They're longshots to begin with, and their chances of winning a Southern Section baseball title won't be helped by having to play a wild card game today just to get into the first round of the playoffs.
But that's the task facing teams such as JSerra, San Clemente and Capistrano Valley in Division 1 and Trabuco Hills and San Juan Hills in Division 2. For them, the do-or-die playoffs begin today, which will put extra strain on pitching rotations that must win five games to win a title once the first round begins on Thursday for some times and Friday for others.
The playoff pairings for the seven divisions were released on Monday by the Southern Section office, and there was only one south Orange County team that was seeded into one of the top four positions—Capistrano Valley Christian.
The Eagles (20-6) were seeded second in Division 6, behind Lancaster Desert Christian, after going undefeated in the San Joaquin League.
CVC will play the winner of St. Genevieve and Chadwick.
Further up the food chain, El Toro and Tesoro—who finished 1-2 in the South Coast League—are already in the first round awaiting teams to emerge from the wild-card games.
El Toro, which is seeded sixth, will play Friday at home against the winner of St. John Bosco and El Modena.
Tesoro will play host to El Dorado on Friday with the winner getting to play at fourth-seeded Long Beach Poly in the second round on Tuesday, May 22.
The top three seeded teams in the division are, in order, Orange Lutheran, Mater Dei and Riverside North.
Among the teams that will be slugging it out this afternoon in wild card games: JSerra, which plays host to Brea Olinda for the right to play at Agoura; Capistrano Valley, which plays host to Oxnard Pacifica for the right to play at Los Alamitos; and San Clemente, which plays at Corona Santiago for the opportunity to play at Temecula Valley.
In Division 2, the first round begins on Thursday. Seventh-seeded Mission Viejo will play either Paso Robles or Chaminade, and eighth-seeded Aliso Niguel gets the winner of Righetti and Chino Hills.
Hoping to win today for the chance to play Thursday: Trabuco Hills plays host to Loyola today for the right to play in Goleta against Dos Pueblos; and San Juan Hills plays at Ventura Buena for the right to play at Moreno Valley Canyon Springs.
The four seeded teams in Division 2 are North Hollywood Harvard-Westlake, Garden Grove Pacifica, Mission Hills Alemany, and Cypress.
In Division 3, Corona del Mar plays host to Beverly Hills today with the winner advancing to play at Lancaster on Friday. Another Patch city team, Los Amigos, plays host to El Rancho for the chance to play against second-seeded Beckman.
In Division 4, Laguna Beach plays host to Victor Valley with the winner facing second-seeded Pasadena La Salle on Thursday.
In Division 6, Sage Hill plays at Anza Hamilton with the winner playing at Chatsworth Sierra Canyon on Thursday. In first round games, aside from Capo Valley Christian, St. Margaret's will play host to Long Beach St. Anthony.