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Coin Flip Gives Canyon the Edge Over Burbank

May 16, 2000|DAVE DESMOND

Resurgent Canyon and Burbank highs, traditional bottom dwellers in the Foothill League, followed similar paths to respectability this season, but only one reached its desired destination.

Under the guidance of two of the region's brightest young coaches, both teams finished tied for the league's third and final automatic playoff berth.

Canyon (15-10) won a coin toss Friday to advance to a Southern Section Division II wild-card game against visiting Lancaster (15-11) on Wednesday.

Burbank must be satisfied with a 16-7 record, its first winning season since the early 1990s.

The fact that both teams have marched in lockstep to respectability is no coincidence.

Both have developed under talented young coaches who starred as high school players in the region and won NCAA national championships at Arizona.

"Because of our backgrounds, we both have the same way of viewing things," said Coach Krista Gomez-Humphreys of Canyon, a former Alemany infielder.

Coach Debby Day, one of the region's all-time dominant pitchers at Burbank, has returned to her alma mater and led the Bulldogs to two tournament finals and victories over several playoff qualifiers, including Valencia, Canyon, Glendale and Village Christian.

From 1996-99, Burbank was 28-60, 8-32 in league play. Canyon was 26-61, 7-33.

Gomez-Humphreys and Day attribute their success to the discipline and organizational skills learned under Arizona Coach Mike Candrea.

"I don't see how you cannot have something rub off after playing for such an incredible coach," Day said. "The way we set up our practices at Burbank is the same way we did it at Arizona."

Day, in her third season, and Gomez-Humphreys, in her second, head the class of a new generation of high school coaches.

"It's nice to see the young coaches come through like they have," said Coach Ron Hilton of Saugus, who retired after 19 seasons. "Krista and Debby have both done incredible jobs."

*

La Reina (19-4), seeded No. 1 in Division V, tops six area teams that were seeded when the pairings were announced Monday.

La Reina, the Tri-Valley League champion, will host Lancaster Desert Christian on Friday in a first-round game.

In Division II, Crescenta Valley (26-1) was seeded No. 2 and hosts the winner of the Canyon-Lancaster game. Thousand Oaks (22-5-1), No. 4 in Division II, hosts Buena (13-9).

Harvard-Westlake (22-4), which won its first Mission League title, is seeded No. 2 in Division IV and will host the winner of a wild-card game between Ocean View and Mira Costa.

No. 3-seeded Montclair Prep, co-champion of the Delphic League, will host Cate and No. 4 Cornerstone Christian, the two-time defending champion, hosts Viewpoint in Division VI games.

Chaminade (14-12), defending Division IV champion, travels to Notre Dame Academy for a playoff opener.

*

Paraclete's postseason misery continues.

The Spirits (14-10) claimed a share of their 22nd consecutive league title, including their second in a row since joining the Alpha League.

Paraclete, 0-6 in section championship games, lost a coin flip with co-champion L.A. Baptist last season and went to the playoffs as the league's No. 2 team.

This season, it was co-champion Village Christian (16-6) that won the coin flip and advanced as the Alpha's top team.

Village Christian, which claimed its fifth league title in six seasons, hosts Kern Valley on Friday at 2 p.m. in a game bumped to an earlier time to accommodate Village Christian's prom.

Paraclete plays at Ontario Christian.

*

Coaches Mike and Karen Vail of Village Christian were expected to step down at the conclusion of the season, but changed their minds.

"We decided last week to stay," said Karen Vail, who has helped lead the Crusaders to eight league championships in 15 seasons.

(BEGIN TEXT OF INFOBOX / INFOGRAPHIC)

SOUTHERN SECTION PLAYOFFS

All game times 3:15 p.m.

WILD-CARD ROUND

Wednesday

Division II

Rio Mesa at Beverly Hills

San Marcos at Valencia

Lancaster at Canyon

Division IV

Nordhoff at Alemany

Division V

Crossroads at Flintridge Prep

*

FIRST ROUND

Friday

Division I

Hawthorne/Alhambra at Camarillo

Arcadia at Highland

Glendale at Arroyo Grande

Division II

Quartz Hill at Hart

Buena at Thousand Oaks

Rio Mesa/Beverly Hills at Mira Costa

San Marcos/Valencia at Simi Valley

Canyon/Lancaster at Crescenta Valley

Division III

Westlake at Atascadero

Newbury Park at Charter Oak

Division IV

Chaminade at Notre Dame Academy

Alemany/Nordhoff at Lompoc Cabrillo

Bonita at La Canada

Oak Park at Ridgecrest Burroughs

El Segundo/B. Montgomery at Calabasas

Ocean View/Costa Mesa at Harvard-Westlake

Division V

Lancaster Desert at La Reina

Paraclete at Ontario Christian

Kern Valley at Village Christian

St. Bonaventure at Providence

Flintridge/Crossroads at SM St. Joseph

Division VI

LA Lutheran at Capo Valley Christian

Cuyama Valley at Faith Baptist

GH Hillcrest Chr. at SM Valley Christian

Viewpoint at Cornerstone Christian

Cate at Montclair Prep

Maricopa at Santa Clarita Christian

Grace Brethren at Pioneer Baptist

THE TOP 10

Rankings of softball teams from the region:

*--*

Rk LW School (League) Rec. 1 1 Crescenta Vly (Pacific) 26-1 2 2 Harvard-Westlake (Mission) 22-4 3 3 Thousand Oaks (Marmonte) 22-5 4 4 Hart (Foothill) 21-5 5 5 Camarillo (Pacific View) 20-8 6 6 Simi Valley (Marmonte) 18-8 7 8 Valencia (Foothill) 17-9 8 9 El Camino Real (West Vly) 22-4 9 10 Highland (Golden) 18-7 10 7 Westlake (Marmonte) 16-11

*--*

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