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Intriguing matchups highlight the first-round games of the Southern Section baseball playoffs

Intriguing matchups highlight the first-round games of the Southern Section baseball playoffs
Hans Crouse pitches for Dana Hills in May 2016. (Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times)

When the Southern Section released its baseball playoff pairings on Monday, coaches were looking through the 32-team Division 1 bracket and having a difficult time predicting certain first-round winners.

"I don't think there's an easy game this year anywhere," Studio City Harvard-Westlake Coach Jared Halpert said. "Every single game is going to be a dog fight."

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Huntington Beach received the No. 1 seeding and will host Redondo and Michigan-bound pitcher Danny Zimmeran on Thursday. Lake Forest El Toro is seeded No. 2, Sherman Oaks Notre Dame No. 3 and West Covina South Hills No. 4.

The best opening game could be Harvard-Westlake, with junior pitcher Jesse Bergin, a UCLA commit, taking on visiting Dana Hills and pitcher Hans Crouse, a USC signee. However, there are top opening games throughout.

"There's a lot of great matchups," Halpert said.

Four Trinity League teams made the playoffs in Division 1, with Anaheim Servite and Orange Lutheran getting selected as at-large teams, joining San Juan Capistrano JSerra and Santa Ana Mater Dei.

Another Trinity League team, Bellflower St. John Bosco, received the No. 1 seed in Division 2, making the playoffs for the first time since 2011. The Division 1 and 2 finals will be played on June 2 at Dodger Stadium.

In softball, Norco, the No. 1 team in Division 1 for much of the season, received the No. 1 seeding for the playoffs that begin Thursday. Norco got a first-round bye and will then play the winner of Vista Murrieta-Chino Hills in the second round.

Los Alamitos is No. 2 seed, Orange Lutheran No. 3 and Mater Dei No. 4. The championship game will be June 2 or 3 in Irvine.

Twitter: latsondheimer

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