ST. GEORGE — Region 9 represented well in the first-ever releasing of baseball and softball Rating Percentage Index rankings released this week.
In softball, Canyon View claimed the top spot. Desert Hills did the same for baseball with two other Southern Utah clubs right behind them.
The RPI rankings, which will be updated throughout the season and used to determine state tournament seeding at the end of the season, made their first appearance as the midway point of the regional season approaches. At 3-1 in Region 9 play and 9-1 overall at the time of posting, Canyon View slotted in at the No. 1 spot out of 21 teams spanning three regions in 4A. Despite topping Cedar 10-7 on Tuesday night, the Falcons slipped to No. 2 behind Ridgeline, who is 2-1 in Region 11 play and 10-2 overall.
The obscure metric factors in strength of opponent in an attempt to create a standardized and adjusted standings board for all teams in a classification across different regions. It factors the team’s record as well as those of who they play against to account for strength of schedule. There isn’t much teams can do about scheduling in-region opponents, so RPI’s biggest difference comes from non-region competition, where teams can seek out teams out of region and even out of classification.
For a team like Canyon View, this can pose problems. They had four games canceled in the preseason due to weather in Cedar City while conditions in St. George didn’t get bad enough to completely wipe out the schedule.
“We have control over very little of our schedule,” Canyon View head coach JR Robinson said. “I don’t have much control over it. Even the few games I have control over, I hope we beat them and then I hope they do well. I hope they run the table after that.
“We’ve got work to do is what it amounts to.”
The Falcons started hot in Region 9 play and swept through their preseason schedule against nearby, lower-classification squads to momentarily hold the top rankings. At 4-1 in Region 9 play and 10-1 overall at the time of posting, Canyon View slotted in at the No. 1 spot out of 21 teams spanning three regions in 4A. Despite topping Cedar 10-7 on Tuesday night, the Falcons still slipped to No. 2 behind Ridgeline, who is 2-1 in Region 11 play and 10-2 overall, and down to No. 3 behind Bear River by Thursday.
But it doesn’t knock what the Falcons have done so far. They stand only behind the undefeated Snow Canyon Warriors in the Region 9 standings and are averaging more than 15 runs per regional game.
If anything, though, Robinson may prefer for his team to sneak up on people.
“I like what was done but I’m not content with what was done,” Robinson said. “I want my team to play hungry all the time.”
Other Region 9 teams are viewed highly in the early going, with Snow Canyon placing fifth, Crimson Cliffs sixth and Hurricane 11th in the RPI leaderboard at the time of this report. Cedar is 12th, Desert Hills is 13th, Dixie is 14th and Pine View is 16th.
On the baseball side, Region 9 is dominant. Desert Hills claimed the top spot following its defeat of third-place Snow Canyon on Tuesday. Pine View is sandwiched between the two at No. 2. Crimson Cliffs is sixth, Dixie is seventh. Cedar came in at 15, Canyon View at 17 and Hurricane at 18.
In both sports, the rankings may prove volatile, as Robinson told St. George News he is actively trying to reschedule the canceled contests. Other teams added tournaments and non-region competitions to their slates earlier in the season in between Region 9 contests.
Boys soccer was released Thursday morning. Crimson Cliffs was rated the highest from Region 9 at No. 4 with Snow Canyon right behind them. Dixie was placed eighth and Desert Hills landed ninth.
RPI was supposed to make its debut in 2020 but was not released before the COVID-19 pandemic ceased sports in March. It was in use for fall and winter sports.
With nine games remaining on the Region 9 baseball and softball schedules there will be plenty of time for teams to shuffle up and down the standings before being seeded into the state playoffs.
Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2021, all rights reserved.