Baseball: City Section playoffs begin with interesting matchups
The journey to reach Dodger Stadium and the City Section Division I championship game on June 1 begins Wednesday for 16 teams, and there's one coach who has decided the best path will be to save his No. 1 pitcher for Friday's quarterfinals.
Cleveland's Greg Venger, who will be stepping down as coach at the conclusion of the season, is expected to start his No. 2 pitcher, Steven Perez, for Wednesday's opener at home against Venice. Jack Hartman (11-1), the No. 1 pitcher in the City Section, would throw on Friday against the winner of Kennedy-San Pedro.
Lots of coaches in the past have had sleepless nights trying to decide if their No. 2 pitcher was good enough to win the opener. Some have gotten burned badly, losing in the opener and never getting the chance to use their best pitcher for the next game. As the saying goes, there's no tomorrow in a single-elimination tournament.
So how No. 2-seeded Cleveland does will be one of the major stories. San Fernando is seeded No. 1 and takes on Verdugo Hills. Three Wesern League teams that won wild-card games last week _ Venice, Hamilton and University _ are among the few teams that won't be affected by the long layoff since teams last played two weeks ago. Coaches have been having their teams play intrasquad games trying to keep their players sharp.
The most competitive game of the day figures to be No. 12 Granada Hills at No. 5 Narbonne. The winner could be the most dangerous team in the upper bracket.
Here's the link to complete schedule for games.
-- Eric Sondheimer