Following a 10-week regular season, the Crescenta Valley High, Flintridge Prep and Hoover baseball teams have begun preparations for the CIF Southern Section playoffs.
The Falcons, Rebels and Tornadoes all learned where they will be heading for their postseason openers after the CIF Southern Section office unveiled its playoff pairings for all seven divisions Monday.
Crescenta Valley (19-7-1) will meet Santa Maria St. Joseph ((17-11) or Damien (16-9) in a Division II first-round game Thursday at Stengel Field. Flintridge Prep (14-7-1) will take on visiting New Jewish Community (11-6) in a Division VI first-round game Thursday at the Glendale Sports Complex. Hoover (12-12) will hit the road Tuesday for a Division II wild-card matchup with Rancho Cucamonga (14-11). All games are set to begin at 3:15 p.m., unless another time can be mutually agreed upon by both squads.
While Santa Maria will host Damien in a wild-card game Tuesday, the Falcons enter the postseason fresh off winning the Pacific League championship outright.
Veteran Crescenta Valley Coach Phil Torres, who guided the Falcons to a Division I title in 1998, said there are no easy matchups within the division.
"It's such a hard division from top to bottom," Torres said. "No matter who we play, it's going to be a hard matchup.
"Our guys will be ready, but Thursday can't get here quick enough. We know a little bit about Damien from having played them last year. St. Joseph has a good team, so we have to be ready for whoever we play."
The winner will advance to the second round May 27 against Redlands East Valley (21-5) or Los Osos (13-13)
Flintridge Prep will look to make another deep playoff run after advancing to the semifinals last season for the first time since 1960. The Rebels finished second in the Prep League behind second-seeded Pasadena Poly.
Flintridge Prep second-year Coach Guillermo Gonzalez said the Rebels have begun preparation for New Jewish Community, which placed second in the Liberty League.
"We've already begun to draw up a scouting report," said Gonzalez, the reigning All-Area Baseball Coach of the Year. "We didn't play them at all during the regular season.
"We feel like we have some momentum going into the playoffs. The playoff experiences we had last year will help us. We have the bats and a lot of pitching and we think that can help carry us."
The winner of the Flintridge Prep-New Community Jewish contest will then meet Malibu (15-12) or California Lutheran (10-7) in a second-round game May 27.
Hoover, which finished fifth in the Pacific League under second-year Coach Brian Esquival, received an at-large berth and will make its first playoff appearance since 2011. Rancho Cucamonga finished second in the Baseline League.
Esquival said the Tornadoes achieved their goal of qualifying for the postseason.
"Our guys have really come a long way," Esquival said. "We are happy to be a part of the playoffs.
"I think in the last four or five games, we've been playing pretty well. We've gotten the pitching and we are just trying to get the bats going. If we can hit, then we've got a chance. You know no matter who you are playing [in the playoffs] that you are going to get a very good team."
The winner will take on host Buena (19-6) in a first-round game Thursday. Buena captured the Channel League championship.
Follow Charles Rich on Twitter: @TCNCharlesRich.