Fryer on baseball: Empire teams thriving in playoffs


A look at the playoffs:

• The county league that performed best over the wild-card round and the first round of the playoffs last week: the Empire League. Four of the five Empire League teams that qualified for the playoffs are in the Division 2 second round: Cypress, Pacifica, Tustin and Valencia. Tustin and Valencia won wild-card and first-round games.

The Sea View League did well, too, going 5-1 in playoff games last week. Leagues that produced four wins each in last week's playoffs: Century, Orange and Sunset.

• Tustin coach Joe Secoda felt his team, which finished tied for third in the eight-team Empire League and concluded the regular season 11-16, had a chance in the playoffs. "We played Cypress and Pacifica twice each in league, so that's four quality games right there, and in tournaments we played teams like Long Beach Wilson, El Dorado, Servite and Riverside Poly," Secoda said. "Yeah, our record's not the greatest but we are battle-tested."

• Second-round games are in all divisions Tuesday. The quarterfinals are Friday. The semifinals are next Tuesday, with the Division 1 semifinals played as a doubleheader at Blair Field in Long Beach, and the finals are June 1 at Dodger Stadium in Divisions 1, 2 and 3, and at UC Riverside on June 2 in Divisions 4, 5, 6 and 7.

• Going beyond the county top 10, here is how this voter would rank teams 11-25 if a top 25 poll was taken: 11. Capistrano Valley (20-11-1); 12. Los Alamitos (19-9); 13. Edison (13-14); 14. Huntington Beach (20-8); 15. Aliso Niguel (20-4); 16. Trabuco Hills (15-13); 17. Beckman (20-7); 18. El Modena (18-11); 19. JSerra (12-16); 20. San Clemente (15-14); 21. Dana Hills (12-16); 22. Katella (20-9); 23. Savanna (23-5); 24. La Habra (17-10); 25. Tustin (13-16).

• The Orange County All-Star Baseball Game is June 5 at Dee Fee Field, La Palma Park in Anaheim. Rick Parmenter of Savanna is the North coach, and Mike Burns of Trabuco Hills is the South coach. Admission for the nine-inning game, organized and managed by the Kiwanis Club of Greater Anaheim for charity, will be $5.

• Among the scouts observing El Dorado senior left-handed pitcher Kyle Twomey pitch nine scoreless innings Friday at Tesoro in a Division 1 first-round playoff game was Jim Leyritz, the ex-Yankee/Dodger/Padre etc., who works in the New York Yankees front office.

• The Urabe twins, seniors, had a good week for Huntington Beach. Brett Urabe drove in three runs in the Oilers' 7-0 victory over Great Oak of Temecula in a Division 1 wild-card round game. Matt Urabe had two RBIs in the 2-1 victory over fourth-seeded Long Beach Poly in the first round.

• The CIF-Southern Section on Friday denied a formal protest filed by Chaminade of West Hills alleging that, before its Division 2 first-round loss to Mission Viejo, Mission Viejo had illegal batting practice before their game. CIF-SS spokesman Thom Simmons confirmed via email that video sent to the CIF-SS office showed Mission Viejo coach throwing Wiffle balls with an overhand motion to a player practicing bunting, which is against CIF-SS pregame rules. According to a CIF-SS press release, CIF-SS commissioner Rob Wigod said, "The alleged rules violation did not rise to the level that would result in an entire team being penalized."

• Trabuco Hills junior Kevin Wade got two pitching victories last week. He got the victory in relief in the Mustangs' 5-4 comeback victory over Loyola of Los Angeles in the Division 2 wild-card round, then threw a complete game in a 3-2 first-round triumph over Dos Pueblos of Goleta. Wade also had two RBIs against Loyola.

• Valencia pitcher Zach Williams threw a shutout at Yucaipa in the Tigers' 1-0, Division 2 wild-card round victory. He drove in a run in Valencia's 5-4 victory at Mayfair of Lakewood in the first round.

• Capistrano Valley senior Gradeigh Sanchez drove in four runs over two Division 1 playoff victories last week. Sanchez signed with UC San Diego.

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