(Lead photo by Justin Fine)
Here's an overview of the CIF San Diego Section Open Division baseball bracket that gets started on Wednesday around San Diego County.
The Madison Warhawks wrapped up the regular season by taking two of three games from Point Loma to capture the Western League title. They enter the playoffs as the seven-seed despite winning nine of their last 11 games. The Warhawks offense has heated up down the stretch, averaging nine runs per game over their last nine games led by San Diego State commits Jake Jackson and Maddox Haley. Haley, who sports an 11 to 1 strikeout to walk ratio on the mound and junior Lawson Minshew are a formidable duo atop the rotation, both with ERA's of under two.
3 PLAYERS TO WATCH
Grant MacArthur - Granite Hills 3B
MacArthur made a name for himself last season hitting .393 with ten doubles and seven home runs before finishing the year by winning the San Diego Section home run derby at Petco Park. The Hawaii-signee has taken another step forward offensively this season while also looking more comfortable at third base defensively. He's hitting .470 with nine home runs and has an on-base percentage of .667 after walking 36 times and managed to strike out only five times in 108 plate appearances during the regular season.
Eric Van Valkenburg - Torrey Pines - RHP
A fiery competitor on the mound, injuries limited Van Valkenburg to only 27 innings on the mound over the past two seasons. Fully healthy this season, the Oklahoma-signee has thrown 43 innings for the Falcons to go along with a 1.62 ERA and 66 strikeouts. He's also added a spark to the Falcons lineup in recent weeks as the designated hitter, collecting seven hits in his last three games.
Jake Jackson - Madison OF
A true standout in football, basketball, and baseball, Jackson has hit in 25 of 28 games for the Warhawks this season, good for a .463 average. He has 14 doubles, three triples and three home runs. The San Diego State commit has stolen 15 bases and can cover ground in centerfield with his six-foot-five frame.
Granite Hills over Torrey Pines. The Eagles began the season as the top team in the section and managed to avoid losing consecutive games throughout the regular season. A loaded lineup led by Grant MacArthur and five reliable pitchers including freshman Brenden Lewis in a reliever role will make Granite Hills a tough out for any team in the Open Division bracket.