As the vibrant spring season kicked off on February 10th, the excitement is building within the CIF Southern Section’s sporting community. Across eight divisions, local baseball teams have high expectations of triumph and glory. Tahquitz High School stands proud at No. 5 in Division 3, followed closely by Linfield Christian, showcasing their resilience at No. 10. Elsinore High School’s tenacious team finds themselves with an identical No. 10 spot within Division 4 as Hemet High charges ahead as No. 2 in Division 5.

Wildomar’s Cornerstone Christian found themselves at No. 10 in Division 7, while Santa Rosa Academy took No. 4 in Division 8. Notably, this season sees the Southwestern League face an uphill climb as no teams grace the watchlist, but there is no doubt each of the six teams will be seeking to reclaim the spotlight it once held firmly as one of the nation’s most daunting leagues around 2015.

Though no local baseball squad graced the most recent release of the Perfect Game Top 25, recognition still comes shining through. The talent-laden roster of Vista Murrieta acquires a No. 3 spot in the IEBCA Preseason Top 10, with Great Oak not too far behind at No. 5, keeping the embers of the Southwestern League’s legendary competitiveness alive and glowing.

Great Oak, who took second place in the Southwestern League last season, took the No. 3 position in the prestigious Division 1 CIF Southern Section watchlist. Valley News/Action Captures Media Group

The softball fields are no less dramatic, with our region’s teams etching their marks throughout the eight divisions as well. Though they were runners-up in the Southwestern League last season, Great Oak leads valiantly, taking the No. 3 position in the prestigious Division 1 watchlist where 2023 league champion Murrieta Mesa found themselves securing the No. 10 spot. Vista Murrieta, not to be overlooked, clenches a respectable No. 16 rank.

As we venture through the divisions, Hemet showcases its prowess at No. 6 in Division 4, with Heritage not far behind at No. 7. Liberty of Winchester stirs the Division 5 scene at No. 7, while Paloma Valley and San Jacinto snatch the No. 9 and No. 12 positions, respectively.

Rounding things out is Tahquitz, claiming No. 15 in Division 6, a testament to the depth and diversity of skill embedded within our community’s teams. Preseason polls will come into effect next week and will be updated weekly at

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JP Raineri
JP Raineri

JP is an award-winning multimedia journalist, and head of the Sports Department for the Valley News. Over his time in the Temecula Valley, JP, a former Southwestern League head baseball coach, was also an on-air radio personality at Q103.3, KATY 101.3, Hot 103.9, and was a television host for the Outdoor Channel. When not covering local, or national sports, JP also serves as an Associate Baseball Scout with NSR.