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Five IVL teams qualify for CIF

May 17, 2002|By ERIC GALVAN

Sports Writer

After one of the closest Imperial Valley League races in recent memory, IVL softball teams were rewarded by the CIF San Diego Section playoff committee Thursday as five of the seven teams made the postseason.

Leading the pack was Southwest High, which won the league championship and was given a first-round home game as the No. 5 seed in Division III.

At 3:30 p.m. Monday, Southwest will host Madison High, which the Eagles beat 10-0 earlier this year.

"Really I thought we could've been seeded higher than what we were, but there's nothing we can do about that now," said Southwest coach Stephanie Niebla, whose team finished 17-8 overall and 8-2 in league. "But I feel comfortable with the way it was handled and where we ended up.


"As far as Madison goes, yes we 10-run ruled them last time, which was good. But at the same time, this is a whole other half of the season," said Niebla. "Before the game I'll talk to our team about strategy and preparing for them. I really won't focus on what happened last time, because I'm sure they're a different team then they were when we first played them."

Also getting into the playoffs from the IVL in Division III was Palo Verde, which will play Our Lady of Peace Academy of San Diego on Saturday.

Quite possibly the biggest surprise of the IVL's qualifiers was Brawley Union High, which finished 12-15 overall and 4-8 in the IVL and had lost five in a row before winning its regular-season finale Tuesday.

At 1:30 p.m. Saturday, Brawley, the No. 11 seed in Division III, will travel to Encinitas to play San Dieguito Academy.

In Division IV, Imperial earned a No. 5 seed and will host Guajome Park at 9:30 a.m. Saturday.

"Since I've been coaching Imperial, this is the highest seed I've ever gotten in CIF," said Imperial coach Kim Witte. "I think that this is just a result of all the hard work our girls put in during the year.

"I'm just real excited about this and I feel like we have a really good chance in this," said Witte. "I told the girls about this and they were just so excited."

Rounding out the Valley's CIF qualifiers in Division IV is Holtville, given the No. 6 seed and hosting Bishop's at 1:30 p.m. Saturday.

Added Witte: "I'm excited that we made it in as a No. 5, but I'm also real excited for all the Valley teams. I think this is a testament of how strong this league is and I believe it will make (the San Diego Section) stand up and take notice of us."

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