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Brackets show difficult paths for locals

By: Mike Ray, Staff Writer
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The curtain rises on the CIF Sac-Joaquin Section baseball playoffs this week with five foothills area teams throwing their hats into the ring in a bid to bring home a blue CIF section championship pennant.
Playoff action will get underway at home sites On Tuesday with games being played in both Div. II and Div. III, On Wednesday, the Div. VII tournament will open also at home sites before the Div. V action gets underway on Thursday.

Once again, teams must survive the first round to stay alive in the tournament. In Div. II and III, second round loser’s are also eliminated.

Here’s a breakdown on where the local area squads ended up in their respective bracketing:

Tuesday

Div. II

No. 11 Del Oro at No. 6 Benicia, 4 p.m.: The Golden Eagles (12-14) survived a wild four-way tie-breaker  that included total runs scored to nip Rocklin out for the Sierra Foothill League’s fourth and final playoff berth.  Del Oro, which won nine of its last 12 games to make its playoff run, will open against the Panthers, who won the Solano County Athletic Conference with a 14-1 record.

No. 14 Ponderosa at No. 3 Lincoln: Three-time CIF Div. IV champion Lincoln steps up in competition by opening the Div. II playoffs at home versus Ponderosa. The Zebras, 23-4 on the year, had their 19-game winning streak stopped Wednesday in a playoff tune-up loss to Whitney, 5-3. Ponderosa,  which defeated Placer, 11-1 in a non-league game Thursday, finished third in the Capital Valley Conference and is 17-8 on the season.

Div. III

No. 12 Placer at No. 5 Sierra (Manteca), 4 p.m.: The Hillmen (12-12) get a tough draw as they take on Sierra (15-9), which came in a game behind Oakdale for top honors in the competitive Valley Oak League. The Placer-Sierra winner advances to Thursday’s second round against either Los Banos or Pioneer of Woodland with the highest remaining seed hosting.

Wednesday

Div. VII

No. 5 Foresthill at No. 4 Valley Christian, 4 p.m.: The Wildfires, the second place finishing team in the Central Valley California League, travel to Roseville to tackle the Lions, who tied with Alpha Charter for the Sacramento Metro Athletic League title. Foresthill is 17-5 overall on the season while Valley Christian, which has won six of the past seven CIF Div. VII championships, is 14-11.

Thursday

Div. V

No. 7  Western Sierra Academy at No. 2 Bear River, 4 p.m.: The Bruins were awarded the No. 2 seed via a tiebreaker from the Pioneer Valley League and hope to take advantage of it in the first round against the Wolves (9-10) who finished third in the SMAL. Bear River is 13-14 overall after defeating River Valley of Yuba City Wednesday in a non-league game. The Bear River-Western Sierra winner will play the survivor of Colfax-San Juan in a second round game at a site yet to be announced.

No. 6 San Juan at No. 3 Colfax, 4 p.m.: The Falcons (15-9) expect to be tested by the Spartans, who have an outstanding junior pitcher in Hogan Weaver, a 6-2, 245-pounder who has fanned 116 batters in 60 innings this season and is 8-2.  San Juan (12-11) finished fourth in the Sierra Delta League, while the Falcons tied for second in the PVL.