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CIF softball: Local teams learn destinations as brackets are unveiled

Posted: May 14, 2012 6:00 p.m.
Updated: May 14, 2012 6:00 p.m.

There will be no shortage of Santa Clarita Valley teams in the CIF-Southern Section softball postseason.

A total of six teams across two divisions will take part, highlighted by Foothill League champion West Ranch, which will host El Modena at 3:15 p.m. Thursday in the first round of the Division I playoffs.

All games will start at 3:15 p.m. unless another time is mutually agreed upon.

Also in Division I, Saugus will host Kennedy of La Palma in the first round on Thursday, and Valencia will travel to face Los Osos in the first round.

Hart earned an at-large berth and will travel to face Upland at 3:15 p.m. today in a wild-card game.

In Division VII, Trinity Classical Academy will visit St. Matthias of Downey on Thursday in the first round, while Santa Clarita Christian earned a wild-card berth and will host Bethel Christian of Riverside at 1:45 p.m. today.

West Ranch (21-4-1) won the Foothill League for the first time in program history, and its reward is El Modena (19-10), which finished third in the Century League and has won at least 19 games every year since 2006.

Wildcats head coach Bob Shults said he doesn’t know much about El Modena’s 2012 team, but he does know the Vanguards are well-coached and aggressive on the base paths.

He also doesn’t see the matchup as unfair to a league champion.

“I don’t think there’s any easy team at this point,” he said. “I’m pretty confident the kids are ready to go out and play.”

Saugus won the Foothill League title last season, but the Centurions lost in the first round to eventual Division I runner-up Canyon of Anaheim.

They’ll try for a better result against Kennedy (14-9), which finished as runner-up in the Empire League.

“We’re focusing on us,” said head coach Julie Watson. “We have to bring our ‘A’ game. You can’t play down when it comes to playoffs.”

After reeling off 10 Foothill League titles in a row from 2001-2010, Valencia (19-10) enters the playoffs as the third seed out of the league for the second year in a row.

That didn’t stop the Vikings from making the deepest postseason run last spring, reaching the Division I quarterfinals before falling to El Modena. This year, Valencia’s postseason will begin with a visit to Los Osos (20-6), which won the Baseline League by holding off perennial power Etiwanda.

Hart’s wild-card opponent is very familiar, as the Indians defeated Upland (12-6) in the wild-card round a year ago.

This season, Hart (17-10-1) finished fourth in the Foothill League but won six of its last seven games. Head coach Steve Calendo said he was just happy to make the playoffs, citing the fact that last spring, wild-card Canyon of Anaheim came close to winning the Division I title.

“I think we’re playing well at the right time,” Calendo said. “As long as you get in the tournament, any team has a shot.”

Trinity (7-8) finished second in the Heritage League, and it will travel to face St. Matthias (11-12), which finished second in the Santa Cruz League. The Knights lost to Coastal Christian 8-7 last season in the first playoff game in program history.

SCCS (5-11) finished third in the Coastal League and will host Bethel Christian (8-10) after Bethel Christian finished fourth in the Majestic League.



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