CIF-SS announces 2020 spring playoff groupings

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The CIF-Southern Section released the 2020 playoff divisions for the spring sports on Friday.

Canyon, Golden Valley and Hart baseball all dropped down divisions with Hart seeing the biggest drop. Hart moves two divisions from Division 1 to Division 3 after beginning the 2019 baseball season with two promising wins over Agoura and El Camino Real, but stumbled and finished 11-19 overall.

The Indians played an arduous nonleague slate facing schools like Notre Dame of Sherman Oaks, Santa Margarita and El Segundo. In Foothill League play, they managed to pick up a big win 10-3 against Saugus on March. 13, swept Canyon and beat Golden Valley two out of the three times.

“We are trying to prepare for our nonleague and our league season. We just deal with it, it’s nobody else’s fault but ours,” said Hart baseball head coach Jim Ozella. “We didn’t have a good year last year and there’s nobody to blame but ourselves. Our goal is to change the culture this year and we feel that we are moving in a positive direction.”

The Cowboys finished 8-17 overall, going 4-11 for in fourth place in the league standings behind Hart. As a result, Canyon slipped from Division 4 to 5.

The Grizzlies went 6-23 last season and dropped a division. They will begin the 2020 season in Division 6.

Valencia and West Ranch stay put in Division 1, while Saugus stays in Division 3.

Canyon boys tennis is the only tennis team to make a change in 2020, going from Division 3 to Division 4.

TheFoothill League track and field teams remain very competitive in 2020 as Canyon, Golden Valley and Hart test their mettle in Division 2 and Saugus, Valencia and West Ranch in Division 1. 

The Grizzlies and Centurions remain in Division 3, the Indians in Division 2 and the Vikings and Wildcats in Division 1.

The West Ranch girls softball team was the final Foothill League softball team standing in 2019, reaching the CIF-SS Division 3 championship game. Falling to Crescenta Valley, the Wildcats concluded their magical season by winning eight of the final nine games to finish 18-8 overall and in second place in the league standings at 8-2.

With the fantastic finish, West Ranch was the only team to move up in the league, moving up two divisions. Joining Saugus and Valencia, the Wildcats will begin the 2020 season in Division 1.

“We were fortunate last year. We had a Cinderella team last year,” said West Ranch softball head coach Phil Giarrizzo. “They came together and were just one of the best teams that I coached as a whole in every aspect. 

“Being in Division 1 and having to go up against Saugus and Valencia, even though we played them well last year and having to fight for a spot in the playoffs, it’s going to be interesting. That’s all I can say.”

A year removed from the program’s best season in program history, Golden Valley had its worst season since 2010 and finished 2-17 overall and winless in league. The Grizzlies will compete in Division 4 after being in Division 2 last season.

Canyon softball joins Golden Valley in Division 4, down from Division 3 after winning just four games all year, two of which came against the Grizzlies, while Hart continues to compete in Division 3.

Foothill League schools Saugus, Valencia and West Ranch will each field boys and girls lacrosse teams with Hart only fielding a boys team in 2020. Saugus, Valencia and West Ranch girls teams will be in Division 3, 2 and 1, respectively. 

Hart boys lacrosse will compete in Division 3, Saugus and Valencia in Division 2 and West Ranch in Division 1.

Although the Canyon boys volleyball team finished with a .500 winning percentage, the Cowboys placed fourth in the league standings ahead of Saugus and Golden Valley.

The Grizzlies finished the season 8-13-1 overall, while Saugus was 7-13. All three teams drop a division as Canyon and Golden Valley compete in Division 5 and Saugus in Division 4.

Hart, Valencia and West Ranch remain a threat in the Southern Section and will continue to compete in Division 1/2.

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