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Co-champs get vastly different draws

Softball: Prep gets first-round home game, while Crescenta Valley takes to the road. Holy Family also opens on road.

May 17, 2011|By Grant Gordon, grant.gordon@latimes.com

GLENDALE — In the ever-changing and surprising realm of the CIF Southern Section softball and baseball playoffs, wild-card games have become abundant, first-round playoff berths have become harder and harder to come by and predictions are difficult to make.

Thus, maybe it should not have been all that surprising when Crescenta Valley High's softball team, after sharing the Pacific League title with Burroughs, found out upon the playoff pairings' unveilings on Monday afternoon, that it would be taking to the road to face Oak Park at 3:15 p.m. Thursday in the opening round of the Southern Section Division III playoffs.

"I don't understand it," said Falcons Coach Dan Berry, whose team has won 12 straight games, sports a 21-3 record and defeated Burroughs in the teams' final meeting to force a shared title. "But you gotta play the game."

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In contrast, Flintridge Prep, which shared the Prep League title with Mayfield, will play host to either Alverno or St. Paul on Thursday in the opening round of the Division VI playoffs.

And, Holy Family, the Horizon League's second-place team, will travel to face Vasquez elsewhere in the Division VI playoffs' first round.

Perhaps the biggest difference for the Falcons and Rebels was simply within tiebreakers.

Crescenta Valley enters the playoffs as the Pacific League's No. 2 entrant as head-to-head run differential put Burroughs as the No. 1 team from the league. Flintridge Prep (13-4), meanwhile, went in as the No. 1 team from its league over Mayfield due to a tiebreaker of head-to-head record against the next-best finisher in the league, which was Rio Hondo Prep, which was swept by the Rebels, but split with the Cubs.

"You never know with CIF, there's really nothing that's assured," said Rebels Coach Julie Jaime. "We are very happy to be hosting and to be hosting a wild-card winner."

Alverno (5-11), the third-place finisher from the Horizon League, will travel to face Santa Paula (10-7), the Frontier League's No. 3 team, today for a chance to play Prep.

Prep won its last two games of the season to secure a share of the league title.

"We're playing good softball, so I'm excited," said Jaime, whose team has been led all season by the exploits of senior pitcher Denise van der Goot along with the offense of the likes Abbey Deckop and Alina Okamoto. "The girls are ready and they're pumped for playoffs."

Van der Goot threw a no-hitter in her final regular season game against Westridge and has been stellar through the year.

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