Fryer: Road doesn't get any easier in playoffs
Mater Dei played in the elite Frank Lerner bracket in the Newport Elks Tournament, played in the Boras Classic and competed in the always-tough Trinity League.
The challenging 2015 schedule continues. The Monarchs play Harvard-Westlake of Studio City in a CIF-Southern Section Division 1 wild-card round game today at Mater Dei.
Harvard-Westlake was ranked No. 13 in the California top 20 last week. The Wolverines (22-5) won the championship of the Perfect Game Lousville Slugger Select Class tournament in Georgia last month. They won the Division 1 title in 2013.
Mater Dei (17-12) is the No. 3 team from the Trinity League, in which the Monarchs finished behind league-champion JSerra and No. 2 Orange Lutheran. As Harvard-Westlake is a No. 4 team, from the Mission League, it is a Mater Dei home game with Mater Dei being a higher-number representative from its league.
Against such a fine opponent in such a difficult division, any advantage, home field or otherwise, is welcome.
Around the horn in Orange County baseball:
• The single-elimination CIF-SS playoffs begin with wild card-round games today and Wednesday, and continue with first-round games Thursday and Friday. There are seven divisions.
• Wild-card games in Divisions 1, 3, 5 and 7 are today. Wild-card games in Divisions 2, 4 and 5 are Wednesday. First-round games are Thursday in Divisions 1, 3, 5 and 7 and are Friday in Divisions 2, 4 and 6.
• All second-round games are May 26. Quarterfinal games are May 29.
• Semifinals are June 2. The Division 1 semifinals are played as a doubleheader at Blair Field in Long Beach. Championship games are at San Manuel Stadium in San Bernardino on June 6 for Divisions 1, 2, 3 and 4. Championship games in Divisions 5, 6 and 7 are at UC Riverside on June 6.
• County teams seeded No. 1 in their divisions: JSerra, in Division 1; San Clemente, Division 2; and Sage Hill, Division 6.
• At-large teams now are allowed only in divisions that need additional teams to fill a 32-team bracket. Division 6 was the only division that lacked 32 automatic qualifiers. That division has four at-large teams.
• Capistrano Valley (13-16-1) is one of the more unlikely league champions. Two weeks ago, the Cougars were 4-4 in the South Coast League. They won three of their final four league games, including a two-game sweep of Aliso Niguel last week, to win the league championship.
• Ocean View’s first-round playoff game will be played at Angel Stadium at 3:30 p.m. on Friday. Last week, the Seahawks were scheduled to play Orange in a Golden West League game at Angel Stadium, but it was canceled because of rain.
• All of Sunset League champion Huntington Beach’s losses are to county teams: San Clemente, in the National High School Invitational in North Carolina; Mater Dei, in the Boras Classic; JSerra and Aliso Niguel in nonleague doubleheaders; and to Edison and Fountain Valley in league games.
• Orange League champion Anaheim has qualified for the playoffs for the 10th season in a row.
• The county team that perhaps got the toughest draw, in terms of how good the team was during the season and in its league, is Troy. The Warriors finished second in the Freeway League, one of the better leagues in Division 4, and beat league champion Sonora two out of their three league matchups. Troy plays at Almont League champion Montebello on Friday in a first-round game.
• Among the teams that are in different divisions this year from last year are Foothill, which is in Division 2 after reaching the Division 1 championship game last season; and Capistrano Valley Christian, Division 6 champion last year that is in Division 5 this year.
• The Orange County All-Star Game is June 8 at Dee Fee Field, the baseball part of the Glover Stadium complex at La Palma Park in Anaheim.
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