02 03 SoCal High School Baseball: What To Expect: Sierra League 04 05 15 16 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 31 32 33

What To Expect: Sierra League

Sierra League:

South Hills (15-5, 4-1)
Claremont (7-5, 3-2)
Chino Hills (10-6, 2-3)
Damien  (5-6, 2-3)
Ayala (12-5, 2-3)
Charter Oak (6-6, 2-3)

South Hills got a huge boost when David Denson enrolled bringing his powerful bat into the lineup from the get go. The results have been varied for South Hills who after winning the first four games of the season haven't won more than three consecutively since. The Huskies lone league loss was to Charter Oak in an 8-7 slug/slop fest. To their credit, the Huskies have lost consecutive games only once on the season. South Hills appears to have enough to contend for the title but will it close it out is the true question here. Not sure I can answer that yet.

Claremont's recent three game winning streak was the longest of the season for the Wolfpack. The team appears to be hitting a stride. Nick Costello is having a career year. The senior leads the team in batting average (.457) RBI (15), OBP (.525) and HR (3). The quality of pitching has been questioned throughout the season. One shining spot has been Tyler Witt. The 6'5" 195 pound sophomore has a modest 3.87 ERA, but has struckout nearly three times as many hitters as he's walked (21-8). No pitcher with over 15 innings pitched has an ERA under .400 on the staff.

Chino Hills came into the season with huge expectations and so far they hadn't lived up to them. This past week the Huskies ruised through the Ryan Lemmon Tournament a perfect 4-0 including a 5-3 win over Aliso Niguel which should give them confidence going into the second half. Bailey Falter and Coby Myers are two super-sophomore's in area baseball. The former having already thrown a no hitter and the latter brining consistency to the lineup. The Huskies do own a win over Claremont in league already and could be primed for a run. If they are to do that they're going to need more consistency from the entire roster.

The gut feeling here is that this league is going to come down to South Hills and Chino Hills. Both teams have the most depth that has proven capable of playing at this level. I would not be surprised if Ayala makes a run. I spent some time with them in the preseason and you could feel the leadership from the seniors. Chino Hills and South Hills will meet on May 7th(@SH) & May 9th(@CH) to close out the season and likely determine a league champion.

Ayala has been rejuvenated under second year coach Chris Vogt. The Bulldogs went a perfect 5-0 in the Anaheim Lions Tournament outscoring opponents 45-15. The offense is led by a bunch of seniors determined on good results and got a boost with the insertion of sophomore Jonathan Buckley.
Damien does own a win over Claremont should the Spartans make a run in the second half of league. With no real "good" wins on the schedule they'll likely need to win league for a postseason bid.
Charter Oak is in the rare position of having wins over South Hills and Chino Hills. If the Chargers can parlay their recent three game win streak into a hot start in the second half it wont be without many challenges.

More In This Series:
What To Expect: Marmonte League
What To Expect: Baseline League

*All stats and records via Maxpreps.com

--Les Lukach

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