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Fryer: Toughest test awaits in baseball playoffs

STAFF COLUMNIST

The most difficult team championship to win in the CIF-Southern Section is the Division 1 baseball championship.

The quality of baseball in Southern California in general and at the Division 1 level in particular is as high or is higher than the quality of play in any other CIF-SS sport.

Many teams that finished fourth in a Division 1 baseball league would win the championships of many other lower-division leagues.

A ball-strike call or an unsuccessful double-play chance can change the course of any baseball game. Such plays are even more critical to the outcome when teams are as fundamentally skilled and as evenly matched as they are in the Division 1 baseball playoffs.

It is difficult to overcome any setback, no matter how small, in a seven-inning baseball game. When the opponent is a Division 1 baseball playoff team, it is even more so.

The CIF-SS Open Division in boys and girls basketball are of high quality, too. Division 1 volleyball is a rough division, in girls and boys volleyball.

Winning a singles championship in tennis is difficult, as is winning an individual championship in a particularly deep wrestling weight class. In swimming, the margin for error in the 50 freestyle is miniscule and the medley tests the mastery of a variety of strokes.

In track and field, the speed and timing of the 110 hurdles, the intricacies of the pole vault and the technique of the discus make those very challenging.

Hey, all CIF-SS championships, team and individual, are difficult to win. But given the combination of the high level of play and the tiny margin for error, the Division 1 baseball championship is the toughest one to win in the CIF-Southern Section.

The Division baseball playoff pairings and pairings for the other six CIF-SS divisions will be released Monday at 9 a.m. and will be posted at ocvarsity.com upon release.

Taking a look around Orange County high school sports:

• The CIF-SS announced Thursday that baseball and softball games can be played Saturday if needed to break ties in standings to determine leagues' playoff representation.

• According to the Blue Book, which is the CIF-SS Constitution, Friday (May 15) is the final day that baseball and softball games can be played. Leagues generally do not schedule games for the Friday in the final week of the regular season, so that any tiebreaker games can be added to the schedule for Friday. With rain Thursday and more expected today, the CIF-SS office will allow games to be played Saturday.

• Softball playoff pairings will be released Monday at 2 p.m. OCVarsity.com will post those pairings upon release.

• In the majority of baseball and softball leagues, league members play each other three times so that those head-to-head, best-of-three results can break ties in the standings.

• In the Empire League baseball, league members play each other only twice. If Empire baseball teams are tied for a playoff berth at the end of the regular season and those two teams split their two games, then the tiebreakers is how those teams fared against the league champion. If the two had the same record against the league champ, then the next criteria is how they did against the second-place team, then the third-place team and so on until the tie is broken.

• Mission Viejo softball ace senior pitcher Taylor McQuillin is so good partially because she releases the ball knee-high and the ball stays at that level the entire speedy trip to the catcher.

• Pacifica sophomore pitcher Hannah Boos got the loss when the Mariners got beat by Mission Viejo, 2-0, on Wednesday. But she showed a stupefying offspeed pitch that day.

• Mission Viejo softball center fielder Alyssa Palomino, with that smooth swing and quick hands, could hit .300 in baseball.

• In a great race for the state record for career home runs, Palomino, who went 3 for 3 against Pacifica with three doubles, has 56. On Wednesday, Tannon Snow of Chino Hills hit two home runs to push Snow’s total to 58. She has hit 26 this season.

• Sunny Hills’ baseball team qualified for the playoffs for only the second time since 2005. Just three years ago, the school did not have enough ninth-grade players to form a freshman team.

• Mission Viejo senior baseball pitcher Patrick Sandoval de-committed from Vanderbilt to commit to USC this week.

• Capistrano Valley Christian 6-foot-10 senior basketball center Simon Okolue signed a letter of intent with University of Evangel, which is in Springfield, Mo. Okolue averaged 15 points and 12 rebounds in the 2014-15 season.

• Another of a zillion examples that the community college option is a good one: Former Sonora basketball standout Jimmy Golden this week accepted a scholarship offer from Sonoma State after spending two seasons at Irvine Valley College.

• Crean Lutheran’s Matt Orgill was named the male CIF-SS Scholar-Athlete of the Year. Orgill was Crean's leading scorer in soccer and in track and field is the school's record holder in the 100, 200, 400 and long jump. He will attend Cal Poly San Luis Obispo.

Adrian Gomez, the only boys basketball coach at Segerstrom since the school opened in 2005, resigned. The school is accepting applications for a replacement.

• The Orange County All-Star Baseball Game is June 8 at Dee Fee Field, which is the baseball part of the Glover Stadium sports complex at La Palma Park in Anaheim. Rosters are at ocvarsity.com.

• Fountain Valley named Barry Migliorini as its girls basketball coach. He has coached other sports at Fountain Valley.

• Beckman’s baseball team won the Tim Burt Trophy which starting this season will go to the sport’s Pacific Coast League champion. Burt, of the Irvine World News, ocvarsity.com and the Orange County Register, has covered Irvine sports since dinosaurs roamed the area. In Irvine, a big game is called “A Tim Burt Game” because the teams know Burt will be there.

• The Gunslinger Passing Tournament is Saturday at San Juan Hills. The eight-team tournament includes these football teams: Edison, JSerra, Mater Dei, Oaks Christian, Oceanside, San Juan Hills, St. John Bosco and Villa Park.

• The Orange County Football Officials Association will train prospective officials during the Gunslinger and at other upcoming passing tournaments. Seven officials will be employed for CIF-SS football semifinals and finals this coming season, and some leagues are considering hiring seven-person officiating crews.

• The CIF-SS track and field schedule: league prelims, Saturday (Division 1 at Trabuco Hills, Division 3 at Estancia); finals, May 23 at Cerritos College; and Masters Meet, which is the qualifying meet for the CIF State meet, May 29 at Cerritos College. The CIF State meet is June 5 and 6 in Clovis.

• CIF-SS swimming and diving prelims and finals have been completed in some divisions, with others happening today and Saturday.

• CIF-SS boys tennis team finals are May 22 at Claremont Club. The individual tournament pairings will be announced Tuesday. The tournament starts May 28 and continues through the finals June 6 at Seal Beach Tennis Center.

• Golf team championships are Monday. Qualifying for the CIF-SS individual championships is May 21.

• CIF-SS boys volleyball quarterfinals are Saturday, semifinals Wednesday and finals May 23 at Cerritos College. The times for the finals: Division 5 at 9 a.m., Division 4 at 11:30 a.m., Division 3 at 2 p.m., Division 2 at 4:30 p.m. and Division 1 at 7:30 p.m.

• The California Wrestling Hall of Fame will induct 10 Distinguished Members and 10 Lifetime Service Award honorees Satuday at the Laguna Hills Community Center. Distinguished Members include Santa Ana coach Scott Glabb, Santa Ana College coach Vince Silva, all-time Calvary Chapel great wrestler Shane Valdez, Fountain Valley’s Bob Walker and former Cypress College coach Ray Haas. Others important to the county wrestling scene who receive the Lifetime Service distinction are Joe Fox, Jim McCrillis, Ralph Stansbury, Karen Tufnell and Jim Warren.

Contact the writer: sfryer@ocregister.com


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