The hoped for showdown in this year's CIF San Diego Section Div. I title game between state and national No. 1 La Costa Canyon and longtime power Rancho Bernardo was set up for this Saturday when both teams won on Tuesday. The Mavericks edged Eastlake of Chula Vista, 3-1, while the Broncos turned back Morse of San Diego, 3-2 in eight innings. Had either team lost in the double-elimination format, Eastlake or Morse would have had to win again on Thursday to move into the final. The title game is not double-elimination, but a one-game winner-take-all matchup, similar to the way college baseball and softball decide their national championships.
Nick Burke's diving catch with the bases loaded in the sixth inning saved the game for La Costa Canyon. Chris Fuller also came through for the Mavericks with a pair of run-scoring singles. It was the team's 26th straight victory.
Rancho Bernardo advanced despite a stellar performance from Morse's Adam Jones. Picked at No. 37 overall in Tuesday's major league draft by the Seattle Mariners, Jones made that selection look good with a home run, three hits overall and six strong innings on the mound. The Broncos were led by pitcher Brandon Burke, who struck out nine and won his 11th game of the year against just one loss. Rancho Bernardo lost in last year's Div. I section final to Rancho Buena Vista after winning the championship the previous three seasons.
If La Costa Canyon were to lose in Saturday's final, Chatsworth (30-1) would be poised to take over the state's top ranking. The Chancellors played in the CIF L.A. City Section quarterfinals on Wednesday against Granada Hills Kennedy (23-9). Chatsworth is No. 1 in at least one other national ranking, but we've said all along that if La Costa Canyon were to run the table in the San Diego Section (which this year looks tougher than the L.A. City Section) that our No. 1 ranking (as well as the No. 1 ranking nationally by Student Sports) would go to the Mavericks.
In softball, Pacifica of Garden Grove became a solid State Team of the Year favorite after numerous upsets in the CIF Southern Section last week. The Mariners took it one step further on Tuesday with a 5-0 win in the Div. III semifinals over Redondo of Redondo Beach. Brittany Weil pitched a five-hitter and struck out 13 to key the win, while the offense got going quickly thanks to an RBI double in the first inning from Crystal Vieyra. Pacifica will go for the title this weekend against La Mirada (27-6).
If Pacifica were to be upset, the team currently at No. 2 in the overall state rankings is Notre Dame of Salinas, which wrapped up a 31-2 season last weekend by winning its sixth straight Central Coast Section Div. III title. Pacifica also is currently No. 2 in the nation, but the No. 1 team, Bartow High of Bartow, Fla., has completed its season.