Point Loma High players, coaches and parents, including 10 graduating seniors, are feeling the sting of having the playoff door slammed in their face after they felt they earned a berth on the field. Their 12-13-1 overall record and 7-5 Western League second-place finish left them ranked as the 24th-best county prep team (and sixth-best in Div. II) in the widely used MaxPreps standings.
Being 24th, with 52 teams earning playoff spots, it would seem to make PLHS’ inclusion would be automatic. But not to the CIF selection committee.
Twelve teams were selected for Div. II playoffs, but PLHS athletic director John Murphy had to gather his baseball pack to tell them their playoffs opportunity wasn’t happening.
While their season began with more losses than wins, the Pointers had made significant strides during the league season, finishing with a six-game winning streak, behind only champion La Jolla and ahead of Madison, Mission Bay and University City.
La Jolla, as league champion, was guaranteed a spot (No. 4 in Div. II). But third-place Madison also received a berth (No. 12 in Div. I), while PLHS was snubbed.
Yet, the Pointers’ late win streak included two wins over Madison (6-5 and 4-0).
A closer look at the results of the Pointers’ tough pre-season schedule offers further evidence of the team’s quality.
The Pointers lost their season-opener to 8th-ranked Helix (4-2), then played D-I 8th-seed Montgomery to a 4-4 tie, suspended after 12 innings.
Next, it was 9th-ranked Vista, now an Open Div. No. 6 seed, which edged the Dogs 1-0.
Then, Div. I No. 10 seed Steele Canyon hung a 5-2 loss on the Pointers.
Close games against quality opponents.
Next came victories against No. 17-ranked Eastlake, a D-II playoff seed, and Mira Mesa, which became a No. 8 Open Division seed.
The Dogs blew out Central (El Centro) 12-2, and the Spartans went on to be the No. 1 seed in Div. IV.
Cathedral Catholic, ranked No. 2 in the county and featuring the nation’s likely first- round professional baseball draft pick, pinned a 5-1 loss on the Pointers.
St. Augustine, which earned a No. 1 seed in Div. I, spanked the Dogs in a 6-1 City Conference tournament game.
And so it goes ... the Pointers playing game after game against many of the county’s best teams, winning a few and losing more, often by just a few runs.
Apparently, the CIF Selection Committee didn’t take as close a look at the Pointers’ performance.
At season’s end, MaxPreps pegged the Pointers as the 24th-best prep baseball team in San Diego and the 6th-best team in Div. II.
Another league champion (16th-ranked Hilltop: 11-19 overall) received an automatic Div. II berth.
The CIF Selection Committee admitted 52 total teams to the playoffs, including 12 in PLHS’ Div. II.
The Pointers weren’t one of them ... and that stinks.
Someone owes these kids an apology, but I would advise them not to hold their breath awaiting one.
— Scott Hopkins is a sportswriter for the San Diego Community