All 5 SYRL teams still alive in baseball quarterfinals

After a busy opening day of the Central Section baseball playoffs, 16 Kern County teams advanced to today's quarterfinals, which will feature several intriguing matchups.

Area teams went 6-0 in the top two divisions, with all five South Yosemite River League teams posting wins. The South Yosemite Valley and South Sequoia leagues are also well-represented, combining to go 7-2 on Tuesday.

When the dust settled, a handful of local teams earned the right to play each other today for a right to play in next week’s semifinals.

In Division I, No. 2 Liberty rallied for two runs in the seventh inning and beat No. 15 Tulare Western on a bases-loaded walk. The Patriots will now host No. 7 Stockdale, which defeated No. 10 Fresno-Central 6-2 on Tuesday.

Liberty (26-4) swept the three-game series with the Mustangs (18-11) in SYRL play this season en route to winning the league title.

On the other side of the D-I bracket, No. 5 Frontier (21-9) will play at No. 4 Fresno-Bullard (23-6) and No. 9 Centennial (15-15) will travel to play top-seeded Clovis West (24-6).

The host Titans defeated Santa Maria-Righetti 7-1, with Frontier junior Brady Durkan scattering seven hits to improve to 10-2. The Golden Hawks, who rallied past Clovis-Buchanan to win the D-I title last year as the ninth seed, shook off an early 3-0 deficit to defeat the Bears 5-4 on Tuesday. The games are all scheduled to start at 4:30 p.m.

No. 10 Garces (12-16), which went 1-11 in SYRL play, scored two runs in the seventh and held on to upset No. 7 Arroyo Grande on the road. The Rams now must travel to face No. 2 seed Kingsburg. That game is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Friday.

In Division II, defending champion Bakersfield Christian (23-5), the No. 2 seed, and No. 4 Ridgeview won close games at home to advance. Both will host quarterfinal games today.

The South Yosemite Valley League rivals are opposite ends of the bracket and can face each other only if they each advance to the finals. All section finals are scheduled to be played at Visalia’s Valley Strong Ballpark.

On Tuesday, the Eagles led No. 15 San Luis Obispo 5-0 before things got interesting with a four-run top of the fourth. BCHS held on for a 5-4 win and now will play No. 7 Hanford-Sierra Pacific (20-9).

Ridgeview (17-11) wiped away a 3-0 deficit with a five-run sixth to earn a 5-3 win over No. 13 Clovis East. The Wolf Pack will now play No. 5 Santa Maria-St. Joseph.

In addition to the Liberty-Stockdale matchup, three games will feature county opponents.

In Division IV, No. 2 Taft will host No. 7 Independence, No. 11 Wasco will play at SSL rival Shafter, the No. 3 seed, in D-V and No. 2 Chavez will play at home against No. 7 California City in D-VI.

No. 6 South, which defeated No. 11 Mammoth 5-2 at home on Tuesday, received a bit of a break when No. 14 Mendota upset No. 3 Fresno Christian, 4-3. The Spartans will host the Aztecs (14-13) today.

Five of the 16 baseball teams still alive in the postseason pulled off upsets on Tuesday. In addition to Centennial and Garces, East High, Foothill and Wasco each won on the road in Division V.

The No. 13 Blades scored five runs in the ninth to post an 8-4, extra-inning win at No. 4 Bishop Union. The No. 11 Tigers also won in nine innings, defeating No. 6 Santa Maria, and the No. 9 Trojans scored four in the sixth and two in the seventh to topple No. 8 Kern Valley 6-2.

Thursday’s high school baseball schedule

Central Section playoffs, quarterfinals

Division I

No. 5 Frontier at No. 4 Fresno-Bullard, 4:30

No. 7 Stockdale at No. 2 Liberty, 4:30

No. 9 Centennial at No. 1 Clovis West, 4:30

Division II

No. 7 Hanford-Sierra Pacific at No. 2 Bakersfield Christian, 4:30

No. 5 Santa Maria-St, Joseph at No. 4 Ridgeview, 4:30

Division IV

No. 7 Independence at No. 2 Taft, 4:30

Division V

No. 11 Wasco at No. 3 Shafter, 4:30

No. 9 Foothill at No. 1 Madera-Matilda Torres, 4:30

No. 13 East at No. 5 Tollhouse-Sierra, 4:30

Division VI

No. 14 Mendota at No. 6 South, 4:30

No. 7 California City at No. 2 Chavez, 4:30

Friday’s game

Division III

No. 10 Garces at No. 2 Kingsburg, 6:30