Fryer: Preseason baseball rankings had more hits than misses


Now that we’re into the quarterfinals of the CIF-Southern Section baseball playoffs, it’s a good time to ask …

How good were the preseason rankings? Let’s take a look.

Three of the top four teams in the Register/OC Varsity Orange County preseason top 10 play today in the Division 1 quarterfinals: No. 2 JSerra, No. 3 Orange Lutheran and No. 4 Cypress.

We did OK there.

We had Foothill at No. 9 before the season started. Foothill is in the Division 2 quarterfinals.

We’re still doing well.

Our preseason No. 1 team was Huntington Beach. The Oilers finished second, behind Marina in the Sunset League. They were eliminated in the Division 1 second round.

Injuries troubled Huntington Beach throughout the season. The “best team in the nation” stuff always is a heavy burden on high school kids. Huntington Beach carried it well enough to win the prestigious National High School Invitational and finish second in the always-tough Sunset League, and got to the second round of the even-tougher Division 1 playoffs before losing in extra innings to Orange Lutheran.

Our season-opening top 10 had Santa Margarita at No. 5 and Los Alamitos at No. 6. Both teams missed making the Division 1 playoffs by one game, Santa Margarita in the Trinity League and Los Alamitos in the Sunset. Santa Margarita and Los Alamitos would have won playoff berths in most other county leagues, and would have been champions in several of them, too.

Every year, and in every sport, a team gets overlooked in preseason rankings. That team in baseball this season was El Toro. The Chargers won the championship of the South Coast League and has advanced to the Division 1 quarterfinals.

We weren’t the only ones to neglect El Toro in the preseason rankings. El Toro was not in the CIF-SS preseason Division 1 top 10. Neither was Cypress.

CIF-SS rankings are created by the CIF-SS Baseball Coaches Advisory Committee.

Five Division 1 coaches are on the baseball coaches committee. One of them is Cypress coach John Weber. Another is El Toro coach Mike Gonzales.

Now we don’t feel so bad.

Taking a look around Orange County high school sports:

• Not only was Mike Curran an outstanding baseball coach, with three CIF-SS championships and 13 league championships in his 37 years at Esperanza, he teamed with former El Dorado coach Steve Gullotti to create the National Classic tournament that started in 1990 and still is going strong. The National Classic was the first high school event in the county of a national scope. That tournament blazed the trail for other national-level high school events that would follow, like Mater Dei’s Nike Extravaganza basketball showcase.

• USA Today has JSerra at No. 11 in its national high school baseball rankings. Redondo Union, a potential opponent for Beckman in the CIF-SS Division 3 semifinals if both win today, is No. 10. El Toro is No. 25.

• When two teams meet after the first round of the playoffs in team sports, the team with the fewest number of playoff home games at that point of the playoffs is the home team. If they have played the same number of playoff home games a coin flip determines the home team.

• Examples: JSerra’s baseball team has had two playoff home games and Hart of Newhall has had one, so Hart is the home team against JSerra in the Division 1 quarterfinals; El Toro and West Ranch of Valencia have had one playoff home game each, so a coin flip won by El Toro identified the home team.

• Coin flips are done in advance of potential matchups in ensuing rounds. Coin flips have already been completed to decide baseball and softball semifinal home teams for matchups that would need coin flips to decide home teams. Those coin flip results are at the CIF-Southern Section website,, on the pages of the specific sports there.

• Before pitching against JSerra in a Division 1 baseball playoff game last week, Dana Hills junior Hans Crouse could be seen on social media cussing out JSerra, cussing out JSerra coach Brett Kay and directing a racial slur at Kay. Schools rarely reveal how they discipline students for infractions. Disallowing Crouse to pitch against JSerra was not part of any discipline that might have been assessed.

• Los Alamitos is No. 6 and Orange Lutheran is No. 13 in USA Today’s national high school softball rankings.

• The CIF-SS Masters Meet on Friday at Cerritos College is the qualifying meet for the CIF State Championships. The Masters Meet begins with the girls pole vault at 2:30 p.m. Running events begin at 6 p.m.

• Admission to the Masters Meet is $10 for adults and $5 for students with valid student identification and for children 13 and younger.

• The top six finishers in each Masters event qualify for the state meet. The state meet is June 3 and 4 at Buchanan High in Clovis.

• A report in my inbox states that former Laguna Beach football coach Jimmy Nolan is a candidate for the Fountain Valley head coaching position. Justin Schaeffer accepted the Fountain Valley job in March but no longer is the coach there after the school and Schaeffer had differences as to what his schedule and other arrangements would be. Schaeffer left his head coach position at Murrietta Mesa to take the Fountain Valley position, and Murrieta Mesa since has hired his replacement.

• Former Estancia and Tesoro coach Brian Barnes was among the candidates at Fountain Valley before it selected Schaeffer. He did not respond to communications during the Fountain Valley process and did not reply to a question asking if he is making another attempt at the Fountain Valley job.

• Barnes inherited average programs at Estancia and Tesoro and transformed both into winners. He has been an assistant the past few years at Los Alamitos under his father, John Barnes, who retired this past spring. Los Alamitos’ coach now is Ray Fenton whom Los Al lured away from Fountain Valley.

• St. Margaret’s boys lacrosse coach Glen Miles will be inducted into the National Lacrosse Hall of Fame in September. Miles has coached the Tartans to two Southern California high school championships and has twice has been named county boys lacrosse coach of the year.

• The Orange County Athletic Directors Association at its “Athletes of the Year” dinner Tuesday honors each league’s male and female athlete of the year, and OCADA then names its O.C. male and female athletes of the year. All honorees will be seniors.

• Another annual award presented this time of year is the O.C. high school football player of the year, as bestowed by the Brea Lions Club and Orange County Youth Foundation at the county all-star football game recognition dinner. The dinner, at which players for the North and South teams are introduced, is June 2 at the Santa Ana Elks Lodge. The game, organized and managed by the Brea Lions for charity, is July 8 at Orange Coast College. (Go to for information.)

• The county all-star baseball game is June 7 at La Palma Park’s Dee Fee Field in Anaheim. The Kiwanis Club of Greater Anaheim organizes and manages the game for charity. Admission is $5.

• • During the regular season coaches say, “I really don’t know about the players in that other league.” When the All-County teams are published coaches say, “How could you pick you pick that player from the other league over my player?”

• Saddleback Valley Christian’s duo of Lily Dyer and Marisa Ramsey won the silver medal in the Interscholastic Beach Volleyball League’s girls pairs championships this past weekend at Dockweiler State Beach. That’s the sand volleyball circuit for high school players. Two Laguna Beach duos, Katelyn Carballo and Cameron Dorn and Alexandra McKeown and Katie Gavin, won bronze medals.

• San Clemente quarterback Jack Sears, a senior this coming school year, was named “Quarterback MVP” at the Oakland Elite 11 event over the weekend. That gets Sears to another Elite 11 event in June. Sears has scholarship offers from UCLA and USC and just about every other top program that thinks it has a chance to sign him.

• The regular letter-of-intent signing period that began last month continues into next month. Among those who recently signed are Orange Lutheran basketball players Zac Jervis, with Westmont, and KaVaughn Scott, with Loyola of Maryland. Expect both to get plenty of playing time early and become all-conference players within a couple of seasons.

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