The Atwater softball team opened Central California Conference play with a resounding victory over Merced. (Courtesy of @AtwaterSoftball on Twitter)

Falcons, Eagles soar in large-school poll; GV keeps pace with No. 1 Oakdale

James Burns

Large Schools

Editor's Note: Comprised of teams from the Central California Athletic Alliance, Central California Conference, Valley Oak League and Western Athletic Conference. Last week's ranking and current record in parenthesis. Records as of Sunday, March 24.

1. (1) Oakdale (10-0-1): The Mustangs have won 10 of their first 11 games and remain unbeaten more than a month into the season. Oakdale thumped Kimball and Weston Ranch by a combined score of 33-0. Alexa Aguilar and Emily Smith drove in three runs apiece in a 23-0 win over Weston Ranch.

2. (2) Golden Valley (10-1): The Cougars have won eight in a row, including all three games last week by shutout. Senior Marissa Bertuccio had a week to remember. She was 9 of 10 at the plate and 3-0 inside the chalked circle with 40 strikeouts in 19 innings.

3. (4) Enochs (7-1-1): The Eagles fly into a pivotal week after crushing Modesto and Pitman in Central California Athletic League contests. Raquel Chaidez tossed back-to-back one-hitters, and five players drove in at least two runs in a 19-0 victory over the Panthers.

4. (5) East Union (5-5): The Lancers opened Valley Oak League play with a bang, blasting crosstown rival Sierra in their opener and then running wild on Weston Ranch. After losing four straight, East Union has righted the ship in time for a difficult stretch. Games with Tracy, Manteca and Oakdale loom.

5. (nr) Atwater (6-0): The Falcons jump into the large-school poll after shutting out Merced for their first Central California Conference victory. UC Santa Barbara-bound ace Megan Escobar fired a one-hitter, while Marley Gonzales, Lexuss Ponce and Abbi Vierra went yard.

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