Some area teams will get started on its early summer vacation plans, while others are now aiming to continue their seasons until June on the diamond.

The CIF Southern Section committee announced its wild card and playoff pairings for both baseball and softball on Monday — and a total of 11 area teams for both sports will seek to hoist the CIF Southern Section championship trophies after receiving their bid into the postseason.

One of those teams seeking the championship hardware is a softball team looking to go back-to-back in a new division — The Lompoc Braves, who got elevated to Division 3 following their historic title run in D5 one season ago.  

Another notable title seeker is Righetti baseball, after the Warriors settled for sharing the PAC-8 title with Paso Robles last Friday.

Here’s a preview of the upcoming match ups, with wild card games set for Tuesday and Wednesday:


Division 4: Arroyo Grande at La Canada Flintridge Prep

The Eagles will take the drive to the Glendale Sports Complex for this 4:45 p.m. Wednesday wild card tilt against a Rebels team that went 14-7-1 overall and 7-5 in the Prep League, good enough for third place in the league standings.

The Rebels have two hitters who hold a batting average of .400 or above — Bradley Noble (.400) and team leader Thomas Kosakowski (.407), both of whom are underclassmen, a junior and sophomore, respectively.

Arroyo Grande, 18-13 overall and 11-10 in the PAC-8 during the regular season, will aim to get its offense going once again. The Eagles haven’t scored past the five run threshold since May 3, when AGHS beat St. Joseph 8-7. Defensively, a deep pitching rotation of Zach Bullard, Jordan Arcano and Zach Mosley will aim to keep the Rebel hitters in check. The winner will travel to Simi Valley Grace Brethren for its Friday first round game.

Division 5: Carpinteria at Lompoc

Veteran Braves head coach Jim Allen helped get his team to close out the regular season on a three-game winning streak, including a sweep of Cabrillo to solidify a postseason bid.

Now on Tuesday, Lompoc will take on a Warriors team which is led by another longtime coaching veteran: Pat Cooney, who has been at his post for nearly two decades in South Santa Barbara County.  

Juniors Carson Grossini, Justin Allen and Jeffrey Ray have provided the big bats for Lompoc throughout the season, with the latter leading the way with 31 hits. Jesse Gasca serves as LHS’s top pitching ace with 55 strikeouts. The winner will face La Canada on Thursday.

Division 6: Santa Monica New Roads at Santa Maria

It’s been an up-and-down ride for Saints baseball. But after enduring a three-game slide during the last portion of April, Santa Maria (15-11-1, 12-9 in the Los Padres League) closed out the year by winning three of its final four games.

Now, the Saints will host a Jaguars unit on Wednesday led by head coach Matt Steinhaus, who has won eight or more games during his six-year tenure at the school located next to the Motts Performing Arts Theater.

Marc Estrada has powered his way to a .436 batting average for the Saints. Isiah Garcia and Tommy Herrera both have hit past the .330 average this season. Dunn School will await the winner on Friday.

First rounders

Division 3: Culver City/Oxnard winner at Righetti

The Warriors (24-6, 18-3 in the PAC-8) won’t put on their home uniform until Thursday, as they’ll wait the winner of the Centaurs/Yellow Jackets wild card contest.

Both teams finished below .500 during the regular season. Righetti will look to ride the high-powered right arm of pitching ace and Major League prospect Matt Sauer during this playoff run.

Division 4: West Covina at Santa Ynez

The Bulldogs (16-12, 8-7 in the Hacienda League) will not only face the tall order of knocking off a Santa Ynez team that won the LPL with a 24-7 overall record on Friday at 3:15 p.m., but will travel to take on a Pirates team searching for its second state championship in four seasons under head coach Warren Dickey.

Three Pirate players smashed their way to a batting average of above .377 during the regular season — Colin Jamison, Dustin Gregg and Ethan Usher. Gregg is tops in hits with 36.

Freshman Joel Campa is the Bulldogs’ top pitching option with 37 strikeouts. The winning team takes on the Santa Ana Segerstrom/Cerritos Valley Christian wild card winner next Tuesday.

Division 7: Valley Christian at Thousand Oaks Hillcrest Christian

The Lions are on the road Friday for their Division 7 opener at Thousand Oaks Village Christian, the Omega League's No. 2 team. Valley Christian is the No. 2 seed out of the Coast Valley League.

CVL Champion Coast Union also opens Friday. The Broncos will play at home against Heritage League No. 3 Trinity Classical Academy.


Division 2: Righetti at Rio Mesa

While the Warriors baseball team will stay home to start the playoffs, Righetti softball will take the Thursday drive down Highway 101 to take on a Spartans team that finished 25-2-1 overall, plus nearly went through the Pacific View League unscathed at 11-1.

Rio Mesa, under former Westlake head softball coach John Ashley, started the year 21-0-1 before falling to Buena 1-0 on April 29 during the Thousand Oaks Tournament.

The Warriors, under head coach Michael Roberson, overcame an 0-3 start to reach the playoffs and will once again be led by Loyola Marymount commit Delanie Wisz, who has ripped nine home runs this season.

Outside of Wisz, Gaby Arellano (.636 batting average) and Sicili Brittingham (.444) provide some quality bats for RHS.

Division 3: Lompoc at Arroyo Grande

This local battle set for Thursday at 3:15 p.m. in Arroyo Grande will pit two of the hottest teams in the 805 region.

The defending CIF-SS D5 champion Braves are riding a seven-game winning wave, including their 10-5 road win over Santa Ynez to solidify second place in the LPL. The Eagles have won five of their last six games, culminating in their epic 10-inning 6-4 thriller against Atascadero to end the regular season.

Two of the better softball pitchers in the area will also be on hand, as the Eagles’ Julie Lewis (41 strikeouts) and the Braves’ Lauren Wade (the winning pitcher for LHS during the winning streak) will likely take the mound.

Division 5: Cabrillo at Fillmore

After a promising 9-4 start spearheaded by a seven-game winning streak, the Conquistadores fell to fourth in the LPL standings to finish the year.

Now, CHS will get the co-champs of the Tri-Valley League, the Flashes, on Thursday, who have pitching sensation Sydnee Isom and her astonishing 116 strikeouts providing the jolt of electricity for FHS.

Cabrillo (12-12-1) will look to counter with Brooklyn Gregory, Jordan Spice and Mallory Townsend at the bat.

Division 7: Santa Ynez at Coast Union

After losing out on its bid to clinch the runner-up spot of the LPL, the Pirates will now shoot for the D7 title — with the Coast Valley champion the Broncos awaiting them for the 3:15 p.m. Thursday contest.

Coast Union went a perfect 8-0 in league to secure the higher seed, as it was led by junior Ani Corbet (.511 batting average) and the sophomore duo of Ailyn Casas (22 runs) and Serena Valenzuela (19 RBI’s).

Santa Ynez has predominantly been led by the Garcia sisters, Anastazia and Armani, the former hitting an average of .358 and the latter going 13-3 with 131 strikeouts on the mound. 

Also in Division 7, Coastal Christian, the No. 3 team from the Coast Valley League, hosts Campbell Hall, the Gold Coast League's No. 4 in a Tuesday wild card game with the winner playing at Grace Brethren on Thursday


Sports Reporter