Mater Dei High School, ranked No. 1 in Orange County and No. 1 in the nation by USA Today, will be the top-seeded team in the Southern Section 4-A baseball playoffs that begin Friday and continue through June 1.
The Monarchs (22-1), champions of the Angelus League, will meet Los Alamitos (17-9), the third-place representative from the Empire League, in a first-round game at Mater Dei Friday. Mater Dei was one of three Orange County teams to earn seeded berths in the tournament.
In the 3-A division, Century League champion Santa Ana (21-3), the fourth-seeded team, will play host to South Hills in a first-round game Friday, while Garden Grove League champion La Quinta (21-2), the second-seeded team in the 2-A division, will play host to Mayfair on Friday.
Outside of the Mater Dei-Los Alamitos game, there is only one other all-Orange County matchup in the first round, as Newport Harbor will travel to El Toro Friday for a 2-A game. Defending 3-A champion Canyon, which finished second in the Century League, drew Ramona in the first round, while defending 2-A champion Laguna Hills, which finished third in the South Coast League, will meet Glenn.
The 3-A and 4-A championship games will be played May 31, in Anaheim Stadium, while the 2-A, 1-A and Small Schools championships will be played June 1 on Blair Field in Long Beach.
The girls Southern Section softball playoff pairings also were announced Monday. Undefeated Ocean View (27-0) was made the top-seeded team and Kennedy (22-5-1) the second-seeded team in the 4-A division. The Seahawks play host to El Modena in Thursday’s first round, while the Irish play host to Bishop Montgomery.
Other first-round 4-A games involving Orange County teams Thursday include: Foothill (14-6) at fourth-seeded Cypress (22-5-1); El Dorado (17-5) at Villa Park (17-5) and Millikan (14-9-1) at Westminster (19-9). The winner of today’s wild-card game between Long Beach Poly (11-10) and host Edison (22-9) will play Rolling Hills (17-5).
In the 3-A division, play begins Friday with Artesia (14-7) at Western (11-11); Estancia (12-5) at La Quinta (19-6); Walnut (16-4) at Sonora (12-7) and Bolsa Grande (13-9) at fourth-seeded Mayfair (18-5). The winner of Wednesday’s wild-card game between Troy (10-8-1) and host Valencia (11-10) advances to play North Torrance (17-3).
In the 3-A bottom bracket, Saddleback (10-9) is at third-seeded Garden Grove (17-7); Hawthorne (15-6) at Sunny Hills (13-4-2); Torrance (13-7) at Woodbridge (15-3) and Bellflower (10-8) at Brea-Olinda (13-9).
The first round of the 2-A playoffs also start Friday with El Toro (13-10) at Mary Star (21-2) and Laguna Hills (10-8) at St. Anthony (9-5). Mission Viejo (12-4) will play host to the Cajon-Ramona wild-card winner.