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Huntington Beach, Marina earn top-four seeds in CIF baseball playoffs

Huntington Beach, Marina earn top-four seeds in CIF baseball playoffs
Huntington Beach High starter Edward Pelc throws a pitch in a Surf League game at Edison on March 23. (Don Leach / Staff Photographer)

The Huntington Beach and Marina high school baseball teams were rewarded for winning their respective leagues, as the Oilers made the CIF Southern Section Division 1 playoffs as a No. 4 seed and the Vikings as a No. 2 seed in Division 3.

The Oilers, the Surf League champions, and the Vikings, the Wave League champs, were two of seven local teams learning of their first-round opponents Monday, when the section released the playoff pairings. Edison joined Huntington Beach in Division 1, Corona del Mar is in Division 2, Ocean View is in Division 3 with Marina, Estancia is in Division 5, and Costa Mesa is in Division 6.

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Huntington Beach (22-6) hosts Moorpark (15-12), the third-place team from the Coastal Canyon League, Thursday at 3:15 p.m. The Oilers, making their eighth consecutive playoff appearance, look to make a deep run after getting upset as the No. 2 seed last year in the second round at Goleta Dos Pueblos.

Edison (16-14), the runner-up in the Surf League, visits Citrus Belt League champion Yucaipa (23-5), for Thursday’s game at 3:15 p.m. This marks the Chargers’ fifth playoff trip in six years. Yucaipa won the Division 2 championship in 2018.

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The Vikings (19-10), in the playoffs for the first time since 2016, will be at home Thursday to face the winner of Tuesday’s wild-card game between San Juan Hills (15-15) and Northwood (10-12-1). Marina coach Toby Hess said his team will rely on what helped it turn things around from a year ago, when the Vikings finished in last place in the Sunset League at 3-12.

“I would definitely say pitching and defense are key,” he said. “Some timely hitting, but it was just the consistency of our pitching staff and their ability to keep us in all but three games. We’re just trying to stay healthy and be who we have been.”

CdM (18-8-1), the second-place team from the Wave League, will play at North Hills League champion Villa Park (14-14) Friday at 3:15 p.m. Sea Kings coach Kevin McCaffrey saw his team play well under pressure to make the postseason in his first year at the helm.

“We had, in essence, three must-win games and our boys came through,” he said. “We won our final three games to get in. It was more of a buy-in from all the guys of what can they do to help the team win. It’s pretty neat to see them take that approach.”

Ocean View (21-10) hosts the winner of Tuesday’s wild-card game between West Torrance (16-12) and Norwalk Glenn (13-10) Thursday at 3:15 p.m. After going undefeated in the Golden West League, the Seahawks are hoping to continue that hot streak in the playoffs. This is Ocean View’s sixth consecutive playoff berth.

Estancia (15-11), winner of the Orange Coast League, hosts Savanna (19-7), the third-place finisher from the Orange League, Thursday at 3:15 p.m.

“We’re going to approach it like we do every game,” Estancia coach Kevin Conlin said. “Like we’re just playing the game, not playing against another team.”

Costa Mesa (12-11), which received the Orange Coast League’s third entry, takes on West Hills de Toledo (14-5) at West Hills Baseball Field Thursday at 3:15 p.m. The Jaguars shared second place in the Liberty League.

After falling in consecutive play-in games last season to miss the playoffs, the Mustangs qualified this year for the first time since 2010 by beating Calvary Chapel in back-to-back games to finish tied for second place in the league.

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