: Wheatland's shot at a second straight BVL title took a big hit with the team's three-game sweep at the hands of Sutter.
Coming up next: The Pirates' main concern now is earning a spot in the Northern Section Division II postseason.
There's still a lot of baseball to be played for Wheatland.
This week, the Pirates face off with Winters in a three-game series, which begins today at Winters.
They'll close out the regular season with a three-game BVL series with local rival Gridley, beginning on May 1.
5. Marysville (6-11, 3-6 in GEL)
Catching up: Marysville makes its first appearance in our rankings.
The record is lopsided, but the Indians have arguably the top pitcher in the area on their squad.
Junior Chad Perry has 57 strikeouts in 341⁄3 innings this year with a 2.45 ERA. Perry has been the victim of a lack of run support this season, leading to his 3-2 record.
Coming up next: The Indians face West Campus in three games this week, with a doubleheader scheduled for Thursday in Sacramento.
Marysville's season ends with a two-game set against Mesa Verde.
TEAMS ON DECK: Lindhurst (6-5), Faith Christian (8-3), East Nicolaus (6-7)
1. Marysville (13-1, 8-0 in GEL)
Catching up: Same story, different week for the Indians as they continue to cruise through the GEL.
Marysville defeated West Campus 5-1 and Mesa Verde 20-1 in two GEL games last week.
Coming up next: Marysville will attempt to sweep Dixon in Wednesday's matchup at Abby Field. The Indians have already defeated the Rams twice this season.
This weekend, the Indians are scheduled to participate in the Folsom Bulldog Classic, featuring some of the Sac-Joaquin Section's top programs.
The tournament was rescheduled to this weekend after it was rained out two weeks ago.
2. River Valley (10-7, 3-3 in TCC)
Catching up: The TCC has three bids for the Sac-Joaquin Section Division III playoffs and it's going to be a dog fight to get them.
River Valley is finding that out this season as the Falcons are in a deadlock for the third and final spot with Inderkum. Pioneer and Woodland are both 5-1.
Last week, the Falcons defeated rival Yuba City 8-3, however were beaten by Woodland twice.
Coming up next: It's going to be a battle the rest of the way.
R.V. faces powerhouse Pioneer on Wednesday at home followed by a trip to Natomas on Friday.
The Falcons end their season with matchups at Inderkum and Yuba City as they attempt to earn a spot in the postseason for the third straight year.
3. Wheatland (13-8, 6-0 in BVL)
Catching up: The Pirates are well on their way to their goal of going undefeated in the BVL for the second straight year.
Wheatland swept rival Sutter last week and has won six in a row.
Coming up next: A three-game series with Winters is scheduled for this week and two of the games will be on the road.
4. Yuba City (7-10, 1-5 in TCC)
Catching up: The Honkers' window of making the D-III postseason has all but closed.
After a strong 2011 campaign, the Honkers have taken a step back in 2012.
Y.C. has lost four in a row, including Monday's mercy-rule loss to Inderkum.
Coming up next: Some respite may be found in today's matchup with lowly Natomas, but a berth in the postseason does not seem likely for Yuba City in 2012.
5. Sutter (13-9-1, 5-4 in BVL)
Catching up: Sutter's four BVL losses are the most since the 2005 season.
Coming up next: The Huskies will try to rebound from that three-game sweep against Orland this week.
TEAMS ON DECK: Lindhurst (12-7-1), Colusa (10-5-1