The next episode

Co-Marmonte
champs Calabasas and Newbury Park begin postseason journeys this week


GRAVITY—Oaks Christian High baseball player Gianni Horvatfields a ground ball during practice earlier this week. Horvat is a freshman infielder who patrols second base and shortstop with the Lions. Photos by MICHAEL COONS/Acorn Newspapers

GRAVITY—Oaks Christian High baseball player Gianni Horvatfields a ground ball during practice earlier this week. Horvat is a freshman infielder who patrols second base and shortstop with the Lions. Photos by MICHAEL COONS/Acorn Newspapers

The stage is set for playoff baseball.

Calabasas High (18-10 overall) plays host to Damien at 3:15 p.m. today in the first round of the CIF-Southern Section Division 2 postseason. The Coyotes, Marmonte League cochampions with Newbury Park, won their final six league games to earn a Marmonte crown and a home playoff opener.

THE FUTURE—Oaks Christian freshman Eldridge Armstrong Jr. throws tofirst base during practice on May 15. The Lions needed to win their last two Marmonte League games—and have Agoura lose two games—to snag the third andfinal playoff berth. Oaks Christian opened the Division 1 playoffs on Wednesday with a wild card game against Valencia. A final score was not available at press time.

THE FUTURE—Oaks Christian freshman Eldridge Armstrong Jr. throws to first base during practice on May 15. The Lions needed to win their last two Marmonte League games—and have Agoura lose two games—to snag the third and final playoff berth. Oaks Christian opened the Division 1 playoffs on Wednesday with a wild card game against Valencia. A final score was not available at press time.

“It kind of feels like we started playing playoff games two or three weeks ago,” said Calabasas skipper Thomas Cassidy. “We were playing playoff type games all the way down the stretch to make sure we got in.”

Diego Ramirez, a Calabasas senior bound for Occidental College, will start on the mound against Damien.

“The team’s really excited,” Ramirez said. “It definitely means a little more. Going out there, it could be my last high school game, but I don’t want it to be. We’ll all do what we can so we can play as many as we can.”

Newbury Park High (17-12) travels to face Dos Pueblos at 3:15 p.m. Friday in Division 1.

In Division 7, Newbury Park Adventist Academy (8-4) plays host to Fillmore (15-10), while Hillcrest Christian (5-7 overall) travels to face de Toledo (16-3-1). Both games are at 3:15 p.m. Friday.

Newbury Park High skipper Curtis Scott said the Black Cat Attack, which needed 10 innings to defeat rival Thousand Oaks 4-3 on May 10 to earn a share of the league title, is ready for the postseason gauntlet.

“We finished off the season battling,” Scott said. “The younger guys have definitely grown up. We played a competitive year. Our non-league was pretty tough.”

Newbury Park was tested in league after taking its lumps at the Boras Classic in April.

The Panthers will rely on senior starting pitchers Carson Lambert, a USC commit who is 6-3 with a 1.11 ERA, and Jake Miller (5-2, 2.35 ERA).

Sophomore relief pitcher Max Flame (1.08 ERA in 26 innings) fortifies the bullpen.

Austin Cundiff, Trent Packard, Tyler Kennedy and Miller must provide the run support.

“I think this team is a pretty tough-minded team,” Scott said. “They’re a tight-knit group. They play well together. They work hard. I think we’re pretty well-seasoned going into the playoffs.”

Oaks Christian (13-13-1 at press time) took on Valencia in a Division 1 wild-card showdown Wednesday. A final score was unavailable at this newspaper’s deadline.

The Lions managed to reach the postseason after dropping their first four league games this spring.

“I’m just extremely proud of how we’ve handled some adversity,” said head coach Royce Clayton. “We’ve come out the other side. That builds character.”

Oaks Christian, which started the season with Brandon Madrigal, a sophomore, and Max Graves, a junior, earning a majority of starts on the mound, benefited from the addition of pitchers and Chaminade transfers

Fraser Bohm, a sophomore, and Ernest Adendorff, a junior.

Jared Schatz, a senior who started the year in the leadoff role, has done well since being moved to the nine hole. Charles Masino, a sophomore, moved up one spot to leadoff.

“It’s been a really good mix to have two leadoff guys in the ninth and one hole,” Clayton said. “It’s really opened up a lot of things for Jared. I think Charles will continue to swing the bat well.”

Clayton said Rhylan Thomas, a junior center fielder who verbally committed to USC, and Quintt Landis, a junior catcher, are swinging the bat well.

“We had a little rough patch but we’ve seemed to have figured it all out,” Clayton said.

Cassidy said he’s hopeful his Coyotes have what it takes to make a run this postseason.

“It’s a veteran group,” he said of the Coyotes. “I think they just want to finish out their high school careers as strong as possible. They showed some good resiliency and toughness down the stretch going on the road and pulling out wins in tough situations. They’ve matured. They’re ready to handle these tough situations the playoffs will bring.”

SOFTBALL TEAMS SET FOR POSTSEASON

Playoff prep softball action begins at 3:15 p.m. today.

Oaks Christian (27-3 overall), the Marmonte League champion, plays host to Villa Park (14-18) in a Division 1 opener.

In Division 2, Newbury Park (19-4) plays host to Bishop Amat (16-11); Agoura (14-12-1) travels to Rio Mesa (22-6).

La Reina (19-3), Division 5’s top-ranked team, plays host to Hillcrest of Riverside (13-10).

Batter up

These are the local high
school baseball teams from
Acorn country who qualified
for the CIF-Southern Section
playoffs:
Calabasas
Newbury Park
Oaks Christian
Newbury Park Adventist
Hillcrest Christian