Hall of Fame baseball manager Casey Stengel is credited for saying, “Never make predictions, especially about the future.”

Here we go again, predicting what’s going to happen in the CIF Southern Section baseball playoffs …


2021 champion: Harvard Westlake

Top four seeds: 1. Orange Lutheran (24-4); 2. JSerra (18-10); 3. Cypress (21-5-2); 4. Huntington Beach (20-8).

O.C. angle: Division 1 baseball is the most difficult team championship to win in the CIF Southern Section. Orange Lutheran has the pitching, with Louis Rodriguez and Oliver Santos and more, and the offense with Casey Borba and Mikey Romero and more, to win the tilte. JSerra has improved massively over the past four weeks. Foothill enters the playoffs with much momentum after beating Villa Park twice last week, but maybe in the playoffs Villa Park will be as good as it was when it won the Boras Classic South last month. Cypress, Huntington Beach and Servite deserve respect. Trabuco Hills could surprise.

Final four: Orange Lutheran; Foothill; Villa Park; JSerra.

Champion: Orange Lutheran


2021 champion: Thousand Oaks

Top four seeds: 1. Arlington (27-1); 2. South Hills (23-5); 3. Sierra Canyon (24-2); 4. Norco (23-5).

O.C. angle: Pacifica is the best Orange County team in this group. The Mariners, with Chad Gurnea leading a fine pitching staff, finished one game behind Cypress in the Empire League. Mission Viejo is difficult to figure out. The Diablos were swept by South Coast League last-place team El Toro in the next-to-last week of the regular season, then scored 21 runs against league champion Capistrano Valley.

Final four: Arlington; Norco; Pacifica; South Hills

Champion: Arlington


2021 champion: Millikan

Top four seeds: 1. La Quinta of La Quinta (21-6); 2. Kaiser (20-8); 3. Capistrano Valley Christian (19-7); 4. Woodbridge (21-7).

O.C. angle: Capistrano Valley Christian has been an excellent small-school baseball program for a long time, going back to when JSerra’s Brett Kay was the CVC coach and on through Clemente Bonilla’s many years coaching the Eagles. Boston Baro and Hayden Carlson both are hitting over .460 and Johnny Tewinkle has 35 RBIs for Capistrano Valley Christian. Woodbridge won the Pacific Coast League title and advanced to the Ryan Lemmon tournament final. The Warriors get plenty of offensive production from Matthew Kuromoto, Sean McCance and Nathan Perry.

Final four: Cerritos; Woodbridge; Capistrano Valley Christian; Kaiser.

Champion: Capistrano Valley Christian


2021 champion: Royal

Top four seeds: 1. Aquinas (25-2); 2. Walnut (20-5-1); 3. Tesoro (20-8); 4. Santiago of Corona (18-10).

O.C. angle: Segerstrom, led by UNLV-bound third baseman/pitcher Zander Bretza and Cal State Northridge-bound pitcher/first baseman Bruno Banuelos, tied Ocean View for the Golden West League championship. Fullerton has hitters. El Modena won the North Hills League title and the Ryan Lemmon tournament championship. Tesoro is the best county team here.

Final four: Aquinas; Tahquitz; Tesoro; El Modena.

Champion: Aquinas


2021 champion: Citrus Valley

Top four seeds: 1. Moreno Valley (23-3); 2. Burroughs of Burbank (17-11); 3. Tustin (17-10); 4. Citrus Hill (15-5).

O.C. angle: Tustin’s pitching, led by UC Irvine-committed Riley Kelly, has quality and depth. Sunny Hills has its best team in years. Sunny Hills sophomore shortstop was  4 for 4 last week in a win over Fullerton and has driven in 29 runs in 28 games. Brea Olinda beat Capistrano Valley Christian and lost close games to Foothill and Villa Park. Century’s Theo Cortes is one of the better coaches in any sport in the county.

Final four: Moreno Valley; Sunny Hills; Tustin; Brea Olinda.

Champion: Moreno Valley


2021 champion: La Habra

Top four seeds: 1. Arrowhead Christian (18-5); 2. Estancia (23-5); 3. Chino (16-8); 4. Anaheim (17-9-1).

O.C. angle: Estancia might have the pitching, with Andrew Mits and Trevor Scott, and the hitting, led by RBI machine James De La O, to win this division. Anaheim’s strong season includes the Orange League championship. Whittier Christian is good, too, but got a difficult first-round assignment with a home game against Norwalk.

Final four: Arrowhead Christian; Anaheim; Chino; Estancia.

Champion: Arrowhead Christian


2021 champion: Lancaster

Top four seeds: 1. Los Amigos (22-4); 2. Wiseburn Da Vinci (18-6); 3. Ojai Valley (11-1); 4. Riverside Prep (17-9).

O.C. angle: Everybody is a Los Amigos fan. Los Amigos coach Aaron Pines is undergoing weekly cancer-fighting treatments while coaching the Lobos to the Garden Grove League championship. They have a fine team led by pitcher/shortstop Juan Gutierrez and pitcher/catcher Josiah Alvarez.

Final four: Los Amigos; Riverside Prep; Mesa Grande Academy; Wiseburn Da Vinci.

Champion: Los Amigos