High Schools: Title hopes alive

Four of the five local high school baseball programs played their second game in the Beach Pit Classic on Monday.

When the four-day tournament ends on Wednesday, Corona del Mar, Estancia, Newport Harbor and Costa Mesa will return to play in their respective leagues next week.

For Sage Hill, the only local team not in the tournament, league restarts Tuesday. The Lightning, ranked No. 10 in CIF Southern Section Division 6, are in a battle for first in the Academy League right away.

Sage Hill is at defending champion Oxford Academy for a 3 p.m. showdown between two 4-1 teams.

Estancia and Corona del Mar are still in contention for first place in their leagues, while Newport Harbor and Costa Mesa are far from the top in their leagues.

The Eagles are in second place in the Orange Coast League at 5-2, one game back of Calvary Chapel.

The Sea Kings share second place in the Pacific Coast League with University at 4-3. The two teams trail defending champion Beckman by two games.

The Sailors find themselves in last place in the Sunset League at 1-6.

The Mustangs are in the cellar in the Orange Coast League at 0-7.

The Eagles have excelled under first-year coach Nate Goellrich. They have a quality shot at winning the Orange Coast League for the second time in three years.

With Estancia, it starts with pitching. Senior Andres Hernandez is the ace with a 3-1 record and 1.71 earned-run average.

The Sea Kings have one of the best right-handers in Orange County in Andrew McCormack (5-1, 0.95 ERA). The senior tried to keep CdM, ranked No. 5 in Division 3, within striking distance of third-ranked Beckman, but the Patriots beat the Sea Kings twice last week.

Coach John Emme's club should return to the postseason in Division 3 after missing it last season for only the second time in his 15 years at CdM.

The Sea Kings will need help from other teams to have any hope to win the Pacific Coast League crown for the first time since 2006.

Sage Hill is looking to end Oxford Academy's two-year run as the outright Academy League champion. The Lightning have turned to a freshman.

Kellen Ochi leads Sage Hill in pitching (3-1, 2.50 ERA) and he is one of their better hitters (.412 average).

Newport Harbor's Ethan Cochran keeps inching closer to the state's top two all-time marks in the discus throw.

He threw a personal-best 209 feet, eight inches to win the Arcadia Invitational on Saturday.

Cochran, who holds the nation's top mark this season, is gunning for the best mark in the state's history.

The two guys ahead of Cochran in the state record books are Scott Moser (213-11) and Bo Taylor (213-7). The trio has one thing in common. All three had the same coach in high school.

Tony Ciarelli is still in contact with his former throwers, who went on to throw at UCLA.

Cochran said Moser and Taylor know a future UC Berkeley thrower is chasing them.

Cochran is No. 3 on the Orange County all-time list, behind Moser and Taylor, who threw for Huntington Beach and Newport Harbor, respectively.

"It's exciting," said Cochran, who also won the shot put at the Arcadia Invitational with a personal-best throw of 62-10, which ranks No. 1 in the state this season. "I'm looking forward to breaking the state record. That's my goal by the end of the season."

Cochran's goal is to uncork a 215-footer. That would put him on top.

The CdM football team won't be able to defend its 2011 CIF Southern Section Southern Division title.

That's because the Sea Kings won't be in the Southern Division playoffs next season, if they make the postseason.

The CIF Southern Section approved an appeal by the Golden West League last week to remove the Pacific Coast League from the Southern Division playoffs.

The Pacific Coast League has done well in the Southern Division since its creation in 2006. Four teams from the league have played for Southern Division titles, including CdM and Beckman last season.

The Sea Kings and Patriots were also three of four semifinalists out of the PCL in 2010.

The section expects to place the PCL in a playoff division during a council meeting on April 25.

In boys' volleyball, the Orange Coast League's appeal to not be a part of the CIF Southern Section Division 1 playoffs was approved.

Estancia and Costa Mesa are the two local teams in the league, from which, outside of Laguna Beach, no other program has done well recently in the postseason.


Twitter: @DCPenaloza

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