No. 1 isn't just a slogan for the Casa Grande High School baseball team. The Gauchos are rated the No. 1 Division II baseball team in the state by Cal-Hi Sports.
Casa Grande, 19-1, is ranked ahead of San Clemente, 19-5; Beckman from Irvine, 17-4; Cypress, 16-6; and Campolindo, 11-6-1.
Casa Grande lost its first game to Wood from Vacaville, 4-2, and hasn't lost since, fashioning a 19-game winning streak. Remarkably, 13 of those wins have come by a single run.
Key to the Casa Grande streak has been outstanding pitching. Senior Anthony Bender has a 0.22 earned run average and six wins. Sophomore Eric Parnow, who has emerged as a dominating relief pitcher, is at 0.94, while Nick Marks is at 2.41, Matt Becker at 1.65 and Dominic Garrihan at 0.44.
Catcher Francis Christy has virtually shut down opposition running games with his strong arm behind the plate, and is hitting .383. Iggy Llorence leads the team with a .385 batting average, while Zack Shimek is hitting .366, Richard Lile .341, and Bender .343.
Max Preps has Casa Grande ranked 16th among all high school baseball teams in California and 57th in the nation.
The Gauchos are ranked No. 3 among all schools in the North Coast Section behind Granada from Livermore, 18-0, and De La Salle from Concord, 12-5.