Edison pitcher Henry Owens is the most dominant pitcher in the Southern… (Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles…)
Southern Section baseball playoff pairings were released on Monday, and here's a rundown of the seven divisions. Wild-card games are set for Tuesday, with first-round games on Thursday and Friday. The championships for Divisions 1 and 4 will be June 3 at Dodger Stadium. The championships for Divisions 2 and 3 will be June 2 at Dodger Stadium. Championships in Divisions 5-7 will be June 4 at Riverside Sports Complex.
Top seeds: 1. Edison. 2. Mater Dei. 3. Vista Murrieta. 4. JSerra.
The scoop: If pitching and defense win championships, Edison deserves the favorite's role. The Chargers have the most dominant pitcher in 6-foot-7 left-hander Henry Owens, plus an improving No. 2 pitcher in Jon Torres. But Edison also has struggled at times hitting the ball, and there are lots of teams capable of ending the Chargers' run in a brutally tough upper bracket. Mater Dei has the best hitting in the tournament, and if sophomore pitcher Davis Tominaga continues to perform well under pressure, the Monarchs can repeat as Division 1 champs. El Toro has two top starting pitchers in Tyler Brashears and Garrett Mundell.
The surprise: Beware of Newhall Hart. The Indians have two solid pitchers in Tyler Glasnow and Garrett Gooding.
The pick: El Toro.
Top seeds: 1. Cypress. 2. Arcadia. 3. Redlands. 4. Santa Barbara.
The scoop: This is a wide-open division loaded with quality teams, and if a pitcher gets hot, beware. The Mission League has three teams capable of getting to Dodger Stadium: Harvard-Westlake, Chaminade and Alemany. Cypress has played a tough schedule and has the pitching depth to win it all, but looming is a second-round matchup against dangerous Mission Viejo. Los Osos has won nine consecutive games, with infielder Matt Jaramillo batting .419.
The surprise: Alemany has won nine of its last 11 games after struggling at the outset.
The pick: Alemany.
Top seeds: 1. Bonita. 2. Quartz Hill. 3. Alhambra. 4. Beckman.
The scoop: Junior pitcher Justin Garza is 11-0 with an ERA of 0.60 for Bonita. He doesn't walk batters, so the only way to beat him is to hope for errors and be patient. Bonita has played a strong schedule, so the team is ready. Quartz Hill has shown it can play against top teams. Beckman has the pitching to be competitive.
The surprise: Alhambra pitchers recorded 12 shutouts this season. Is that because they're good or the Almont League isn't very strong?
The pick: Bonita.
Top seeds: 1. Palm Desert. 2. Bishop Amat. 3. Torrance. 4. Laguna Beach.
The scoop: There's no way Palm Desert and Bishop Amat won't get to the final, right? Palm Desert has pitcher Brooks Kriske and top hitters, led by Ryan Garvey. Bishop Amat has an abundance of effective no-name pitchers, plus future first-round draft pick Rio Ruiz. But Torrance owns a win over Bishop Amat and has talented infielder Trent Gilbert.
The surprise: Oaks Christian has Travis Radke, a senior pitcher with a devastating curveball.
The pick: Bishop Amat.
Top seeds: 1. Woodcrest Christian. 2. Cathedral. 3. Whittier Christian. 4. Campbell Hall.
The scoop: There are all kinds of challengers to defending champion Woodcrest Christian. The key is how well the contenders are able to deploy their top pitchers and have them ready to take on Woodcrest Christian. Cathedral has come on strong under former L.A. Roosevelt Coach Scott Pearson. Campbell Hall knocked off Paraclete and Montclair Prep to win the extremely competitive Alpha League.
The surprise: Montclair Prep has junior pitcher Max Fried, a UCLA commit, and could make a strong run in the bottom bracket.
The pick: Montclair Prep.
Top seeds: 1. Oxford. 2. Pasadena Poly. 3. Lancaster Desert Christian. 4. Bishop.
The scoop: Oxford returns many of its key players from last year's championship team. Stanford-bound Jordan Kutzer is batting .447 with Pasadena Poly.
The surprise: Villanova Prep has been competitive against some good teams and Jon Woodcock (7-2) has seven complete games.
The pick: Oxford.
Top seeds: 1. New Roads. 2. Rolling Hills Prep. 3. Firebaugh. 4. Riverside Christian.
The scoop: New Roads made a late-season run into the No. 1 spot behind junior Blaise Dolcemaschio, who's batting .462 with 33 RBIs.
The surprise: Granada Hills Hillcrest Christian, a wild-card team, has Jason Bock, who's batting .547 with eight home runs.
The pick: Riverside Christian.