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Wednesday, June 7, 2023

JSerra and others did right thing by skipping CIF SoCal Regional baseball and softball playoffs – Orange County Register

JSerra’s baseball team plays in the Trinity League.

That’s the best high school sports league in California.

JSerra played in the Boras Classic South, the best high school baseball tournament in California. JSerra traveled to North Carolina to play in the National High School Invitational, perhaps the best tournament in the country.

So when JSerra declined the invitation to play in next week’s CIF Southern California Regional championships, it was not because the Lions are avoiding competition.

The Lions won the CIF Southern Section Division 1 championship in an exhausting grinder of a game, a 1-0 win over Trinity League rival Santa Margarita in eight innings. And that was enough to finish their season.

The Division 1 baseball championship is the most difficult team championship to win in the Southern Section. Every Division 1 team is excellent, every one of them has at least two college and/or pro prospect pitchers, and one unfavorable ball-strike call or the inability to complete a double play could change the game and stop a team’s season.

Having started Trinity League play 0-3 by losing three league games to Mater Dei, having to scramble to end the regular season tied with Orange Lutheran for third place, and then the five-game playoff that included playing three playoff games in one week, the Lions were done. Their seniors were satisfied, having also won the Division 1 title in 2022. School is over, too, so it’s time to move on and, according to JSerra coach Brett Kay, the team’s non-seniors agreed.

Other baseball teams opted out of the SoCal Regional playoffs, as did softball teams, including CIF-SS Division 1 champion Pacifica, for various reasons. For softball teams, they are entering the time of year when travel ball takes over. College softball recruiting is most active during the travel ball season.

Orange Lutheran’s baseball team qualified for the SoCal Regional by advancing to the Division 1 semifinals. For Orange Lutheran and Santa Margarita and others, like Notre Dame of Sherman Oaks, which was the No. 1 team in the Division 1 top 10 for much of the season but lost in the quarterfinals and will replace JSerra in the SoCal Regional, the SoCal Regional offers a second chance at glory. That’s good.

Some CIF State-level events are outstanding, including the CIF State wrestling championships and CIF State basketball championships This week’s CIF State Track and Field Championships might be the best of them all.

Still, there is nothing like winning a CIF Southern Section title.

“It takes so much work to win a Southern Section championship,” said Orange Lutheran coach Eric Borba. “If you win Division 1, that’s like winning the granddaddy of them all, if you will. Unfortunately the Regionals feel almost exhibition-esque and it doesn’t bring the excitement that the Southern Section playoffs bring.”

For a team like JSerra’s Lions, they are done, their physical and emotional energies spent. Taking the exit when they did is reasonable and understandable.


Baseball and softball SoCal Regional playoff brackets will be released Sunday. There are three rounds to the playoffs, beginning Tuesday. All games are at home-team sites and the higher-seeded team is the home team. …

CIF Los Angeles City Section baseball championship games are at Dodger Stadium on Saturday. CIF Southern Section assistant commissioner Thom Simmons said the Southern Section inquired about the availability of Dodger Stadium but was told the stadium would not be available for the CIF-SS finals on May 19 and 20. …

The Southern Section finals were at Blair Field in Long Beach. The venue, with a capacity of 3,238, was packed for the Division 1 Santa Margarita-JSerra game. Although playing at a major sports venue is a great memory-maker for the athletes and coaches, a crowd of 3,000 always looks and sounds better in a smaller place than it does at a stadium. …

If you’re monitoring the CIF State track meet that is being held Friday and Saturday at Buchanan High School in Clovis, Castaic junior Meagan Humphries is a name to know. She qualified in the high jump, long jump, triple jump and the 200. …

The Orange County All-Star Baseball Game is June 6 at La Palma Park’s Glover Stadium in Anaheim. Rosters will be announced soon. …

All of those new Orange County high school sports conferences and the leagues that will be created within them, and the leagues that will be created only for football, would be in place for the 2024-25 and 2025-26 school years once they are approved by the CIF-SS Council, the Southern Section’s legislative body, on Sept. 28. And schools will not be able to appeal to the Council their league placement on Sept. 28 because they won’t know which leagues they are in until their 2023-24 season of sport is completed. …

The best of the summer football passing tournaments, The Battle at the Beach at Edison, is July 1. …

Football teams can begin official practices for the 2023 season on July 31 if they have a Week 0 game on the schedule. The Friday of Week 0 is Aug. 18. …

All-Orange County first-team boys basketball player Carter Bryant has transferred from Sage Hill to Centennial of Corona for his upcoming senior year. Bryant spent his freshman and sophomore years at Fountain Valley. D’Cean Bryant, Carter’s father, is the boys basketball coach at Sage Hill and posted on Twitter that he intends to remain so.

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