BASEBALL, SOFTBALL UPSETS ALREADY UNDERWAY

In baseball already this week, teams that were No. 4, No. 5, No. 7 and No. 8 in the state rankings have all been beaten in various section playoffs. In softball, No. 2, No. 3, No. 5 and No. 7 have already bitten the dust.

It's almost an annual tradition. Teams that are able to attain a high state ranking in baseball and softball during the regular season don't seem to have much luck in the playoffs. Of course, there's also the fact that those two sports just don't translate well into a ranking system no matter how hard you analyze things.

Edison of Huntington Beach was the state's No. 4 baseball team to lose. The Chargers fell, 3-2 in eight innings, to Servite of Anaheim in a second-round CIF Southern Section Div. I game. Ironically, Edison opened the season with a loss to the same team. Servite won it on a dramatic, one-out home run in the bottom of the eighth by Jose Hernandez.

No. 5 Serra of San Mateo lost in the CIF Central Coast Section Div. I semifinals. The Padres were hoping for a 32-4 final record that would also have made them a contender to be State Team of the Year. Mitty of San Jose, a team ranked high in the preseason but one that lost three times to Serra previously during the season, did the honors with a 12-7 win. Mitty will now play defending champ Wilcox of Santa Clara in the final on Saturday.

No. 7 Buchanan's loss in the CIF Central Section Yosemite Division Large School final to Clovis wasn't that surprising since Clovis was going for a trifecta and is the section's perennial power over the last 10 years. The Cougars won their latest crown with a 3-0 win that featured strong pitching from senior Brandon Miller.

The Southern Section Div. I second-round also produced an upset of defending champ and state No. 8 Camarillo. The Scorpions fell, 7-4, to Arlington of Riverside and had a 23-game winning streak snapped. Camarillo standout Delmon Young will now start focusing on the free agent draft.

The softball upsets involved No. 2 Santiago of Garden Grove, No. 3 Valencia, No. 5 Mater Dei of Santa Ana and No. 7 Mitty of San Jose.

On Thursday in the CIF Southern Section Div. II playoffs, top-seeded Santiago (which had been No. 1 in the state at one point this season) suffered a 1-0 loss to Diamond Bar. The Sharks only got two hits against Diamond Bar's Brittany LaRosa while the Brahmas were able to string together a couple of hits in one inning against Santiago ace Taryne Mowatt.

Mater Dei was another State Team of the Year contender from the Southern Section that lost on Thursday. The Monarchs didn't just lose in one of those crazy bounces of the ball, either. They got shellacked, 7-0, by Foothill of Tustin, a perennial power that has had its own firsthand knowledge of being a favorite who gets upset in the playoffs. This year, the Knights (19-12) suffered through some injuries and rebuilding pains early on, but now have suddenly become red hot.

Valencia was nipped, 2-1, by Lakewood in the Southern Section Div. I second round. Mitty lost, 6-4, to Burlingame in the CCS Div. II semifinals. Burlingame will now play Pioneer of San Jose in the final.

With Santiago and Mater Dei both losing, the team now with a clear-cut path to be No. 1 in the state is Pacifica of Garden Grove. The Mariners advanced in the CIFSS Div. III playoffs on Thursday with a 1-0 win over Mayfair of Lakewood.

So now what happens if Pacifica loses? Teams that would be in the No. 1 mix might include California of Whittier, Notre Dame of Salinas and Mt. Carmel of San Diego.

Baseball No. 1 La Costa Canyon avoided the upset bug with a 7-4 triumph over Chula Vista in its San Diego Section Div. I playoff opener. No. 2 Chatsworth starts the L.A. City Section playoffs Friday against Fremont as that section's No. 1 seed.


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