This past weekend was the kickoff to the high school spring sports season, and a good amount of local baseball and softball teams kicked off their official preseason games, most of them with double headers. League games will start around the first week of March, so it is time for coaches to work with their rosters, build the winning combinations, get some preseason games in and work out all the kinks. In 2014, the Southwestern League turned heads when it was named the toughest league in the nation and hasn’t dropped below the top 10 since. The same can be said for softball as Great Oak, Vista Murrieta and Murrieta Mesa high schools, which make up half of the league, are all considered Division 1 powerhouses.
Local Southwestern League baseball teams that played this past weekend include Murrieta Valley, Vista Murrieta, Chaparral, Great Oak and Murrieta Mesa high schools. The Nighthawks opened up against Yucaipa High School, falling to the former Division 2 Champs in both games; Vista Murrieta traveled to Palm Desert High School to face the Aztecs and walked away with two wins, as did the Murrieta Mesa Rams, who also took to the road to face the Tahquitz High School Titans; Great Oak opened up against Norco High School, dropping two to the Cougars, as did Chaparral, who faced Riverside Poly High School. Temecula Valley had the weekend off but will open their official preseason against Huntington Beach High School Thursday, Feb. 20, at home.
On the softball fields the only teams that have got some action under their belt in the Southwestern League, at the time of the article going to print, are Temecula Valley and Murrieta Valley. The Lady Golden Bears beat Sultana High School 9-0 this past weekend, and Murrieta Valley is now 1-2 after beating Valley View High School and falling to Santiago and Yucaipa high schools in tournament play.
JP Raineri can be reached by email at email@example.com.