San Diego Section Baseball Playoffs : Top Teams Better Beware Because Titles Don’t Help in the Playoffs

All eight of the county’s league champions will get the day off today as the 1988 San Diego Section baseball playoffs begin with eight first-round games.

That will give coaches time to scout possible opponents, set their pitching rotations for the week-long playoffs, and try to instill their players with the following thought:

Winning a league championship, if recent history is any indication, doesn’t mean a thing come playoff time.


Last season, six of the eight league champions were casualties in their first playoff games. In the 3-A playoffs last season, all four league champions (Granite Hills, Madison, Chula Vista and Orange Glen) were eliminated in the first round.

Escondido, last year’s Avocado League champion, won the 2-A title, but the Cougars were only the fourth-seeded team in the tournament. They were only 13-11 during the regular season.

So, this year’s best teams may have reason to beware.

In the 3-A playoffs, No. 1-seeded Helix (23-2) won its last 16 games to become the first Grossmont League team ever to go undefeated during league play. Second-seeded Madison (24-3) ran away with the otherwise competitive City Eastern League.

But they could be challenged by Mt. Carmel (20-10) and Santana (20-7). Those schools have met in three of the last four 3-A finals, with Santana winning twice. Mt. Carmel won the title last year. Santana plays today at Torrey Pines (21-4) and Mt. Carmel plays host to Bonita Vista (17-9).

Today’s other first-round 3-A matchups are Granite Hills (15-10) at Mira Mesa (17-8) and Sweetwater (15-12-1) at Grossmont (17-9).

Mission Bay and Castle Park are again the top-seeded teams in the 2-A. And both were knocked out of last year’s playoffs.

Mission Bay (22-3-1) lost to Escondido in the semifinals, and Castle Park (23-4-1), lost to Clairemont in the quarterfinals.

La Jolla (19-7), which finished second in the City Western League, opens at home today against Coronado (16-9). Defending 2-A champion Escondido (15-11) plays at University of San Diego High (15-10).

Other first-round 2-A games today are Hilltop (8-13) at San Pasqual (15-9) and San Marcos (13-9-2) at Hoover (18-9). All games begin at 3 p.m.