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Notebook : Freeway League Faces Unusual Possibility


Anything could happen Thursday when the Freeway League season ends. In fact, a special meeting was called Monday to determine what the league will do if that possible four-way tie for first place does come to fruition--there was nothing in the league constitution that allows for that.

And if there isn't a four-way tie for first, there could be a four-way tie for third place--and that final automatic playoff berth.

League principals met Monday and determined that any four-way tie--rather than being decided by the best record within the group of teams that are tied--will be broken by the equivalent of a coin flip.

Any three-way ties will continue to be decided by head-to-head competition.

Among the possibilities:

If Sonora (5-4, 3-1) loses to Sunny Hills (3-6, 2-2), there will be at least a three-way tie for first place between Sonora, Sunny Hills and either Fullerton (5-4, 2-2) or Troy (6-3, 2-2), which play each other.

The joker in that scenario is Buena Park (3-6, 2-2). If Buena Park loses to La Habra (3-6, 1-3) and Fullerton wins, the playoff seeding will be Sunny Hills, Fullerton and Sonora; if Buena Park loses and Troy wins, a coin flip will determine what happens.

But if Buena Park wins and Sonora loses, there will be a four-way tie for first place--and the subsequent coin flip to determine which three teams get automatic playoff berths. That means Troy, ranked ninth in Division VII (the league's only ranked team), would share the league's best overall record and have victories over Orange County's 10th-ranked Rancho Alamitos and once-beaten Costa Mesa, and could miss the playoffs.

"I don't think there's any other way to get around it," Troy Coach John Turek said. "I have total faith in my principal (Jerry Atkin)--he's a good flipper. He's been pretty good with the flips in the past; hopefully that will continue. If we would have played better the last couple of weeks, we wouldn't have this problem.

"It would be a shame for us to miss the playoffs, but I don't know any other way it can be resolved."

If Sonora and La Habra win, there will be a four-way tie for third place; Sonora will be No. 1, the Fullerton-Troy winner will be No. 2 and everyone else will have their fingers crossed at the coin flip.

If Sonora, Fullerton and Buena Park win, then the order will be Sonora, Fullerton and Buena Park; if Sonora, Troy and Buena Park win, then the order will be Sonora, Buena Park and Troy.

Fortunately, the rest of the county is a little easier to follow.

Century League: Foothill (5-4, 4-0) will be the No. 1 entry into the playoffs regardless of its outcome against El Modena (3-6, 1-3). Villa Park (8-1, 3-1) will be No. 2 if it defeats Santa Ana Valley (3-6, 1-3) or if Canyon loses; if Canyon (6-3, 2-2) beats Orange (4-5, 1-3) and Villa Park loses, Canyon is the No. 2 team by virtue of its victory over Villa Park last week. If Orange beats Canyon, the Panthers go to the playoffs as the No. 3 team because of their head-to-head victory. Canyon holds third-place tie-breaker edges over El Modena and Santa Ana Valley.

Empire League: There will be a two-way tie for first and third because four teams have one loss in league play; Kennedy (7-2, 3-1) plays Century (5-4, 3-1) and El Dorado (5-4, 3-1) plays Loara (4-5, 3-1). Kennedy would go as the higher seeded team if it's tied with Loara, but not if it's tied with El Dorado; Century would go as the higher seeded team if it's tied with El Dorado, but not Loara.

Golden West League: Servite (7-2, 4-0) is No. 1 and Westminster (6-3, 3-1) is No. 2 regardless of the outcome of their games. If Saddleback (3-6, 2-2) beats Tustin (1-8, 1-3), the Roadrunners are No. 3. If Saddleback loses and is tied with Tustin for third place, Tustin is No. 3 by virtue of its victory. If there is a three-way tie for third place with Saddleback, Tustin and Santa Ana or Ocean View, there will be a coin flip because no team will have the head-to-head advantage.

Garden Grove League: Rancho Alamitos (6-2-1, 5-0) is No. 1 with a victory over Bolsa Grande (2-7, 1-4). Los Amigos (8-1, 4-1) is No. 2 with a victory over Pacifica (5-4, 3-2). If Rancho Alamitos loses and Los Amigos wins, Rancho is No. 1 because of its earlier victory over Los Amigos. If Los Amigos loses, there will be at least a two-way tie (and Pacifica No. 2 because of its victory over Los Amigos), and possibly a three-way tie for second place that includes Garden Grove (4-4, 3-2); in that case, a coin flip determines which two teams go to the playoffs and in what order. A coin flip will also break a three-way tie for third place between Pacifica, Garden Grove and Santiago.

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