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Prep baseball playoffs begin Thursday for seven SCV teams 

Hart celebrates a win against West Ranch on Wednesday, April 17 at Hart High School. Habeba Mostafa/ The Signal
Hart celebrates a win against West Ranch on Wednesday, April 17 at Hart High School. Habeba Mostafa/ The Signal

While the professionals are just getting their season started, the prep baseball season is beginning to wind down. 

Thursday marks the first round of the CIF Southern Section postseason — play-in games not withstanding — and there are seven Santa Clarita Valley teams aiming for a title. 

Hart and Saugus both landed home games in the first round while West Ranch, Valencia and Castaic all travel. Trinity Classical Academy has a bye in the first round and will host its second-round matchup in Division 5 on Tuesday, May 7, against either Marshall or Adelanto. 

Santa Clarita Christian has a wild-card game on Wednesday to see if the Cardinals can advance to the full bracket in Division 8. 

All games are scheduled to begin at 3:15 p.m. unless otherwise noted.

West Ranch travels to San Dimas in D1 

The West Ranch Wildcats (18-8-1) finished tied for second in the Foothill League but have to make one of the longest drives of their season on Friday in the first round of the Division 1 playoffs. They have to travel to the eastern side of the San Gabriel Valley to take on the San Dimas Saints (23-4). 

Undefeated in Valle Vista League play en route to the league title, the Saints have outscored opponents 219-65 this season, good for eight runs per game, and are winners of seven straight. They are 10-0 at home this year. 

West Ranch is similar in terms of run prevention but has scored nearly 100 runs fewer. The Wildcats have a 129-79 run differential this season and have put up just under five runs per game. 

Hart hosting Simi Valley in D2 

In head coach Jim Ozella’s final season at the helm of Hart baseball, the Indians (21-5) not only won the Foothill League title but also get to host their first-round matchup against the Simi Valley Pioneers (14-11-2) on Thursday. 

The Indians have won six consecutive games since losing two straight to Saugus to end March. On the season, they are outscoring opponents, 157-67, and are averaging six runs per game. Hart is 10-1 at home. 

Simi Valley finished third in the Coastal Canyon League and won four straight before dropping its final two games of the season to Camarillo. The Pioneers average just under five runs per game. 

The two teams have four common opponents, with Simi Valley going 1-3-1 against those teams and Hart going 5-2. Both losses for Hart came against Saugus. 

Valencia heading down to OC in D2 

Also in Division 2, the Valencia Vikings (14-12-1) are taking a trip to Orange County in the first round to take on the Aliso Niguel Wolverines (18-7) on Thursday. 

Traveling has not been kind to the Vikings this year as they are 7-9 away from home. The Wolverines have been dominant at home, going 12-3. 

Both teams average around five runs per game, though Aliso Niguel is limiting opponents to 2.8 runs per game compared to 4.2 per game for Valencia. 

The Vikings had won six straight games before dropping two of three to end the regular season. The Wolverines won their final six games of the regular season. 

Castaic takes on Culver City in D4 

A year after winning section and state titles, the Castaic Coyotes (14-14) made the Division 4 playoffs as an at-large team and are set to travel to Culver City on Thursday to take on the Centaurs (22-4). 

Those records may indicate the Centaurs have an advantage, but the Coyotes have the bats to match up as both teams average six runs per game. 

The Coyotes haven’t been as prolific on the road as at home, going 3-8 away from Castaic. Culver City has gone 12-3 at home. 

Losers of three straight in March, the Centaurs won their final nine games of the regular season. 

Castaic dropped its final four games heading into the postseason. 

Saugus hosts Calvary Chapel in D5 

The Saugus Centurions (16-12) could be a tough out in Division 5 as they come into the playoffs riding a nine-game winning streak and a second-place finish in the Foothill League. Their opponents at home on Friday are the Calvary Chapel Eagles (13-12), third-place finishers in the Orange Coast League. 

Saugus has not been dominant at home but does boast a 7-5 record, while Calvary Chapel has a 5-10 record away from home. 

Offense has not been either team’s calling card, with both around four runs per game. 

The Eagles won four straight games and six of seven to finish their regular season. 

SCCS gets a wild-card spot in D8 

The Santa Clarita Christian Cardinals (8-9) finished fourth in the Heritage League and earned itself a wild-card spot in Division 8, taking on the Shalhevet Firehawks (5-8) on the road on Wednesday. 

The Cardinals were a .500 road team this season at 5-5, while Shalhevet went 3-3 at home. Both teams played Milliken and lost during the regular season. 

Winners of two of their last three games in the regular season, the Cardinals averaged more than six runs per game, 2.5 runs better than Shalhevet, which dropped two of its last three games. 

SCCS and Shalhevet are scheduled to play on Wednesday at 2 p.m. at Darby Park in Inglewood. 

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