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Three's not a crowd

Hart baseball, Valencia softball earn No. 3 playoff seeds, respectively

Posted: May 13, 2008 2:21 a.m.
Updated: July 14, 2008 5:01 a.m.
 
Hart must be happy that they beat Valencia twice this season. Those two wins proved to be the difference in the final Foothill League baseball standings, meaning Hart (21-6, 14-1) was on the inside track for a higher ranking when the CIF Southern Section Division I brackets were announced on Monday afternoon.

With the league title in its back pocket, the Indians secured the third seed in the Division I playoffs, which start Thursday afternoon. Hart will face Westlake (15-13, 7-8), the fourth-place team in the Marmonte League, at home at 3:15 p.m.

"They come from a difficult league," Hart head coach Jim Ozella said about Westlake. "We hope that our pitching will be able to provide a quality effort. Westlake is a very talented, physical team."

Valencia (20-7, 12-3), who finished a close second in the Foothill League standings, will host Fountain Valley (12-13, 7-8), the third-place team in Sunset League.

Despite finishing second in league, the Vikings have momentum on their side in the 2008 playoffs, winning 16 of its final 20 games after a 4-3 start.

Both Hart and Valencia lost to the only other Foothill League baseball team to qualify for the playoffs, Saugus (17-9, 10-5). The Centurions will start its playoff run in the Inland Empire, as they will travel to play against the Mountain View League champion Norco (21-3, 12-0).

"We weren't surprised by the pairing," said Saugus head coach John Maggiora. "We want to go in there and be the aggressor.

"Our pitching and defense is solid. Every out counts, and we have make the routine plays. Our mindset is that every game is like the championship game."

In the Division VI bracket, Santa Clarita Christian earned home-field advantage in the first round after winning the Heritage League title last week.

The Cardinals (13-6, 9-3) will play host to Riverside Notre Dame (18-7, 6-5), who finished third in the Mountain Pass League.

Hart will host Westlake on Thursday at 3:15 p.m., while Fountain Valley visits Valencia at the same time.

Also on Thursday, Saugus will visit Norco, with first pitch scheduled for 3:15 p.m., while Santa Clarita Christian will host the Riverside's Notre Dame at home.

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