Having wrapped up a third straight Pacific League championship, the Crescenta Valley High baseball team is now bracing for some stiff competition in the CIF Southern Section II playoffs.
The Falcons capped an undefeated run through league by besting rival and nationally ranked Arcadia twice and likely giving them momentum entering the postseason.
Crescenta Valley will look to pick up where it left off when it meets Lakewood in a first-round game at 6:30 p.m. Thursday at Stengel Field.
The CIF Southern Section office released its playoff pairings for all seven divisions Monday.
Crescenta Valley will join St. Monica Academy and Flintridge Prep as the local teams to qualify for the playoffs.
Crescenta Valley limited Arcadia to one run in the two games and clinched the title outright Friday with a 2-0 victory.
"It's great to win league, but now you are starting all over in the playoffs," Crescenta Valley coach Phil Torres said. "We've been getting excellent starting pitching and we'd like to keep that going in the playoffs.
"In Division II, there are a lot of good teams out there. The bottom half of the bracket is filled with quite a few teams from Orange County. I'm expecting a tight battle with Lakewood and they are battled tested coming out of their league. I'm confident our pitchers will go out there and compete well."
Lakewood (12-18) tied for second in the Moore League with Long Beach Wilson behind Millikan.
The Crescenta Valley-Lakewood winner will face Anaheim Canyon or Fountain Valley in a second-round contest May 22. Anaheim Canyon (19-11-1) won the North Hills League and Fountain Valley (18-11) was third in the Sunset League.
St. Monica captured the Independence League championship
St. Monica (10-3) will meet visiting Dominguez (14-10) in a Division VII first-round game at Scholl Canyon Ball Fields at 4 p.m. Friday.
"I don't know much about Dominguez, but I see they played a pretty good schedule," St. Monica coach Phil Gleason said. "I think we've made a lot of improvements since the start of the season and we're playing some good baseball right now.
"We've been playing consistently the last few weeks and we're making a minimal amount of errors."
Dominguez finished fifth in the San Gabriel Valley League and received an at-large berth.
The St. Monica-Dominguez winner will battle La Verne Lutheran (17-3) or Calvary Christian (3-7) in a second-round game May 22. La Verne Lutheran won the Express League and Calvary Christian took third in the Omega League.
Since arriving at Flintridge Prep in 2013, coach Guillermo Gonzalez has taken the school's baseball team to new heights.
It culminated with the Rebels winning the program's first CIF Southern Section championship in 2015. Pitcher/outfielder Aidan Schraeder and pitcher/infielder Nick Davis are the only holdovers from that title squad.
Flintridge Prep will look to embark on another long playoff journey when it opens the CIF Southern Section Division V playoffs at a time to be determined Friday.
Flintridge Prep (14-8) finished third in the Prep League behind Pasadena Poly and Rio Hondo Prep. Highland (14-12) took second in the Golden League behind Quartz Hill.
"It's a different kind of squad that we've had compared to the last few seasons," Gonzalez said. "We still have Aidan and Nick here and a lot of the players are asking them about what it's like to compete in the playoffs. The players rely on Aidan and Nick for their input.
"We would have liked to have had some more wins [in the regular season] and finished higher in league. We have some guys coming back from injuries and we now have a few days to prepare."
The winner of the Flintridge Prep-Highland contest will take on Westminster La Quinta or Temple City in a second-round contest May 22. Westminster La Quinta (17-9) finished second in the Garden Grove League behind Rancho Alamitos. Temple City (12-10-2) was third in the Rio Hondo League behind Monrovia and San Marino.