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Softball teams in the large-school Top 5 gear up for league title pushes

James Burns
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Large Schools

Editor’s Note: Comprised of teams from the Central California Athletic League, Central California Conference, Valley Oak League and Western Athletic Conference. Last week’s ranking and current ranking in parenthesis.

1. (1) Oakdale (17-0-1): The Mustangs ran their winning streak to 16 games with convincing victories over Weston Ranch and Manteca. Oakdale, ranked 13th in the state, will open the Nor Cal Classic with Franklin of Elk Grove on Thursday.

2. (2) Golden Valley (20-2): The Cougars returned to Central California Conference play last week with shutout wins over Central Valley and Buhach Colony. There’s a tough stretch ahead, including a trip to Atwater on May 6. The Falcons handed Golden Valley its only league loss.

3. (4) Enochs (13-3-1): The Central California Athletic League frontrunners have rebounded from a walkoff loss to rival Gregori with wins over No. 4 Turlock and Downey. The Eagles are just one game up on fourth-ranked Turlock in the loss column. Enochs’ march toward a CCAL title will be interrupted by the Nor Cal Classic. The Eagles open with small-school No. 2 Calaveras.

4. (5) Turlock (12-5): Despite a 4-2 loss to Enochs last week, the Bulldogs remain in the hunt for the inaugural CCAL crown but will need some help. To give themselves a shot, Jill Ogden’s team will need to win its final three league games (Pitman, Gregori, Downey) and hope Enochs, which holds a one-game lead in the loss column, stumbles down the stretch.

5. (3) Atwater (16-6): Since beating No. 2 Golden Valley in somewhat convincing fashion, the Falcons have suffered back-to-back league losses to Patterson and Merced and find themselves on the verge of falling out of the large-school Top 5. To stay in the hunt for a CCC crown, Atwater will need to complete the season sweep of Golden Valley.

Follow James Burns on Twitter @jburns1980, or email him at frontrowpreps@gmail.com.