La Cañada, Flintridge Prep baseball host first-round home games

Though separated by two divisions in the CIF Southern Section, the La Cañada High and Flintridge Prep baseball teams have run through similar seasons in 2013.

Both began 2013 with teams coming off seasons in which they failed to make the playoffs and both were looking to regroup under first-year coaches.

And now, both have rattled off surprising runs to respective league titles, as the Spartans won the Rio Hondo League crown and the Rebels claimed a share of the Prep League championships.

Those accomplishments have led them to their latest similarity, as both squads await wild-card opponents for first-round playoff games on Friday.

La Cañada (13-7) will host California or Barstow, while the Rebels (15-8) will host Santa Paula or Marshall Fundamental.

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.

"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."

The Spartans, looking for their first posteason victory since 2010, could face a California (17-7-1) that took second in the Del Rio League or Barstow (10-9), an at-large entrant from the Desert Sky League.

If the Spartans move on, they'll advance to the second round to face Sonora, the Freeway League champion, or another wild-card entrant.

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