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Baseball notes: Time to get ready for playoffs
It’s the final week of the regular season. League championships and playoff berths will be decided all over Orange County baseball.
A team receives guaranteed entry into the playoffs if it is among the top two teams in the final standings of four-team leagues and if it is among the two top three teams in five- and six-team leagues.
A team that does not finish high enough in its league’s final standings to get a guaranteed berth can apply for at-large berth consideration as long as that team has an overall record of .500 or better to be eligible for an-large berth.
Last year, only four at-large teams were in the playoffs. All four were in Division 6.
In most divisions, there will be more playoff qualifiers than there will be playoff berths. Wild-card round games will be played to reduce the number of qualifiers to 32 teams for the first round. Last year, there were five wild-card round games in Division 1.
Baseball playoff brackets will be released Monday at 10 a.m. and will be available at ocvarsity.com upon release.
A look at some of the interesting races going on in the county:
Empire League: Cypress is in first place with an 8-0 league record. Kennedy, one of the more surprising teams, is second at 7-1. They play each other twice this week.
Garden Grove League: Rancho Alamitos and La Quinta are tied for first at 10-3. Garden Grove is next at 9-4. For certain is that all three will make the playoffs; uncertain is the order of finish.
Orange League: Katella beat Century twice last week to create a tie for first place. Both are 10-3 in league.
Pacific Coast League: Beckman and Woodbridge are both 10-3 in league, and Corona del Mar is 9-4. Beckman-Woodbridge on Tuesday at Windrow Park in Irvine is a big game.
Sea View League: After losing their first three league games, Mission Viejo has won seven league games in a row to move into first place with a 7-3 league record. Trabuco Hills, which has completed its league schedule, is second at 8-4. Mission Viejo, which plays Laguna Hills twice this week, beat Trabuco Hills in two of their three league games so Mission would go to the Division 2 playoffs as the league’s No. 1 playoff representative should Trabuco and Mission be tied for first at the end of the regular season.
Trinity League: First-place JSerra is in good shape with a 9-2 league record. Santa Margarita’s win over Orange Lutheran on Monday put Santa Margarita into second, at 8-5, and dropped Lutheran to third at 7-6. Mater Dei (6-6) needs to win and get some help.
Around the horn in Orange County baseball:
• CIF-SS baseball championships games are June 4. Finals in Divisions 1, 2, 3 and 4 will be played at 66ers Baseball Stadium in San Bernardino. Finals in Divisions 5, 6 and 7 will be played at UC Riverside.
• Huntington Beach and Mission Viejo won CIF-SS championships last season. Huntington Beach prevailed in Division 1. Mission Viejo is defending Division 2 champ.
• This is the final baseball season in which all of a league’s playoff teams compete in the same playoff division (i.e., all South Coast League playoff teams are in Division 1, all Pacific Coast League playoffs teams are Division 3, etc.) Beginning with the 2016-17 school year, playoff teams in team sports will be placed into divisions based upon the teams’ playoff performance over the previous two seasons.
• The county top 10 is a poll of five media members who cover county baseball. A couple of voters had Sage Hill on their top-10 ballots, this one did not. Sage Hill is an outstanding smaller-schools team, has a terrific 22-1 record and is good enough to play in the Division 6 championship game, but the Lightning has played no teams that are above Division 4 and until they do and beat those teams, they won’t get a top 10 vote here.
• Mater Dei senior outfielder Josh Stephen last week had five hits with three doubles over three games against Orange Lutheran. He signed with USC.
• Woodbridge pitcher Zak Baayoun pitched six scoreless innings in a 4-0 win over Irvine. He has allowed only two earned runs in 341/3 innings. He is 5-1 in the Pacific Coast League with a 0.41 ERA in league.
• Esperanza has won 12 of its past 15 games. The Aztecs are in first place in the Crestview League with a 9-1 league record and are 15-7 overall. Last week, senior pitcher Blake Schriever threw a shutout against El Modena and closed out another win over the Vanguards.
• Trabuco Hills infielder/catcher Cooper Uhl, a Loyola Marymount signee, drove in all of the Mustangs’ runs in a 3-2 win over San Juan Hills and scored the winning run in a 2-0 win over the Stallions.
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