LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Los Alamitos tops three California schools in the first four in the USA Today Sports/NFCA High School Super 25 preseason poll.

The Griffins, who were 26-3 last season, return the powerful senior battery of Maryland signee Ryan Denhart in the circle and Oregon signee Mary Iakopo behind the plate, plus junior pitcher Brianna Jewett, the 2016 Sunset League Rookie of the Year as a very capable No. 2. In all, they have seven all-league players back for a school that has gone 181-70 over the past eight seasons.

Fellow Golden State schools Mission Viejo (27-4 last year) and Norco (26-6) are ranked second and fourth, respectively, with just Florida’s West Orange (30-1) at No. 3 breaking up the trio. Mission Viejo lost just three players off its CIF-Southern Section championship team that finished the year ranked ninth, while defending state class 9A titlist West Orange returns Georgia signee Lauren Mathis, who allowed just three earned runs in 142 innings in 2016. Norco, meanwhile, finished last season unranked, but returns two NCAA Division I signees and two others who have committed to prominent Division I institutions.

Reigning Texas state 6A champion Keller (32-7) lost all-state pitcher Kaylee Rogers, but still has enough in place to round out the top five, while another California school, Orange Lutheran (30-4) with Stanford signee Maddy Dwyer, follows at No. 6. Florida’s American Heritage (26-2), which also graduated its top pitcher, Madison Canby, is seventh, and last year’s final No. 2, Grand Terrace (29-1) of California, starts at No. 8 and features slugger Eliyah Flores (eight homers), who plans to attend Oklahoma. Arizona state D1 champ Hamilton (31-7), which returns four key hitters and three pitchers, is No. 9, and yet another California school, Huntington Beach (21-7), ranks 10th, with its roster of nine signed or committed players.

LaGrange, who finished 41-2 and won its second Texas state 4A title in three years to rank No. 1 in last June’s final poll, did not make this season’s first poll.

State rankings submitted by NFCA member coaches are used to compile the USA Today Sports/NFCA High School Super 25.

USA Today Sports/NFCA High School Super 25 Preseason Poll – Feb. 23, 2017

Rank Team 2016 Record
1 Los Alamitos (Calif.) 26-3
2 Mission Viejo (Calif.) 27-4
3 West Orange (Fla.) 30-1
4 Norco (Calif.) 26-6
5 Keller (Texas) 32-7
6 Orange Lutheran (Calif.) 30-4
7 American Heritage (Fla.) 26-2
8 Grand Terrace (Calif.) 29-1
9 Hamilton (Ariz.) 31-7
10 Huntington Beach (Calif.) 21-7
11 Deer Park (Texas) 33-4
12 Oakleaf (Fla.) 27-3
13 Bishop O’Connell (Va.) 23-5
14 Oak Park-River Forest (Ill.) 37-2
15 Keystone (Ohio) 28-5
16 Lakewood (Ohio) 29-0
17 McCracken County (Ky.) 43-4
18 Immaculate Heart Academy (N.J.) 31-1
19 Plano West (Texas) 29-5
20 Alexandra (La.) 30-4
21 Sparkman (Ala.) 50-16
22 Scott County (Ky.) 36-2
23 St. Mary Catholic Central (Mich.) 28-5
24 Mount St. Dominic (N.J.) 26-4
25 Pinnacle (Ariz.) 30-8

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