Baseball: La Caada petitions for CIF at-large berth

There’s been some confusion as to whether La Caada will be awarded an at-large berth into the CIF-Southern Section Division IV playoffs. The Spartans finished fourth in the tough Rio Hondo League this season. The only thing up in the air is whether Monrovia will clinch the title outright today, but they need to beat a pesky South Pasadena team. If the Wildcats win, they’re outright champions, if the Wildcats lose and San Marino wins, they clinch a share of the league title but Monrovia moves ahead as the league’s No. 1 team because they own the season-series. Back to La Caada … Spartans coach Dennis Ballard sent paper work Wednesday to the CIF-Southern Section office and now patiently waits. Ballard said it is their incentive to win today to boost La Caada’s record and show it belongs in the playoffs. But the debate lies whether a team from a new league that just moved up to Division IV would be awarded an at-large berth, if the Division IV is awarded an at-large berth at all. The brackets are released Monday. “I think it’s going to happen but CIF is very unpredictable,” Ballard said. “We’re going forward with playing as if our season will continue.” La Caada is 16-6 and also won the Southern California Invitational early in the season. “We put that on our sheet,” said Ballard with a chuckle. It’ll be too bad if the Spartans don’t get an at-large berth considering the tight race in the RHL race this season. They turned it around this season after finishing 11-10 last year. “Truly, as far as baseball, it’s been a three-team situation in the past years and now with San Marino it’s four. When you put four teams that can knock each other off it can be crazy. It’s fun and exciting to watch but not that fun to coach to be able to go from first to fourth. It’s been kind of crazy.” Ballard talked about last week’s tough test, facing Monrovia and Temple City on the same week, losing twice. “We just didn’t hit the ball well,” Ballard said. “These teams just stepped up and played some great games. We played some excellent competition but it was difficult day-to-day because the pressure was on and that’s all we talked about. We got a little disheartened but we got back together, had fun and relaxed, and that’s how you have to go at it; you can’t put too much pressure on yourself.”

Lets hope CIF does the right thing.