The lofty rankings are nice. But what the Amador Valley and James Logan high school softball teams would really like this year is another chance to play in the final game of the season.

History says the Dons and Colts will have the opportunity to do just that.

At the midway point of the 2013 season, Amador Valley and James Logan are once again the top two teams in the East Bay and seem to be on a collision course to meet for the North Coast Section Division I title for the third straight season. The Colts and Dons are ranked third and fourth, respectively, in the state this week by Cal-Hi Sports.

In the 2011 NCS Division I playoffs, the second-seeded Dons knocked off the No. 1 Colts 2-0 in Union City. Last season, top-seeded Amador Valley, which had won its first 26 games, lost 1-0 to No. 2 James Logan in a tense and thrilling Division I title game at Saint Mary's College.

"The number one goal is the getting to the NCS tournament and winning the NCS title," Dons coach Teresa Borchard said. "The girls are very motivated right now."

Amador Valley improved to 13-1 with a 5-0 East Bay Athletic League win over Monte Vista on Wednesday. Pitcher Johanna Grauer struck out 14 as the Dons improved to 4-0 in league play.

Grauer, who had a 0.33 ERA and 328 strikeouts in 171 innings last season, continues to use her rise ball and screwball to baffle batters. But thanks to a strenuous summer and fall workout program, she's become a much stronger and confident pitcher this season, according to Borchard.

"She has a bigger range of pitches this year," Borchard said. "Just overall, she's become much stronger."

Grauer is backed by stellar lineup that includes six players who were all-EBAL selections in 2012. Krista Williams, the EBAL MVP in 2011, is the lone senior on the roster, and Victoria Molina, Alyssa Lanza, Nicole Yozzo, Ashley Lotoszynski and Malory Masajlo are back for their junior seasons.

Borchard has also been impressed with sophomore second baseman Samantha Salustri, who was named to the all-tournament team at the recently completed Michelle Carew Classic in Anaheim, and infielders Katey Moore, a sophomore, and Ashley Balestreri, a freshman, among others.

James Logan is led by pitcher Raeann Garza, who has 39 strikeouts and a 0.81 ERA in 43 innings so far this season.

The Colts lost a number of key starters from last season's team but do return 2012 all-Mission Valley Athletic League players Kimberly Goulart and Caley Bonansea, both seniors. Goulart has been one of the East Bay's best hitters this season, as she has a .619 batting average with nine runs and seven RBIs.

Bonansea, a catcher, has a fielding percentage of 1.000 so far, helping the Colts get off to a 8-0 record.

Also off to strong starts are seniors Melina Rodriguez and Clarissa Blaquera and junior Alexis Mattos.

"We hope to be able to play them," in the NCS Division I title game, Borchard said of James Logan. "It would be the third time, and the girls would love to play them again."

East Bay sOFTBALL poll

Rec. Pts. LY

1. Amador Vly. (5) 11-1 75 2
2. James Logan 7-0 70 1
3. California 10-2 65 7
4. Livermore 8-4 60 15
t5. Clayton Vly. 7-2 52 NR
t5. Monte Vista 6-5 52 t9
7. Alhambra 6-1 46 6
8. Carondelet 10-2 40 NR
9. Castro Vly. 9-6 35 t9
10. Freedom 5-3 28 8
11. Heritage 6-6 23 5
12. B. O'Dowd 10-4 19 13
13. Concord 10-2 14 3
14. Arroyo 11-4 11 t11
15. Granada 7-5 8 NR

Also receiving votes: Pinole Valley (9-3, 2 votes). The East Bay Prep Softball Poll is voted on by the prep sports staff of Bay Area News Group-East Bay. Records are through Saturday.