High school baseball coaches have two immediate postgame duties this week.
First, shake hands with the opposing coach. Second, pull out their cell phone to check the scores of other games.
This is the final week of the regular season. League championships and playoff berths will be decided.
As usual, Orange County baseball leagues have tight races. When CIF Southern Section playoff brackets are released Monday, May 2, some good teams might not have their names on the bracket sheets for the seven CIF-SS playoff divisions.
Among the great races to watch this week …
Fullerton and Sunny Hills are tied for first place in the Freeway League. Both are 10-3 in league play.
They play each other twice this week, Tuesday at Sunny Hills and Thursday at Fullerton. Sunny Hills beat Fullerton 8-2 in a league game March 16.
Orange Lutheran clinched the Trinity League championship. The league has a three-way tie for second place, with JSerra, Santa Margarita and Servite with 6-6 league records. Only the top three teams in a six-team league like the Trinity League received guaranteed playoff berths, so the league’s No. 4 team could only qualify as an at-large team.
Servite plays St. John Bosco (5-7 in the Trinity League) three times this week. JSerra plays last-place Mater Dei (3-9).
As for Orange Lutheran, Lancers coach Eric Borba said his team likely will use its three games against Santa Margarita this week to give starting assignments to a variety of pitchers, sort of a try-out to test who might be called upon if needed in the upcoming playoffs.
Villa Park is in first in the four-team Crestview League at 6-1. Villa Park is home against second-place Foothill (5-2) on Tuesday and is at Foothill on Thursday. Villa Park is the hottest team in the county, with a 12-game winning streak that includes winning the championship of the prestigious Boras Classic South tournament last week.
El Modena and Yorba Linda are tied for first in the North Hills league at 4-3 each. It’s El Modena at Yorba Linda on Tuesday, Yorba Linda at El Modena on Thursday.
Ocean View and Segerstrom are tied for first place in the Golden West League at 8-0 each. They have not played against each other. Their two-game league series is at Segerstrom on Tuesday, at Ocean View on Thursday.
The Orange Coast League has a tie at the top of its standings. Calvary Chapel and Orange are 10-3, with two games each other this week – Tuesday at Orange, Wednesday at TeWinkle Park in Costa Mesa. Orange defeated Calvary Chapel 12-1 in a league game March 25.
The Orange Coast League also has a tight race for third place, with Estancia (8-5) and Santa Ana (7-6) playing each other twice this week.
First-place Beckman (13-2) and Woodbridge (12-3) are battling for the championship of the seven-team Pacific Coast League. They played each other Monday.
Cypress has clinched a share of the Empire League with its 7-1 league record. Tustin and Pacifica are tied at 5-3, with Crean Lutheran one notch below at 4-4.
Crean is 12-13 overall. With the requirement that a team must have an overall record of .500 or better to be eligible an at-large berth, Crean’s two league games this week against Kennedy (2-6) are crucial. It’s Pacifica vs. Valencia (1-7) and Tustin vs. Cypress in other Empire League series this week.
Three games separate four teams in the Garden Grove League, in this order: Los Amigos (10-3 in league), Santiago (9-4), Loara (8-5) and Bolsa Grande (7-6). Los Amigos, which lost two of its three league games against Santiago, plays Rancho Alamitos (2-11) twice this week, Santiago plays Bolsa Grande twice and Loara plays La Quinta (3-10).
Capistrano Valley Christian is 7-0 in the San Joaquin League. St. Margaret’s is 6-1. They play each other Tuesday and Thursday at San Juan Sports Park.