Los Angeles Preps: San Marcos

Loyola top seed in CIF Southern Section volleyball playoffs

May, 6, 2012
The CIF Southern Section boys volleyball playoffs begin on Tuesday and it looks like there might be a new champion in Division I.

Mater Dei won the Division I championship in a five-game match over Santa Margarita last year.

Servite won the Trinity League championship this year and enter the Division I playoffs as the No. 4 seed. Mater Dei was second in the Trinity League, followed by Santa Margarita in third.

Loyola has the top seed in the Division I playoffs and awaits the winner of the Simi Valley vs. San Marcos wild-card match.

Esperanza is the No. 2 seed and opens against St. Francis. Mira Costa is the No. 3 seed and plays Newbury Park in the first round.

Servite plays Long Beach Wilson in the first round.

Teams from the L.A. North Region dominate Division II. Oak Park is the top seed and has a bye in the first round. Valencia is the No. 4 seed and plays Knight from Lancaster in the first round.

Corona del Mar is the No. 2 seed and has a bye in the first round. Laguna Beach is the third seed and plays Malibu to open the playoffs.

Corona del Mar won the Division II championship in four games against Laguna Beach last year.

Here is a look at the first-round matches in the CIF Southern Section playoffs:

(Read full post)

Oxnard earns No. 5 seed in Southern Section Division 1AA playoffs

February, 12, 2012
The Oxnard boys basketball team is the fifth-seeded team in the CIF Southern Section Division 1AA playoffs and will play Quartz Hill in the first round Friday night.

The playoff pairings for the Southern Section playoffs were released Sunday.

Calabasas, the champion of the Marmonte League, is the No. 1 seed in Division 3AA. The Coyotes have a bye in the first round of the playoffs and will play the winner of the Hueneme-Palos Verdes game.

Alemany, the Mission League champion, is the No. 1 seed in Division 3A and will play Artesia in the first round Wednesday.

Providence of Burbank is the No. 1 seed in Division 5A and has a bye in the first round. The Pioneers will play the winner of the New Roads-Villanova Prep game.

Renaissance Academy is the top seed in the Division 6 playoffs and plays Santa Monica Academy on Wednesday.

Crescenta Valley is the No. 4 seed in the Division 1A playoffs and plays Colton in the first round on Friday.

Canyon earned the No. 2 seed in Division 2AA playoffs and will play Godinez in the first round on Friday.

San Marcos is the No. 2 seed in Division 3AA playoffs and plays Hawthorne on Wednesday. La Canada, the No. 3 seed in the Division 3AA playoffs and the reigning Division 3AA champion, has a bye in the first round and plays the winner of the Pacifica-Northwood game.

Oak Park is the No. 3 seed in the Division 3A playoffs and plays Littlerock in the first round.

Village Christian is the No. 2 seed in the Division 5AA playoffs and plays Bellarmine-Jefferson in the first round.

LAKE BALBOA -- When Marti Sementelli was 5 years old, she started playing baseball in the Van Nuys/Sherman Oaks Parks and Recreation league. When she was 7, she started pitching in Little League.

On Saturday, the 18-year-old Birmingham senior will start for her high school baseball team against San Marcos from Santa Barbara.

She will be going up against senior Ghazaleh Sailors in what is believed to be the first matchup of girl starters in a baseball game in California high school history.

There were 1,012 girls playing baseball on high school teams in the United States in 2008, according to the National Federation of State High School Associations. California had the most girls playing baseball with 385, but none of them faced each other as opposing pitchers.

[+] EnlargeMarti Sementelli
Tim Haddock/Special to ESPNLosAngeles.com Marti Sementelli will start for the Birmingham baseball team on Saturday against Ghazaleh Sailors from San Marcos.
“I don’t think anyone’s ever seen something like that before,” Sementelli said.

Sementelli pitched 25 innings and won one game as a junior for Birmingham. Sailors is making her varsity debut. Both girls are making their first starts of the season.

While the girls play for high school teams that are separated by hundreds of miles, they are no strangers. Sementelli and Sailors were teammates on the United States national team that won the bronze medal in the World Cup of Women’s Baseball in Venezuela over the summer.

Baseball has been a part of Sementelli’s life since she was a toddler. She grew up with grass and mounds on the infield as opposed to dirt and circles as is the custom in softball.

For Sementelli, softball was never an option. She doesn’t know how to play softball, not that it would be that difficult for her to pick up. She’s just never played softball. Baseball is more her speed and style.

“My dad taught me when I was little,” Sementelli said. “I never, ever thought about playing softball. My dad played in high school. He taught me everything about baseball.”

Matt Mowry, the Birmingham baseball coach, said Sementelli is treated no different than any other player on the baseball team. Not by the coaches and especially not by her teammates.

“The key is, she doesn’t expect anything different,” Mowry said. “It’s nothing new to her. She’s been around it her whole life.”

Sementelli isn’t the first girl Mowry has coached on the Birmingham baseball team. Andy Parsons played for Birmingham in 1996 and 1997 when Mowry was an assistant coach on the baseball team. She was a second baseman who could turn a double play as well as anyone, Mowry said.

In the 17 years Mowry has coached baseball at Birmingham, Sementelli and Parsons are the only two girls to make the varsity team. By comparison, there were two girls on the Birmingham football team in the fall.

Attracting national attention is nothing new to Sementelli. She was featured in a New York Times story on girls who play baseball two years ago when she was on the junior varsity team at Burbank High School. She was in a Nike television commercial, donning a backward Boston Red Sox cap, when she was in junior high.

Sailors is not so used to the limelight. She was 0-2 on the junior varsity baseball team at San Marcos in her junior season.

When it comes to pitching ability, Sementelli said she and Sailors are comparable.

“She’s practically the same as me,” Sementelli said. “It’ll be an even playing field. She throws about the same speed as I do. It will be a pretty good battle pitching against each other. I’m looking forward to the game.”