It's not alarming that Edison High, as the Central Section's Division II defending baseball champion with several veteran players, will take a seven-game winning streak into its playoff opener at home against Mt. Whitney today.
A year ago, the Tigers rolled into the postseason with a six-game winning streak before winning four more and the first section baseball crown in the school's 84-year history.
"We've got one more chance to outdo last year's team and win 11 in a row," Edison coach Cliff Rold said. "But that's going to take a lot of work."
No doubt, because nothing's come easy for the Tigers in an odd season.
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They're 13-15 a year after finishing 22-11.
At 9-6, they finished five games behind Clovis North in the County/Metro Athletic Conference.
On a team returning a 10-game winner in Kenny Travis, Edison's most recent starting rotation consisted of freshmen Deondre Howard and Khari McGee.
But the picture has changed for the sixth-seeded Tigers.
First, pitcher/outfielder Travis (broken collarbone) and shortstop Skippy Ferreria (broken wrist) -- each major contributors to last year's title -- are only now reaching top form after injuries in September and October.
And, second, 11th-seeded Mt. Whitney (13-20) will arrive with Tanner Mendonca, a Sacramento State-bound right-hander with a 6-5 record, 2.37 ERA and 87 strikeouts in 62 innings.
"If I'm getting Mendonca, and I can't imagine anybody else, I can't roll the dice, I just can't," Edison coach Cliff Rold said. "When it's 1-and-done, you can't hold back anybody."
Meaning, it's Travis back on the bump to begin the game, right?
"What I do [today] might be different," Rold said, "but Mt. Whitney doesn't need to know that yet."
Travis, whose college or professional future appears to be open as a pitcher or outfielder, is 5-5 with a 4.16 ERA and 52 strikeouts in 671/3 innings. He's also hitting .355 with six home runs, 34 runs and 24 RBIs.
Ferreria, a year after hitting .429 with five homers, 42 runs, 43 RBIs and 16 steals, is hitting .382 with no homers, 24 runs, 13 RBIs and 20 steals.
"He missed water polo, and that's where his strength came from because of all that swimming," Rold said. "He's just now barely getting healthy."
Ferreria, who broke the wrist playing basketball, could play next year at Stanislaus State or Fresno City College, and Cal State Fullerton continues to monitor his progress, Rold said.
Playoffs in five other divisions will begin today. All championships will be played May 27, except for the six-team D-VI, which will close next Tuesday.