Second place a mixed bag for locals

Baseball: CV hosts wild-card game, while Prep takes to road

wild-carders St. Francis, Hoover on road today.

May 17, 2011|By Grant Gordon,

GLENDALE — When the CIF Southern Section Division II baseball playoff pairings were released, neither Hoover High Coach Joe Cotti or St. Francis' Brian Esquival was surprised to find that their teams would be headed for the road for today's wild-card round.

Crescenta Valley's Phil Torres and Flintridge Prep's Buzz Cook, however, shared completely contrasting views when they found out the first-round fortunes of their second-place squads.

"We're really fortunate that we're not in the wild-card mix and we're fortunate that we're at home," said Torres, whose Falcons await a wild-card winner and will host a first-round Division II game on Thursday. "There's a lot of second-place teams that just lost that wrong game."


Flintridge Prep will take to the road, however, as the Prep League second-place finisher will travel to face Vasquez, which took second in the Desert Mountain League and is the fifth-ranked team in the final Division VI poll.

"Can't say I'm happy about it," Cook said of the pairing.

Cotti and Esquival, on the other hand, are simply rolling with the punches after their teams clinched fourth-place playoff berths in their final games of the season to get into the Division II playoffs.

"We expected to be on the road," Cotti said. "We're excited. We'll just go out and play our game and see what happens."

Hoover (9-16), which took fourth in the Pacific League, is headed to play Bellflower (16-8) today at 3:15 p.m. Bellflower finished third in the Suburban League, just a game out of a first-place tie.

"We have confidence," said Cotti, whose team is led by Anthony Cuccinelo and Cameron Doran. "We're gelling as a team. We'll go out and play our game and give 'em what we've got and leave it all on the field."

Should Hoover make it out of Bellflower with a win, it will advance to Thursday's first round to take on Citrus Belt League champion Redlands, the No. 3 seed.

While the Tornadoes return to the playoffs for the first time since 2008, St. Francis is back in the mix after a one-year hiatus.

The Golden Knights (14-13), after taking fourth in the Mission League, will face off with host Peninsula (19-8-1), which took second in the Bay League.

"[That's a] pretty good ballclub there," Esquival said. "They come from a pretty good league."

Peninsula has two good arms in Dillon Rozas (1.78 earned-run average) and Christian Torres (2.22 ERA), while Esquival will give the start to Joey Malham, who's been his ace all season.

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