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HIGH SCHOOLS | SOUTHERN SECTION BASEBALL PLAYOFF PREVIEW

Improved Play Gives Edison a Top Seeding

May 20, 2003|Mike Bresnahan | Times Staff Writer

Huntington Beach Edison, a mediocre 15-11 team last season, continued its surprising turnaround and was seeded No. 1 for the Southern Section Division I baseball playoffs.

The Chargers (23-4) improved dramatically this season, winning 17 of their last 18 games and taking their first Sunset League title since 1984.

Wild-card games are today and first-round games are Friday.

"It kind of puts a bigger mark on our chest but it's nice to be recognized," Edison Coach Matt Mosiello said.

Defending Division I champion Camarillo (22-3), winner of 22 consecutive games, was seeded No. 2. Santa Ana Mater Dei (21-5) was seeded No. 3 and Mission Viejo Capistrano Valley (23-3) was No. 4.

In Division II, Golden League champion Quartz Hill (20-3) was seeded No. 1. Anaheim Canyon (21-5) was rewarded for winning the Century League, one of the region's toughest, and was seeded No. 2. Santa Ana Foothill was seeded No. 3 and Arroyo Grande was No. 4.

In Division III, Palm Desert (23-2) was seeded No. 1 after improving upon last season's unremarkable 16-10 record. The next three seeded teams were West Covina South Hills, Covina Charter Oak and Westminster.

Westminster La Quinta (25-2) was an easy choice as the top-seeded team in Division IV. The Aztecs were ranked No. 1 in the nation for part of the season and are overwhelming favorites to win the division.

Pasadena La Salle was seeded No. 1 in Division V and Ojai Thacher was No. 1 in Division VI.

A look at the upcoming playoffs:

DIVISION I

Defending champion: Camarillo.

Seeded teams: 1. Huntington Beach Edison (23-4), 2. Camarillo (22-3), 3. Santa Ana Mater Dei (21-5), 4. Mission Viejo Capistrano Valley (23-3).

Others to watch: After early-season slumps, Mission Viejo and Lakewood have been rolling. Pitcher Zech Zinicola gives Arlington a legitimate shot despite moving up two divisions.

Outlook: After Edison, Mater Dei was one of the hottest teams in the division, winning 21 of its last 23 games despite a difficult schedule. Camarillo, with outfielders Delmon Young and Donald Brown, will be tough to unseat. Capistrano Valley has the division's deepest pitching staff.

DIVISION II

Defending champion: Villa Park.

Seeded teams: 1. Quartz Hill (20-3), 2. Anaheim Canyon (21-5), 3. Santa Ana Foothill (23-3), 4. Arroyo Grande (24-4).

Others to watch: Valencia stumbled slightly in Foothill League play, but played well early in the season. Villa Park is trying for its third title in four seasons and will be tough to eliminate when Mark Trumbo is on the mound. West Torrance (Bay League) emerged from a tough league, as did Thousand Oaks and Westlake (Marmonte League).

Outlook: Quartz Hill has a flashy record but has struggled in games against quality competition. Anaheim Canyon and Placentia El Dorado have impact players with pitcher Vinnie Pestano and shortstop Jeff Flaig, respectively.

DIVISION III

Defending champion: Riverside Arlington (now in Division I).

Seeded teams: 1. Palm Desert (23-2), 2. West Covina South Hills (18-6), 3. Covina Charter Oak (15-6), 4. Westminster (18-8).

Others to watch: West Hills Chaminade was toughened up by playing in the rugged Mission League. El Segundo won the Ocean League but struggled in recent weeks with losses to inferior teams.

Outlook: Palm Desert has been in The Times' Top 25 rankings for almost two months and is the team to beat. Pitcher Chuckie Tiffany missed the first month of the season because of a hamstring injury but Covina Charter Oak has rallied since his return.

DIVISION IV

Defending champion: La Puente Bishop Amat (now in Division I).

Seeded teams: 1. Westminster La Quinta (25-2), 2. Garden Grove Pacifica (23-3), 3. North Torrance (19-4), 4. Covina Northview (18-4).

Others to watch: Torrance Bishop Montgomery and Santa Fe Springs St. Paul tied for the Del Rey League title. Lompoc Cabrillo has a shot with Cal State Fullerton-bound pitcher Tommy Hawk.

Outlook: Westminster La Quinta, last year's runner-up, should dominate with pitcher-outfielder Ian Kennedy and third baseman Ian Stewart. Garden Grove Pacifica was 23-0 until it lost its last three games, two against La Quinta. Northview has been quietly winning all season.

DIVISION V

Defending champion: Santa Maria St. Joseph.

Seeded teams: 1. Pasadena La Salle (20-3), 2. Cerritos Valley Christian (18-10), 3. Bishop (16-3), 4. Redlands Arrowhead Christian (20-8).

Others to watch: Brentwood has been solid since defeating a depleted Camarillo team early in the season. Vasquez started strong by throwing a rash of no-hitters but tailed off a bit.

Outlook: Cerritos Valley Christian had the hardest schedule of the seeded teams and defeated Division I titan Lakewood. Arrowhead Christian hung with Division I powerhouse Mater Dei in a nonleague game, losing, 4-1. Bishop held on to win the High Desert League, perhaps the toughest in the division. La Salle did not play an overly rigorous schedule and might feel the playoff pressure.

DIVISION VI

Defending champion: Simi Valley Grace Brethren.

Seeded teams: 1. Ojai Thacher (13-1), 2. Redlands Calvary Chapel (18-4), 3. Hesperia Christian (15-6), 4. L.A. Lutheran (11-11).

Others to watch: Riverside Christian and Wildomar California Lutheran tied for second in the Metro League, perhaps the most challenging in the division.

Outlook: Thacher almost made it through the season undefeated and has something to prove after losing to Grace Brethren in last year's championship, 3-1. Redlands Calvary Chapel emerged from the competitive Metro League. Hesperia Christian won the Agape League with relative ease.

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