02 03 SoCal High School Baseball: CIF Southern Section Division 1 Quarterfinal Preview 04 05 15 16 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 31 32 33

CIF Southern Section Division 1 Quarterfinal Preview

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The CIF Southern Section Division I quarterfinals are set and they should prove to be some of the best baseball games of the season as the teams continue their march towards the finals at Dodger Stadium on June 1st. There are some matchups between talented teams like Orange Lutheran and West Ranch. There is a rematch of last seasons quarterfinal, which saw Esperanza upset Mater Dei. There is a Cinderella team in Corona which looks to stay hot as it takes on El Dorado and their ace Kyle Twomey. There is Foothill League runner-up Saugus coming off a victory over defending champ J.W. North of Riverside taking on Newbury Park which has defeated Long Beach Wilson and El Toro. These teams all seem to be hitting their stride at the right time and should provide some great baseball in the next week-and-a-half.  Below is a breakdown of each quarterfinal game.

El Dorado at Corona Friday, May 25th 3:15pm

El Dorado Preview: Expectations were high coming into the season for the Golden Hawks as they returned USC signee RHP Kyle Twomey and all-everything SS Chris Rivera. After starting the season with an unimpressive 8-5 record - El Dorado had one tough game on its way to the National Classic Title - the Golden Hawks were unable to sustain the momentum from the tournament and went just 3-5 heading into the playoffs.  Twomey has been spectacular leading the team in ERA, innings pitched, strikeouts, while giving up only 9 runs.  Junior Scott Serigstad who leads the team in average, RBI, hits, and triples is carrying the offense. El Dorado finished second to Esperazna (another quarterfinalist) in the competitive Century League

Top Hitters:
(Jr.) Scott Serigstad .375 BA 13 RBI, 33H, 2 3B
(Sr.)PJ Conlon .352 BA, 11 RBI, 31 H, 3 2B
(So.)Nate Alam .316 BA, 8 RBI, 24 H, 7 2B

Top Pitchers:
(Sr.)Kyle Twomey .52 ERA, 67.2 IP, 69 K, 23 BB
(Sr.)PJ Conlon 1.63 ERA, 60 IP, 54 K, 15 BB
(Jr.)Seve Romo 2.80 ERA, 20 IP, 16 K, 11 BB

Corona Preview: Unlike El Dorado, the Panthers came into the season with a young roster and not a ton of expectations. The best way to describe the Panthers would be streaky. Corona never had more than a three game winning or losing streak. They dealt with injuries throughout the season yet showed resiliency by winning several league games to earn an at-large berth into the playoffs. The Panthers have been one of the hottest teams in the tournament using timely hitting and clutch pitching and defense in beating Valencia, Camarillo, and Agoura. Corona finished in third place in the Big VIII League.

Top Hitters:
(Sr.)Zak Cavazos .380 BA, 9 RBI, 41 H, 7 2B
(So.)Derek Robinson .343 BA, 10 RBI, 23 H, 5 2B
(Sr.)Adrian Marmolejo .333 BA, 13 RBI, 30 H, 3 2B

Top Pitchers:
(Sr.)Patrick Duarte 0.76 ERA, 37 IP, 33 K, 12 BB
(Sr.)Daniel Pena 1.29 ERA, 70.1 IP, 19 K, 8 BB
(Fr.)Tristan Beck 2.75 ERA, 28 IP, 25 K, 14 BB

Analysis: This is a classic matchup between a team who expected to be here (El Dorado) and a team no one expected to be here (Corona). If El Dorado is to move on in the tournament it’s going to need a great outing from Twomey along with more consistent defense from his teammates. The Golden Hawks will also need to stay hot at the plate as they will play in a hitter friendly ballpark in Corona. Corona’s best chance at this game is to continue to play solidly defensively and swing their hot bats. Despite their hitter friendly park, the Panthers will rely on small ball to attack Twomey and El Dorado. Corona has excellent team speed which they are not afraid of highlighting. This game likely will come down to who gets the best pitching performance. Look for Twomey to want to go the distance while Corona likely will rely on its bullpen depth to get the job done.

Saugus at Newbury Park Friday, May 25th 3:15pm

Saugus Preview: The Centurions are here thanks to the strength on their hitting. With seven starters hitting .317 or better Saugus certainly can rake with the best teams in the area.  Saugus comes in with only one started with an ERA below 3.00 but look for ace Chris Danielson and his 1.25 ERA to take the hill in this matchup. Saugus comes into this game having beaten Oxnard 10-2 and upsetting defending champion J.W. North (Riverside) 7-4. Saugus doesn’t do any one-thing great, aside from hitting, but they do a lot of things very well. The Centurions finished second to West Ranch in the Foothill League.

Top Hitters:
(Sr.)Spencer Danielson .395 BA, 13 RBI, 30 H, 20R
(So.)Roy Verdejo .365 BA, 7 RBI, 26 H, 8 2B
(Jr.)Chris Devery .362 BA, 20 RBI, 29 H, 8 2B

Top Pitchers:
(Jr.)Chris Danielson 1.25 ERA, 28 IP, 15 K, 11 BB

Newbury Park Preview:
This is a Newbury Park team that is on a mission. The panthers came into the season with 10 seniors and 7 juniors on a 18 man roster, in other words, the expectations for big things this season were there. After finishing second in the Marmonte League to Agoura, the Panthers are riding their senior leadership as far as they will take them. Other than a few guys having good seasons this team is comprised of guys who go out and play the game the right way. They started the season 9-3 (including a forfeit loss) and finished the season 7-4 heading into the playoffs. They avenged a mid-season tournament loss to Long Beach Wilson and ace Chase DeJong in the first round then defeated a solid El Toro team on Tuesday. Both those games were on the road. Now the Panthers head home, where they are 8-3, and run into a team equally as hot as them.

Top Hitters:
(Sr.)Colton Waltner .356 BA, 11 RBI, 20 H, 5 2B
(Sr.)Taylor Zander .313 BA, 14 RBI, 21 H, 5 2B
(Sr.)Matt Haskins .313 BA, 14 RBI, 21 H, 3 2B

Top Pitchers:
(Sr.)Luke Eubank 1.04 ERA, 67 IP, 68 K, 10 BB
(Sr.)Matt Haskins 2.33 ERA, 27 IP, 17 K, 7 BB
(Sr.)Chris Murphee 2.83 ERA, 47 IP, 27 K, 15 BB

Analysis: This contest is likely to come down to the power and control of Luke Eubank against the hot hitting bats of Saugus. Saugus has lots of momentum having knocked out the defending champ Riverside North, and Oxnard before them, but they haven’t seen the quality pitcher the likes of Eubank in three weeks, when they face JC Cloney of West Ranch, and many rank Eubank above him. Newbury Park used Eubank for 18 pitches that went for 18 strikes on Tuesday using it as a bullpen opportunity. One would have to expect that being at home and having your ace, and potential high draft pick on the mound would be enough to get job done.

Esperanza at Mater Dei Friday, May 25th 3:15pm

Esperanza Preview: : Led by legendary coach Mike Curran Esperanza comes into the quarterfinals with a Century League championship in what many considered a rebuilding year. The Aztecs offense is led senior Brad Anderson who leads the team in AVG., RBI, H, 2B. Three other Aztecs are hitting over .350 on the season. As usual with a Curran led team pitching and defense are team pillars.  Junior Brandon Luper 1.47 ERA, 66.2IP, 65K, 23BB, leads a pitching staff with an ERA under 2.50.  Defensively five starters are perfect in over 300 total chances.

Top Hitters:
(Sr.)Mitch Christensen .385 BA, 16 RBI, 35 H, 7 2B
(Sr.)Nick Catalano .356 BA, 11 RBI, 31 H, 2 3B
(Sr.)Kevin Viers .341 BA, 20 RBI, 30 H, 5 2B

Top Pitchers:
(Jr.)Brandon Luper 1.47 ERA, 66.2 IP, 65 K, 23 BB
(Sr.)David Wilson 2.88 ERA, 41.1 IP, 26 K, 7 BB

Mater Dei Preview: The Monarchs once again proved to be one of the best teams in the country when they won the inaugural National High School Invitational of Baseball in Cary, NC and have lost only twice since. Senior, and UCLA signee, Ty Moore is the heart and soul of this team and leads them both on the mound and on the plate. Jeremy Martinez, Davis Tominaga, and Ryan McMahon, all juniors, provide great support for Moore. The Monarchs have four players with over 50 AB that are batting over .325. With most of those AB’s in the Trinity League those numbers carry some clout. The pitching depth was on display at the NHSI as the Monarchs clinched the title by winning four games in four days. Chase Radan leads the team in ERA although Moore has thrown more innings.

Top Hitters:
(Sr.)Ty Moore .411 BA, 20 RBI, 37 H, 5 2B 2 HR
(Jr.)Jeremy Martinez .385 BA, 16 RBI, 30 H, 5 2B
(Jr.)Ryan McMahon .340 BA, 21 RBI, 32 H, 10 2B

Top Pitchers:
(Sr.)Ty Moore 0.84 ERA, 58.1 IP, 61 K, 19 BB
(Sr.)Chase Radan 0.78 ERA, 27 IP, 19 K, 7 BB
(Jr.)Davis Tominaga 2.64 ERA, 58.1 IP, 40 K, 22 BB

Analysis: The Aztecs come into the quarterfinals in a familiar position. The again won the very competitive Century League in what many considered a rebuilding year. Like last year, the Aztecs again must go through Mater Dei and Ty Moore to get back to the championship. They got the best of Moore last year in a game that was at home in front of a great crowd. This is a matchup of great coaches as much as it is about the players. Both Curran and Burt Call of Mater Dei have been down this road before and have done it against each other. They’re playing at Mater Dei, which is a great hitters park, and both teams are able to knock a few out. The key is going to be the pitching. Last year Esperanza got a masterful performance from Austin Pettibone, and Luper appears to be up to the challenge. He’s having a remarkable year for the Aztecs, but will it be enough against Moore at home?

Orange Lutheran at West Ranch Friday, May 25th 3:15pm

Orange Lutheran Preview: The Lancers come into this game as Trinity League Champions and the number 1 team in the country according to several news outlets. The Lancers also competed in the NHSI in Cary, NC and finished with a 2-1 record. This is a classic small ball team which features great pitching and even better defense. They don't hit the ball out of the park but they get timely hitting from the entire lineup. Leadoff hitter Connor Sullivan (Duke) also leads the team in average, hits, and is second in RBI. Cody Nulph (Pepperdine), Tommy Bell, Josh Morgan, and Matt Carlson all contribute at the plate for the Lancers. Jason Martin's (LBSU) 16 steals led the league and team. Depth on the mound is the envy of all coaches and the Lancers very good quality depth.

No updated team stats were available.
Top Hitters:
(Sr.)Connor Sullivan 
(Sr.)Tommy Bell 
(Sr.) Cody Nulph 
(So.)Josh Morgan

Top Pitchers:
(Sr.)Art Vidrio 
(Sr.)Brent Wheatley
(Sr.)Chris Wichmann
(So.)Garret King

West Ranch Preview: The Wildcats are here on the strength of their pitching and hitting. Leading the way on both fronts is JC Cloney (LBSU) who expected to take the hill in this quarterfinal. West Ranch features seven players hitting .300 or better and two pitchers with an ERA under 2.00. The champions of the Foothill League will be at home where they were a surprising 5-5-1 this season with two of those losses coming in league play. Depth may be an issue for this upperclassmen laden team with little returning experience outside of the top guys. The Wildcats are going to need an excellent outing from Cloney and an even better one from catcher Josh Heinz as Orange Lutheran will run with all nine guys in the lineup.

Top Hitters:
(Fr.)Jagger Rusconi .439 BA, 25 RBI, 43 H, 6 2B
(Sr.)Gabe Peralta .413 BA, 9 RBI, 26 H, 17 R
(Sr.)JC Cloney .382 BA, 19 RBI, 29 H, 3 HR

Top Pitchers:
(Sr.)JC Cloney 1.57 ERA, 67 IP, 93 K, 13 BB
(Jr.)Cody Bennett 2.55 ERA, 60.1 IP, 47 K, 20 BB

Anaylsis:
As mentioned above, West Ranch is going to need to be perfect if they are to advance to the semi finals at Blair Field next week. This will be a matchup of future Big West pitchers as Cloney is signed with Long Beach State and Vidrio is committed to UC Santa Barbara. Look for Orange Lutheran to start running as soon as they get runners on base. With 8-of-9 guys in the lineup capable of swiping a bag, the Lancers will continue to rely on small ball and grind out a win. This represents Orange Lutheran's best team under head coach Eric Borba and that impression is not lost on the coach or his team. West Ranch will continue to rely on pitching and hitting in hopes to advance. If there is a weakness defensively it's the corner outfielders for the Wildcats but don't expect too many balls hit there way with Cloney on the hill. Cloney is a master at mixing up his pitches and has great command over three pitches. The depth of Orange Lutheran's bullpen could be put to the test in this game, but with guys like Wichmann and King they should be okay. This game is going to come down to executes their game plan best because both teams are excellently matched. 
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