Turlock, Hughson debut as No. 1's in Front Row Preps first baseball rankings

Joe Cortez

Large School

Editor’s note: Comprised of teams from Central California Athletic League, Central California Conference, Valley Oak League, Western Athletic Conference. Records as of Monday, March 11.

1. Turlock (3-2) — The Bulldogs have a new coach in Sean Gilbert, who replaces the legendary Mark de la Motte (now the junior varsity pitching coach), but the mission remains the same in Turlock, and that’s to win league championships. This year, the Bulldog are battling to be the first champion of the Modesto Metro Conference.

2. Buhach Colony (3-1) — Greg Wakefield’s club is the preseason favorite to win the Central California Conference title and will be looking to contend for its first section title since winning back-to-back D-III championships in 2004-2005.

3. Los Banos (4-1) — The Tigers’ only loss of the season was 1-0 setback to No. 2 Buhach Colony, though they limited the Thunder to just one hit in the loss.

4. Sierra (4-0-1) — Travis Thomson is in his first year as head coach and the Timberwolves will again be among the favorites to capture a Valley Oak League championship.

5. Enochs (3-1) — Enochs and Turlock are the favorites in the Central California Athletic League, though Gregori will factor into the equation, as well. The Eagles are led by first-year varsity coach Haig Shahbazian.

Small School

Editor’s note: Comprised of teams from Trans-Valley League, Mother Lode League, Southern League, Central California Athletic Alliance. Records as of Monday, March 11.

1. Hughson (6-0) — The Huskies are off to a blistering start, led by junior pitcher Seth Garza, who is 2-0 on the season and has yet to surrender a run in 17 innings pitched. He’s fanned 17 and walked eight.

2. Argonaut (4-0) — The Mustangs were runners-up to Colfax in the Sac-Joaquin Section Division V playoffs last year. They’re looking to get back to the final and finish the job this year.

3. Mariposa (5-0) — The small-school power is off to a fast start with the Grizzlies throwing three shutouts in their first five games of the season. Senior Michael Medinas is 11-for-19 (.579) to start the season and has yet to yield an earned run in three outings on the hill.

4. Big Valley Christian (5-1) — The Lions have finished as Sac-Joaquin Section runners-up two of the last three years, and they’re looking for another trip to the final in search of the school’s first baseball banner. Senior Tyler Meyer is hitting .684 (13-for-19) to start the season and has already three victories on the bump.

5. Modesto Christian (3-0) — The Crusaders are off to a nice start with a win already over defending Division VI champion Ripon Christian this season.