Crescenta Valley, Flintridge Prep baseball host first-round playoff games

In the current state of CIF Southern Section postseason baseball, not even winning a league title is a guarantee for a first-round playoff home game.

In the cases of Crescenta Valley High and Flintridge Prep, both teams shared titles in their respective leagues, but, fortunately for the Falcons and Rebels, they ended up on the right end of tiebreakers and will host first-round playoff games on Friday.

As released Monday by the CIF Southern Section offices, the Falcons (20-7) will host Yucaipa or Great Oak in the first round of the Division II playoffs, while the Rebels (15-8) will host Santa Paula or Marshall Fundamental.

"Playing at home on Friday is great," said Crescenta Valley Coach Phil Torres, though he was quick to point out that a home field advantage is only a small one. "It doesn't make it easy. We're in a tough division."

Torres speaks from first-hand experience. His Falcons won a share of their second straight title — tying for first with Burbank, which must open in a wild-card game — but are coming off a 2012 postseason in which they lost in the opening round to Tustin. Crescenta Valley has not won a postseason game since a wild-card win in 2009, before losing to, consequently, Yucaipa, in the first round. The Falcons haven't advanced past the first round since 2008.

"We're in just a really loaded division," Torres said. "Any win in this division, you almost want to dogpile."

Yucaipa (17-9), the third-place finisher in the Citrus Belt League, will host Great Oak (17-11), which finished third in the Southwestern League (17-11), on Tuesday.

"Those are both teams that thought they were gonna win their leagues," Torres said. "Both teams are battle-tested. Whoever we play is gonna be tough.

"This time of year, there's no bad teams."

Torres said he was uncertain as to whether Brian Gadsby or Ted Boeke would get the start on the mound. Gadsby got the victory on Friday against Arcadia, which nabbed a share of the title, while Boeke has also been a standout on the mound and, of course, at the plate, as he hit a dramatic, three-run, game-winning home run against Arcadia.

A win for Crescenta Valley would put it into the second round against Oxnard, the Pacific View League champion, or another wild-card team.

Flintridge Prep shared the Prep League title — its first since 1997 — with Pasadena Poly and Webb. Prep won a tiebreaker, though, and was rewarded with the fourth seed in Division VI.

"Getting the fourth seed, I was really surprised," first-year Rebels Coach Guillermo Gonzalez said. "We played a lot of good competition."

The Rebels, who are likely to host their game at the Glendale Sports Complex, await either a Marshall squad (12-9) that earned an at-large bid out of the Delphic League or Santa Paula (13-10), which took third in the Frontier League and hosts Tuesday's wild card. The winner of Friday's first-rounder will advance to the second round on May 21 to play Upland Christian, the Arrowhead League champion, or another at-large entrant.

"It all came out pretty good," said Gonzalez, who added he will start Brenden McKiernan. "We like our draw."

It's a draw that puts the Rebels as the favorites to claim a playoff victory for the first time since 1999, according to former coach Buzz Cook.

"Our goal at the beginning of the year was to make the playoffs and go from there," said Gonzalez, who took over a team that didn't make the playoffs the season prior. "If we get a win, it'll be a big step forward for our program."

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