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Fryer: Teams must win their way into playoffs

STAFF WRITER

It is the final week of the regular season for every team. It is the final week of the entire season for many teams.

The days of “finish .500 or better and you’re in the playoffs” are gone. Only teams that finish high enough in their leagues’ final standings to receive guarantee playoff berths are going to the playoffs. There will be no Orange County baseball teams going to the playoffs as at-large teams.

There are seven baseball playoff divisions. Each will have a 32-team playoff bracket. There will be more than 32 automatic qualifiers in six of the divisions, which means wild-card round games will be played to trim the number of entrants to 32 teams for the first round.

Division 6 has 31 automatic qualifiers; there could be more if any freelance teams, teams that are not affiliated with a league, are sent to Division 6. Either way, no county team will be eligible for any at-large berth that might exist in Division 6.

The top two finishers in the four-team leagues with county teams in them, the Crestview, Express and North Hills leagues, will go to the playoffs.

The top three finishers in five- and six team leagues go to the playoffs. The county’s five-team leagues are the Sea View and South Coast leagues. Whittier Christian is the only county team in the five-team Olympic League.

The six-team leagues: Empire, Freeway, Garden Grove, Golden West, Orange, Orange Coast, Pacific Coast, San Joaquin, Sunset and Trinity.

The top four finishers in seven- and eight-team leagues go to the playoffs. The only seven-team league with county teams in it is the Academy League.

Division 1, which has 12 leagues, has five county leagues in it: Crestview, Empire, South Coast, Sunset and Trinity. The Sea View is the only county league in the 11-league Division 2. Division 3 has the Garden Grove, Golden West and Pacific Coast League among its 12 leagues.

The Freeway, Orange and Orange Coast leagues are in Division 4. Division 5 has the Olympic and San Joaquin leagues. The Academy League is in Division 6, and the Express League is in Division 7.

Playoff brackets will be released for all seven divisions Monday at 9 a.m. They will be available at ocvarsity.com.

Wild-card-round games will be played May 19 for Divisions 1, 3, 5 and 7 and on May 20 for Divisions 2, 4 and 6. First-round games are May 21 in Divisions 1, 3, 5 and 7 and on May 22 in Divisions 2, 4 and 6.

The rest of the playoffs schedule: second round, May 26; quarterfinals, May 29; semifinals, June 2 (the Division 1 semifinals are played as a doubleheader at Blair Field in Long Beach); finals, June 6 (Divisions 1, 2 and 3 at San Manuel Stadium in San Bernardino, Divisions 4, 5, 6 and 7 at UC Riverside).

Around the horn in Orange County baseball:

• Laguna Beach broke the county record for consecutive league wins. The Breakers have 48 straight wins in the Orange Coast League. The CIF-SS record is 58, set by Linfield Christian of Temecula, 1990-96.

• Six teams are in the CIF-SS Division 1 top 10: No. 1 JSerra; No. 2 Huntington Beach; No. 5 Orange Lutheran; No. 8 Cypress; No. 9 Dana Hills; and No. 10 Aliso Niguel. CIF-SS rankings, important to seedings, are established by polling of the CIF-SS Baseball Advisory Committee. That committee comprises coaches and a CIF-SS administrator.

• San Clemente is No. 1 in the Division 2 poll. Foothill is No. 3 and Mission Viejo is No. 5 in Division 2.

• Beckman and Corona del Mar are ranked at Nos. 6 and 7, respectively, in Division 3. Laguna Beach is No. 7 in Division 4. Capistrano Valley Chrstian is No. 7 in Division 5.

• In Division 6, Sage Hill is No. 2, Crean Lutheran is No. 3 and Oxford Academy is No. 10. Tarbut V’Torah is No. 10 in Division 7.

• Huntington Beach has won eight of its past nine league games. The Oilers clinched the Sunset League championship.

• Cypress senior second baseman Jarren Duran committed to Long Beach State. He is batting .360 with 15 RBI.

• Brethren Christian senior shortstop/pitcher Matthew Green signed with NAIA school McPherson College of Kansas. Green is batting .357 and leads the Warriors in hits, doubles and RBI.

• Beckman pitcher Adam Lamar last week threw 10 innings, allowed only six hits with no walks and went the distance Saturday in the Pacific Coast League-clinching win over Corona del Mar.

Contact the writer: sfryer@ocregister.com


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