The 2018 CIF Southern Section Championship Playoffs Begin
By Lynn Guerin
An excellent baseball team has to be both motivated and inspired. You need motivation every day to bring forth the maximum effort and do the hard work it takes to continuously improve. That is how goals are accomplished. You need inspiration to move beyond the goals and dare to dream big dreams.
The Rancho Christian Eagles baseball team is highly motivated. That is the way Coach Tony Nobiensky and his excellent staff like to do things. Goals are kept simple: Team first, bring your best effort every day, be a great teammate every day, finish first in the South Valley League, and make the CIF Playoffs.
Mission accomplished for 2018, as all goals were accomplished with a 20 win season against only 4 losses and a perfect 10-0 record in league play. Now it’s time to move to the inspired level.
On Friday the 18th, Rancho Christian begins chasing the dream when they entertain the Oxford Academy Patriots from Cypress. The Patriots finished fourth with a 13-18 record in the tough Academy League, regularly playing teams like Sage Hill, St Margret’s, and league champion Crean Lutheran. St. Margret’s is the only team that Rancho and Oxford both faced this season. Oxford twice lost to St. Margret’s, while Rancho posted a 7-1 win against St Margret’s back in late March.
Thirty-two teams are poised for a run at the Division 5 CIF title with the championship game being held at UC Riverside Stadium –Saturday June 2nd.The Eagles will of course play them one at a time, but a hint of optimism isn’t out of the question when your consider Rancho’s chances.
In fact they come to the” Run for the Ring” with the fourth best winning percentage among the 32 teams and are one of four team selected by Max Preps as most likely to come away with the Title.
Ontario Christian with a 23-4 record, Rancho Alamitos at 21-3, and Garey with a 22-2 record were the other three teams Max Preps singled out.
If all the stars aligned, these 4 teams could come together in the semi-finals scheduled for May 29th. But that is 3 victories down the road and this is baseball, so who knows?
Rancho enters the fray with some impressive numbers that support optimism for a playoff ready team. The team batting average is .358 and the on base percentage is .468 . The Eagles are scoring over 10 runs per game and only allowing 1.38 earned runs per game. Rancho leads the division in stolen bases with 72. Joey Hauck is #2 in the division with 28. Rancho pitchers are holding opposing hitters to a batting average against of just .180
12 batters in Division 5 are hitting .500 or better. Rancho has 2 of them in Taylor Tosches at .529 and Trevor Jones at .527. 8 Pitchers in Division 5 have at least 7 season wins. Trevor Jones and Colton Bulger are in that group of winners.
Rancho will spend this week fine tuning the game plan, pounding the baseball, tightening the defense, working on situational execution, and getting ready for Rancho’s first ever playoff game on its new home field. Every big dream needs a home-Why not Rancho Christian? See you Friday.
Game time 3:15 pm.