O.C.: OLu, Mater Dei give baseball playoffs a 1-2 punch

While many teams played wild card games on Tuesday, Orange Lutheran and Mater Dei had the luxury of biding their time. The Trinity League rivals ended the regular season ranked 1-2 in the Southern Section Division 1 baseball rankings as well as 1-2 in the state, and 1-2 in the nation by some accounts.

Lutheran (21-4), led by Conner Sullivan and left-handed pitcher Art Vidrio, and Mater Dei (21-5), led by Ty Moore, open the first round of the section playoffs on Friday at home.

The Trinity League title is the third for OLu in even-numbered years; the Lancers also won in 2008 and 2010, so you have to figure the program is looking forward to 2014.

But not before finishing 2012 in style.

The section released the baseball pairings on Monday, and while some schools were left scrambling for buses to play wild card games, OLu and Mater Dei could rest easy. The Lancers are the top-seeded team by virtue of winning the league title by taking two of three from Mater Dei and will open the playoffs against Long Beach Millikan (11-17) or host Moorpark (15-12), which will be playing to get into the first round.

Mater Dei knows who its opponent will be: Oxnard Rio Mesa (14-12). The Monarchs won the 2010 title behind standout Cory Hahn but were beaten last year in its second playoff game.

Defending champion Riverside North (24-5) and Long Beach Poly (24-6) are the third- and fourth-seeded teams in Division 1.

Lutheran comes into the playoffs ranked No. 5 in the nation, according to ESPNHS, and Mater Dei is ranked No. 7. Both got a bump when the state's previous No. 1 team, Harvard-Westlake, was beaten by Loyola.

In the MaxPreps Xcellent 25, OLu and Mater Dei are ranked No. 1 and 2.

Here's a look at the top four seeded teams in the other divisions:

Division 2: 1. North Hollywood Harvard-Westlake, 2. Garden Grove Pacifica, 3. Mission Hills Alemany, 4. Cypress.

Division 3: 1. La Verne Bonita, 2. Irvine Beckman, 3. Alhambra, 4. Elsinore.

Division 4: 1. Palm Desert, 2. Pasadena La Salle, 3. Santa Ana Calvary Chapel, 4. La Puente Bishop Amat.

Division 5: 1. Lancaster Paraclete, 2. Los Angeles Cathedral, 3. Riverside Woodcrest Christian, 4. Gardena Serra.

Division 6: 1. Lancaster Desert Christian, 2. Capistrano Valley Christian, 3. Santa Barbara Bishop Diego, 4. Pasadena Poly.

Division 7: 1. Granada Hills Hillcrest Christian, 2. Santa Monica New Roads, 3. Riverside Christian, 4. Los Olivos Dunn.