With the All-Star Game in the books, it's time to start looking forward to the 2017 SBL Playoffs!
New to 2017 is a double elimination format that will take place at Cal Poly Pomona on Wednesday, June 26 and Thrusday, June 27.
The two teams that advance will play the championship game on Saturday, June 29 at Blair Field.
One team has already taken a step in the right direction. The Ventura County Pirates (13-5) officially clinched the first playoff spot Tuesday night following their victory over the OC Surf.
The Pirates, who had nine all-stars this season have put up outstanding offensive numbers. Some of the key players have included Griffin Hagen (.500 BA and 20 RBI - both lead the team), Darren Kriz (.367 BA and 20 RBI), Myles Hager (.304 BA and 4 HR) and Kobi Allen (.354 BA and 26 runs).
Robert Stowell, a former SBL Pitcher of the Week, has been the ace of the staff boasting a microscopic 1.03 ERA to go along with 28 strikeouts in 34 innings. Dylan Ross has also notched three wins and struck out 25 in 25 innings of work.
The Solana Beach Cardinals (12-5) have won nine of their past 10 and are in great shape to make the playoffs for the second consecutive season. The magic number for the Cardinals is down to just 1.
Ari Gerber (.303 BA, 20 R, 15 RBI) and Jake Singer (.379 BA, 20 RBI, 4 HR and 18 R) have led the way on offense.
Ryan Semon has been the top pitcher with a 2.57 ERA and 17 strikeouts in 16 innings. Joshua Leaser has been nearly untouchable in 11.1 innings of work with a 0.62 ERA and 16 strikeouts.
The Inland Valley Pirates (11-8) are also closing in on their second consecutive playoff appearance. The magic number for Inland Valley has dropped to 2 after their victory against the Sparrows on Tuesday night.
The Pirates are led by Jahshua Jones (.318 BA, 10 R, 9 RBI), Kristian Scott (.333 BA, 8 R, 5 RBI) and Alberto Vargas (.300 BA, 13 R, 7 RBI).
The pitching staff has had a number of great contributors. Chris Burnett has not allowed a run in 12.1 IP. Grant Ponder has a 2.38 ERA with 15 strikeouts in 17.2 IP. Michael Gomez has 22 strikeout victims in 21 innings and Cade Kirkemo as 21 strikeouts in 20 innings.
The OC Surf (10-7), like the Cardinals and Inland Valley Pirates, are staring a second consecutive playoff appearance right in the eye. The magic number for Orange County is 3.
The Surf have tons of offense to go around, but it all starts with Wyatt Hoppie, who is batting .391 with 24 RBI, 17 R and 4 HR. Robert Vasquez is hitting .357 and Phil Steering is at an incredible .452 clip.
Stephen Knapp is one of the top arms (12.2 IP, 13 K, 0.55 ERA). Collin Quinn (0.64 ERA) and Jordan Yrastorza (1.00 ERA) have been electric as well.
The South Bay Sparrows (6-12) face an uphill battle to make the playoffs, and are eager to snap a four game skid on Wednesday against the OC Orioles.
Tanner Thompson (.371 BA) and Brandon Chandler (.324 BA) have been on a tear all season.
Daniel Rubio is the ace of the staff tossing 21 innings and striking out 25 to go with a 0.67 ERA.
The OC Orioles (2-17) have officially been eliminated from playoff contention.
Michael Borg has been the offensive star of the season for the Orioles with a .429 BA, 10 R and 8 RBI, all of which are the most on the team.
Andrew Martinez and Keegan Baird have done the heavy lifting for the pitching staff. The pair have combined to throw 55 innnings and strikeout 35.