Baseball playoffs: Fryer breaks down Division 1
2014 champion: Santa Margarita
Top four seeded teams: 1. JSerra (25-4-1); 2. Huntington Beach (21-8); 3. Agoura (22-4);
4. Notre Dame of Sherman Oaks (22-6).
O.C. teams: Aliso Niguel (17-13); Capistrano Valley (13-16-1); Dana Hills (24-7); Edison (18-10); El Dorado (19-8); El Modena (17-8); Fountain Valley (20-10); Huntington Beach (21-8); JSerra (24-4-1); Mater Dei (17-12)Orange Lutheran (19-8); Tustin (18-12-1).
Analysis: JSerra and Huntington Beach are talent-loaded teams that won the championships of talent-loaded leagues. JSerra might have the deepest pitching in the division, with Quentin Longrie, Jack Owen and Collin Quinn leading the staff. That type of pitching, and a loaded batting order, make the Lions the division favorite. Huntington Beach has one of the division’s more potent offenses, led by center fielder Daniel Amaral and first baseman Cooper Moore. The past two weeks, the South Coast League played games that were like playoff games in terms of drama, intensity and importance. That prepared Aliso Niguel, Capistrano Valley and Dana Hills for the tightrope act that is the Division 1 playoffs. Although Dana Hills is the No. 3 team in the South Coast League, the Dolphins just might be the league’s best team with the pitching brothers Hans and Marrick Crouse. El Dorado won a good league, the Crestview League, but has not done well against the tougher teams on its schedule. Still, that’s what was said about Foothill last year, and Foothill made it all the way to the Division 1 championship game. And the Golden Hawks have that great ace pitcher, Nick Sprengel, who can make a difference.