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PREP EXTRA

Springing Into the Playoffs

Baseball: City Section teams will try to unseat El Camino Real; Southern Section teams will battle in six divisions.

May 20, 1999|GARY KLEIN | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Two-time defending champion Woodland Hills El Camino Real is again one of the teams to beat in the City Section, and Anaheim Servite, seeking its first title since 1978, is the top-seeded team in the Southern Section Division I baseball playoffs.

First-round games in the Southern Section are Friday. Championship games in six divisions will be played June 5-6 at Edison Field and Blair Field in Long Beach.

City Section playoffs in two divisions begin Tuesday. The championship games will be played June 3 at Dodger Stadium.

Here is a division-by-division look at the playoffs:

CITY SECTION

Woodland Hills El Camino Real (18-6), Banning (26-5) and Chatsworth (22-3) are expected to battle for the title.

Banning finished 17-0 in the Southern Pacific Conference and has won 20 consecutive games. The Pilots will be battling opponents and history: San Fernando Valley teams have won the title 25 times in the last 26 years.

Wilson is the defending champion in the Division bracket. The Mules feature senior Cory Campos, who pitched Wilson to the title over South Gate last season.

SOUTHERN SECTION

* DIVISION I: Anaheim Servite (23-2) is the top-seeded team in a division that also includes powerful Riverside Arlington (24-2), surprising Yucaipa (22-3) and defending champion Crescenta Valley (20-4).

Servite has been led by pitcher Brian Wolfe, who is 12-0 with a 1.06 earned-run average. The Friars also feature outfielder Ben Francisco, who is batting .563, and catcher/outfielder Ryan Garko, who is batting .444 and has signed with Stanford.

Arlington features senior catcher Ryan Christianson, who has signed with UCLA and is expected to be a first-round pick in the June 2 draft, and senior shortstop Anthony Lunetta, who has signed with USC.

Crescenta Valley features left-hander Jordan Olson (9-2, 0.96 ERA). The Falcons are powered on offense by Tim Balkey, who has driven in 32 runs.

* DIVISION II: Sierra League champion La Verne Damien (22-3), Mark McGwire's alma mater, is the top-seeded team.

The Spartans, trying to win their second section title in three years, are led by pitcher Hugo Bogaars, who is 9-0.

Newhall Hart (22-4) features Tim Hutting, who is batting .538. The Indians also are trying to win a title for Coach Bud Murray, who is stepping down after 22 seasons.

Cerritos Gahr (23-4) and Whittier California (22-2), which features senior pitcher Anthony Reyes, are the other seeded teams in the division.

* DIVISION III: Defending champion West Covina South Hills is playing in Division IV this season, so the favorite is perennial contender Anaheim El Dorado (21-5).

Second-seeded Mission Viejo Trabuco Hills (18-2) boasts one of the top prospects in the Southland in pitcher Todd Gelatka, who has 104 strikeouts in 64 1/3 innings.

Palm Desert (21-4) won the Desert Valley League and was tested in the National Classic tournament during spring break, experience Coach Darol Salazar hopes will pay off in the playoffs.

* DIVISION IV: Westminster La Quinta (24-2) is the top-seeded team, but with senior pitcher Steve Lee out because of a broken arm, the division is wide open.

That bodes well for second-seeded South Hills (22-2-1). The Huskies are seeking their third consecutive section championship and are coming off a 10-0 run through the Valle Vista League.

Third-seeded El Segundo (23-6) features senior catcher Alberto Concepcion, who has signed with USC and finished the regular season with a state-leading 16 home runs.

* DIVISION V: Top-seeded Santa Ana Calvary Chapel (23-1-1) is regarded as the class of the division. The Eagles are led by infielder Chad Sterbins, who has 30 stolen bases.

Lancaster Desert Christian (20-1), Redlands Arrowhead Christian (19-5) and Brentwood (15-7) are also seeded teams.

* DIVISION VI: Defending champion Simi Valley Grace Brethren (17-3) is the top-seeded team in a division that also includes second-seeded La Verne Lutheran (17-4), third-seeded Arcadia Rio Hondo Prep (14-6) and fourth-seeded Murrieta Calvary Chapel (19-3).

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