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The Title Fights

Baseball: Favorites are Arcadia in Southern Section and Chatsworth in City as playoffs to start.

May 18, 2000|GARY KLEIN | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Arcadia High, seeking its first championship since 1965, is the top-seeded team in the Southern Section Division I baseball playoffs, and defending champion Chatsworth remains the team to beat in the City Section.

First-round games in the Southern Section's six divisions begin Friday. Championship games will be played June 2-3 at Blair Field in Long Beach.

The City playoffs begin May 26 with finals in two divisions June 6 at Dodger Stadium.

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

CITY SECTION

The seeding meeting will not be held until Monday, but Chatsworth is the favorite, with Woodland Hills El Camino Real, Carson, Banning, Roosevelt, Locke and Westchester expected to contend.

Reseda Cleveland is the defending Invitational division champion.

SOUTHERN SECTION

* Division I: The Southern Section moved some schools down to Division II earlier this season to avoid the need for so many wild-card games, so this division is even more competitive than last year.

Arcadia (21-4), which plays Fontana (16-10) in the first round, is one of 17 league champions in the draw. How deep is the competition? Bellflower St. John Bosco, which won the Serra League, plays on the road against San Gabriel Valley League champion Downey Warren in the first round.

Arcadia, under first-year Coach Mike Parisi, is riding the momentum of having won its first Pacific League championship since 1991.

Second-seeded Temecula Valley (23-3) is led by pitcher Darric Merrell. Del Rey League champion La Puente Bishop Amat (24-3) is seeded third, Moore League champion Lakewood (25-5), fourth.

* Division II: Irvine University (22-4) is the top-seeded team in a division that could be decided by the condition of Newhall Hart pitcher Jamie Shields' back. Shields, who has signed with Louisiana State, sat out much of the season because of back problems but has come on strong for the defending champion Indians (21-5), who are seeded second. Professional scouts would like nothing more than to see Shields and Mike Stodolka of Corona Centennial (20-5) square off in the quarterfinals. But the dream matchup of the playoffs would be unseeded Palmdale (18-6) and right-hander Matt Harrington going against Stodolka and Centennial in the final.

Thousand Oaks (20-6) is seeded third, Riverside Poly (20-6), led by slugger Ben Leach, is fourth.

* Division III: Top-seeded West Torrance (25-1) lost only to Mira Costa. Standouts Nelson Caraballo and Justin Su'a and the rest of the Warriors plan on finishing 30-1.

Villa Park (24-2) is seeded second, Westlake (22-3), led by junior Tyler Adamczyk, is third and Cathedral City (21-4) fourth.

* Division IV: Top-seeded Westminster La Quinta won titles in 1994 and '95 and was supposed to be at least a year away from contending for another.

Lompoc (20-8) is seeded second, West Covina South Hills (16-6-1) third and Monrovia (18-2) fourth.

* Division V: Tri-Valley League champion Ventura St. Bonaventure (17-4-1) is the top-seeded team and features closer Jack Swisher who has eight saves.

Village Christian (15-5) is seeded second, Lancaster Desert Christian (19-2) third and Long Beach St. Anthony (17-6) fourth.

* Division VI: Two-time defending champion Simi Valley Grace Brethren (19-4) is the only team in any division to have a first-round bye. Grace Brethren is led by pitcher Tim Thompson, who established a state record with 52 career victories.

La Verne Lutheran (21-1) is seeded second, Bloomington Christian (19-0) third and Murrieta Valley Calvary Chapel (18-3) fourth.

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