The Saddleback baseball team will host Mt. San Antonio College in the Southern California Regional Finals starting on Friday at Doug Fritz Field. The best-of-three series will determine who goes to the state tournament in Fresno on May 26-28.
Saddleback and Mt. San Antonio are separated by only 42 miles on the map but despite the close proximity don't have a long history of playing each other on the diamond. The two programs have met just 14 times, with each program winning seven games.
Mt. San Antonio (33-11) won the South Coast North Division by finishing 17-5. The Mounties finished just ahead of East Los Angeles College in the standings…a team that Saddleback defeated in the opening round of the playoffs two weeks ago. Mt. San Antonio advanced to the regional finals by defeating Santa Barbara City College (7-3, 15-10) in the opening round of the playoffs and then sweeping past Glendale College (5-4, 8-5) last weekend. The Mounties are currently No. 7 in the state in team batting average (.311) and No. 10 in the state in team ERA (3.46).
Saddleback (32-12) was the second place finisher in the Orange Empire Conference, finishing 13-8 in OEC play. The lone team in front of Saddleback was Orange Coast College, who will host El Camino College in the other Southern California Regional Final this weekend. The Gauchos advanced to this weekend by sweeping past East Los Angeles College (16-5, 7-5) in the opening round and Palomar College (9-5, 8-6) last weekend. Saddleback is currently No. 4 in the state in team ERA (2.90) and No. 34 in team batting average (.292).
In terms of common opponents, Mt. San Antonio was 5-2 against programs from the Orange Empire Conference while Saddleback was 6-0 against programs from the South Coast Conference. The Mounties were 2-0 against Santa Ana College, 1-1 against Riverside City College, 1-0 versus Orange Coast College, 1-0 versus Fullerton College and 0-1 versus Cypress College. In the process, Mt. San Antonio outscored their OEC foes, 52-27. Conversely, Saddleback was 2-0 versus Chaffey College, 1-0 versus El Camino College, 2-0 versus East Los Angeles College and 1-0 against Compton College, outscoring SCC opponents 88-16.
When looking at the state and regional rankings, Mt. San Antonio was ranked No. 5 in the final regular season state rankings by the California Community College Sports Information Association (CCCSIA) and No. 3 in Southern California. The Mounties are currently at No. 7 in the state and No. 3 in Southern California in the Massey Ratings. Saddleback was ranked No. 7 in the state and No. 4 in Southern California the final CCCSIA poll three weeks ago and are currently rated No. 3 in the state and No. 1 in Southern California in the Massey Ratings.
The three-game series starts on Friday at 2:00 PM at Doug Fritz Field. Game two is scheduled for Saturday at 1:00 PM while game three will be played on Sunday at 12:00 PM, if necessary. Despite all three games scheduled to be played at Saddleback, Mt. San Antonio will be considered the home team for game two.
Tickets for this weekend's Southern California Regional Playoff games are: $12 general admission; $8 for students and staff with current ID, seniors 60-and-over and children 12-and-under.