Three Southern Section finalists in baseball, softball to skip regionals

Playing in the state playoffs is supposed to be a big deal, but the CIF continues to have problems attracting the best teams in Southern California for their postseason events in baseball and softball.

Southern Section Division 1 baseball champion JSerra has declined its invite to the Southern California Regionals as did Division 1 softball champion Garden Grove Pacifica and runner-up Norco.

JSerra coach Brett Kay, whose team participated in the regionals last season after winning Division 1, said the team voted not to participate.

“There’s only one dogpile,” Kay said. “That was Friday night.”

Sherman Oaks Notre Dame, which was the No. 1 seed in Division 1 before being upset by Corona in the semifinals, accepted an invitation and will replace JSerra in the regionals. Notre Dame coach Tom Dill had collected uniforms and didn’t practice last week, not knowing his team would have a chance to play again after being eliminated on May 12. Now he must see who can pitch next week when the season resumes.

The softball regionals are routinely skipped by the top Southern California softball teams because the summer club season begins for coaches and players at the end of May.

The defection of baseball teams is surprising, although it’s mostly from Orange County schools. Aliso Niguel and Yorba Linda also declined baseball invitations.

JSerra lost to Huntington Beach in an exciting regional final last season decided by a home run from Ralphy Velazquez in the eighth inning.